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Key Takeaways

  • 18-foot travel trailers are easy to tow and cost less than larger RVs.
  • Families of up to four will be very comfortable in a small travel trailer.
  • Used trailers can be just as good as new ones and cost less, too!
  • The Oliver Legacy Elite is one of the most reliable picks on this list.
  • Jayco's Jay Flight SLX has some uncharacteristic quality issues.

In the market for a new small travel trailer? Here are our picks for the best 18-foot models out there, with everything from bunk beds to LED lights!

Our favorite 18-foot travel trailers are:

  • Oliver Legacy Elite
  • Bigfoot 2500 Series
  • Lance 1985
  • Escape 17A
  • Jayco Jay Flight SLX
  • Safari Condo Alto
  • The Airstream Caravel and Bambi (Under 18 feet)

The travel trailer and RV markets are bursting with choices. So many choices; in fact, navigating all of the options can be daunting. We have years of collective experience traveling and dealing with RVs. We hope our expertise combined with the hard facts of each product, can help you meet your needs perfectly.



Awesome 18-Foot Travel Trailers

For those looking to hit the road in style, an 18-foot trailer is a great option!

These versatile adventure vehicles offer advantages for both experienced RVers and rookies in the space alike.

They're more budget-friendly, highly maneuverable, comfortable, and more accessible when it comes to a tow vehicle when compared to hulking fifth-wheels.

So why not give this travel trend a try?

How Do I Pick an 18-Foot Travel Trailer?

The key is to find the perfect balance in small trailers between your needs, budget, and lifestyle.

  1. Size and Floor Plan: Each trailer model is going to come in several different floor plan configurations. Think about how many people you travel with, how much storage space you'll need, and whether you want a separate sleeping area. Picture the day-to-day living in the space to see if it feels right. Note that fitting a family bigger than 3 will be a struggle with only 18 feet in length.
  2. Weight/GVWR and towing capacity: Make sure your vehicle is capable of towing the trailer you're considering. Look up the weight of the trailer and compare it to the towing capacity of your vehicle by comparing specs. Putting too much strain on your vehicle is a safety risk and will damage your vehicle or the trailer itself.
  3. Features and Options Packages: Consider the amenities that are important to you. Do you need a full kitchen, a bathroom with a shower, aka a wet bath, or air conditioning? What about entertainment systems? Make a list of the must-haves and nice-to-haves to serve as a guide while you shop around.
  4. Price: This is the most obvious. 18-foot small travel trailers are available at different price points, so decide how much you're willing to spend and what features you could compromise on.

Oliver Legacy Elite (Full Wet Bath)

Oliver Legacy Elite
Oliver Legacy Elite

Olivers are great because of their huge array of options for a small trailer!

Out of the box, they provide a wealth of features to make your camping experience as enjoyable and convenient as possible.

At the higher end of the market, luxury is guaranteed.


  • GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating): 5,000 lbs
  • Dry Weight: 3,700 lbs
  • Length: 18 feet 5 inches
  • Width: 6 feet 6 inches
  • Sleeps 3 according to the manufacturer
  • Seats 6

Available Options and Our Favorite Features

  • Full-height closet with built-in lighting
  • Custom-made kitchen storage
  • Low-profile porcelain toilet
  • Central heating
  • Great standard entertainment system: 24-inch TV, four mounted speakers, exterior coax for cable or satellite
  • Comfortable sleeping space with a queen size bed

Who Should Buy the Legacy Elite?

Customers looking for a high-quality 18-foot travel trailer that has all of the best features on the standard model will love Olver's Legacy Elite.

Costing around $55,000, this is for people with the budget for a one-purchase luxury trailer.

The Legacy Elite does well in the used market, too!

Those looking for a high-quality used travel trailer should look at available Olivers in their area.

What Makes This Travel Trailer Special?

Despite the generous standard package, Oliver offers a real trailer load of options and upgrades.

The Solar Pro Package offers off-grid capabilities with minimal effort or expertise required.

Throw in the 4G cell booster, and you'll be able to chill off the beaten path with ease compared to an average travel trailer.

Compared to some other entries on this list, there are very few negative reviews with regard to construction quality and reliability.

What Are Current Owners Saying?

  • Great for singles or couples
  • A little tight for larger people
  • Impressive durability
  • RVers are split on if the price is worth it or not
  • Comparable to Airstream travel trailers
  • Love the wet bath and counter space

Bigfoot 2500 Series - B17FB Floor Plan (Tons of Storage Space)

Bigfoot 2500 Series
Bigfoot 2500 Series

Bigfoot advertises its travel trailers as all-season, year-round options. For such a small space

The B17FB floorplan of their popular 2500 series is a spacious 18-foot(ish) choice for small families on the road.


  • GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating): 4,300 lbs
  • Dry Weight: 3,360 lbs
  • Length: 17 feet five inches
  • Width: 8 feet
  • Sleeps 2-3

Available Options and Our Favorite Features

  • Versatile day/night shades
  • 4 interior design schemes to choose from
  • Stainless steel stove and oven
  • Fluorescent galley lighting
  • Theater seating is available in larger floor plans
  • Pre-wired for solar power system
  • Reflective thermal windows

Who Should Buy the Bigfoot 2500 B17FB?

The B17FB is perfect for families of two or three who need plenty of features and space in a smaller trailer.

Bigfoot has made great use of the small space, giving it a much wider feel.

What Makes This Travel Trailer Special?

The design of the Bigfoot 2500 series is what sets it apart - it looks great both inside and out.

Boasting four stylish design schemes and high-quality materials in all standard packages, the Bigfoot trailer is built for comfort and convenience.

We can't get over how big it feels on the inside, despite being on the smaller end when it comes to the RV market.

Bigfoot customers are some of the most vocal and positive groups among RV owners. We take that as a very good sign!

What Are Current Owners Saying?

  • Larger than expected interior space
  • High-quality interior finishes
  • Well-thought-out floor plan
  • Good value for money
  • Fantastic customer service
  • Favorite kitchen among similar brands and models

Lance 1985 Travel Trailer

Lance 1985 Travel Trailer
Lance 1985 Travel Trailer

Offering a generous, airy interior within its lightweight frame of under five thousand pounds, the 1985 is a viable towing option for SUVs or smaller pickups.

This model nails all of the industry standards on paper without innovating much, but that can make it an incredibly smart buy.


  • GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating): 7,000 lbs
  • Dry Weight: 4,695 lbs
  • Length: 18 feet 9 inches
  • Width: 8 feet
  • Sleeps up to 4 people, according to the manufacturer

Available Options and Our Favorite Features

  • LED-lit medicine cabinet
  • Three available interior color palettes
  • Two 190W solar panels
  • Truma AquaGo tankless water heater system
  • Solid surface kitchen countertop space
  • Backup safety camera
  • Full-width aft bathroom
  • Huge galley sink

Who Should Buy the Lance 1985?

People looking for a versatile package in a medium-small trailer will find that the Lance 1985 meets most, if not all, of their needs.

What Makes This Travel Trailer Special?

Lance understands the value of family, adventure, safety, and quality in its products.

Through superior craftsmanship and design excellence, their goods are designed to provide customers with an unforgettable experience that keeps them coming back for more!

Having won numerous industry awards for their RVs, they're a company you can trust.

What Are Current Owners Saying?

  • Best interior craftsmanship by far compared to other owned travel trailers
  • Solid construction
  • Doesn't feel cheap
  • Owned for almost 10 years, very few repairs have been needed so far
  • Prefer Airstream
  • Inconsistent quality
  • Better for weekend trips than long journeys

Escape 17A

Escape 17A
Escape 17A

Adventure awaits with Escape 17A, the perfect trailer for younger, smaller families and adventurers of all kinds!

With its lightweight design, you'll get to experience outdoor escapades without sacrificing comfort.


  • GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating): 4,000 lbs
  • Dry Weight: 2,290 lbs
  • Length: 17 feet 8 inches (18' 2" with spare tire)
  • Width: 6 feet 8 inches
  • Sleeps up to 4 people, according to the manufacturer

Available Options and Our Favorite Features

  • Custom real wood interior
  • 3-way fridge (3 cu ft)
  • Manual exterior awning
  • Optional built-in microwave
  • Digital thermostat and AC
  • Extra insulation (spray foam)
  • U-shaped dinette option vs. bench seating

Who Should Buy the Escape 17A?

The manufacturer calls this a perfect "starter trailer," and we're inclined to agree.

Falling on the lower end of nice, lightweight travel trailers, about $30,000, it's more accessible than other brands.

You won't need a massive dually truck to tow the 17A.

What Makes This Travel Trailer Special?

The Escape 17A stands out from other lightweight travel trailers in its category thanks to its lightweight design and affordability.

Additionally, it offers plenty of amenities that make it feel like home.

What Are Current Owners Saying?

  • Less durable than pricier brands
  • Great appliances
  • Easy to get support and repairs when necessary
  • Won't buy any other kind of trailer
  • Occasional construction issues
  • Worth the price

Jayco Jay Flight SLX - 154BH Floor Plan

Jayco Jay Flight SLX
Jayco Jay Flight SLX

Would it be an RV list without an option from Jayco?

With the SLX, hitting the open road is a breeze.

This dependable model offers superb maneuverability and tow-ready power in its compact size, plus ample privacy and UV protection through darkly tinted windows.


  • GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating): 3,600 lbs
  • Dry Weight: 2,810 lbs
  • Length: 18 feet
  • Width: 7 feet 1 inch
  • Sleeps up to 4

Available Options and Our Favorite Features

  • Powerful furnace (18,000 BTUs)
  • Seamless, one-piece roof
  • Prepped for rooftop solar power
  • Solid hardwood cabinetry
  • Residential-style galley fixtures/countertops
  • Roof-mounted air conditioner
  • Skylight in the bathroom
  • Impressive exterior appearance
  • Optional 7 cu ft refrigerator
  • Affordable for Jayco products

Who Should Buy the Jayco Jay Flight SLX 154BH?

Starting at $29,000, the SLX is great for families on a budget but still looking for that renowned Jayco quality.

For those just beginning an RV journey, this smaller and more manageable option offers plenty of space for up to four people.

What Makes This Travel Trailer Special?

The Jayco Jay Flight SLX is special because of its signature Jayco design.

It offers great features all in one small, light package.

What Are Current Owners Saying?

  • Too much maintenance
  • Perfect for a couple
  • Irritating safety recalls on certain year models
  • Easy to tow
  • Unreliable customer service
  • Not as good as larger Jayco RVs
  • Impressed with the floorplans

Unfortunately, opinions on the Jay Flight SLX are very mixed, but it is updated every year.

The 2023 iteration might have cleared up some of the issues.

We don't have any first-hand experience with the SLX, but other Jayco RVs have been absolutely stellar.

Safari Condo Alto - R1723

Safari Condo Alto - R1723
Safari Condo Alto - R1723

The Alto RV travel trailers combine sleek design with low weight and durability.

With extra smooth aerodynamics designed for smaller cars than almost any comparable product, these stunning lightweight travel trailers are perfect for all kinds of adventurers - not to mention those looking for a spacious interior packed with larger windows!


  • GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating): Around 2,900 lbs
  • Dry Weight: 1,864 lbs
  • Length: 17 feet 3 inches
  • Width: approximately 7 feet
  • Sleeps up to 3 people

Available Options and Our Favorite Features

  • King-size bed
  • Convertible dining area turns into an extra single bed
  • Dividable dining area
  • Wide selection of interior finishes and fabrics
  • 2-year warranty
  • Stable and easy to tow around
  • Tons of windows for natural light
  • Retractable pop-up roof
  • Starts under $40,000 USD

What Makes This Travel Trailer Special?

We can't overstate the amount of beautiful, natural light you get from the Alto's many windows.

Plus, the design is unique and modern - you won't find any other travel trailer quite like this one.

It's easy to tow, easy to live in, and easy to maintain.

Who Should Buy the Safari Condo Alto R1723?

The Alto is great for people looking for simplicity.

With a straightforward design, just enough bells and whistles, and a functional, well-lit interior, this RV doesn't have any extraneous features yet doesn't sacrifice comfort.

What Are Current Owners Saying?

  • Never towed anything so effortlessly
  • Super comfortable
  • Very easy setup
  • Water-tight, never had a single leak, even in a hurricane
  • Nice, high ceiling while camped
  • The optional awning isn't worth it

Are Small Travel Trailers Worth It?

Yes, small travel trailers are worth it if you are single, a couple, or a family with 1-2 children.

Their size and weight make them much easier to tow, and the smaller space is more than enough for most people.

Anything over four people will feel pretty cramped; even four is pushing it for most models.

If you need more space, we don't recommend trying to make it work with a small travel trailer.

To accommodate larger families in an RV, you're going to have to bite the bullet and get something larger, like a fifth-wheel, and all the towing requirements that come with it.

Don't worry about sacrificing comfort or luxury with a small travel trailer, though. There are options every bit as luxurious as the most decked-out RVs.

As an added bonus, smaller trailers naturally come with smaller prices compared to their larger counterparts from the same makers.

What is the Most Popular Travel Trailer Length?

This is hard to answer. The right length varies too much from person to person, depending on their needs.

There are trailers ranging from 12 feet to an incredible 35 feet long. In general, you'll see trailers between 20 and 30 feet long in the United States.

This range of lengths offers a nice balance between towability, features, and space.

If your RV gets longer than 30 feet, you start to risk campgrounds being unable to accommodate your vehicle.

Are Old Travel Trailers Worth Buying?

Absolutely! Just like used cars, old lightweight travel trailers can be a better deal than new ones.

Often, you're not sacrificing anything when you opt for older small camping trailers.

Brand names like Airstream, Jayco, and Coleman often stand the test of time, so you can trust their craftsmanship.

Still, it's a good idea to inspect the RV and check for any signs of wear and tear or damage.

It's also worth looking into the RV's history and any records of maintenance, repairs, or accidents that may have occurred, just like a car.

Keep in mind that even new RVs have issues crop up; your old travel trailer needing some work isn't always a red flag!

What Is the Average Lifespan of a Travel Trailer?

A well-maintained, quality travel trailer should last a minimum of ten years, all the way up to 25 years and beyond.

If you don't properly care for your small trailers, you can expect a much shorter lifespan.

Regardless of age, there are some important maintenance steps to take each year:

  1. Check the roof and seal any gaps
  2. Inspect the exterior for damage
  3. Check all electrical connections
  4. Change out fluids
  5. Clean and wax the finish
  6. Replace filters and lubricate parts

These steps can help extend the life of your trailer as well as keep it in good condition for years to come.

Don't overlook safe driving! Un-crashed lightweight travel trailers last way longer than ones that have been knocked around.

Some Options Under 18 Feet Worth Considering

These two travel trailers are under 18 feet, but their design and quality might convince you to go even smaller.

Oftentimes it’s quality of quantity when it comes to living space in small trailers.

Airstream Caravel

Airstream Caravel
Airstream Caravel

Airstream trailers are nothing short of iconic in the world of small campers and hulking RVs.

The Caravel offers all of the stunning style and quality we expect from Airstream but condensed into a tiny package.

This line is lightweight enough to tow with standard full-size SUVs.


  • GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating): 4,300 lbs
  • Dry Weight (UBW): 3,500 lbs
  • Length: 16 feet 5 inches
  • Width: 8 feet
  • Sleeps up to 4
  • Pricing starts at $74,000

What Are Current Owners Saying?

  • It's a mobile upscale hotel room
  • Great for cooking, the most comfortable kitchen in a trailer this small
  • On-demand hot water heater is a game changer
  • Slightly small cargo capacity
  • Incredible construction and quality
  • The gorgeous panoramic windows make the interior bright during the day

Airstream Bambi - 16RB

Airstream Bambi - 16RB
Airstream Bambi - 16RB

The Airstream Bambi 16RB floorplan packs all you need for a luxurious yet practical experience into its compact design—from snug living space to cozy amenities like heaters and air conditioners!

They managed to fit in a wet bath, too.


  • GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating): 3,500 lbs
  • Dry Weight (UBW): 3,000 lbs
  • Length: 16 feet 1 inch
  • Width: 8 feet
  • Sleeps up to 4
  • Pricing starts at $59,300

What Are Current Owners Saying?

  • Amazing trailer for couples
  • Feels like being at home with full hookups
  • High resale value
  • More durable than we expected
  • Recommended for anyone with the right budget
  • We get compliments on it everywhere we go
  • Pre-owned Airstream is as good as new
  • Our small kids love it
  • Made us lifelong, loyal customers

What Makes These Two Travel Trailer Special?

Airstream's iconic designs and proven track record are American mainstays.

The Caravel is based on an older line of trailers that they've revived with a full modern rework.

This trailer has a refined aesthetic designed to suit more sophisticated tastes.

The Bambi and Caravel both come in different sizes: 16, 19, 20, or 22 feet.

Two trendy interiors of crisp lines and residential fixtures provide an elegant backdrop that can be easily personalized to reflect your own one-of-a-kind style for your home on wheels.

What Cars Can Be a Tow Vehicle for a Small Travel Trailer or Camper?

Any car with a sufficient tow rating can pull a travel trailer.

For general reference, full-size SUVs like a Ford Expedition base model have towing capacities of up to around 6,000 lbs.

That's enough power to tow every trailer on this list, with the exception of the Bigfoot.

Consult your car's manual for the towing capacity of your exact make, model, and year before trying to tow anything.

Make sure you compare towing capacity with the gross vehicle weight rating, not the dry weight unless you plan on towing it completely empty 100% of the time.

For example, a 4WD Ford F-250 can tow up to 13,000 lbs if it has the right engine and transmission combinations.

Which Subaru Can Tow Small Travel Trailers?

Many models of Subaru can tow a lightweight RV.

The 2023 Outback has a maximum towing capacity of 3,500 lbs; that means it could safely tow the Airstream Bambi without any trouble.

Subaru's most powerful SUV, the Ascent, could tow any travel trailer on this list with ease, having a max towing capacity of 6,000 lbs.