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Are Runaway Campers Really America’s Most Affordable Camper?

Runaway Campers are known as “America’s most affordable mini camper.” With four models under $10,000, could they really be the most affordable campers in the country? And does affordable mean cheaply made? No one wants to buy a camper just to have it fall apart the first weekend out. Let’s learn more about this company and if it lives up to its slogan.

What Are Runaway Campers? 

Essentially, Runaway Campers are boxes on wheels with an air conditioner. These simple teardrop trailers have no bathroom, kitchen, and very little storage. They offer several feet of enclosed space in which to sleep. These “no frills” Runaway Campers allow travelers to use the space as they see fit as well as keep prices down.

2021 Runaway Campers Rouser Overview

The four different models measure 11’ 4” in length. Three of the units only offer 42” to 46” of interior height, while the Rouser provides 5’ 6” to 5’ 10” of internal height. It’s the only unit that travelers can stand up in. The CoolCamp is the lightest model at 580 lbs, while the 6×8 Venturist is the heaviest at 1,050 lbs. All four models feature a 5,000 BTU air conditioner.

Where Are Runaway Campers Manufactured?

Stephen Shives and his father-in-law Robert Lane started Runaway Campers in 2012 in Summerfield, Fla. By 2018, the company had established a dealer network around the United States.

Today the company has six dealers located in Tennessee, Michigan, Arizona, Utah, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania. You can visit the sales center in Summerfield off Highway 441, just north of Orlando.

About Runaway Campers

You won’t get much for the price you pay, and that’s what Runaway Camper owners love. The empty space allows them to create a camper that fits them. If someone wants to put in a twin bed and a small dresser, you can turn it into a bedroom. If another person wants to put in a lounger and table, you can make it into an entertainment area.

A Runaway Camper is an excellent option if you’re on the hunt for a small camper.


The four models of Runaway Campers include the CoolCamp, RangeRunner, Venturist, and Rouser. The interior of each of these models is a blank canvas. They have no bed, drawers, or countertops. You can turn these models into whatever fits your needs. This is why Runaway Campers are essentially a box on wheels.


The CoolCamp is the smallest and lightest, with an overall length, height, and width of 11’4″ x 65″ x 66″ and a weight of 580 lbs. The RangeRunner has an overall length, height, and width of 11’4″ x 65″ x 94″ and weight of 765 lbs. The Rouser is the tallest unit with an overall length, height, and width of 11’4″ x 7’3″ x 94″ and 840 lbs.

Finally, the Venturist comes in two sizes, the 4×8 and 6×8 models. The 4×8 Venturist comes with the standard right-side door, while the 6×8 Venturist comes equipped with both left and right-side doors. The 4×8 unit weighs 850 lbs, and the 6×8 unit weighs 1,050 lbs. These Runaway Campers are lightweight enough for nearly any vehicle to tow them.

Pro Tip: Want to take your camper on an exciting adventure? Learn more about How to RV Across America: The Ultimate American Dream.

Runaway Camper parked in parking lot
The CoolCamp Runaway Camper model is small but mighty!


Each unit comes equipped with at least one 110V power strip and dual folding stabilizers. The frames feature fully welded steel frame construction, and the campers come with tinted safety glass windows. The RangeRunner has 15” white-spoke wheels and tires, while the CoolCamp and Rouser models have 13” ones. The off-roading Venturist models have Timbren one-ton axle-less suspensions with 4″ lifts, electric brakes, 17″ Method Race Wheels, and 33″ BFG all-terrain tires.

Inside, the units feature a shelf above the air conditioner and empty, open space. The RangeRunner has an additional third window in the rear of the unit, while the other three models only have two windows, one on each side. Owners can add numerous options, from a front cargo rack for $100 to a roof rack for $310 to an 11 lb propane tank and mount for $250. You can also get a 40” x 40” rear door for $350 for all models except the Rouser.

How Much Does a Runaway Camper Cost? 

The CoolCamp model starts at $5,550, followed by the RangeRunner at $7,145 and the Rouser at $8,620. The 4×8 Venturist starts at $9,050, and the 6×8 Venturist starts at $11,145. The Venturist models cost the most because of their off-roading features. Each model will also vary in final price due to upgrades or add-ons.

Pro Tip: Don’t overpay for a tiny camper! We uncovered How Much Is a Small Camper?

Which Runaway Camper Should I Buy?

Are Runaway Campers Really America’s Most Affordable Camper?

Compared to other teardrop trailers of the same size, the CoolCamp Runaway Camper is the cheapest at the starting prices of $5,550. One comparable brand, Peewee Campers, offers teardrop trailers from $6,895 for a 4’ x 6’ unit to $18,990 for a 6’ x 10’ unit. 

The Highway Deluxe made by Hiker Trailers is another comparable model measuring 5’ x 8’ and weighing 1,100 lbs. The base model starts at $5,995. Finally, Oregon Trail’R is another similar brand offering small trailers. The Do-Drop weighs about 550 lbs with overall dimensions of 120” x 66’ x 60” for $6,750.

What Vehicle Do You Need to Tow a Runaway Camper? 

You can tow a Runaway Camper with practically any vehicle that has a hitch. Because they are so lightweight, owners don’t have to worry about buying another vehicle. They can use what they already own, making Runaway Campers so popular. However, always check your owner’s manual to make sure you know your vehicle’s payload and towing capacity.

Truck towing the Venturist model
Take the scenic route with the Venturist model.

Are Runaway Campers Worth It?

Try out the versatile Venturist models with 20” of ground clearance if you want to camp in the desert sands of Arizona or explore the mountains of Nevada. Instead of backpacking and pitching a tent everywhere you go, you have a safe, enclosed, hard-sided space to sleep.

As long as you don’t mind owning an empty box on wheels, the other three Runaway Campers are also great mini campers. However, if you want an outside kitchen, rear hatch, storage space, or interior furniture, these campers won’t make the cut. You’ll receive a blank canvas to make it your own. You won’t get a fully outfitted teardrop trailer for these prices.

So are Runaway Campers worth it? That’s completely up to your travel needs and desires. But for the price, you can start exploring new areas and having adventures all over the country without breaking the bank.

Is a Runaway Camper in your future? Tell us in the comments!

Rouser camper model from Runaway Campers
With four blank slate models to choose from, Runaway Campers has something for everyone.

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About Tom and Caitlin Morton

Tom & Caitlin Morton of Mortons on the Move gave up the stationary life for one where they are constantly on the move. They are full-time travelers, television hosts, and digital media producers.
They left their jobs, sold their house and possessions, and hit the road in September 2015 in their full-time “home on wheels”. Since then they have traveled the US, Canada, and even internationally by RV.
Now, they are Discovery Channel & PBS TV Co-stars of “Go North” on Amazon Prime Video, co-founders and instructors of RV Masterclass, and contributing authors for and an Arizona travel guide.

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Laurie Cutshall

Tuesday 19th of July 2022

Getting ready to purchase the run away . We have a Roadtrek but needed the extra sleeping quarters .. interesting to see what vehicles other folks pull their camper with .. thank you for sharing . Your video was great

Tom Gerth

Wednesday 8th of June 2022

We absolutely love our Runaway camper.. it is the second one we have owned, a 6 x 8 Range Runner. Our first was the 4 x 8 ... we upgraded when we learned how much we liked the "hook up and go" ease of Runaway travelling. We have recently made the decision to take our Runaway and minivan combo on a cross country trip so we could take advantage of 22 mpg (really important right now!) and we are leaving our thirsty vintage Roadtrek at home.

The other part of Runaway that is awesome is "community." Runaway owners are typically like minded people... adventurists, often on budgets. We have met so many great people through rallies and the many social media groups. I have owned many types/brands of campers over the years, I have never felt such a sense of community with other brands/styles. (I've never owned a teardrop but understand the TearJerkers group may be simliar)

Mortons on the Move

Wednesday 22nd of June 2022

Glad to hear you love your Runaway Camper!