RVs provide the adventure of camping with the comforts of home. Towable RVs can be one of the least expensive ways to enjoy RV camping. While that’s true, you might be under the impression you need a larger budget for a motorhome or a heavy-duty truck to pull a towable RV.
However, did you know there are RVs small enough (like the Happier Camper, for example) that you won’t need to buy a truck to pull it. Whatsmore, they’re small enough not to need to pay for RV storage!
We’ve got you covered with five RVs you can pull with your SUV. Keep your car, save on storage, and camp in the comfort of an RV.
Key Things To Know About Towable RVs
When shopping for a towable RV, you will need to know a few terms. Knowing what these terms mean will help you figure out if your current vehicle can tow the specific RV you’re looking at.
Your Tow Vehicle
In your vehicle’s owner’s manual, you’ll want to look for your vehicle’s towing capacity. Most SUVs will be rated to tow somewhere between 1,500 pounds and 5,000 pounds. Each one is different, and of course, there are exceptions. Some SUVs can tow more than 5,000 pounds. Find out your vehicle’s tow capacity with a few clicks by using our handy tow guide.
Equally as important is your vehicle’s payload, curb weight, and gross vehicle weight rating. Confused already? Learn all the important weights and numbers with our guide to weight ratings.
In short, curb weight is how much your vehicle weighs without anyone in it. Payload is how much the vehicle can carry. Your GVWR (gross vehicle weight rating) is the dry weight (no items or liquids onboard) of your vehicle and the maximum payload. If you don’t know your vehicle’s payload, find the GVWR and subtract the curb weight from that number.
The RV You Tow
As you look at RVs, you will see terms like “dry weight,” AKA unloaded vehicle weight (UVW), and CCC. An RV’s dry weight is its weight straight out of the factory with no potable water, waste, or anything else in it.
Cargo Carrying Capacity is CCC.
This is the weight your RV will be capable of carrying on board. This is important because you won’t be pulling an empty travel trailer to go camping, you’ll have it packed up! You’ll load up your camper with gear, potable water, accessories, and other supplies. On the way back, you’ll also have liquids in your grey and black tanks (if your RV has these, which most do).
Adding an RV’s CCC and dry weight will give you its gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR). This is the number that needs to be within your vehicle’s tow rating. CCC + UVW = GVWR
GCWR and Tongue Weight
There’s also a gross combined weight rating (GCWR). This is the rating that includes your SUV and your trailer and any passengers and cargo. Just because you pull a camper within your towing capacity doesn’t necessarily mean you’re all set. You also need to stay below the vehicle’s GCWR. If you stay under the GCWR with all of the things discussed above, you’re headed in the right direction.
Don’t forget to take into account the RV’s tongue weight. Every vehicle will have its hitch rated for a certain weight. Even if you’re within the towing rating and under a GCWR, if you’re over the rating for your vehicle’s hitch you can experience problems. It’s also important to note that the tongue weight of the RV factors into the vehicle’s GVWR. If the tongue weight of the RV puts you over on GVWR, it’s too much trailer for your vehicle.
If you’re a little confused, it’s okay. You can come back to this weight rating guide at any time for a quick refresher.
Now for the fun part–let’s dive into some fun RVs for your SUV.
Forest River NoBo
Starting off our list is Forest River’s No Boundaries line of travel trailers. These fun little trailers pack quite the punch, yet are small and light enough to be pulled by many SUVs.
The NoBo line of campers range in length from 13 to 25 feet. The 10 series is the smallest in the line. Both 10 series NoBo travel trailers have a UVW under 2,000 pounds. Their CCC ranges from just under 2,000 pounds to just over 2,000 pounds.
The NoBo line is not only small and light but rugged and highly customizable. They’re designed to go off-road, featuring higher clearance and chunky, gripping tires. Awning systems and storage systems are available to fully outfit your NoBo whether you like to fish, kayak, ski, or bike on your adventures.
TAXA Cricket & Mantis
Both the TAXA Cricket and Mantis are lightweight and garage-able. Because they have a pop-up roof, they are small enough, when closed, to fit in most garages.
The Cricket is 15 feet in length and comes in at a dry weight of 1,732 pounds, and GVWR of 2,500 pounds. When closed, the total height is just six feet 11 inches. The Mantis is a bit larger at 19 feet in length and 3,020 pounds of dry weight. The Mantis has a GVWR of 4,000 pounds.
Both the TAXA Cricket and Mantis are designed to take you both on and off the road. They’re very innovative. TAXA’s founder spent some time designing for NASA!
Airstream’s smallest offering is the Basecamp. Though smaller than other Airstreams it’s able to fit a kayak or any other gear you might want to take onboard. The Basecamp comes in at 16 feet three inches in length and has a weight of 3,500 pounds.
Its footprint can also be extended with side and rear tents. Another option is the Basecamp X option which makes it even better equipped to go off the asphalt with a three-inch lift kit and other off-road friendly features.
Airstream’s are notorious for being sleek and functional. This small trailer design is no exception. Though it differs from the traditional silver bullet look of a full-size airstream, it delivers all the same sleek functionality in the tiniest package possible. A vista bay window isn’t a bad way to wake up each morning. Rugged adventures are calling when you take this little toaster off-road.
Forest River r-pod
The Forest River r-pod has been a favorite among RVers looking for a small rig. The r-pod line of campers range in length from 18 feet four inches to 22 feet two inches. The UVW ranges from 2,342 pounds up to 3,578 pounds. CCC ranges from 900 pounds to 1,390 pounds.
An r-pod is ready to take you anywhere, and at its compact size is a breeze to fit into national park campsites. The shape is aerodynamic, like a teardrop, so you’ll likely see those MPG gains. Inside you’ll find a fully equipped RV with a kitchen, bath, living space, and queen bed. The functionality of this design leaves no space unused. A small awning creates a cozy outdoor living space that you’ll be using plenty.
The Hummingbird is a lightweight offering from popular RV manufacturer, Jayco. You get the traditional RV comforts in a fun-size format. Hummingbird travel trailers range in length from 13 to 20 feet. The weight of Hummingbirds ranges from 2,000 pounds to 3,950 pounds.
The hummingbird’s small size makes it great for touring and trips to the lake. Like most of these travel trailers, you can fit into almost any size campsite. Browsing floorplans for this model is a lot of fun. You’d be surprised at how innovative a small cabin layout can be.
Nadia hit the road full-time in an RV with her husband, Jon, and their 2 dogs. She dreams of traveling the world, creating content that inspires, and hugging a koala bear. She’s been an educator and a marketer for a Fortune 500 company. These days, she works as a content creator and marketing strategist from the road. She writes for various blogs and magazines, also documenting her adventures with Jon at their blog RoamingRemodelers. Until she finds that koala to hug, she’s happy boondocking, visiting indie bookstores along the way, and drinking as much tea as possible.