Cozy, efficient campers make for comfortable, thrifty travel!

Hard-sided "tent trailer" is the A-Liner, this one a very small model.

T@B trailers have been on the road for about 10 years, and offer a winning combo of good looks, light weight and room for four.

The R-Pod is a large "tear-drop styled" trailer, offering slide outs for lots of room in a small, towable package.

This '71 Camp Mite offers 6' standing room with the roof is popped up, and light-weight, aero-dynamic profile for ease of towing.

One of the smallest tent-trailers we have seen; big bed for two, and nice kitchen and stand-up room!

Our '58 Serro Scotty teardrop, St. George, FL lighthouse in back.

An early model of efficient campers, an historic wagon in Capital Reef National Park!

We have just returned from a 22 day tour of seven national Parks – Great Basin in Nevada, the five stunning ones in Utah, the Grand Canyon North rim and a return through Yosemite (OK, make that eight national parks, though we merely passed through Yosemite).

Along the way, we viewed and camped with a series of small, efficient camp trailers and camping set-ups that make me wonder why people, with less than six kids, ever would purchase and navigate huge motorhomes or giant fifth wheel trailers.

We camped 16 nights in a reproduction ’58 Serro Scotty teardrop, measuring 4 feet wide, four feet tall and eight feet long (and, seven nights in a nice timeshare in Park City, UT).  Weighing only about 800 pounds, our little trailer is pulled by a 2013 Ford Escape four-cylinder SUV – we get 23.5 MPG towing our little sleeper coach.  We are just as comfortable (well, almost) as neighboring couples in 25 to 38 foot motorhomes and fifth-wheels; the air, sunshine, views and campfires are identical!

We cruised about 3,200 miles, paid about $420 for gasoline, and averaged about $8/night for camping (all in national park, Forest Service or Bureau of Land Management campgrounds, we get half-off with our federal ‘America the Beautiful’ senior pass, just $10 for life!). For more efficient and scenic travel, camping in a small, maneuverable trailer is truly hard to beat.

Along the way, we took photos and chatted with owners of other small, comfy campers – and thought we would share some of them with you! Here are some of our favorites; whose owners rave about comfort, ease of handling and low-cost of both purchase and ownership.

How we got to Utah: From Stockton, go north on I-5  to Sacramento, then east on Hwy. 50 through Nevada and into Utah.

For more info: For good resources for purchasing used, small campers, see Craigslist or eBay (you can put up a daily search for what you seek). Local dealers like Pan Pacific Trailers in French Camp carry tent-trailers, the R-Pod and smaller tear-drop trailers. Camping can be booked in national parks and federal campgrounds through, or 877.444.6777.

Happy travels in the west!

Contact Tim Viall at Follow him at

This entry was posted in Central California, East Coast US, Midwest US, Mountain West (Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado), Northern California, Pacific Northwest USA (Oregon, Washington, Idaho), Sacramento/Capitol region, San Francisco Bay Area, Sierra Nevada, Southeast US, Southern California, Southwest USA (Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas), Stockton/San Joaquin County, Teardrop and tiny travel trailers and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment

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