Home » Here’s What You Get In A Camper That Weighs Only 1500 Pounds

Here’s What You Get In A Camper That Weighs Only 1500 Pounds

Only 1500
ADVERTISEMENT

If you own a Ford Maverick Hybrid, a small crossover, or a wagon, you usually have a slim variety of campers you can tow thanks to a 2,000 pound towing capacity. Often, you’ll find tent trailers, motorcycle trailers, or teardrops light enough for your vehicle to tow. Thankfully, manufacturers haven’t forgotten about you and some brands are getting into smaller, lightweight hard-sided trailers. A new face in this arena is the Encore RV VENŪ, a baby trailer that seems pretty cozy and weighs just 1,500 pounds.

When I go to an RV show, so many of the trailers and coaches are colossal, with pricing rivaling that of actual homes. That’s before you pay extra money for a beefy tow rig just to haul the thing. Not everyone has the kind of dough or even the desire to tow a 40-footer with a big truck. What if you have something a lot smaller? For example, a 2024 Volvo V60 has a tow rating of just 2,000 pounds. Fear not, because as you’ve seen here, a number of manufacturers have been introducing lighter, cheaper trailers that less-capable vehicles can tow. Encore RV is one of the latest in this market of tiny campers. At the 2023 Indiana RV Open House, the manufacturer debuted the VENŪ, a little camper that weighs just 1,500 pounds.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

Encore RV

20230927 120319

Elkhart, Indiana-based Encore is a new face in the RV world. I found the brand nestled in the independent area outside of Thor Industries’ expansive display. Encore was founded right in the thick of the pandemic RV industry boom in 2020. As RV Business writes, Encore RV founder Rich Schnippel has been in the RV and motorsports trailer industry since 2000. His resume includes managerial and marketing roles at names like ATC Trailers, KZ Recreational Vehicles, and until 2019, inTech Trailers. RV Business also notes that Schnippel designed many models of lightweight adventure trailers. Think of off-road trailers somewhat similar to the Off-Grid Trailers Pando 2.0 I tested earlier this year.

Forest Scene 5
Encore RV

Schnippel decided to create his own trailer manufacturer with a focus on building durable campers. Encore’s launch trailer, the RŌM, boasted a lightweight, fully welded, all-aluminum frame and chassis. Sitting on that chassis is a composite body featuring CNC laser-cut aluminum cabinetry inside. Since then, Encore RV has offered several flavors of its off-road trailer from the compact 1,414-pound RŎG 10MC to the 2,900-pound RŎG 16RB that you can stand up in. An example RŎG is above.

ADVERTISEMENT

(Update: To add some additional context, when Encore RV launched, the trailer was supposed to be called RŌM, but then the name was changed to RŎG due to a trademark issue.)

The Encore VENŪ

20230927 120045

This new trailer is a refinement of the Encore RV concept. The VENŪ is still supposed to be an adventure trailer, but Encore has decided to maximize the trailer’s space for the comfort of the people who will be sleeping in it. The first model of this new line of trailers is the VENŪ 10KB, and it’s a cute one.

To illustrate how small this trailer is, it’s 13 feet from tongue to rear and the box is just under 10 feet. For comparison, a 13-foot fiberglass camper will often have a box roughly the same general size. The floor inside is just 8 feet long and the ceiling gives 5 feet, 10 inches of headroom at its highest point.

20230927 115821

ADVERTISEMENT

20230927 115827

20230927 120056

Despite that, the interior looks and feels like a larger trailer just scaled down. Walk through the door and the kitchen is right there. You’re getting a sink there and a solid countertop. I did not find a stove, but there’s plenty of space to toss in your own propane stove or induction cooktop.

Behind me was an optional 3.5 cubic-foot 12V refrigerator. Encore RV brought another example VENŪ 10KB that didn’t have the refrigerator and in its place was a cassette toilet. The cassette toilet would be stored somewhere else in a trailer with the optional fridge. Other standard features include a MaxxAir fan and a 21-gallon freshwater tank.

20230927 115841

ADVERTISEMENT

20230927 120428

Unfortunately, that cassette toilet is the only type of bathroom you’ll find inside of this trailer. Thankfully, there are water outputs outside of the trailer so you could have an outdoor shower. The vast majority of the interior space is a nice dinette that converts into a bed. This is good for two adults to sleep in. Encore’s options list includes an air-conditioner with a heat pump, a 32-inch television, and an off-roading package. This package consists of all-terrain tires, an optional roof rack, and an optional awning.

My favorite part about this interior is the lighting. Encore RV embeds lighting under the composite countertop, resulting in a cool glow, sort of like you’re in a nightclub. Look, I know I love silly things!

20230927 120035

20230927 115922

ADVERTISEMENT

Like other Encore RV trailers, the VENŪ rides on an all-aluminum chassis and features composite walls and a one-piece fiberglass roof. Encore prides itself on the total lack of wood used in the construction of its campers, from Encore:

“We’ve found success by differentiating ourselves and building our products with materials that are engineered to last a lifetime,” Schnippel explained. “By eliminating the steel and wood from our construction, we not only take away the possibilities of rust, mold and rot, but we also are building an RV that can last for multiple generations.”

20230927 120115

You get this with a base weight of just 1,500 pounds. Encore puts 3,500-pound axles under these trailers and says you can carry another 1,500 pounds of gear, cargo, and water. But if you leave it at its base weight, it could be towed by something like your Ford Maverick Hybrid!

Sadly, these trailers are so new that Encore RV doesn’t have pricing on the units just yet. Heck, they aren’t even on Encore’s website yet. If these trailers come in with a rock-bottom price, like those earlier LIV plastic trailers, I think Encore could have a winner here. At the very least, I’m always happy to see more choices at the smaller end of the RV market!

(Images: Author, unless otherwise noted.)

ADVERTISEMENT

Support our mission of championing car culture by becoming an Official Autopian Member.

Image17

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on whatsapp
WhatsApp
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on reddit
Reddit
Subscribe
Notify of
39 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Ron888
Ron888
8 months ago

Mercedes you need to write about things that have a price.Otherwise it feels like you’re trying to sneak them past us.

Last edited 8 months ago by Ron888
pliney the welder
pliney the welder
8 months ago

The welds on that frame . Hoo boy , could you at least wipe down the tubing before you strike an arc ?

CSRoad
CSRoad
8 months ago

It seems a lot of these smaller trailers do not extend out to the full axle track width, I wonder why?

415s30
415s30
8 months ago
Reply to  CSRoad

Yeah seems like a waste

Elhigh
Elhigh
8 months ago
Reply to  CSRoad

Crap design. If you’re going to take up that much width on the road, that much width in the camping spot, extend the living space out to it. Might even reduce its drag on the tow vehicle by eliminating a terrible turbulence generator.

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
8 months ago

My Dear Dear Mercedes, have we harped on the insane prices of these mediocre Trailers that we no longer get them? I say DIY buy a pickup bed with frame and add a hitch and box it in.

Ron888
Ron888
8 months ago
Reply to  Mr Sarcastic

Haha,i wondered the same. A desperate attempt to keep the articles flowing without so much sticker shock hate,lol?

Drive By Commenter
Drive By Commenter
8 months ago

This looks great for a weekend getaway rig for an empty nest couple. Easy to pack, easy to park and everything is right there. Most modern compact CUV’s could tow this without breaking a sweat.

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
8 months ago

Maybe add a small electric motor that charges as it is pulled, add an adapter to attach a steerable from wheel and use it as a golf cart when you arrive?

MaximillianMeen
MaximillianMeen
8 months ago

Mercedes,

Could you, or Huibert, or David, do a deep dive on how tow ratings are established? It seems like the tow ratings for US cars are a lot lower than in Europe. Over there, it seems like the most modest of family sedans/hatchbacks are pulling 2000-3000 lbs trailers along with all the family members. Accordingly, it does not seem like breaking (yes, as in damage) limits of the vehicle are the concern. Are NHTSA standards just that much higher than Europe?

CEVette
CEVette
8 months ago

Yes, try towing at 70 mph like most in the good ole USA feel they must with light tongue weight…..that would be a recipe for a swaying mess. This is partly why the 5th wheel and gooseneck trailers come in to play with the bigger/heavier RVs. They have 20-25%+ tongue weight and are inherently stable to tow. No sway control needed.
We personally had a travel trailer for 14 years. Went to a 5th wheel RV, and will never go back. The towing experience is that much better. Drive the travel trailer for a day…say 500 miles and your were worn out. Constant steering adjustment and such. And this was with one of the better hitch setups with good anti-sway.
With the 5th wheel, after a 500 mile day, I am ready to get out of the truck, but not exhausted, and ready to do something at the destination.

Paul B
Paul B
8 months ago

I believe Raphael Orlove had a great writeup about this years ago on one of the sites linked to ye olde lighting site.

3WiperB
3WiperB
8 months ago

And if you want to throw in some controversy, you could interview Andy Thomson from Can-Am RV Centre who set up his Tesla Model S to tow his 27′ Airstream and more recently has been towing it with a Model 3. He’s kind of considered by many as an expert in setting up unconventional vehicles to tow. I’m still not sold on it, but it’s interesting to see the things he does. https://www.canamrv.ca/blog/

FloridaNative
FloridaNative
8 months ago

Where the market demands inflated towing numbers (pickup trucks), manufacturers push the limit of tow ratings. Where buyers don’t care (smaller vehicles), there’s no need for manufacturers to push the limits and keep the ratings low to avoid problems (warranty, legal).

USA is also far more litigious than other countries. Compare USA tow ratings to Australia… they tow similar trailers with higher tongue weights at high speeds far distances. Main difference is the legal system. European tow ratings aren’t that great of a comparison due to the reasons already mentioned.

Last edited 8 months ago by FloridaNative
Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
8 months ago

It’s mostly down to speeds and tongue weights, European trailers have low tongue weights, which means most of the trailer’s weight is self-supported on its own wheels, so the tow vehicle only has to move it, not support it, that allows smaller, lighter vehicles to pull comparatively large trailers. American trailers tend to have higher tongue weights, which requires a bigger, heavier tow vehicle. The reason is speed, a high tongue weight allows you to pull a big trailer at highway speeds without oscillation making the whole rig uncontrollable. In European countries, vehicles towing trailers are restricted to lower than the posted speed limit to prevent that problem, in the US, vehicles pulling trailers can (and are expected to) drive at the same speed as the rest of traffic. So, automakers set lower tow ratings here to avoid the problem of people pulling trailers with too high of a tongue weight at too high speeds and then losing control and crashing

Ron888
Ron888
8 months ago

It’s strange to hear this! I’m always shocked how much american vehicles are allowed to pull. Here is australia ,normal 4WDs/pickups are allowed no more than 3.5 metric tons

MaximillianMeen
MaximillianMeen
8 months ago
Reply to  Ron888

That is really limited to the full-size trucks. F-series/Silverados/RAMs are all in a pissing contest to post the highest tow ratings.

CEVette
CEVette
8 months ago

Sorry, but when I see what some of these tiny trailers cost……ugh.
For a bit more cash, I want something with a real bathroom. If you are upgrading from a tent or pop-up tent trailer, a real bathroom is just so nice. I understand weight and size constraints. There are always trade-offs in life.

Drew
Drew
8 months ago
Reply to  CEVette

Yeah, I really think that a tent trailer is gonna give the person buying this most of what they need (and probably be lighter), or they may as well figure out a way to tow something big enough for a bathroom.

But I’m sure there’s someone for whom this’ll be great. I just don’t know who wants to cook indoors but shower outdoors and deal with a cassette toilet.

It does look like it’s built nicely.

Drive By Commenter
Drive By Commenter
8 months ago
Reply to  Drew

In bear country a hard sided trailer is a must. It’s deterrence for Yogi stealing food and turds.

Drew
Drew
8 months ago

I’m much more of a tent person. The food goes into the vehicle and the latrine is away from the tents. But I can see this as a form of security. I’d still be looking real hard at whether I could bump up to something with a wet bath, but it would certainly be convenient to be able to cook inside and not worry about food smells attracting anything or putting away the kitchen before bed.

Thanks for the response about the person who’d be looking at this. I definitely don’t know many people who camp in trailers and want a small, light one, so most of my camper knowledge comes from people in bigger campers.

Drive By Commenter
Drive By Commenter
8 months ago
Reply to  Drew

I have an Aliner Ranger 12 that’s about this long. I got it to tow with a smaller tow vehicle and to be a “tent on wheels”. It’s good at doing that.

CEVette
CEVette
8 months ago
Reply to  Drew

Yeah, I feel if a small, lightweight hardsided camper is the goal, the A-liner type campers are a better choice for a more aerodynamic towing experience. They are still light, and seem to have more room that this, at least in some models.

FleetwoodBro
FleetwoodBro
8 months ago
Reply to  Drew

It’s a wide world with people of many stripes and flavors and I make an effort to accept them all without judgement, but those of you who poop in a cassette toilet and then sleep in the same room with it baffle me.

Slow Joe Crow
Slow Joe Crow
8 months ago

This seems a little too tiny although it would be a step up from a teardrop with actual standing headroom and someplace to sit. I fear the pricing and disdain the cutesy diacritical marked names. Money permitting I’d go with a fiberglass trailer since I currently have a truck so a 4000lb trailer is nothing

06dak
06dak
8 months ago

You’d be hard pressed not to overload your vehicle if this thing starts at 1500lbs and you had a 2000lb tow rating. Add in propane, a full cooler, and your other stuff and it’s super easy to be over 500lbs of cargo.

Ben
Ben
8 months ago
Reply to  06dak

This. I generally take the dry weight and add 1000 lbs to get an idea of what the actual loaded weight will be (assuming it’s not a toyhauler). You also have to remember that tow ratings do not include basically anything in the vehicle itself, including any amount that the driver weighs over about 150 lbs and the full weight of passengers. Admittedly, you’re probably not taking a family of four camping in this, but you could very easily need to knock 200 lbs off the tow rating before you load any cargo.

Also, dry weights are notoriously dubious because they often omit “optional” features that really aren’t. By the time a trailer leaves the factory it weighs more than its dry weight.

Cheats McCheats
Cheats McCheats
8 months ago
Reply to  Ben

This is America, who the hell looks at weights? /s

Ben
Ben
8 months ago

True, and someone’s got to keep transmission shops in business, right? 😉

Detroit-Lightning
Detroit-Lightning
8 months ago

I’ve started looking for options that are more or less in this class – basically, simple, lightweight, tent replacements. But typically it’s just hard to find the right mix of functionality and cost. This seems too small, and probably costs too much…

I’ll probably pull the trigger on a used aliner at some point, or just keep rocking the tent & dealing with occasional wet nights…

Cheats McCheats
Cheats McCheats
8 months ago

I gave up on tents a long time ago. Found out a full size air mattress fits in the back on a Jeep Grand perfectly. I am 6’2 and fit perfectly.

Last edited 8 months ago by Cheats McCheats
Drive By Commenter
Drive By Commenter
8 months ago

Get the Aliner. You won’t regret buying an insulated tent on wheels.

Cheats McCheats
Cheats McCheats
8 months ago

I love these small trailers. Be great for a single me.But I am sure the procing will be aorund 124,034$ without the fridge.

Paul B
Paul B
8 months ago

I would have put the awning on the side to cover the kitchen. Yes, it would stick out past the roofline towards the front, but it would work.

Pat Rich
Pat Rich
8 months ago

I love the idea behind these trailers, and the price is reasonable. I looked at the ROG 14TH2 (Not ROM btw, there is a typo up top) and its pretty amazing. Very nearly what I am looking for in a trailer. Not over the top build, but made to handle a little abuse and not get destroyed. Semi-affordable. Sleeps 4. The only problem is that its a toy hauler and I don’t need that. If they made one with the garage door sealed up with a big window in its place and a full interior it would be just about perfect. Ideally what I would want the kitchen moved out back or to the side in a slide out, but I can live with a small interior kitchen. I do most of my cooking away from the trailer anyway.

Pat Rich
Pat Rich
8 months ago

Ah, makes sense.

TDI in PNW
TDI in PNW
8 months ago

I’m not generally into trailers but this thing is adorable. I dig the Impala tail lights.

39
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x