Smallest 5th wheel camper | 5 Examples
5th wheels, a kind of RV towed by a pickup truck via a specially designed hitch, are one of the most popular options for those who want to take their homes on the road. If you're interested in buying a 5th wheel and becoming part of this movement of nomadic living, it's important to know what they are and what differentiates them from other RVs.
What exactly is a 5th wheel?
As you probably already know, a 5th wheel is a towable RV. By far the most popular type of RV, nearly every major manufacturer builds at least one 5th wheel model.
If you’re new to RVs, this may make you wonder if there’s some sort of technical difference between motorhomes and 5th wheels. Actually, they’re just different terms for the same thing: a self-contained mobile home that can be towed behind an external vehicle.
The only real difference is in how the two are hitched up to their external tow vehicle. A motorhome is pulled by its hitch at the rear of the trailer or directly attached to its own engine. A 5th wheel is instead connected by a hitch mounted on or above the rear axle of a special truck. This style of hitch allows for more weight and size than other types do and was originally developed as a way to haul semi-trailers around railroad yards (hence “fifth wheel”).
Is a 5th wheel right for you?
Before we even started looking at 5th wheel campers, I got to wondering about the drawbacks. The biggest issue most people bring up involves parking space. If you can't park your camper in a small spot or on an RV lot, you'll have to find a place to park it temporarily while you're not in the RV. That might be fine if it's only a few days, but if it's longer than that, where will you store your camper unless you have someplace to put it?
The second concern that comes up is towability. With a travel trailer or larger fifth wheel, the beefier pulling power makes them easier to tow without having any trouble hooking up and unhooking from your trailer hitch. If you're just starting out with an RV or want something really easy and can't handle much pulling power, maybe because of its size, you'll want something smaller and lighter so as not to risk breaking down on the road.
Here are some of the smallest 5th wheel campers available on the market today
Escape Trailer 5.0
The Escape Trailer 5.0 is a luxury 5th wheel camper built by Escape in Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada. It’s also the smallest 5th wheel camper made by Escape. The 5.0 is available as both a travel trailer and a toy hauler.
The Escape Trailer 5.0 has 4 floor plans (or layouts). They are labeled:
- Escape Trailer 5.0 TA
- Escape Trailer 5.0 TA Toy Hauler
- Escape Trailer 5.0 SE Travel Trailers
- Escape Trailer 5.0 SE Toy Hauler
Scamp Lite 19′ Deluxe 5th Wheel Camper
Size: 19 Feet Deluxe
Now we’re talking. Scamp also makes a 3,000lbs dry weight 5th wheel camper that has a respectable 19 feet of living space in it to go with the 13 ft awning. You can fit this into your full size truck or SUV and get some decent interior living space for up to 4 people inside.
This one is perfect for two people who want to camp out for a few days with their dogs or children in tow. It has everything that you need including a kitchen area with microwave, refrigerator, 2-burner stove, sink and storage cabinet. There’s also an eating area with booth style seating as well as plenty of storage space both above and below each seat cushion.
The bathroom includes a shower, toilet and sink which will keep you comfortable on your trip without having to stop at dusty rest areas on the interstate or smelly gas station bathrooms too often while enjoying the open road.
Standard features of the 2024 year version
- Sink Cover
- Cabinet Over Sink
- Spare Tire and Cover
- Mounted Rear Jacks
- Room Darkening Blinds
- Rear Overhead Cabinets
- 2 Burner Propane Stove
- Prep for A/C
- Kitchen Sink
- 45 Amp Power Converter
- Outside GFI Outlet
- Door Step
- Electric Brakes
- 2” Receiver
- Grey Water Tank
- 12 Volt Water Pump
- Electric Tongue Jack
- LED Exterior Lights
- 12 Volt USB Station
- Tank Monitors
- Gas/Electric Water Heater
- 44” Rear Bed
- Choice of Oak or Birch
- Sink in Bathroom
- Battery Disconnect Switch
- City Water
- Dual 20lb Tanks and Gauge
- Volt Meter
- Silverware Drawer
- Group 27 Series Battery Pack
- Screen Door
Added Options available
- Solar Panel Kit
- Aluminum Wheel Upgrade
- Entrance Grab Bar
- Roof Fan
- Roof Air Conditioner
- Heatstrip for Air Conditioner
- Dry Flush Toilet
- Sani Potti
- On Demand Water Heater (Upgrade)
- Front “L” Shape Cabinet
- Furnace (16,000 BTU)
- Wireless Brake Control
- Backup Camera
- 12 ft Awning
- TV Antenna
- Microwave Oven
- Glass Stove Top (Upgrade)
- Conventional Oven (Upgrade)
- TV Cable Hookup
- TV Package
- Outdoor Shower
KZ RV Sportsmen 231RK
The KZ RV Sportsmen 231RK is the smallest fifth wheel camper on this list, measuring 23 feet and 1 inch in length with a GVWR of 7,400 pounds. The 231RK is constructed using KZ's patented Duratain™ finish and comes with a two-year manufacturer's warranty—all for a price that starts at just over $20,000.
This camper is built to last; it was designed with lightweight aluminum exterior and an interior that can handle rough treatment from kids or pets. The 231RK has a lot of great features like an awesome stereo system, deluxe touch lighting package and even an optional rear kitchen. It also comes standard with windows that open for cross ventilation, external speakers and electric stabilizer jacks.
However, there are some space compromises you will have to make if you decide to go smaller like this one: the bathroom is small compared to other models in its class (but still functional), there isn't much countertop space in the kitchenette area and you won't find any slideouts here either.
Winnebago Micro Minnie
Size: 19 feet 5 inches
With a queen-sized bed, a pull-out couch, and an overhead loft bed, the Micro Minnie sleeps 5. If you have kids but don’t want to deal with all their stuff in your camper, this sleeping arrangement may be perfect for you.
The walls are aluminum and the exterior is fiberglass. The average weight of the smallest fifth wheel camper is 7000 lbs., but this one clocks in at just under 5000 lbs., making it easier for gas mileage when you travel.
As compared to other small fifth wheels, the Micro Minnie gives you more space for less money. It also has a private bathroom with all the amenities that come with larger campers (a shower with hot water, toilet, sink).
Some people have reported problems with plumbing clogging up or backing up on multiple trips. Other than that, there doesn’t seem to be any other major downsides to this RV, it's affordable and functional.
Northwood Fox Mountain 235RLS
Interested in a smaller 5th wheel camper that still has the comfort and convenience of larger campers? The Northwood Fox Mountain 235RLS might be right up your alley. If you're curious about its specs, here's what you need to know:
- It has two slideouts.
- It sleeps four people, if you include the two who can bunk above the main living area.
- The floor length is 23' 6".
- It features a dry weight of 7,000 pounds. This means it's light enough to tow behind many smaller trucks with relative ease.
- Its overall length comes out at 27' 6". If you have a longer truck bed, this one may fit nicely in it without taking up too much room.
- Its maximum towing capacity is 12,000 pounds. Of course, it's important not to exceed the towing capacity of your own vehicle or truck when driving on busy highways and streets--and even more so when navigating sharp turns on mountain roads!
- Its exterior height tops out at 12' 5", while its interior height reaches 6' 10". These measurements are great for those who want plenty of space inside their camper but don't want something that requires individuals to duck or bend down repeatedly throughout the day when they're moving around inside (especially if they're taller than average).
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When it comes to 5th wheel campers, having one with a small length can be challenging. There are very few companies that make these smaller models, so you’ll have to spend some time searching in order to find the perfect one for your needs. For many people, having a large truck is not an option. Thankfully there are still ways to get the benefits of a 5th wheel camper without needing such a large tow vehicle!
In conclusion, fifth-wheel campers make excellent vehicles for travel and camping. If you have always dreamed of living on the road or in your RV but don't want to deal with big rigs like Class A motorcoaches then this might just be what you need.