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Looking for an RV that can be pulled by a minivan? Many people with smaller tow vehicles or cars with a lower weight capacity struggle to find travel trailers that fit their overall weight limits and requirements so that their vehicle can operate safely.
However, with advancements in RV technology and materials, even the average minivan can tow a travel trailer with minimal difficulty, so long as you know what you are doing. But what should you know before purchasing an RV that can be pulled by a minivan, and what might some good options be for you?
In this article, we will address everything you should consider before purchasing an RV that you plan on towing with your minivan or smaller vehicle. We will also give you some advice as to how you can choose an RV that is lightweight enough to be pulled by the average minivan. Finally, we will give you a list of some of the best RV options available on the market currently.
Only interested in checking out our list of RVs that can be pulled by a minivan? Use our table of contents to navigate to that list now!
How to Choose an RV That Can Be Pulled By a Minivan
The main thing to consider when it comes to choosing an RV that can be pulled by a minivan is knowing how much your minivan can tow. All vehicles have guidelines for pulling trailers, and all vehicles have weight limits based on engine capacity and overall durability.
Keep in mind that every minivan has its own towing capacity and this number should be respected and followed, no matter what you plan on towing with it. You should never go above your towing capacity weight limit, as this can cause structural damage to your vehicle as well as put you in danger while on the road.
Depending on the specific make and model of the minivan that you own, the average minivan has a 3500-pound towing capacity at a maximum. This means that you need to find a travel trailer that is lower than this number, but keep in mind that this is sometimes easier said than done.
For example, you may find a travel trailer that weighs 3000 pounds dry, but this number does not take into account how much your RV will weigh once you have filled your water tanks, your propane tanks, and loaded your vehicle with supplies and luggage.
Many people don’t consider the fact that water and supplies weigh a decent amount. You need to anticipate bringing anywhere from 200 to 500 pounds on board your RV once you hit the road, just to be safe. Plus, your minivan will also have a weight limit in terms of its cargo-carrying capacity as well as the cargo-carrying capacity of your RV.
At the end of the day, you have a lot of numbers to crunch based on your own individual tow vehicle and the RV that you are interested in purchasing. You need to ensure that the gross vehicle weight rating of your RV is less than your minivan towing capacity so that you never tow more than your vehicle can handle!
We’ve talked about RV weight ratings before for a 30-foot camper that you can read more about by clicking here, or you can learn how to safely increase your RV’s tongue weight capacity by clicking here.
What Types of RVs Can Be Pulled By a Minivan?
If you’re brand-new to RVs, there are a number of different types to consider. However, the amount of RVs that can be pulled by a minivan decreases your options a bit, given the fact that most minivans can’t tow very much. However, you still have plenty of options to choose from, especially if you are looking for something fun and unique.
The most common type of RV that will be towed by a minivan is a standard travel trailer. You can find travel trailers in a variety of lengths and weights, likely finding something that suits your minivan’s towing capacity quite well. Travel trailers average anywhere from 6 to 7 feet wide, and they are the most popular type of RV sold around the world.
The next type of RV that can be pulled by a minivan is a pop-up or hybrid RV. These types of RVs have either tent walls or hard sides, depending on the option that you choose. Given the fact that these are collapsible, pop-up RVs are lightweight and easy to store. This may be intriguing for those of you who are worried about where to keep your RV when the camping season is done with.
You may also want to consider a teardrop travel trailer for your minivan. These are compact and extremely small travel trailers in an iconic teardrop shape. For the most part, teardrop travel trailers only have a sleeping area and lounging area inside of the protection of the RV, with the kitchen typically located on the rear of the rig. However, there are many different types of floor plans for these RVs, and you may find something that works better for you than you expect!
Keep in mind that you won’t be able to tow a fifth wheel with your minivan, as they require a very specific type of hitch. In addition, most fifth wheels are far too heavy to be towed by the average minivan, so I recommend leaving these out of your consideration entirely!
You may be able to find a toy hauler or another type of travel trailer that is lightweight enough to be pulled by your minivan, but this is likely to be a rare occurrence. I highly recommend sticking with a traditional travel trailer, especially if you are a first-time RV purchaser!
What to Consider in an RV That Can Be Pulled By a Minivan
Now that you have some idea as to how much your minivan can actually pull, what should you consider in an RV that is right for your towing capacity? Here are some helpful things to keep in mind as you shop, all within a safe weight limit for your minivan!
Length and Weight
If it wasn’t obvious already, the most important thing for you to consider in an RV that can be pulled by a minivan is its weight and overall length. The weight is the most important part of this process, as you need to ensure that you purchase an RV that isn’t too heavy for your tow vehicle. However, length is also important for a different reason.
When driving and towing something behind you, you need to ensure that your RV isn’t too long to control. There are many different tools you can use to help with this control, including sway bars on your hitch, but you should still never tow something that is too long or heavy for you your own comfort.
Thankfully, the weight capacity of your tow vehicle will also limit the overall length and weight of your RV. In fact, the average weight and length of most RVs that can be pulled by a minivan are roughly 3500 pounds or less, as well as 20 feet or less in length.
While this may mean that you can’t exactly bring along the entire family on your weekend camping adventure, you still have the option to tow something and enjoy a camping trip, so long as you don’t purchase an RV that is too heavy for your minivan!
Layout and Floor Plan
Even though your layouts and floor plans will be slightly more limited based on the size of the RV that you can safely tow, there are still plenty of options for you to choose from. You should definitely contemplate the type of layout that you want inside of your RV, and I highly recommend touring them in your local area whenever possible.
Do you want a bedroom with a king-size bed, or do you need multiple sleeping arrangements so that you and the kiddos can all be comfortable? Are you seeking a designated dry bathroom, or is a wet bath okay with you? How many amenities do you need in your kitchen, and what do you need in terms of storage solutions?
No matter what you are seeking, there’s definitely a layout or floor plan that works for you. It just might take some searching to find it, especially if you need something that suits a lower or towing capacity!
Just like your layout, choosing an RV with adequate storage solutions is also important. Depending on how often you plan on using your RV and what you plan on using it for, storage may become extremely important to you, especially if you plan on spending multiple days out on the road.
Most travel trailers have exterior storage compartments and plenty of storage inside, but the smaller the RV, the less storage there is. This isn’t to say that there isn’t storage on board a small and lightweight travel trailer, but you may not be able to bring along everything that you’ve always wanted.
This is especially true if you are looking for a toy hauler that is lightweight and compact. If you want to bring along your ATVs and other outdoor recreational toys, you may need a larger tow vehicle in order to accomplish this.
While it may not be something that you was considered as of yet, choosing an RV with luxurious amenities and special touches may be important to you. There are different tiers of RV purchases, based on amenities and features that are included in the initial purchase price. You can always customize your brand new RV with the features that you want, but most of these features are not included standard.
This means that you will need to pay special attention to the types of RVs on the market currently as well as what luxurious amenities they can offer you. Whether you are looking for on-demand hot water, solar panels, upgraded flooring, cabinets, or something else, you can likely find it. Just know that it will come at a price!
Similarly to luxurious amenities, are you seeking an RV that you can boondock in? Also known as dry camping or camping off-grid, boondocking is the act of utilizing your RVs onboard utilities rather than using traditional RV campground hookups.
A compact travel trailer is ideal for boondocking because it is small and easy to maneuver to locations that may or may not offer you traditional RV utilities. However, this does not mean that boondocking amenities are included in a standard RV purchase.
You may need to check in with the manufacturer of the RV that you are interested in purchasing to ensure that you can get boondocking amenities included. Some popular boondocking amenities include solar panels, larger holding tanks, extra batteries, raised chassis options, all-terrain tires, and more.
If you only plan on camping at campgrounds or RV parks, you likely don’t need boondocking amenities. In addition, many brand-new RVs include some of these features standard, but it isn’t a guarantee. Definitely look into it if it is something you are interested in!
Similar to choosing a layout or floor plan that works well for you, you should definitely keep in mind how many sleeping arrangements you need on board your RV. Many lightweight travel trailers won’t be able to sleep more than four to six people, which is still plenty when you consider just how much square footage there is inside one of these rigs!
However, if you want to travel with a large group of people and expect them all to sleep inside your travel trailer that can be pulled by a minivan, you may be disappointed. Choosing an RV with a decent amount of sleeping space is a good idea if you plan on camping with multiple people, but just make sure you are realistic about it.
The final thing for you to consider before purchasing an RV that can be pulled by a minivan is your overall budget. Finding a lightweight travel trailer that works well for you may be tricky, especially if you are on a budget. However, given the overall size of the rig you are looking at, your budget may not have to be very high overall.
When it comes to brand-new RV purchases, it’s important to be realistic about the amenities that you plan on using versus the ones that are advertised to you as popular. Many people end up purchasing RVs with all the bells and whistles, but they don’t end up using them.
You can definitely save a lot of money by just purchasing what you need and planning on adding additional amenities later. However, do your research and make sure that you don’t miss out on anything that you want in your RV from the get-go, as it’s always nice to have it included under your brand-new RV warranty!
7 RVs That Can Be Pulled By a Minivan
Ready to check out our curated list of some of the most lightweight RVs that can be pulled by a minivan? Here’s our list of favorites, sorted depending on what you are looking for!
Overall Winner: Jayco Jay Flight SLX
- Plenty of floor plans, all under 3500 lbs
- Bunk bed and family-friendly options
- Price point is budget friendly
- Not very much living room space
One of the most popular RV brand names has to be Jayco, and they offer a number of lightweight travel trailers. Their most lightweight option has to be the Jayco Jay Flight SLX, as it averages under 3500 pounds. This means that is perfect if you have a minivan with a low towing capacity. Let’s check out this rig in more detail now.
With 5 available floor plans, you should have a decent amount of selection with this Jayco travel trailer. There are options with bunk beds, ones with walk-around queen-size beds, and more. You can sleep up to 6 people in this compact travel trailer, depending on which floor plan you choose. If you want to camp with a number of people, this is definitely something to keep in mind.
Speaking of camping with a number of people, this RV only comes in lengths of 18 to 21 feet long. This means that there isn’t ample living space for a large group of people, but you should still have plenty of storage solutions and a spacious dining area. All available floor plans also have a designated dry bathroom on board, which means that it will have a more residential feel when you are inside.
One of the reasons why the Jayco Jay Flight SLX is our best overall choice is that it starts under $25k. This is a great price point for a number of consumers, from first-time RV purchasers to people who are looking to downsize. Plus, Jayco takes its time and adds custom furnishings, cabinetry, and more into each and every RV they make.
Jayco even offers its customers the option to add on packages that are fantastic for boondocking or off-grid camping. You can get solar panels and a digital controller, but not included in the standard purchase price. However, Jayco also offers outdoor kitchen options too in case you need more space to whip up a good meal!
For the price and quality as well as the overall weight limit of this particular travel trailer, this is a great option for those of you hoping to pull something with your minivan. However, always make sure that you are staying within your van’s towing capacity and weight limits! I also highly recommend reading our Jayco brand name review by clicking here, just to ensure that it is a brand that aligns well with you.
Most Popular: Forest River r-pod
- Floorplans and layouts are unique
- Lightweight and most options under 3500 lbs
- Special touches throughout, including fireplaces
- Some models too large for the average minivan
As a state park camp host, I frequently see people camping in their r-pods from Forest River. Besides Airstreams, they are one of the most popular RVs out there, and there’s a good reason why this is true. Not only are they lightweight, affordable, and unique, but they are easily towed by the average minivan or vehicle. Let’s check them out in more detail now.
There are nearly a dozen different floor plans for the Forest River r-pod, depending on your region. However, keep in mind that not all of these floor plans and lengths are under 3500 pounds. While it will always depend on the towing capacity of your specific minivan, you should stick to the smaller end of the r-pod layouts so that you don’t choose anything that is too large for your vehicle.
However, this means that you still have plenty of options to choose from, ranging from 17 to 25 feet in length. The best options for your weight capacity are likely anywhere from 17-22 feet, just to be safe. This still leaves you with an abundance of floor plans, all with Forest River’s special touches found throughout.
For example, there are tile backsplashes and hardwood cabinetry, and some living room floorplans even offer electric fireplaces inside. While the size of the r-pod is ideal for boondocking, you likely have to add solar panels that aren’t included in the standard purchase price. However, Forest River makes this incredibly easy for you to do, offering a solar package that even includes an inverter installation.
Not only is the r-pod uniquely shaped for aesthetic purposes, but it also helps you with your aerodynamic safety while on the road. This travel trailer is incredibly easy to tow given its teardrop style, and you’ll likely get better gas mileage while towing it!
Check out our complete review of the Forest River brand before deciding on what travel trailer works well for you. There are plenty of valid pros and cons to a Forest River RV purchase, so make sure you are informed before making a final decision!
Lightest Weight: nuCamp Tab S
- Under 2000 lbs dry
- Has everything you need inside, including wet bath
- Teardrop shape makes it easy to drive
- Won’t sleep more than 2 people
While it only sleeps 2 people, the nuCamp Tab S is a great choice for minivan owners. It offers all the bells and whistles you could want inside a compact, teardrop-style travel trailer, and it comes at a fair price. Let’s take a look at the lightest-weight option on our list now.
Just like the r-pod, the Tab S comes in a teardrop-style shape that is aerodynamic and easy to tow. However, unlike other teardrop travel trailers, the Tab S has its kitchen inside, away from the elements. This means that, while you have less interior living space, you won’t have to worry about prepping and cooking a meal outdoors if you don’t want to.
Speaking of interior living space, the Tab S offers you a convertible bed area that can either be a dinette, a double bed, or a unique twin bed and partial seating area set up. You also have a full kitchen with a refrigerator, two burner cooktop, and sink. Finally, you even have a designated wet bathroom area, with a portable cassette toilet included.
With less than 2,000 pounds as its dry weight and a compact 15-foot-long frame, the Tab S is incredibly easy to maneuver and drive. It should be easy to tow by just about any minivan, and its size also makes it a great choice for boondocking or camping off-grid.
Speaking of boondocking, nuCamp has already considered this teardrop travel trailer as a great option for boondocking or off-road travel. It comes equipped with solar panels as a standard feature, but you can opt for their boondocking package. This includes rugged tires and a uniquely pitched axle, making it easier for your rig to attack the road, no matter what condition it is in!
At the end of the day, this teardrop travel trailer is a great choice for couples or those of you seeking something incredibly lightweight and perfect for a quick weekend getaway. However, know that you can’t sleep more than two people inside of this RV, no matter how hard you try!
Boondocking Rig: Forest River No Boundaries
- Toy hauler options are lightweight and compact
- Unique amenities included in purchase price
- Boondock-ready and easy to drive
- Fairly high price point overall
While there aren’t very many available floor plans that are under 3500 pounds, the No Boundaries from Forest River still has a lot to offer. In fact, one of the available models has a ramp door and the capacity to bring along a four-wheeler inside. If you are looking for a compact and lightweight toy hauler, this could be one of the only options out there for you. Let’s take a look at it in more detail now.
With four available floor plans under 3500 pounds, the No Boundaries offers customers a variety of options. You have a couple of toy haulers to choose from as well as an extremely compact travel trailer perfect for lone travelers or couples. There’s even a floor plan with bunk beds in case you want to bring the kiddos or additional friends along with you.
For example, the option for couples is roughly 16 feet long, complete with a convertible dining area and a compact dry bathroom. You have a kitchen as well as plenty of storage to bring everything you want along with you, as the No Boundaries has exterior storage and rooftop rack storage systems available.
One of the best parts about the No Boundaries is the fact that you can choose from a variety of additional packages offered by Forest River. You can create the travel trailer of your dreams, depending on what you were looking for. There are boondocking packages as well as upgraded amenities offered. While they aren’t included in the initial purchase price, it is nice to have the opportunity to make this RV what you want.
Plus, with 2 toy hauler options in the works currently, this is a great choice for those of you that want the ability to bring along your ATVs or motorbikes. One unique floor plan offers you interior storage and a lofted rooftop tent so that you can sleep additional people above your RV as needed.
However, the price of the No Boundaries may be a bit expensive when you consider the size and included amenities. If you are seeking something more unique with plenty of storage options, this may be a good choice. Just make sure it has everything you need before you fall in love!
Budget-Friendly: Forest River Rockwood Geo Pro
- Plenty of floor plans, including toy hauler options
- Compact lengths all under 3500 lbs
- Loads of high-tech features, including boondocking options
- Additional amenities may be outside your budget
Another lightweight option from Forest River has to be the Rockwood Geo Pro. Available in even more floor plans than the No Boundaries, the Rockwood Geo Pro is ideal for those of you seeking something on a budget but without sacrificing amenities. Let’s check it out now!
With nearly 10 available floor plans all under 3,500 pounds, the Rockwood Geo Pro is a great choice for those of you who are hoping to tow it with a minivan. You have multiple styles of floor plans to choose from, some with bunk beds and even some toy hauler options. There are even extremely compact options with exterior kitchens, leaving room for only a bedroom inside.
Ranging in length from 12 feet to 21 feet long, the Rockwood Geo Pro is easy to tow and maintain. Just like the No Boundaries, Forest River offers many additional amenities and convenient features to consider, even if they aren’t included in the standard purchase price.
Depending on the floor plan you choose, you may be able to purchase an additional power package with your RV. This allows you to go off-grid for longer, even though solar panels are included on almost every model as a standard feature. You’ll receive additional batteries and helpful tools to help you manage your energy expenditures and more.
All floor plans except one have a bathroom on board, with a kitchen and bedroom also included. Some models offer slide-outs, but options have plenty of exterior storage and exterior storage solutions. You can even add roof racks and other storage racks such as kayaks or bicycle racks to your rig, but not included in the standard purchase price.
While adding additional features may increase your purchase price and make this red less budget-friendly than you were expecting, it’s a great choice for those of you hoping to pull an RV with your minivan. There are enough unique floor plans to choose from at a fair price that you shouldn’t feel as if you are sacrificing anything just because of your budget!
Family Favorite: Coachmen Viking Ultra-Lite
- Lots of floor plans to choose from
- Convenient bunk bed layouts for families
- Boondocking options available
- Interior design is a bit uninspired
The Coachmen Viking Ultra-Lite is another great choice if you are shopping for a brand-new RV on a budget. Not only is this option affordable, but it is also family-friendly. All of the available floor plans sleep multiple people, and you can even find some with bunk beds perfect for the whole family. Let’s check it out now!
While Coachmen advertises this particular travel trailer as 2500 pounds or lighter, there are some floor plans that are much larger than this. Make sure you pay attention when shopping so that you don’t fall in love with anything that you won’t be able to tow. However, there are plenty of lightweight options to choose from, with a number of different layouts.
The smallest available option for this particular travel trailer is roughly 17 feet long, making it spacious enough for the whole family. There are also multiple amenities to make your camping trips more convenient if you are traveling with a number of people, such as an outdoor shower and an outdoor kitchen. While you may need to pack lightly, there’s still plenty of room to sleep everyone who wants to come along.
If you want to take this particular travel trailer boondocking, you’re in luck. There are solar panel options as well as raised chassis options for you to choose from, but these aren’t included in the standard purchase price. Overall, this RV is affordable enough that most people can handle a few additions, especially when you consider the fact that this RV doesn’t have too many bells and whistles to begin with.
This isn’t to say that the Viking Ultra-Lite isn’t a great choice for those of you seeking a compact travel trailer that you can pull with your minivan. It’s durable and easy to clean, making it a great choice for families. However, the interior design and overall standard features may be lacking, prompting you to spend a bit more than the initial purchase price suggests.
Most Luxurious: Airstream Basecamp
- Incredibly unique and well-built
- Spacious interior that sleeps two people
- Fully loaded and ready to go
- Price point may be too high for the average consumer
If our last option from Coachmen wasn’t inspiring to you, then the Basecamp built by Airstream should be plenty inspiring. Starting at $46k, the Basecamp is not for everybody, but it has plenty of luxury and unique features to gauge your interest. Let’s check it out in more detail now!
At 16 feet long and a little over 2,500 pounds, the Basecamp is easily towed by the average minivan or vehicle. The eye-catching shape of it makes it an Airstream, a brand well-known for its aluminum rigs. The Basecamp is no exception, with stunning silver interior and exterior design as well as a large front window.
While you can only sleep two people inside this rig, there is a larger model that sleeps up to four people. If it works for your particular minivan and your towing capacity, you may want to consider the larger model. However, the option built for two has a stunning kitchen that spans the entire front of the rig, as well as a large rear dining and sleeping area.
If your minivan isn’t quite powerful enough to tow the larger Basecamp model, you should know that you can get an additional tent attachment for your RV, built specifically by Airstream. This will give you additional sleeping arrangements in case that is something you find lacking about the smallest Basecamp model.
There’s a large rear door on board this particular travel trailer, meaning you can easily load in your gear if you bring any on your camping trip. This includes bicycles and kayaks, the Basecamp can also come fully loaded with roof racks that also store these items. In addition, you can easily outfit your Basecamp with solar panels and other boondocking features, as this RV is incredibly easy to take along or wherever your journeys go.
The Sleek interior design also offers you plenty of storage and the rear dining or bedroom area can be converted in almost a dozen different ways. However, the price point on this option is indeed where you may have some trouble, as it is almost double the price of our best overall option, the Jayco Jay Flight SLX. Definitely, something to consider, but this is one of the most unique travel trailers on the market today!
Choosing an RV that can be pulled by a minivan is easier than you think. Once you know the weight capacities and limits involved with your particular van, it’s easy to find something that is lightweight, functional, and affordable.
Hopefully, our list was helpful, even if it just means that you’re inspired to find an RV that works well for you!