Have you been looking for a lightweight travel trailer camper that’s easy enough to tow behind a light-duty pickup truck or robust SUV, that also doesn’t compromise on the interior living space?
If you love to go camping while taking some of the comforts of home with you but don’t want to make a major investment in a large motorhome, then an A-Frame campter trailer might be perfect for you!
While they might seem like a totally new concept A-Frame camper trailers have really been around for decades.
Though they just started gaining major traction in the RV industry in the last decade or so.
In this article we’ll discuss some of the pros and cons of A-Frame camper trailers as well as taking a closer look at features you might find in some of the best new, and gently pre-owned models.
What Is An A Frame Camper Trailer?
As the name implies an A-Frame camper trailer has an A-shaped outline when it’s fully set up at camp.
The A-Frame gets its name from the A outline, with a peak that is created when the camper is assembled at your campsite.
The vast majority have a dry weight of less than 2,500 pounds. They might be a little small on funtioal living space, but make up for it with convenience.
An A-Frame camper is a step above a teardrop, equivalent in size to a pop-up, and a touch beneath traditional travel trailers.
When it is traveling down the road it has all the easy towing characteristics and low-lying aerodynamics of a popup camper.
While still having an interior living space superior to even the best teardrop campers.
How Much Does An A-Frame Camper Trailer Weigh?
The average A-Frame camper trailer ranges from around a 1,800-pound to 2,500 dry weight.
This puts it in range to be towed by a lot of mid-size SUVs as well as a few minivans with a professionally installed towbar.
What Are The Benefits Of An A-Frame Camper Trailer?
There are several things to like about A-Frame camper trailers. Most are related to their overall convenience, and ease of use.
Interior Space – While they are still smaller than a traditional travel trailer on the inside, most of the best A-Frame camper trailers still have more interior space and more headroom in the A than even the largest of travel trailers.
Easy To Tow – Since most A-Frame camper trailers weigh around 2,000 to 2,500-pounds they can be towed by light-duty pickup trucks and mid-size SUVs. A few of the lighter A-Frame camper trailers can even be towed by a minivan with a robust towing package installed!
Amenities – A lot of the best A-Frame camper trailers have space for things like a wet bath and an interior kitchenette. This is a step above their teardrop camper competition who at best has a cassette toilet and an outdoor kitchen hatch in the rear.
Durability – A-Frame camper trailers tend to have superior material build quality compared to their lesser kin the pop-up camper trailer. This translates into an overall longer life as well as a superior resale value if you decide to sell it a few years down the road when your family grows.
Sleeping Space – Many of the best A-Frame camper trailers can sleep four or perhaps even five people, depending on the number of small children. This is more than even a large teardrop camper that typically only sleeps two or perhaps three people. It makes the A-Frame camper trailer a better option for most families with two small children who want to travel.
Interior Storage – The best A-Frame camper trailers tend to have better interior storage and a higher payload capacity than teardrop campers
Exterior Size – A-Frame camper trailers tend to be small enough to store in a typical garage or perhaps a large storage shed. This makes them easier to store away out of the elements when not in use. While this might not seem like a big deal at first, it can certainly extend the A-Frame camper trailer’s life and preserve more of its resale value.
How Much Does An A-Frame Camper Trailer Cost?
The average “New” A-Frame camper trailer can cost between $10,000 to $15,000.
Though some of the higher-end models with upgraded amenities, appliances, and special features can run as high as $25,000 or more.
What Are The Reasons To Avoid An A-Frame Camper Trailer?
Admittedly, for all their benefits, A-Frame camper trailers are not perfect and even the best models still draw a few common complaints.
If the following things sound like deal-breakers, then an A-Frame camper trailer might not be the best RV travel option for you.
The A of the A-Frame is really the only tall ceiling in this style of a camper trailer.
If you have more than one tall person in your family, the interior space around the A-Frame peak of the roof can get pretty crowded pretty fast!
Small Bathrooms With Minimal Privacy
Even the best A-Frame camper trailers have little more than a small wet bath area that combines the toilet with a very basic shower.
A lot of times the wet bath is only separated from the rest of the interior by a simple shower curtain or a fold-out panel.
This affords minimal privacy, and you may end up asking the rest of the family to vacate the interior of the A-Frame camper trailer any time someone needs to use the bathroom or take a shower.
The interior of most A-Frame camper trailers has very little ventilation due to the way the roof pops up and makes little wall space to accommodate a window.
Though you can get around this a little bit by using a simple 12-Volt fan.
Cramped Dinette Space
The somewhat limited interior space of an A-Frame camper trailer often translates into cramped dinette space.
If you are eating outside around the camp’s picnic table this isn’t a big deal, but it can be a real problem if a long-rainy day traps the entire family inside the camper.
Potential For Leaky Seals
The way the A-pops up in the ceiling section means that even the best A-Frame campers have a lot of seals and gaskets that have to go in motion when the camper is set up.
If you are frequently moving it or storing it in the elements when not in use the seals can start to develop excess wear and tear. As time goes on, this can result in rather annoying water leaks.
Not The Best For Boondocking
Their relatively small size, translates into minimal fresh and wastewater storage capacity, which can be an issue if you want to take an A-Frame camper off the grid for more than a day or two if boondocking.
Finding The Best A-Frame Camper Trailers
Let’s say that after considering the benefits and potential drawbacks of A-Frame camper trailers, you’ve decided that they are the best option for you and your family’s travel style.
If this is the place you are at, then you might be wondering what are some of the best A-Frame camper trailers?
The Aliner – Expedition and the Forest River – Flagstaff Hard Side T12RB are two of the best and most well-known A-Frame camper trailers.
They have a reputation for quality and durability as well as the interior space to accommodate the needs of your average family of four.
Though they certainly aren’t the only A-Frame camper trailers that are deserving of your hard-earned money.
Here Is A List Of Some Of The Best A-Frame Camper Trailers
Reviews For The
7 Best A-Frame Camper Trailers in 2021
While there are some strong models of A-Frame camper trailers that stand out from the rest of the crowd, we wanted to cast a little more of a broad net.
We made sure to also look for A-Frame Camper trailers that better fit certain niche needs.
Along the way, we also kept in mind important features like the number of people it could sleep as well as how material build quality translated into longer overall life and superior resale value.
1. The Aliner – Expedition
The Aliner – Expedition is one of the best-known and most popular models of A-Frame camper trailers.
It has all the nuts and bolts details you want to see for a family of four who wants to travel light yet live in comfort.
The wet bath is even larger than most and the cassette toilet is convenient.
It’s worth noting that with all of its amenities and special features, infused with superior build quality, you are looking at an MSRP of around $20,000 to $27,000.
This makes it one of the more expensive “Luxury” A-Frame camper trailers on the market today.
Though this also means that it tends to depreciate slower than the closest competitors, which translates into a better resale value some 5 to 10 years down the line when it’s time to upgrade or downsize your RV needs.
2. The Forest River – Rockwood Hard Side A213HW
The Forest River – Rockwood Hard Side A213HW is a slightly older model that is very popular and loaded with convenient features for a relatively lightweight A-Frame camper trailer.
There is a lot of interior space and ample elbow room, as well as larger than average windows for a nice view and great ventilation on comfortable summer evenings.
The 10,000 BTU air conditioner is even robust enough to handle hot humid days in the summer.
The 26-gallon fresh water tank is also large enough to support a traveling couple or a small family for two or possibly three days of boondocking off the grid.
It maximizes the available interior space by sacrificing a shower. The toilet is also just a flip-top cassette toilet without any sort of privacy curtain or fold-out panel.
So, if someone does need to use the facilities, everyone else will have to politely leave.
3. The 2021 Forest River – Flagstaff Hard Side T12RB
The “Flagstaff” is a moniker used throughout Forest River’s lineup to denote certain styling cues and standard features.
The 2021 Forest River – Flagstaff Hard Side T12RB ends up being one of the more popular new models of A-Frame camper trailers for a small family.
If your family happens to grow you can always step up to other Flagstaff models with a similar look and feel.
This is sort of Forest River’s way of encouraging loyalty through comfort and superior material build quality.
With the 2021 Forest River – Flagstaff Hard Side T12RB, you get ample sleeping space for two adults and two children.
There’s even a large master bedroom area that will accommodate a couple.
Both the 10,000 BTU air conditioner and 10,000 BTU per hour propane furnace will keep you comfortable regardless of the outdoor conditions.
The kitchen is rather large for an A-Frame camper. There’s copious amounts of storage as well as a three-burner propane stovetop and a compact RV absorption refrigerator that can run on electricity or propane.
You might also like the outdoor grill station that lets you cook over a propane grill without having to heat up the interior.
Here again, we see an A-Frame camper trailer that optimizes the interior space by sacrificing a shower.
The cassette toilet is also rather exposed with little-to-no privacy.
4. The 2019 Aliner – Titanium 12
The 2019 Aliner – Titanium 12 is another popular model offered by Aliner RVs.
It is only 15-feet long, with a hitch weight of just 185-pounds.
This makes it very lightweight to tow and puts it in range for families with a minivan or a mid-size SUV with a towing package.
One thing to note about the 2019 Aliner – Titanium 12 is that there is no formal bathroom or toilet included in the package.
For some people, this is a deal-breaker. Though if you are going to be staying at an RV park or a campground with showers and toilets, then the lack of any sort of wet bath gives you a lot more interior room.
5. The 2018 Coachmen – Clipper C12RBSTHW
The 2018 Coachmen – Clipper C12RBSTHW is a slightly older model that has a reputation for great value and superior build quality.
There is a cassette toilet and the kitchen is supported by a relatively large 27-gallon fresh water storage tank.
When you also consider that the 2018 Coachmen – Clipper C12RBSTHW has a 20,000 BTU propane furnace, the 2018 Coachmen – Clipper C12RBSTHW might be the perfect option for a family or group of friends that also want to use it as a base camp for fall hunting trips.
It’s also a great option for people who want to camp in the mountains or the high desert where nighttime temperatures can plummet.
6. The 2019 Coachmen – Viking Hardside V12RBST
The 2019 Coachmen – Viking Hardside V12RBST is another one of the RV industry’s best A-Frame camper trailers.
It features Flip-up double bed, as well as a relatively spacious kitchen with two-burner stovetop and sink with a convenient microwave and an RV absorption refrigerator.
With all these features and enough sleeping space to accommodate sleeping two adults and two children it might be one of the best A-Frame camper trailers for a small family.
It’s also worth noting that the 2019 Coachmen – Viking Hardside V12RBST is one of the better values in A-Frame camper trailers.
You can get the standard model for around $9,500 to $10,500.
Though there are two small complaints with the 2019 Coachmen – Viking Hardside V12RBST. The first is the abject lack of an RV aircondition or AC pre-wiring.
Though you can easily get around this with a lightweight, inexpensive RV window-mount air conditioner.
The second minor foible is that the cassette toilet has no curtain or functional privacy.
7. The 2015 Jayco – Jay Series Sport 12HFD
The 2015 Jayco – Jay Series Sport 12HFD is one of the most popular A-Frame camper trailers in the industry.
This is thanks to Jayco’s superior material build quality, as well as it’s cargo deck area.
Originally billed as a “Toy Hauler” you should thing of it more for hauling mountain bikes and dirt bikes rather than ATVs and snow machines.
When you get to your campsite the cargo area then converts into a tidy, yet comfortable porch.
The interior is nicely appointed, which is what you would expect from a Jayco camper trailer of any proportions.
There’s a full size bed in the back and a convertible dinette area. This give you more than enough room to comfortably sleep two adults and two children.
There’s even a fair amount of additional cargo storage for family items and toys.
One thing to note about the 2015 Jayco – Jay Series Sport 12HFD is that there is no bathroom at all.
This is the tradeoff for the cargo area deck and the copious amounts of sleeping space.
Though you won’t likely notice this at all if you are the type of RV family that likes to park up at campgrounds and RV parks with bathroom facilities on-site.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Fast Do A-Frame Camper Trailers Depreciate?
Like a lot of other campers, trailer A-Frames depreciate around 20 to 30% in the first three years. Then they lose about half their original value by five to six years old.
Though you are likely to get better resale value for your preowned A-Frame camper trailer if you store it in a garage or under a roofed structure, and make sure to take care of the seals.
Do All A-Frame Camper Trailers Come With A Wet Bath?
While wet baths that combine a shower and toilet are somewhat common in A-Frame camper trailers not all models come with one.
Some high-quality A-Frame camper trailers merely have a toilet. Some have no bathroom facilities at all.
If you prefer to stay at RV parks and campgrounds with toilets and shower areas, then you might want to consider an A-Frame camper trailer without a bathroom, as it will provide you with more interior space.
Are A-Frame Camper Trailers Good For The Tow Vehicle’s Gas Mileage?
Because they are relatively lightweight, and compact when they are in travel mode, most of the best A-Frame camper trailers have only a modest effect on the tow vehicle’s miles per gallon.
A-Frame camper trailers are certainly growing in popularity. They offer the easy towing of a popup camper with more sleeping and living space than even a high-quality teardrop camper.
If you like to get off the grid for a little boondocking and you want a shower and toilet wet bath combo then the 2020 Aliner – Expedition might be the best A-Frame camper trailer for you.
It has a combination wet bath as well as a superior amount of sleeping space. Not to mention the kind of material build quality that helps it hold its value.
If you are the type of family that is content to always park up at a campground or an RV park with a shower house and bathroom facilities close by then the 2021 Forest River – Flagstaff Hard Side T12RB might be the best A-Frame camper trailer for you.
While you don’t have much in the way of bathroom facilities, you do get a superior amount of internal living and sleeping space.
Families and groups of friends who like to camp in the mountains, or who need an RV to serve as a compact, convenient base camp for fall hunting trips might find that the 2018 Coachmen – Clipper C12RBSTHW is the best A-Frame camper trailer for them.
The 20,000 BTU per hour propane furnace certainly has the warmth to support you on even some of the coldest nights.
Whatever your interests or travel preferences happen to be, if you are looking for a lightweight camper, then chances are the best A-Frame camper trailer for you can be found somewhere on this list!