Camping trailers come in such a massive range of styles and sizes, it can be hard to know where to start.
Small 5th wheel trailers are a very popular type of trailer, and for good reason.
They combine many of the most valuable aspects of trailers and come in a huge range of sizes, layouts, prices, and features.
Small 5th wheel trailers are particularly navigable, surprisingly spacious, and endlessly convenient for those hoping to spend some time off-road.
Ultimately, the best travel trailer for you depends totally on your unique needs and wants.
To help you decide, we’ve handpicked the best 5th wheel trailers for sale.
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The best small 5th wheel trailers for sale
Here are our top picks for the best small 5th wheel trailers on the market right now. Which one are you going to choose?
Winnebago Micro Minnie Plus
When it comes to travel trailers, Winnebago tends to always find a spot at or near the top of our lists.
The Winnebago Micro Minnie Plus small 5th wheel camper offers more storage, living space and features than other models. You’ll enjoy slide-outs and an 8-foot width.
This small 5th wheel camper was specifically designed to be towed by a half-ton truck and offers a queen bed and four different layouts.
Here’s some of what you’ll get in the Micro Minnie Plus:
- Full galley with fridge, three burner cooktop, microwave and stainless steel sink
- Bathroom with shower, foot-pedal flush toilet and stainless steel sink
- Bedroom with a queen bed and optional TV installation
- Roof air conditioning
- 10-gallon water heater
Winnebago also offers an attractive 3-year warranty that covers any failure of the workmanship they pride themselves in.
Northwood Fox Mountain
The Northwood Fox Mountain small 5th wheel camper features just one bump out but manages to make their interior space feel huge.
Most of that space is dedicated to a large, open living room and kitchen. In the front, there’s a master suite with a full bathroom.
In total, this small 5th wheel can sleep 6 and is perfect for a small family with young kids.
Northwood packs this model with an array of standard features from an off-road chassis to a 20-watt solar panel.
Northwood also offers several optional features, which are well worth considering.
As with all add-on features, it’s tempting to get excited and add on all the bells and whistles available. Most travelers don’t need this. While everyone can benefit from an extra add-on or two, the price can add up quicker than you think.
Consider what will be most helpful for your specific needs and buy accordingly. If you’re planning to spend a lot of your time off-grid, upgrading to the 100 or 170-watt solar system might be beneficial.
Scamp 5th Wheel Trailer
Scamp fifth wheel trailers are becoming increasingly popular. They feature a trendy vintage design with a curved body and frame.
The trailer body is crafted out of fiberglass, which increases its weight (and price) but also massively increases its durability and longevity.
Their 19’ deluxe 5th wheel camper is offered in two similar floor plans and a mile-long list of included or optional features, making this small 5th wheel totally customizable to your tastes and needs.
From here, our list is going to bump up in size a bit. When you’re looking at 5th wheels, you’ll find them generally longer than standalone trailers, so we’ll cover the full range of small 5th wheels.
This Palomino line offers five 5th wheel models, all with unique and innovative floor plans that include enclosed master suites, full-size dry bathrooms, and spacious, open living rooms and kitchens.
Palomino also boasts a rugged build for all their models, so despite the rather lavish interiors, you can take these units through some pretty serious terrain for boondocking.
Many of their layouts include bunk areas, making them ideal for large families or groups.
The Starcraft Telluride line of small 5th wheels features a refreshingly modern design. Finally, RV companies are giving options other than all brown.
These clean, white walls help open up the small space to feel light and airy.
You’ll also find that many features other makers offer as optional add-ons come standard with the Telluride models.
Things like a high-BTU RV air conditioner and a rearview camera might be essential for some travelers, and having those features built-in can save you some stress and money.
The Jayco Eagle, Jayco’s smallest 5th wheel camper, is touted as the ideal oasis for couple travelers.
You’ll see right off the bat that this layout was designed with that buyer in mind. This is limiting if you’re traveling with kids or groups, but if you and your partner plan to be doing most of your traveling just the two of you, this could be pretty perfect.
Rather than splitting level just before the bed, like most 5th wheels, this splits halfway along the length of the 5th wheel.
While this takes away some headspace in the bathroom, it makes the bedroom feel much homier and provides a ton of extra storage below. This also takes away some of the living space, but with just two travelers, that’s space you’d likely not miss.
This swanky small 5th wheel camper comes with a standard LED fireplace, outdoor kitchen, and hide-a-bed. While this is ideal for couples, it’s definitely got the sleeping capacity to comfortably fit more.
Forest River Arctic Wolf
Forest River excels at making affordable campers and trailers that don’t lack in features.
Looking through their Arctic Wolf model, you might forget their reputation as a budget-friendly maker.
The high ceilings – even including a ceiling fan! – and light, bright walls make this space feel large and luxurious.
A large fireplace and entertainment area, outdoor kitchen, and upscale design features make this the perfect entertaining rig.
Forest River has really started to outdo themselves, and this unit is a great example of how far their design has come and how thoughtful their team is.
You’ll be hard-pressed to find a convenience that wasn’t included or offered with this line.
Forest River Rockwood Ultra Light
If weight is any limiting factor for your set up, The Forest River Rockwood Ultra Light is an amazing option. They offer these small 5th wheel trailers in 11 layouts ranging in size, length, and function.
Despite being ultra-light, these campers are extremely spacious, boasting multiple, large bump-outs, high ceilings, and open layouts. Honestly, it’s hard to understand how they made these ultra light.
That mysteriously brilliant construction will cost you, so if weight isn’t a huge factor, you can save some money with the Arctic Wolf line, but if you’re worried about your tow capacity, this is a great solution.
So, what is a small 5th wheel trailer anyway?
So, what even is a 5th wheel trailer? If you’re counting 4 wheels and coming out confused, let me clear some things up.
A fifth wheel trailer does not have 5 wheels.
The name simply refers to a trailer with a raised front section that sits above a truck bed.
Rather than attaching via the standard tow hitch at the bumper, 5th wheel trailers attached to a specially-installed hitch inside the truck’s bed. That’s also known as a 5th wheel hitch. This brings us to the most massive hitch (pun intended) in most people’s travel trailer hunt.
In order to tow a 5th wheel camper, you need a truck. If you’ve got an SUV or another towing vehicle already, this might eliminate 5th wheel campers from your list of options. But, if you’re planning to purchase your tow vehicle along with your trailer, this could be a great option.
Maneuvering a 5h wheel camper is much easier than a standard travel trailer.
Because of the hitch location being moved closer to the front of your vehicle, maneuvering a 5th wheel camper is much easier and safer than a standard travel trailer.
If you’re looking at small 5th wheel trailers, you can expect them to drive even better.
An improved turn radius and better maneuverability can go a long way when you’re towing something like this. If you’re not particularly experienced with towing, small 5th wheel campers are a great way to get started.
Like all towable campers, small 5th wheel travel trailers can easily be unhitched and left stationary.
When compared to driving a motor vehicle, this offers you a ton of freedom once you’ve set up camp. You can simply leave your rig behind and go off on 4×4 adventures without the hindrance of a trailer.
The positives and negatives of a 5th wheel trailer
As with almost everything, the best and worst aspects of small 5th wheel trailers are totally subjective.
While one shopper might see a small space as cramped, another might see it as more maneuverable.
Always consider your personal priorities and plan accordingly.
If you’re comparing a small 5th wheel camper to a motorhome, you’ll find a pretty drastic price difference.
When you can unload the mechanics and heavy lifting to your tow vehicle, your camper is a relatively very simple construction.
Even if you’re additionally purchasing a truck, you’ll likely find the cost of a motorhome still exceeds the cost of a truck and a small 5th wheel trailer.
Use of space
Without the driving cabin taking up precious floor plan space, you’ll find small 5th wheel campers to feel surprisingly spacious. They often boast at least one pop-out, and can end up feeling like way more space for a whole lot less than in an RV.
Most people who travel via a motorhome tend to tow a more “drivable” vehicle. That means two drive trains and double the potential breakdowns.
RVs are also typically more expensive to have worked on than a car or truck, so this can end up costing you more than you might expect. Cutting down on the possible pitfalls is a great road to success.
Without the mechanics or fuel tanks, small 5th wheel trailers have a surprising amount of storage, as well as large water and waste tanks. If you want to spend any serious time off-grid, large tanks are the way to go.
Driving any type of large rig is a pretty anxiety-inducing situation, especially if that large rig is your home.
The placement of a 5th wheel hitch really improves drivability and provides awesome stability on the road.
Elements like wind, which has a huge effect on towed rigs, are not so much of a factor for 5th wheels.
If you’re at all uncomfortable with towing, that added stability could add on some much-needed peace of mind.
As mentioned above, the 5th wheel hitch changes the pivot point of your trailer.
By shifting this up toward the body of your truck, turning (and backing out on a turn) is much more manageable.
Backing up tends to be the absolute worst part of towing just about anything, so having something that greatly helps in that situation is a huge plus.
You cannot tow a 5th wheel trailer without a truck. This is pretty limiting for some people, and if you’re particularly opposed to trucks, this might not be an option.
On the other hand, if you’ve already got a truck with a high enough tow capacity, this is actually on the “pros” side of things.
Total rig length
This is another tricky factor. When compared to RVs, with a driving cabin built-in to the main section of your rig, 5th wheel trailers plus the tow truck tend to be a bit longer overall.
But, when compared to standard travel trailers, the opposite is true. This is due to the extended raised section above the truck bed, maximizing space.
For some travelers, the total rig length isn’t very important, but it will always affect things like driveability and maneuverability.
Most campsites have size ranges, so this could also determine where you’re staying and how much it costs you.
Lack of size options
You can buy a standard travel trailer in just about any length imaginable. 5th wheel travel trailers tend to be on the larger size, and finding smaller options may feel limited.
Yes, I know this was on the pros list. No, it’s not a typo. When compared to RVs, 5th wheel trailers win out in price hand over fist.
BUT, if you’re deciding between a standard towed trailer or a small 5th wheel camper, you’ll likely end up paying more for the 5th wheel.
Things to keep in mind before buying a small 5th wheel trailer
Even small 5th wheel trailers are basically tiny, towable apartments. Many feature full-size appliances, even washers and dryers, and tons of space to spread out. The front, raised sections feel almost like a split-level home, and can help divide the space in an efficient, smart way.
That being said, there are countless various layouts and floor plans for small 5th wheel trailers. It can quickly feel overwhelming.
Our best advice is to start at an RV show (without intent to buy!) and get a feel for what’s out there.
Camper manufacturers are constantly innovating and finding new and brilliant ways to maximize small spaces. Taking a walk through a range of sizes and layouts is the easiest way to get an idea of what you want. Take note of your favorite features and layouts.
Find elements that you want to incorporate and start prioritizing your needs.
How will you most often use the space? Where will you spend the most time? If you have a big family that loves movie nights, a large living area is essential. If you’re a solo or couple traveler with a passion for cooking, it might be better to prioritize a larger kitchen.
Many manufacturers offer flexible layouts and custom options. That means you can combine all your favorite elements and features into one, ideal floor plan.
Lots of first-time buyers make the critical error of falling in love with the first camper they look at. I’m not one to deny love at first sight, but the odds of finding your optimal rig on the first shot are…slim.
Do yourself a favor, and take some research trips.
Leave the checkbook in the car and look through with an analytical eye.
Taking the time upfront will reward you tenfold when you finally land on the rig that’s right for you.
If you find the right rig, check out our RV loan calculator to make sure you’re getting the right monthly payment.
Another great place to start is a rental. Once you have a general idea of what you want, rent out a similar unit for the weekend. Give it a true test drive, settle into the space and see if you feel cramped, or maybe you notice wasted space.
Maybe you realize a space-saving feature inhibits functionality.
Maybe you realize that you need something that was on the nice-to-have list.
Whatever it is, renting a unit for a weekend can help iron out some major kinks. And with a purchase this large, the added cost of the rental can save you some serious money in buyers remorse down the road.
Use the coupon code wayward40 to get any rental from Outdoorsy. Browse rentals below.
Conclusion on the best small 5th wheel trailers
If you’re looking for an easy-to-drive, spacious travel trailer to tow with your truck, a small 5th wheel trailer is an amazing option for you.
Whether you’re a solo, full-time nomad, a couple looking for an off-road oasis, or even a young family or group seeking some serious adventure, a small 5th wheel camper will get you there more than comfortably.
Hopefully our article has helped you determine if a 5th wheel is right for you, and where to start in your hunt for the perfect rig.
Let us know what else you’d like to know about small 5th wheel campers in the comments!
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Kristin Hanes is a journalist who founded The Wayward Home as a place to learn about alternative living. She currently lives on a sailboat and in a Chevy Astro van, and has written articles about alternative living published in Good Housekeeping, Business Insider, Marie Claire and SF Gate. Read more about Kristin here.