Have you been to an RV dealer lately? If so, then you know that affordable travel trailers under $40,000 are the unicorns of industry. I know, because I’ve been on the hunt for a budget-friendly camper myself. They’re hard to find, but a little research reveals that manufacturers are definitely making lower-priced, new towables. Here are five of our favorites to consider when RV shopping on a budget.
How to Find a More Affordable, New Bumper-Pull Trailer
RV dealers want to sell you the best RV you can afford. They don’t put a ton of effort into matching your existing tow vehicle to the right trailer. That part is on you. So if you want a camper your vehicle can pull safely, for many years to come, do you your homework before ever talking to a dealer.
If your local dealer doesn’t have the model you want, but says they can order it. stop!
Don’t settle for buying an RV sight unseen. You could be in for a major disappointment when your unit arrives. Be patient and know that your dream camper is out there. Here’s what to do.
Go home and widen your RV shopping search. Look for other dealers in order to experience that RV in person. Do a detailed search on websites like RV Trader to see where you can find the unit you think you want to buy. It might take some driving to see that particular model in person, but you’ll feel much more confident laying down the cash if you’ve actually laid down on the bed, stood in the shower, and sat inside for a while to get a feel for living in that camper.
Pros and Cons of Lower-Priced New Travel Trailers
Affordable travel trailers at the bottom end of the new RV price range can be awesome camping vehicles! Many people with large RVs wonder why anyone would consider camping in one of these tiny trailers. Believe it or not, they have to huge upsides to owning and campingin one.
The two biggest pros of affordable trailers
Most trailers that cost less than $40,000 are under 25-feet long. This means you can easily stay in off-the-beaten-path campsites that bigger, more expensive RVs cannot get to. For example, you’re much more likely to land that perfect national park campsite.
Smaller trailers also come with simple systems. From the brakes to the black tank, these systems are easier to maintain for RV owners. An added benefit is keeping RV maintenance costs down, too
But of course there are a few trade-offs of lower-priced travel trailers. I discovered these downsides during our search to switch from a large, four-season Arctic Fox fifth wheel to a lightweight camper.
Some downsides of lower-priced new campers
As the saying goes, you can’t have it all. There are some trade-offs to affordable travel trailers, but thankfully manufacturers are coming up with all sorts of work-arounds.
- Budget travel trailers are tiny, and not ideal for large families.
- Most ride on a single axle with low-end suspension and thin leaf springs.
- Most do not have ladders, which means you can’t access the roof very easily.
- Kitchen space usually consists of a two-burner stove, one small wash basin, and the smallest 3.2 cubit foot RV refrigerator models
- Many small trailers with bathrooms exist, but they don’t have a sink inside. In these models, the kitchen sink is also the bathroom sink.
- Slide-outs are rare, but manufacturers compensate with innovative features, like a drop-down Murphy bed that leaves lots of room for daytime living.
The biggest and most obvious is interior space. And the second is holding tank capacity. Both mean that you are more limited on how long you can stay at those awesome campsites, if you don’t have full-hookups. Smaller trailers are simply more suited to short-term camping trips.
Ready to Buy a More Affordable Travel Trailer Under $40,000?
Many RVers find workarounds to living inside these tiny houses on wheels, and they are completely happy doing it!
If you’re still considering making the move to a downsized RV, here are five of my favorite affordable travel trailers under $40,000. Remember, these are only MSRP prices for the base models, not including add-ons and customizations. The more equipment you add, the more expensive it gets.
Escape Travel Trailers: Escape 17b, MSRP: $34,720
Escape fiberglass travel trailers are the darlings of the small travel trailer marketplace. Made in Canada, the company is known for creating beautiful and affordable campers made out of fiberglass. The Escape 17b is one of their finest examples yet.
Manufactured without seams or slide-outs to pose a risk of water or rodent intrusion, fiberglass is one of the most durable and long-lived materials available. Fiberglass is a lightweight material yet great for hot and cold insulation too. These factors add up to a better resale value too.
Customize your Escape 17A in over 100 different ways. Choose features like switching to lithium ion batteries, adding a solar electric power system, putting in an awning, air conditioning, or even adding a composting toilet.
Winnebago Micro Minnie 1700BH, MSRP $37,182
This is a true starter camper for weekends and vacations. Winnebago’s Micro Minnie 1700BH is a downscaled version of the larger and more expensive Minnie (MSRP $52,139). But you can still enjoy many features that camping couples and solos need.
Like most small travel trailers under $40,000, this is a single axle camper. It’s built with fully enclosed holding tanks and 12-volt tank pad heaters, which means you can comfortably camp in it during the coldest time of year. During the hottest time, an optional 15,000 BTU air conditioner can keep you comfy, too.
This Micro Minnie does not have a slideout. But it has a spacious layout with a full bed, open galley with dinette that converts to a bed, and a rear bathroom. If you do have kids, there’s a kid-friendly bunkhouse with an exterior “Pack-N-Play” for all their gear, too! Other features include:
Starcraft Super Lite MAXX, MSRP $31,568
Here’s a company that knows a thing about RVing. The company has been making RVs since 1964, and has built a reputation for making high quality campers with affordable materials that last a lifetime. Now under the Jayco brand of campers, the Starcraft Super Lite MAXX is a great example of what they can do for budget-minded RVers.
Choose from five different Super LIte Maxx floor plans that range in price from the 16FBS starting at $33,668, to the 19MBH starting at $37,718. All models feature construction and amenities only found in larger campers, such as:
Starcraft campers can pack a lot of features inside because the bed is set into a slideout. Extend the slide, and you have the interior room of a much larger travel trailer.
Every Starcraft Super Lite Maxx model comes with a full bath and dinette or jacknife sofa. The smallest model (16FBS) is the only one without an interior refrigerator (but comes with an exterior version instead.
Palomino Revolve EV1: $39,163 MSRP
Palomino’s Revolve EV travel trailers line gives RVers one of the most off-grid friendly affordable trailers under $40,000. It comes in two different configurations: a bunkhouse model (shown in video below), or a couples version with a single couch/Murphy bed. It’s that couples version that squeaks by with an MSRP under $40,000.
This is one of the few small travel trailers that comes off the assembly line with a built-in, robust solar electric power system. The entire camper and its compoents are set up to run on solar electricity power. This is convenient, since it already comes with a 1,000W solar electric power system and a 400AH lithium battery (with the option to add a second one. Here’s what it also includes:
Weighing in at just under 5,000-pounds GVWR. Remember, GVWR means the maximum permissible weight, including cargo, fluids, optional equipment and accessories that can be safely supported by a combination of all axles. Your tow vehicle needs to be capable of towing this amount. The EV1 can hold up to 720-pounds of cargo, and comes with 1-3 year warranties on all materials, appliances, and exterior fiberglass walls.
Bullet Crossfire 2200BH, MSRP $35,010
The first time you stand inside a travel trailer with a Murphy bed like the Bullet Crossfire 2200BH, the large living area will catch you off-guard. I was stunned to see how much room drop-down bed models have inside! Murphy bed models are not for everyone, but if you’re like most RVers who only go on weekend and vacation trips, this could be a great option.
You can choose from at seven different Bullet Crossfire travel trailers under $40,000. We are spotlighting the 2200BH because it’s the middle-of-the-road price that leaves plenty of room to pay for other upgrades. Standard features include:
This is a nice, budget camper that features many amenities only found in larger travel trailers. Enjoy a full bathroom, standard size 40-gallon dual propane tanks, and a sleeping capacity of eight so you can take the entire family along.
All in all, you can still get a ton of awesome features in affordable travel trailers under $40,000, without going broke buying one. If you have any other budget travel trailer favorites we should know about, share them in the comments below.
Want more ideas for affordable, lightweight campers?
We have a ton of ideas for you. Start by checking out these 12 Best Small Trailers for Camping.