Micro campers are sweeping the nation and many people want to know what the fuss is all about. I am here to elaborate.
A micro camper is a small camper trailer that normally weighs less than 1000 pounds so that smaller vehicles can tow it. While there are several micro camper manufacturers, most of them are custom built either by consumers or small shops.
There is a lot to learn about these really low profile trailers, and I am really excited to discuss some of the coolest ones I have seen.
Micro Camper: The Answer to a Problem You Didn’t Know You Had
Many people really love camping but hate the fact that they have to sleep on the ground. The obvious solution to this problem is a trailer.
The problem is that many people don’t have the towing capacity for a large trailer, let alone the storage space.
The micro camper solves this problem. They can weigh anywhere between 400 and 1000 pounds meaning that almost any vehicle can tow one of these guys.
I even had a friend who installed a towing hitch on his mini cooper so that he could pull his micro camper! That is what makes these things super cool.
I drive a Hyundai Santa Fe, and my car could tow pretty much any trailer on this list.
There are so many different applications for a trailer like this. Really the main idea is to take your bed wherever you want with your current vehicle.
The Simplest Form of a Camper
The thing that makes micro campers special is their simplicity. These trailers are small on purpose, and they don’t take away too much from the normal camping experience.
Now, these trailers don’t have all the amenities that most camper trailers have. They aren’t going to have a toilet or shower, but they are going to have a bed, and that is the most important thing right?
Many micro campers have some really great design, while some of them are just a box on wheels. I’m not saying the boxes on wheels are bad, just different.
There is a lot of things here that can be really amazing in terms of design. There is so much utility packed into such a small space that these trailers quickly become the Swiss army knife of campers.
I love micro campers because of how simple they are. In the video above, pay attention to how much his campsite doesn’t just act as a parking spot for a massive camper.
Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with wanting a massive 40 foot RV. Some people want to have an apartment size living space while they are camping.
Personally, I love the outdoors, and all I really need a camper for is a place to sleep that is completely safe from the elements. Some tents do a really great job of that, but they require time to set up and take down. Micro trailers are super easy to set up, and you can take off in less than 15 minutes if you do it right.
I have never met a person that loves packing up their campsite. In my opinion, it is the worst part about going camping. Your tent is filled with debris from the awesome week of camping, your stuff is all spread out, and for some reason, your stuff never fits as easily in your car.
I don’t know about you, but I can never seem to get the tent back into the original bag. They always make those things way too small.
The micro trailer simplifies the packing up process in several ways:
- They are not a tent
- They act as extra storage
- They are light enough to move by hand onto your towing vehicle
Who are Micro Campers Made for?
The micro camper is not for everybody.
These campers are really simple, and only people that meet certain criteria should get one.
1. People that camp in two’s
If you have a family of 4, micro campers really aren’t the best thing. They are really small and can only sleep 2. Unless members of your family are okay with sleeping in a tent, then you can do whatever you want.
If you have people in tents, then the benefits of the micro camper are almost all lost.
2. Those that love camping, but also love their mattress
If you are like me and miss your mattress the entire time you are camping, then a micro camper might be your solution.
These campers can normally fit a queen size mattress in them, and that alone makes it worth it in my mind. I really love camping, I just hate not sleeping well. These campers are designed to give you the most important parts of home: your family, and your bed.
3. The Nomad
If you live a really simple lifestyle and rarely stay in the same place for long, then this is perfect.
Micro campers are really easy to stealth camp in if you need to park on the side of the road or if you show up to a friends house at 3:00 am and don’t want to wake them out of a need for a bed.
4. The budget-comfort camper
Comfort is so important, especially if you are using your vacation days to camp. Many people simply cannot afford a giant fifth wheel and a vehicle to tow it. A micro camper is a great compromise since you can probably tow it with your current vehicle. Even if you need to use it to store some extra tents for the kids, it really is a great investment.
Why Many People Build Their Own
A big portion of micro campers is built at home. There are plenty of really great examples of people that made something really special.
People tend to build these themselves because they are really simple to build. All it really takes is an old cargo trailer and some know-how.
Buying a manufactured micro camper can really thin your wallet. Building one can cost as little as 1000 bucks depending on how fancy you want your tiny house. Some people that have lots of experience with this sort of thing could engineer all sorts of interesting things into their campers.
I have seen micro trailers with showers, sinks, TV’s, and even a tent that can be set up on the roof. Your imagination and creativity is the limit for these little guys.
The basic materials and things to consider if you intend on building your own trailer:
- A small but solid frame
- A good deep cycle battery and lights
- A brake lighting kit
- Structural supports – 2×4’s or steel beams if you can weld
- Walls – Plywood with solid siding works great
- A really thorough plan
- Materials for your roof – Some people just put metal siding on the top and that’s fine
- A door – People use old RV doors for this.
Although it sounds simple, there is always more work involved with a project like this than you intended. Make sure you know what type of time commitment is involved with a project like this before embarking on that journey.
Many people build their own just because nobody makes exactly what they want, but I have found some really amazing campers that might suit your needs perfectly.
The Best Micro-campers on the market
The Timberleaf Pika
This trailer is one of the coolest trailers you can buy. They weigh only 1000 pounds, but they feature a full array of amenities.
Timberleaf makes classic teardrop trailers that are designed to have a classic look while being fully functional. I absolutely love the design of their trailers.
Here is a video with some of their customers talking about why they bought their Timberleaf, and their experience with it.
Hiker Trailer Highway
I love these trailers. If you are like me and want to build a trailer yourself but don’t have the time, this is the trailer for you. They send you a fully functioning trailer for as low as $3,000!
This type of teardrop caters heavily to the DIY type people out there who want to really customize their trailer.
This trailer fits some peoples needs perfectly, and there is no reason for anybody to think it’s cheap
I actually really like how simple this trailer is. It has just enough angles on it to not make it a box but isn’t anything fancy. The inside is roomy but small, and the shelves can be accessed from the inside and outside. These trailers have the same upgrades that any other teardrop offers.
This trailer is pretty lacking in the features department if you go with their bare-bones model, but if you want all the upgrades you have plenty of features. The thing I love about these mom and pop shops is how much customization and input you can have. If you have the money, I am sure they will do just about anything. Some basic upgrades for these trailers are solar charging kits, A/C, more storage, and a roof rack.
TAXA Cricket Camp
This trailer is designed to be lightweight and small while still being roomie. If you choose to have the added bunks installed, this trailer sleeps 4 people.
You cannot find another trailer in this weight class that sleeps 4 in a better way, and this trailer is designed so well that everybody will love it.
This is one of the most engineered trailers on the market. The person that designed it was an engineer for NASA, Garrett Finney. He quit, at NASA, and designed this masterpiece of a trailer. Now, understand that you are going to pay a very pretty penny for this trailer, but you get what you pay for.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and this trailer is no different. I personally find the very bare-bones space station look very appealing, but I am sure it turns a lot of people off.
I love it, and I think that this type of design is where the future of trailers is going to be.
Something I love about this trailer is the rear hatch. I love feeling like I am outside, and if it was a particularity nice evening I would love to open that up and enjoy the cool night air.
The entire trailer was designed with that in mind. Really feeling like you are there as opposed to being inside a tiny box.
Unfortunately, fitting two people in this tiny bed on wheels is not very practical. I can, however, see somebody that wants to tour the nation with their dog being perfectly happy with this set-up.
Truck drivers basically have this same exact thing inside their cabin, so this type of lifestyle is pretty common.
If you are someone who wants to go on extended road trips by yourself or with your favorite furry friend, then this is the perfect micro trailer for you.
These little trailers are pretty small but are built like little life pods. Although not hand-made, they are made from some great materials that will be exactly what some people are looking for. From my perspective, these little trailers are exactly what some people are looking for.
If I saw this trailer on the road, I would be intrigued. Many micro trailers are a complete eyesore, but this little guy sparks curiosity.
Because of its size and weight, there really is not much to be said about features. The biggest feature really is how lightweight this thing is at 600 pounds.
What Can Tow a Micro Camper?
Since micro trailers are pretty light, basically anything with a tow hitch can tow them.
Basically, every SUV can tow a micro camper, but the real question is “Should I tow this?”
Earlier I mentioned by buddies mini cooper that towed his micro camper. The truth is that he never towed it very far. He kept to places with relatively small elevation change, and never drove above 50.
He built his trailer himself and is definitely not trained or educated in the art of building trailers.
You could, in theory, put a tow hitch on just about anything. The only issue is that your engine and suspension might not be able to take it.
Basically, any car can tow something less than 500 pounds, so if you can keep it below that then you should be fine with whatever you have.
The 500-1000 range is a little tricky. I wouldn’t tow something that weighed that much with a car that has less than 6 cylinders as a general rule.