Sometimes big things come in small packages, including RVs. With tiny living growing in popularity, RV manufacturers have responded to the trend. It might surprise you what all they can pack into a small RV.
If you want to embrace tiny living and the RV lifestyle, read on! We’re sharing our thoughts on some of the best small RVs available and what you can expect.
What Is a Small RV?
A small RV is any recreational vehicle typically less than 25 ft long. You can get small driveable and towable RVs. We’ve seen an unprecedented increase in recent years of adventurers embracing tiny living in Class B and Class C motorhomes.
Additionally, more people want to be able to fit their RVs into more places, like length-limited national park campgrounds or street parking spots when exploring cities. Large rigs can restrict exploration in some cases, whereas small RVs are nimble and versatile. However, many believe that giving up on size means fewer amenities.
We’re here to tell you that living tiny doesn’t mean you can’t have an RV that provides all the basics. In our experience, many small RVs include everything you need to be self-contained while on the road. This typically means a restroom, kitchen, and sleeping space.
What’s the Smallest RV You Can Buy?
You can find some insanely tiny RVs, especially among travel trailers. Some travel trailers measure 13 ft long or less, especially if you look in the teardrop camper category. The Happier Camper HC1 is one of the tiniest out there at just 13ft long from hitch to rear bumper. It’s a fiberglass travel trailer with a shell 10ft long and a GVWR of 3,500 lbs, and the dry weight is only 1,100 lbs.
The smallest motorhomes available are Class B motorhomes or campervans. These vans typically measure between 18-24ft long and come on a standard van chassis used across multiple industries for cargo, passengers, and other utility vehicles.
However, living tiny doesn’t necessarily mean a tiny price tag. Some small RVs can cost more than a normal house. They come loaded with tons of terrific amenities and are built from some of the highest quality materials. In our experience, the smaller the RV the more creative manufacturers need to be with layout and materials. With this extra attention to detail, you can pay a pretty penny for them.
What Is the Most Reliable Small RV?
Winnebago has a reputation in the RV community for reliability and quality. The Winnebago Ekko and Revel are two of the most reliable small RVs. They sit on a chassis built by Ford and Mercedes-Benz, so you’ll get reliability from the ground up in these units.
Whether you want to criss-cross the country traveling full time or use your RV for shorter adventures, the Ekko and Revel can get the job done for many years and hundreds of thousands of miles.
6 Best Small RVs for Compact Camping, Living, and Travel
Winnebago isn’t the only reliable brand. You have many options for compact travel. We’ve found six of the best small RVs that prove you don’t have to sacrifice much just because you want a small RV. Let’s take a look.
1. Winnebago Ekko
About: In 2021 the Winnebago Ekko won awards for Class C of the year and best new model. It was also a finalist for RV of the year. You can see why it tops the list for many awards with its all-wheel drive, solar panels for off-grid capabilities, and an interior that makes it easy to forget you’re in a van.
The Ekko comes with everything you need to live and work comfortably. Whether you want to cook food, get work done, or catch some Z’s, you can do it all in the Ekko. It includes a wet bath with a swiveling cassette-style toilet and a pivoting wall to transform the lavatory into a shower.
With a powerful Ford 3.5L V6 and 10-speed automatic transmission, you can camp practically anywhere. Whether you prefer a campground, boondocking, or stealth camping, you can call the Ekko home.
We personally really like the wide body. The boxy exterior gives you an extra precious few inches inside that makes the space feel much larger than your standard Class B camper vans. Additionally, the large storage compartments in the rear of the coach reminds us of the European styling we’ve used and loved when RVing overseas. This is much more functional, in our opinion, than the ambulance doors used in the back of most other camper vans.
MSRP: The starting price for the Winnebago Ekko is $171,845. This price can vary quite a bit, depending on any optional upgrades you choose to add when selecting your unit.
2. Unity Leisure Van
About: The Unity by Leisure Travel Vans has six different floor plans to consider. You can find models with a walk-around island, a Murphy bed, or even two flexible living spaces. The folks at Leisure Travel Vans have tested their engineering and innovation skills to maximize the space for functionality and comfort.
The Unity provides several customizable options, including upholstery, cabinetry, and decor. It’s easy to customize your RV to your unique style and personality. However, you can also add a generator, solar panels, and a satellite dish to accommodate your camping style.
It has a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter base and a 3L V6 turbo diesel engine with 188 hp and 325 ft-lb of torque. You’ll have plenty of power to maneuver rough roads and obstacles while adventuring. The Unity will take you to some epic places in style and comfort.
MSRP: The starting price for Unity comes in at $150,615. Like other RVs, you have many options to get the most out of your rig. However, you could add tens of thousands to the final price depending on the upgrades you select.
Pro Tip: Interested in a Sprinter van, but unsure if it is worth the price? Discover Why Are Sprinter Camper Vans So Expensive?
3. Winnebago Revel
About: The 4×4 Revel sits on a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter chassis. The 3-liter turbo diesel and high clearance mean you have much more freedom when it comes to where you adventure in your RV. The LiFePO4 energy system, second alternator, and solar panels mean you’ll have power when camping off-grid.
Having a hydronic heating system means the inside climate of your RV will stay comfortable. Screen doors keep the bugs out of your van while you allow the breeze to blow in the fresh air.
The Revel is an off-grid powerhouse. It’s ideal for those who don’t stay put long and want the flexibility of camping outside of established campgrounds. Whether you camp overnight in a parking lot or set up on public lands for days at a time, the Revel can provide you with everything you could need in an RV.
While not a “true” off-road/overlanding vehicle, we really respect Winnebago creating this RV and pushing more towards 4×4 capabilities in Class B motorhomes. The Revel was groundbreaking in allowing people to adventure through moderate sand, mud, and snow right off the dealer floor.
MSRP: The Winnebago Revel starts at $202,401. However, optional upgrades can increase this price; base models have many luxury features.
4. Airstream Interstate 24GT
About: This Class B RV has maximum comfort in mind and comes with a century’s worth of experience from Airstream. With over 50 best-in-class features, the 24GT has the best in safety, performance, comfort, and efficiency. With space to seat seven and sleep two, you can even host a few friends or camping neighbors for a game night.
We tend to find that Airstream offer higher-quality builds, even in their motorhomes. The 24GT sits on a Mercedes-Benz chassis, the perfect partner for a high-quality company like Airstream. Both companies have high standards for safety and their finished products. Mercedes-Benz includes rear and side-view cameras, and Airstream adds air ride suspension for a smoother and comfortable ride.
We also like seeing Airstream’s continued push toward modern interior designs and amenties. You’ll feel right at home in the kitchen, bathroom, and sleeping space. This small luxury RV has Corian countertops and handcrafted cabinetry imported from Italy. Toss in a tankless water heater, a powerful and quiet climate control system, and an ultra-quiet generator, and you can live comfortably no matter where you park your RV.
MSRP: No Airstream is cheap, including the Interstate 24GT. Starting price for an Interstate 24GT is $222,572. However, you’ll get one top-of-the-line RV.
5. Coachmen Galleria
About: Coachmen makes some high-quality RVs, including the Class B Galleria. They have decades of experience making RVs and provide the best in quality, luxury, and value. Using the 3500 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, it has one of the cleanest running turbo-diesel engines available and still provides an impressive 325 ft-lb of torque without sacrificing fuel economy.
From the maple cabinetry that’s handmade by a local Amish cabinet maker to the custom trim, you’ll find pure luxury in this small RV. Coachmen helps you make the most of your space by including a desk or choice of seating and designing the jump seat to convert to a sleeping area.
MSRP: Depending on which layout you choose, the Galleria starts at $188,066 to $194,299.
Pro Tip: Ready to buy a new RV, but unsure how you’ll pay for it? This is How to Finance Your Camper With an RV Loan.
6. Thor Gemini AWD
About: Thor’s Gemini AWD uses the Ford Transit Chassis with a 3.5-liter V6 EcoBoost turbo gas engine. It has a beefy 310-hp and 400 ft-lb of torque. With this Ford, you get many of their outstanding safety features like lane departure warning, pre-collision assist, auto high-beam headlights, and rain-sensing windshield wipers.
The interior of the Gemini AWD has vinyl flooring, a ceiling ducted air conditioning system, and pressed laminate countertops. The RV has a kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom. With two 32” TVs in the unit, you can watch your favorite sports team or TV show from the comfort of your RV. While it may not suit off-roading, you can take this rig into some pretty epic places.
MSRP: The Thor Gemini AWD starts at $120,000 and is an excellent RV for anyone looking for a high-quality Class B+ motorhome.
What Is the Smallest RV That Has a Bathroom?
The Airstream Interstate 19 comes in at 19 feet long and slightly longer than a standard SUV. It has a bathroom loaded with luxury for road trips or traveling the country full-time.
Whether you plan to head to a local campground or boondock in the desert, you’ll love the adventure in Airstream’s Interstate 19.
There are also several teardrop campers with bathrooms that will surprise you. The Aliner Grand Ascape ST is one of the shortest-length teardrop campers with a bathroom at just 14′ long. The Scamp Deluxe is a travel trailer that is just 13 ft long and has a toilet and shower. This is the smallest RV on the market that we could find with a bathroom.
What Is the Best Small RV for Full Time Living?
The best small RV for full time living is one that has all the features and amenities that support that lifestyle. After living full-time in an RV for over 7 years, we definitely have our own preferences for what needs to be in a full-time RV. Having a dry bathroom, shower, and full kitchen are important essential features we recommend having for getting clean and cooking at home long-term. Cargo-carrying capacity and quality features like dual-pane windows and 4-season packages can make your full-time travels more comfortable. In small campers, these criteria can limit the field quite a bit and help narrow in on models that might be most suitable.
However, everyone is going to have their own preferences, and we know people who have traveled full-time for years in small RVs with wet baths or without showers on board. Finding the best full-time RV for you takes a little time and research.
Is a Small RV Worth It?
You don’t need a massive RV to make epic camping memories. A small RV can allow you to see the country, especially if you want to travel quickly. Because of the small and agile size, you’ll have fewer issues finding a place to park for the night.
These small RVs don’t skimp on luxury accessories and amenities. If you don’t mind the smaller space and can afford them, consider these great options.
Would you consider traveling in a small RV? Drop a comment below!
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