Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer

RV Book Recommendations: 5 Essential Books for Your Next Road Trip

Anyone who has taken a road trip knows that after a few hours in the car or RV, there simply isn’t enough music in the known universe to keep you entertained for more than a few hours. Fortunately for you travelers out there, you won’t be forced to stare out the window and wonder how much longer?

Technology has given us the ability to bring the world with us to just about anywhere we go, but sometimes a screen gets old. If you’ve heard the entire top 40, browsed through six months of your Facebook timeline, or exhausted every possible topic of conversation with your traveler partners (you’ve got to save something for the rest of the trip, you know), then keep reading this post, and bring one or all of our road trip book recommendations with you!

Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer

Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer

Including Jon Krakauer on this list wasn’t a tough decision, deciding which book to include was. If you’re a fan of reading and adventure, chances are you’ve either read or seen Into the Wild, so we decided to highlight another one of Krakauer’s masterpieces (if you aren’t familiar with Into the Wild, add it to your list as well!).

Into Thin Air is a retelling of a disaster that Jon was involved in while attempting to summit Mount Everest. A freak storm caught everyone scaling Mount Everest off-guard in May of 1996 and some of the most skilled individuals in mountaineering lost their lives. The book gives a chilling account of what it’s like to hike the tallest mountain in the world, during the worst weather imaginable.

A unique aspect of Into Thin Air is that it starts long before they are near the summit, and gives an in-depth account of the journey through Nepal to Mount Everest, grim details and all.

The book also includes photos from the expedition that put faces to the names and concrete images to the places described in the book, creating a truly complete adventure. Although the book recounts a tragedy, it is an inspiring affront to what the human body can overcome in the face of hardship and a tribute to those that lost their lives.

Click here to view it on Amazon.

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

For those who have read this story, it is considered one of the great adventure novels of the 19th century. Originally written in the 1840’s by a French author, it has since been translated into English and deemed a literary classic.

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

Edmond Dantes is a sailor who is falsely accused of treason against the French government after meeting with the then-excommunicated Napoleon Bonaparte on the Isle of Elba. Edmond is then exiled to the harshest prison in 19th century France, the Chateau d’If. Back in Marseille, where Edmond lived, he left behind his fiancé, ailing father, and the three men who conspired against him. What follows is an unforgettable tale of redemption, and revenge.

Dantes escapes the prison in miraculous fashion with the help of a priest who has been labeled insane, and goes on to acquire an unthinkable fortune of hidden gold and jewels. After he uncovers the treasures on the Isle of Monte Cristo, Edmond Dantes sets out for vengeance against those who created his misery and showers those who have been faithful to him with amazing wealth.

There are many versions, but if you are looking for the abridged book (the original is over a thousand pages) we recommend the Bantam Classics edition.

Click here to view The Count of Monte Cristo on Amazon.

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

Hemingway’s books are fantastic for a road trip because they are easy to read, but tell magnificent stories.

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

In a famous feud between William Faulkner and Hemingway, Faulkner said that “[Hemingway] has never been known to use a word that might cause the reader to check with a dictionary”. But, Hemingway was talented enough to create a great story in The Old Man and the Sea without the complexities of other writers.

This book relays the tale of an old Cuban fisherman who has hit a dry spell on the water, and one day decides to go as far out from shore as possible to reel in a monster. With the help of a boy on the island, he manages to get all the necessary equipment for his endeavor and sets off early one morning. There, in the open ocean, he hooks what certainly will be a catch for the ages. The battle rages for days between man and beast, and a fantastic story is the outcome.

Click here to view The Old Man and the Sea on Amazon.

The Endurance by Caroline Alexander

Another book that’s in the same vein as Into Thin Air, Caroline Alexander delivers a fantastic tale of disaster and human resilience. In an age of exploration, this book recounts how Ernest Shackleton wound up in the middle of a fight for survival in his quest to reach the South Pole and cross Antarctica.

The expedition took place in the South Atlantic right before the outbreak of the First World War and culminates in Ernest and his 27 crew members becoming trapped in ice floes for nearly two years. From first-hand sources we are able to get a look into what it’s like to be trapped 85 miles from the South Pole with dwindling resources and little to do but wait until the ice thaws enough to make an attempt at rescue.

Photos have been salvaged from the expedition, which add another layer of intrigue to this fateful journey.

Click here to view The Endurance on Amazon.

How the States Got Their Shapes by Mark Stein

how the states got their shapes

A quick Google search will pull up a mass of books to take on a road trip, but unfortunately, the same ten books are on all of them. As a bonus, we decided on a book that may not be getting the attention it deserves.

This is a fascinating book that gives the history of the borders we see squiggled across the map of the United States, and was later adapted into a popular TV show on the History Channel.

If you’re roadtripping across the lower 48, you can share some interesting facts with your travel partners about each of the borders you’re passing over. From the Mason-Dixon line (that sounds familiar, right?) to the acquisition of Hawai’i, this book will leave you a little more knowledgeable about how the 50 states became the states we see today.

Click here to view How the States Got Their Shapes on Amazon.

Summary: Books to Read on an RV Trip

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of new books published everyday. It would be impossible to read even a fraction of the great books that have been written, but here we hope to give you some direction. The hardest part of reading is finding your next book, but these five books are sure to grip you from beginning to end. Whether you’re looking for action and adventure, a classic, or deeper knowledge of the ground you’re RV is driving over, this list has something for you. If we missed a book that you absolutely love, share it with us and our fellow readers. Happy reading!

Written by Margaret Robbins

The Happier Camper - Best Travel Trailers

Small Travel Trailers: Top 10 Picks for 2017

Let’s face it: a full-size travel trailer or RV is a big commitment.

Not just in terms of cost, but also in terms of your tow vehicle, maintenance, and maneuverability.

But what about those of us who love to travel but aren’t interested in the huge commitment of a full-size trailer?

In this case, small travel trailers are a great option. Compared to full-size trailers, smaller trailers offer up a lot of perks. Let’s take a look at just a few of them…

Benefits of Small Travel Trailers

  • Benefit #1: They aren’t going to break the bank. Their smaller footprint means fewer materials and lower manufacturing cost. Thus, small travel trailers are often much cheaper than their full-size counterparts.
  • Benefit #2: Upkeep is easier! With fewer moving parts, there’s much less maintenance work to be done. And with less interior space, cleaning won’t take nearly as long. Convenience!
  • Benefit #3: They’re easier to tow. Lighter weight means more tow vehicle options. In many cases you can tow these trailers with the car you currently own. This way, you have your living space and your car together.
  • Benefit #4: They’re much more mobile! Like I said above — small trailers win when it comes to maneuverability. Campgrounds will be easier to come in and out of, and you’ll be able to get a trailer of this class on some much more rugged terrain than a large trailer could handle.

Pretty sweet, right? So we’ve put together a list of our 10 favorite small travel trailers to help guide you in your hunt!

1. The Happier Camper

The Happier Camper - Best Small Travel TrailersWith a catchy name and a sleek design, this is one of our favorite small travel trailers. Just from the outside, you will fall in love with this little camper. It has a fresh but retro design and spacious windows to let a healthy amount of light into your living space.

The great thing about this retro looking camper, though, is that its interior is super-modern. It has a modular design, which allows for a large amount of customization. The inside has 2 AC outlets that include USB ports and 4 DC-powered cigarette lighter ports.

Watch this video and see how cool this modular design thing is:

It can even function as a toy hauler:

The Happier Camper - Best Travel Trailers

The sleeping area offers a bed big enough for two, which can easily be converted into a seating area with a table. The modular design means you can add a wide range of options into your camper to supplement this area.

The Happier Camper - Best Travel Trailers

If you’re looking to go green, this camper scores points there too. Included in the roof of the rig are solar panels to help you generate some additional power while minimizing your carbon footprint.

The Happier Camper - Best Travel Trailers

We definitely recommend checking out The Happier Camper’s website, where you can find more info and plenty of photos and videos.

2. The American Dream Trailer

The American Dream Trailer - Best Travel Trailers

With a name like this, it better be good. Fortunately, it is! This small and compact trailer rocks a funky design and a cozy interior. It’s on the smaller side of our list, but still comfortably sleeps two. This trailer is very light, coming in at less than 1000 pounds, so it will easily be towable by most vehicles.

The American Dream Trailer - Best Travel Trailers

The interior of the camper includes a great double bed, shelf space for storage, and a galley that opens up to a 2’ by 3’ table. As an added bonus, the top of the camper pops off into a two-person rowboat!

The American Dream Trailer - Best Travel Trailers

The American Dream Trailer - Best Travel Trailers

This small trailer also offers a lot in the way of customizing the exterior. You can select from a range of paint colors to make the outside of your camper really pop, or more subtle colors for the low-key travelers out there.

The American Dream Trailer - Best Travel Trailers

Check out American Dream Trailers’ website to learn more and request an estimate.

3. Taxa TigerMoth

Taxa Tigermoth Rugged - Best Travel Trailers

Would you like an ex-NASA engineer to design your camper? If you said yes, this is the camper for you. Garrett Finney applied the knowledge he gained working for one of the most intelligent organizations in the States to create this travel trailer.

It has a great compact design but opens up to provide a spacious interior. The camper is incredibly versatile and has a towing weight under 900 pounds. The large side hatch provides easy access to the interior, which includes a double bed and stow away kitchen set.

Taxa Tigermoth Rugged - Best Travel Trailers

The intelligent design also provides plenty of options for exterior storage while you’re on the road. This camper has mounting racks on the roof, various other attach points externally, and hooks for maximum transporting ability.

The Tigermoth also has optional solar panels so you can spend time off the grid if you desire.

For more information on the Taxa Tigermoth, check out the company website here.

4. Taxa Cricket

Taxa Cricket - Best Small Travel Trailers

We loved the TigerMoth so much we decided to include one more great design from the team over at Taxa. This model is a bit larger than the TigerMoth, and includes additional space to relax without adding too much extra weight. This trailer is 15’ and weighs in at just under 1500 pounds.

The camper has windows on four sides, providing great ventilation and a cool breeze when the weather is nice. It includes a convenient rear hatch that allows for easy loading and unloading.

Taxa Cricket - Best Travel Trailers

The interior is decked out with a v-berth bed including storage underneath, a pop-up table, and kitchen. The kitchen includes cooking space, a table and six large storage cubbies to hold your necessities.

This camper is a great alternative for people who like the Tigermoth, but want some extra space to relax in after a long day on the road. It comes in two different models, the Cricket Camp and the Cricket Trek.

The Camp model is more suited to weekend travelers. It is simpler and easier for you to pack and get on the road. The trek model is more decked out with additional perks, like a toolkit and coated gravel guards. Either model is a great option in the world of small travel trailers!

Click here to read more and see photos of the Taxa Cricket.

5. Safari Condo Alto

Safari Condo Alto - Best Travel Trailers

Another teardrop style trailer, the Safari Condo is lightweight and aerodynamic to help boost your fuel efficiency. Safari Condo provides two different models of this trailer, R and F, to help you find your perfect fit. The R model has a retractable roof while the F model has a fixed roof, hence the names.

Safari Condo Alto - Best Travel Trailers

The R trailers include large beds that can be converted into two twin beds along with kitchen and storage space. The kitchen includes a sink and a cooking area. A pop up table provides you with a cozy eating space in the kitchen as well!

The F series’ fixed roof provides you with additional storage space compared to the R model. This series also includes a large King size bed which is also convertible, a kitchen with cooking and storage areas, and a pop up table. This model also has large European style windows to provide the interior with as much light as it can take!

Safari Condo Alto - Best Travel Trailers

You can find more information on the Safari Condo Alto on their website.

6. Scamp Travel Trailers

Scamp 13' - Best Travel Trailers

This travel trailer measures up to about 13 feet and is light enough to be towed by small cars and SUVs. The great thing about Scamp is that if you would like a larger model, they are offered at 16 feet and 19 feet as well. But, we are going to focus on the smallest model in this article.

The 13-foot option includes seating areas for up to four people and a pop up table. The kitchen area provides a gas stove along with a sink for preparing your meals. You can also convert one of the sitting areas into a bunk bed and the second sitting area into a double bed.

Scamp 13' - Best Travel Trailers

Another nifty aspect of the Scamp trailers is that they are easily customizable. You are able to choose the color of carpet you have on the interior as well as the style of wood.

For those of you travelers and RV lovers that like traveling as a family but are on a budget, Scamp could be a good option.

For more information on Scamp Travel Trailers, check out their website here.

7. So-Cal Teardrop

So-Cal Travel Trailer

Just saying Southern California is enough to put a smile on a traveler’s face. It’s one of the most beautiful areas of the country, and the teardrop from this region is an equally fantastic product. The model has a light and aerodynamic design with a sleek silver paint job. Their smallest model weighs in at under 700 pounds for towing by many different vehicles.

The interior doesn’t disappoint either. It is easily customizable to fit any needs that a customer may have. The rear has a nice area for storage while the main cabin has a sleeping area and additional storage space.

So-Cal Travel Trailer

Fortunately, if you are interested in having a little bit more space in your camper, the So-Cal family offers some larger options as well. The largest trailer they offer is 10 feet long and about 1,400 pounds. This model is called the XS and includes significantly more interior space than the smallest model, Buzz. Some of the additional perks to the XS are heavy-duty doors and a reinforced cabin structure.

To see different So-Cal small travel trailers, photo galleries, and where to rent or buy, check out the So-Cal Teardrops website here.

8. Hutte HutHutte hut - Best Travel Trailers

Two things about this camper stand out compared to other small travel trailers: its interesting name, and its unique exterior. The exterior of this camper is wood grain that will catch anyone’s eye, and the roof is made of clean white canvas supported by wood beams. If you have an appreciation of art and functionality, this is a great choice.Hutte hut - Best Travel Trailers

Although this is a smaller travel trailer, it has an open design on the interior that provides a spacious experience. The interior includes a double bed along with storage cubbies along the wall.  There is a large side hatch that makes getting in and out of the camper incredibly easy.

The entire wall of the camper opens up which adds to the feel of spaciousness in this unit. Lining the walls are windows to illuminate the rest of the trailer.

If you are just looking for a portable place to sleep that is comfortable and appealing to the eye, this is as great option. It leaves out the additional kitchen and lounging spaces to create more room for sleeping.

Hutte hut - Best Travel Trailers

For more information on the Hutte Hut, check out the company website here.

9. Deseo

Knaus Deseo - Best Travel Trailers

The Deseo is a model created by Knaus, a company based in Germany. This model is a testament to German efficiency. It has a modular design that allows for customization and the interior space is incredibly well utilized.

The rear hatch is very large which makes loading and unloadin a breeze. The design is very sturdy and the unit is easy to keep clean. The exterior also provides a nice, sporty look while you travel.

Knaus Deseo - Best Travel TrailersInside, the unit offers sitting areas with a pop up table in the middle. When not in use, the seating area can be easily stowed away against the walls. When it’s time for bed, the seating area can also quickly be converted into a bed big enough for two.

See more photos and information on the Knaus website here.

10. Nest Caravan

Airstream Nest Caravan

With our last (but not least) pick for 2017, we are going with the Nest Caravan. It has a simple but sleek exterior design that will catch your eye. The aerodynamic design will help you get the best gas mileage possible.

The interior has a very intelligent design consisting of whites, blacks and greys. When you’re inside this camper, the luxury might make you forget that you are out camping!

This camper includes a central island with a gas cooking stove and some space for meal preparation. The sleeping area includes a queen size bed and is accompanied by a toilet and shower. Folding chairs are also included with the counter space for eating and relaxing.

Airstream Nest Caravan

For more information on the Nest Caravan, check out the company website here.

Until Next Year!

That about wraps up our 2017 list of small travel trailers. There are a ton of options out there when it comes to buying a smaller travel trailer. The list already stretches into the thousands, with new models popping up everyday.

When deciding on which style of travel trailer is best for you, it’s important to know your priorities. Small travel trailers are going to be better for your budget and a more convenient option when you are out on the road. If your vehicle doesn’t have the towing capacity to haul along a 10,000-pound travel trailer or fifth wheel, a small trailer may be right for you.

This list of 10 just scratches the surface of options out there, but they are 10 choices we love. If we missed out on your small travel trailer that you swear by, give us a heads up in the comments below!