A Guide For What Makes ‘Lite’ RVs Lite

RV manufacturers are always working to improve the design, construction, and usability of their products to benefit consumers. As a result, lightweight RVs, also known as lite RVs, have been growing in popularity and in production. But what exactly does it mean if an RV is considered lite? To help better answer that question we’ve created this guide about what makes ‘lite’ RVs lite!

Defining the Term ‘Lite’

While many RVs are labeled with the term lite, there are virtually no universal standards which manufacturers must meet in order for their products to qualify as lite. Instead, lite is used most often as an umbrella term to denote a trailer that weighs less than other similar models. For example, the 36’-long Coachmen Chaparral Lite 29BHS weighs in at 9,190 lb. dry. When compared to the Coachmen Chaparral 336TSIK, which comes in at a similar length of 36’ 11” long, it weighs substantially more at 10,520 lb. While 9,190 lbs. might not sound lightweight, it is considered lite because of the weight difference when compared to its non-lite counterpart.

Less Weight Doesn’t Mean Fewer Features

Some may assume that just because an RV is lite it includes fewer amenities, however most all lite RVs are just as well-appointed as those not dubbed with the term ‘lite.’ Take the example we used earlier. Both the Chaparral and the Chaparral Lite include radial tires, pack-max storage, a CD/DVD/Bluetooth player, night shades, an 8-cubic-foot refrigerator, and more! So just because lite RVs give up bulk doesn’t mean that they compromise on features.

Less Weight Doesn’t Mean Less Length

It can also be assumed that a lite RV will be shorter in length, but this isn’t always the case either. For example, the Forest River Salem Cruise Lite 282QBXL measures in at 32’ 11” long, while the non-lite Forest River Salem 27RLSS measures in at a shorter length of 32’ 2”! So don’t think that a lite RV won’t be able to accommodate the interior space that you are looking for, because you can find lite RVs in all sizes and floor plans.

The Pros & Cons of Lite RVs

With any big purchase, you should consider the pros and cons of the different choices available. Let’s take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of lite RVs vs non-lite RVs.

Advantages of Lite RVs

  • More fuel efficient
  • Most don’t require a heavy-duty truck to haul
  • Often designed and built to be more aerodynamic
  • Generally cheaper than non-lite RVs

Disadvantages of Lite RVs

  • Constructed with thinner building materials
  • Not ideal for full-time RVing (cannot withstand cold climates)
  • Less durable than non-lite RVs
  • Vulnerable to swaying (little wind resistance)
  • Less cargo capacity forces you to pack light

In conclusion, whether a lite RV is right for you or not depends on your individual travel tendencies and your budget. While a lite RV is ideal for weekend warriors and casual campers, non-lite models work better for those considering full-time RVing or for avid boondockers. Do you have a lite RV? Would you recommend them? Tell us why or why not by leaving a comment!