Cooking outdoors is great, isn’t it? There’s just something about preparing food in the open air that makes it taste better.
One of the advantages of RV camping is that you can have a kitchen available wherever you go. This is especially handy at those sites that don’t allow campfires. And don’t worry, you don’t have to buy a huge rig or long trailer just to have a place to fry up some burgers.
If you only camp a few times a year, or spend your weekend tailgating before the big game, or don’t want to stink up your camper with cooking smells … an outdoor kitchen might be your best choice. And if you’d rather not buy a new 1-ton truck just to haul your trailer, good news! We just happen to have a list of some great lightweight trailers with outdoor kitchens!
Weight ratings can be confusing. Look for these terms:
- GVWR: The Gross Vehicle Weight Rating is the maximum weight a vehicle can carry. This includes passengers and cargo (but not trailers) for cars and trucks, and cargo for trailers. Trailers may have this listed under the label GTW (Gross Trailer Weight) to avoid confusion.
- GCWR: The Gross Combined Weight Rating is the maximum amount of weight a car or truck can handle safely, including all passengers, cargo, and fully-loaded trailer.
- UVW: The Unloaded Vehicle Weight is the total weight of a vehicle as it comes out of the factory, before any passengers, cargo, or aftermarket accessories are added.
- TW: The Tongue Weight is the amount a weight your vehicle can support at the trailer hitch. This is important when determining how to load the trailer.
Your towing capacity is only as strong as the lowest-rated component! It doesn’t matter if your truck can tow 6,000 pounds if your trailer hitch is only rated for 3,000 pounds.
Learn more about why the weakest link breaks the chain in towing.
If you have any questions about weights or towing capacities, talk to the dealer or manufacturer before you head out to the wilderness!
BEST LIGHTWEIGHT CAMPERS WITH OUTDOOR KITCHENS OF 2022
Now that the PSA is done, let’s jump into the list! These trailers are all under 5,000 pounds, so they can be towed with a standard SUV or large passenger car (always check your specs).
Please note: This list doesn’t include traditional teardrop campers, virtually all of which have an outdoor galley kitchen! However, teardrops offer sleeping room only. There’s no room to stand up inside!
In no particular order, meet the winners!
Forest River Rockwood GEO Pro 19FD
- Length: 20’ 8”
- UVW: 3,233 pounds
If I had to guess, I’d say the Rockwood GEO Pro 19FD from Forest River was designed by someone who placed a priority on cooking. Inside is a three-burner cooktop with oven, a deeper sink than you usually find in an RV, a large refrigerator, and a microwave. Or you could step outside and whip up a meal on the gas griddle.
Forest River NB10.6
- Length: 13’ 10”
- UVW: 1,763 pounds
The NB on this second Forest River model stands for No Boundaries, and the NB10.6 certainly takes it to heart. This lightweight trailer is easy to tow and maneuver, so you can take it practically anywhere. It has fold-out single beds inside and a roof tent on top. A rear ramp allows you to load up a four-wheeler or a couple of bikes. The outdoor kitchen is mounted on a slide, and contains a two-burner gas grill and 12V refrigerator.
Grand Design Imagine XLS 21BHE
- Length: 24” 11”
- UVW: 4,698 pounds
This travel trailer from Grand Design lives up to the name. It sleeps six comfortably, or three if everyone’s mad at each other. It has a generously-sized dry bath and indoor kitchen. Heading outside, you’ll find a large gas griddle and a very handy 1.6 cubic-foot refrigerator.
Jay Feather Micro 199MBS
- Length: 23′ 2″
- UVW: 4,695 pounds
The Jay Feather Micro 199MBS is one of the lightest travel trailers offered by Jayco. The 199MBS model has the outside kitchen on the passenger side of the vehicle, and has a refrigerator and gas grill with quick-connect LP fittings.
Jay Feather Micro 12SRK
- Length: 13′ 4″
- GVWR: 2,795 pounds
With a much smaller footprint than its 199MBS cousin, the Micro 12SRK from Jayco sheds the inside kitchen and the bathroom (and 2,000 pounds!) to deliver a bare-bones travel trailer perfect for one or two people. The outdoor kitchen area is at the back of the vehicle, and is protected from inclement weather when the rear door is raised.
Tiny camping: Where your food has more space than your bedroom.
Coachman Apex Tera 15T and 16T
- Length: 15T, 18’ 7” 16T, 19’ 7”
- GVWR: 3,800 pounds
The Apex Tera 15T and 16T from Coachmen differ mainly in the number of people they sleep. Each has a dry bath, a queen bed, and both indoor and outdoor kitchens.
Coachmen Freedom Express Ultra Lite 195RBS
- Length: 23′ 11″
- UVW: 4,892 pounds
This second entry from Coachmen has a slide-out in the living area for extra roominess. With both an indoor and outdoor kitchen, when it comes to meal time, you’ll be able to fit the whole family at the huge 88” dinette.
DIY OUTDOOR KITCHENS
If your trailer didn’t come with an outdoor kitchen, you always have the option to build your own. If you have an empty storage cubby available, you can, at minimum, put a folding or pull-out shelf there to hold a grill.
If you want a more permanent spot for your grill, search for “bumper grill” on Amazon to see a variety of options. Combine this with an LP quick-connect and you’re ready to cook in no time.
If you’re not comfortable building your own, why not chat with a custom RV builder?
NOT A TRAILER, BUT…
It deserves a mention, just for being neat. A full slide-out kitchen is one accessory manufacturer Rivian intends to offer for its electric trucks. The entire setup is housed in a built-in storage area in front of the rear wheels.
Specs include a two-burner range, full sink, plenty of prep space, and—incredibly—a full set of utensils and cookware in dedicated drawer slots. A raised tent can be added to the truck bed as well for an ultra-compact home away from home.
This is just a small sample of the lightweight trailers with outdoor kitchens that are available. One thing RV manufacturers are good at is giving you plenty of choices when it comes to floorplans and amenities, (not to mention all of the options you get when you have a camper or trailer custom-built).
As always, remember that camper manufacturers are constantly changing and replacing models, so if you can’t find one we listed here, you’ll probably find something close (failing that, there’s always the Used Camper ads.) Good luck, and happy
Patrick has visited 11 countries and 35 of the 50 states. He has racked up thousands of miles in RVs of every class, including a hand-crafted Romani vardo. His retirement plan is a custom Class B and a generic cat, the primary goal being to pick up those last 15 states.