Best Travel Trailers Under $10,000

It’s generally a good idea to have a budget in mind in many aspects along life’s journey.  One journey that many want to take is the road to camping in an RV.  Maybe you’re a first time RVer or in the market for a newer model but your cash flow prohibits that monster rig, well there’s still oodles of travel trailers to choose from.

Be it a new or used travel trailer, teardrop or pop-up, here are some options to consider that stay within the $10,000 budget.

New Travel Trailers

Most RV manufacturers understand that couples and families enjoy the idea of a recreational vehicle over a tent for convenience and often times camping in inclement weather. While it can be an expensive decision, and one that could require financing, the RV industry likes to keep the budget-conscious camper in mind.

The Forest River Rockwood Geo Pro makes several models. One of them, the G12RK, can keep you within your spending plan and get you out on the road for some fun times.  At a dry weight just over 1,100 pounds, you’ll be able to tow with almost any vehicle.

At the rear of the trailer, is an awesome exterior kitchen equipped with a 2-burner stove, refrigerator, sink, counter space and storage.  An outside grill fits on the side of the G12RK.  For singles or couples, this is your get up and go camper.

Keep in mind that most RV’s in this price range will not provide a slide but many do provide bunk beds such as the Gulf Stream Ameri-Lite Super Lite.  Gulf Stream has 7 floor plans, some with bunks, in lengths from 18 to 21 feet with a dry weight of 2,600 to 3,400 pounds.

The Gulf Stream provides interior features such as a 2-burner cooktop, microwave, shower, toilet and queen-size bed.  There are many more interior and exterior options, such as an electric awning, LED lighting, or an upgraded BTU furnace or air conditioner, that helps make one of these travel trailers your very own.

The Jayco Jay Flight SLX is another model worth checking out. Jayco’s have been recognized in the camping industry for 49 years and continue to make a good product from the lightweights on up.  The SLX offers 4 floor plans in this price range; some with bunks.

Jayco offers Goodyear radial tires on all their RVs and the SLX is no exception. You won’t miss out on things like a microwave, kitchen counter space and exterior storage with these Jayco SLX floor plans.

New Teardrops

TC Teardrops, a custom-built manufacturer of teardrops out of Wisconsin, has been in business since 2008.  They offer 4 floor plans between $5,500 and $7,600.

Their smallest model, the 4’ X 8’ has a dry weight of only 750 pounds.  The largest is the 5’ X 10’ model with a dry weight of 1,100 pounds. They are built to last and do offer several options such as a roof rack, tag-along tent attachment, an awning, a solar charger, an attachable screened room and much more.

Granted this may not be on your list if you are camping with children, but for the single or couple that want to get away from it all for long weekends, the Teardrop offers loads of adventure for camping in the great outdoors.

New Pop-Ups

Pop-ups, also known as folding campers, are an easy, reliable and affordable option to get you and your family out of the house and into nature.  Most pop-ups are lightweight enough to pull with the family SUV and storing is a breeze in your garage, carport or backyard.

Pop-ups are easy to tow and the additional gasoline used to pull these will be minimal.  The solid roof and waterproof sides offer full protection. You’ll have plenty of room to play a game or watch a movie on those days Mother Nature sends a shower your way.

Coachman, Jayco, Forest River, Livinlite and Sylvansport all offer a variety of floor plans in a price range of $7,000 to $10,000.  There are many options that can be added, even a pop-up style shower and toilet.

The Forest River Rockwood 1640ESP is 1,722 pounds of fun. It’s engineered to go off road when you hear the call of the wild.

Aside from sleeping space at both ends, a curved one-piece dinette and removable table is designed to become additional sleeping space in a flash.  Cabinet space, a 2-burner stove, sink and under the counter refrigerator finish off the kitchen. The outside comes with space for your grill.  In addition. the 2-burner stove can be taken outside.

The Coachman Clippers offer a unique design when you arrive at your campsite. The Clipper is all about e-a-s-y setup with its dual drive winch by Canimex that raises and lowers the roof in about 30 seconds when used with a cordless drill.  The scissor-style stabilizing jacks extend and retract to the Coachman’s patent pending “Glide-N-Lock cable supported bed system.

The Clipper has you covered to make your camping experience easy as pie so you have more time for fun and relaxation.

Big things really do come in small packages in the Jayco Jay Sport 12UD.  You’ll find a queen bed to one side and a full-sized bed at the other to accommodate the family. This floor plan has not only a bench style dinette, but a full U-shaped comfortable sofa to enjoy.  A removable table sits in front of the sofa that can be used as additional counter space or game table when needed.

The kitchen area is complete with a 2-cubic foot gas/electric refrigerator, sink and 2-burner cooktop that can be moved outside.

The A-liner Scout is a hard-sided folding camper that is affordable with a dry weight at 1,200 pounds and length of 13’ to 15’.  The Scout offers quality and comfort in a light, simple package.

With plenty of sleeping space, a dinette, useable kitchen area, hot water tank, air conditioning and heat, you’ll find pop-ups are just plain fun.  You also get to enjoy panoramic views from the never-ending windows, even when indoors.

Tips for purchasing a new travel trailer

 By the time you’ve thought about purchasing your first RV or perhaps upgrading the one you have, you most likely know how often you’ll be able to get out on the road.  Some folks can get away for a weekend here and there with the kids, while others plan for longer stays and more frequent camping excursions.  This can play a major role in deciding which travel trailer will best suit your needs.

You’ll also want to consider how many essentials to take with you depending upon your hobbies or children that need particular things.  This all blends into the type of travel trailer you’ll feel most comfortable with and one that completes the picture of your dream RV.

RV shows in your area can help in narrowing your search.  As you continue to patron these shows, you’ll learn more about the RV manufacturer, quality of the unit, what you can’t live without, and you’ll gain the expertise to make an informed decision.  Many shows have factory reps on site to answer all your questions and offer you an additional incentive discount.

In my experience, it’s never been a good idea to place a deposit to “hold” an RV you are not 100% sure of.  I’ve known people who placed a deposit with a dealer only to discover they’d changed their mind but still had to purchase another model from the same dealer or fight like crazy in an attempt to get their deposit returned.

Also, don’t be afraid to make an offer on a new RV.  Just like purchasing a car, many people wheel and deal.  You can also check a variety of dealers in your state to see how others have priced the same model you’ve chosen. Remember that additional amenities or options added to the camper will increase pricing.

Think USED—it can be a super option

After tent camping for 30 years, a used pop-up was my husband’s and my first recreational vehicle.  Not only did we feel like we were glamping, we were thrilled to be “movin’ on up” to an affordable way of camping that got us outside more and in the elements with ease.

Used RVs can be a good way of getting your feet wet, so to speak, if you are first time campers or sticking to a budget which is just a way of life for most everyone.

Knowing what you want

My husband and I googled so many floor plans and watched more YouTubes than I care to remember when we decided to upgrade to our retirement RV.  We feel it paid off in the long run by giving us a wealth of knowledge in what we truly wanted in an RV for amenities and quality.  We would then search for the particular model within our state to see if we could physically view the ones we wanted to see.

Checking into a used to slightly used RV provides you with tons of opportunity to get more bang for your buck.  You’ll find larger models that may end up being just a year to a few years old; some of which may still be under warranty.  Due to health issues, financial constraints or even death in the family, used RVs can show up quickly.

There are several RV classified websites online with offerings through dealers or individuals.  You can google RVs for sale or check, for example, rv.net/classifieds, rvtrader.com, RVzen.com or rvusa.com.

Vintage – the new rage

A very cool Vintage travel trailer can easily be yours within $10K.  These campers, already rebuilt and ready to find a happy camper home, may be originally from the 1959 to 1985 era, such as Shasta, Oasis, Serro Scotty or Gypsy.

You may also have the talents and interest to rebuild your very own Vintage camper.  There are many websites and YouTubes to help you along the way and finding one to rebuild can be a considerable way to save some dollars and end up with the best Vintage ever!

Fair market value and RV’s history

Once you’ve found that used RV of interest, be sure to check the fair market value.  NADA Guides for RVs and RV Daily allows you to enter the make, model and year on the used RV to get an idea of the fair market value.  You can check those values at nadaguides.com or rvdaily.com.

Just like a used car, there may be an RV that has been damaged, rebuilt, stolen or awaiting a manufacturer’s recall notice.  For a $25 fee, you can check the history report on rvchecks.com.  You will need the RV Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) in order to request a report.

After you’ve armed yourself with information on fair market values, check and recheck websites for asking prices on travel trailers you have an interest in.  Be prepared to make an offer either upon viewing the RV or prior to if the seller understands that you need to inspect the RV first.

Financing your dream

A quick reminder, check financing options, if that’s your plan. Most finance companies will not give loans on an RV that is older than 10 years.

Researching and gaining knowledge on your RV

In today’s world information is at your fingertips when searching the web.  There are several sites that advertise used travel trailers.  A few you may find helpful are rv.net/classifieds, rvtrader.com and rvusa.com.

After you have an idea of the perfect camper or two that suits your wants and needs, be sure to do some more googling to check satisfaction ratings on the particular model.  There are several forums online welcoming you to sign-in and ask away.  Check out iRV2.com, community.fmca.com or rv-dreams.activeboard.com.

Conclusion

Whether the new RV bug hits you hard, or you feel a piece of mind in purchasing used, do as much homework as you can.

As the Latin Proverb goes, “Let the buyer beware,” we must take it upon ourselves to research, inquire and learn as much as we can in order to be the financially savvy buyer who in the end is thrilled with their purchase.

Ample deals abound, new or used, and are there for the taking.  Enjoy the ride.

About the Author

Nancy Ferri

Nancy Ferri is recently retired. She and her husband are avid campers who plan to hit the road next year to enjoy some longer adventures throughout the U.S. They also enjoy kayaking, hiking and bicycling in the great outdoors.

Comments

  1. Your information very helpful. I don know how I found it. Anyway I just started looking and I a man leaning toward a little guy mini max 15′ that I can pull with a Jeep 2 Dr Wrangler. If that doesn’t work due to weight I’ll be looking for a van (road trek type) and pull the Jeep. I’m 74 and my wife has early dementia so this will be our last adventure. Peace

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