When you add weight to your tow vehicle, it takes more fuel to accelerate and maintain speed. Generally, motorhomes have lower miles-per-gallon (MPG) than their empty chassis. Unfortunately, you can’t change the laws of physics. Yet you can save gas with your RV, take advantage of some critical features, accessories, and use the optimal tow vehicle to add a few more miles to your overall fuel efficiency.
Come with us as we show you some excellent fuel-saving RVs and learn how they do it. The coaches we’ll show you will have mid-trim level features that are realistically comfortable. On the other hand, we could show you the most stripped-down version, but our goal is to identify those 2022 models worth buying.
How to Improve RV Gas Mileage
The best way to improve RV gas mileage is to decrease your wind resistance. Certain advantages make conventionally built travel trailers worth it, but laminated fiberglass RV exterior wall panels reduce wind resistance. Using wind deflectors improves MPG and traction by deflecting wind over your fifth wheel.
Certain RV construction materials help too. For example, travel trailers and motorhomes use Azdel as a lightweight support material with some insulating benefits. Packing your RV like a pro to decrease your cargo weight may not necessarily save you a whole tank of fuel, but it could keep you from stalling out in traffic jams.
If you’re shopping for a motorhome, here’s our RV Gas Mileage Chart with 25 examples to help you gather the facts on all classes of drivables.
The Best Fuel-Saving RVs With Tow Vehicle Examples
Droplet Trailer XL
|Length||9.5 ft. Cabin|
|Dry Weight||1,050 lbs.|
|Axle Weight||1,400 lbs.|
|Solar||150-watt panel opt.|
|Fuel-Efficient Tow Vehicle||Kia Soul|
Whoever said subcompact SUVs couldn’t tow needs to take a walk around their local campgrounds. The teardrop camper market is stronger than ever. Subcompacts like the Honda HR-V, Jeep Renegade, Kia Soul, Mazda CX-3, Nissan Kicks, and Mini Cooper Clubman impress the world as they cruise down the highway towing RVs and other leisure vehicles.
The British Columbia RV manufacturer, Droplet Trailer, introduced its teardrop camper a few years ago. It rose the bar on what a teardrop could be with its extra-large doors, six-inch memory foam mattress, removable power station, plug-in cooler, and 950-pound dry weight.
The company’s partnership with R.A.D Recreation Adapted Society showed us that the Droplet Trailer is a wheelchair-friendly RV for mobility-challenged people. The original has an 8-foot cabin. In September 2021, the company is coming out with the Droplet XL, adding another 1.5-feet in between the sleeping space and kitchen.
The vertical storage space gives an enormous amount of storage space, only costing an additional 100 pounds of weight. The teardrop trailer is still an RV for tall people since its creator; Pascal Pillon, initially made it for himself. He wanted a camper that would fit his 6.2-foot frame with room to spare.
Droplet Trailer – Droplet XL Introduction (Video)
Rockwood Tent Freedom Series 1940F
|Closed Length||17.3 ft.|
|Open Length||20.2 ft.|
|Dry Weight||2,204 lbs.|
|Fuel-Efficient Tow Vehicle||Mitsubishi Outlander|
When you look at the Rockwood Tent 1940F, you might think that it’s just another pop-up camper. One of the biggest complaints with pop-up trailers is storage. The 1940F gives you a massive frunk with slideout trays, a long and short cabinet, kitchen storage, under dinette bench space, and roof netting in the bed spaces.
Pop-ups aren’t the best for boondocking or for the full-time RV lifestyle, but if you’re heading out on an extended RV vacation, this pop-up will keep you and your family comfortable for weeks at a time. With the optional heated mattress, the leak-resistant vinyl material will keep you comfortable if you’re pushing your RV season to Thanksgiving in Northern Alabama.
Forest River-Rockwood Freedom Tent-1940F (Video)
Happier Camper HC1
|Dry Weight||1,100 lbs.|
|Fuel-Efficient Tow Vehicle||Mitsubishi Outlander|
Since 2015, the Happier Camper HC1 always ends up on fuel-saving and ultra-lightweight lists. This dual-shelled fiberglass molded little travel trailer defines versatility with its Adaptiv cube system. The amazing part is the 2,400-pound difference between the dry weight and the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating. That means this little giant can sleep a family of four and all of their gear.
For safety purposes, we recommend using a vehicle that can tow at the GVWR level or higher. Most RVers usually don’t max out their coach’s cargo-carrying capacity, but it’s always better to err on the side of caution in case you need to tow something heavy. Happier Camper does advertise that something like the Mini Copper Clubman with a 2,840 towing capacity is a nice match for the HC1.
Head over to Camping World (CW) at the beginning of 2022; if you love the Adaptiv system but want to use it in your fuel-efficient campervan. Happier Camper partnered with CW licensing the Adaptiv system for campervan conversions. Once you purchase your empty cargo van, bring it to one of Camping World’s 180 locations, and they’ll install the Adaptiv System for you. Your installation will come with a set of cubes with the option to purchase more and specialty pieces.
Happier Camper HC1 (Video)
Keystone Bullet Crossfire 1850RB
|Dry Weight||4,024 lbs.|
|Solar||Front wall solar prep std.|
|Fuel-Efficient Tow Vehicle||Chevrolet Colorado Z71 3.6L V6|
It’s a regular Tuesday evening, and you can tell the stress of work is getting to your spouse. What do you do? After reading about the Best RV Travel Apps on RV Troop, you use one of them to find that hidden gem campground nearby. You take Friday off, so you can surprise them when they get home and have your Bullet Crossfire, and your Chevy Colorado hooked up and ready to go.
Even though you’ve had this 22.4-foot travel trailer for a while, you still can’t get over how much space you have inside. When you extend the slide-out with the sofa, the two of you could perform your waltz routine from your wedding reception (if you could remember it). You also love the little extras that Keystone adds, like the laundry chute, a big six cubic foot refrigerator, and just enough accents to make the contemporary decore not feel hospital-like.
Keystone Bullet Crossfire 1850RB Quick Tour (Video)
Prime Time Crusader LITE 29BB
|Dry Weight||8,186 lbs.|
|Fuel-Efficient Tow Vehicle||Ford F-150 XLT w/ 3..5L V6 EcoBoost|
No matter how light you pack it, fifth wheels choose comfort overweight. There is a way to squeeze out some extra mileage, though. Half-ton fifth wheels (also known as mid-profile) generally weigh less than their full-profile big siblings. As a result, you can pull a mid-profile fifth wheel with a half-ton truck with a heavy-duty tow package. See our discussion for more details.
The 35-foot Crusader Lite by Prime Time is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a family-friendly half-ton fifth wheel with an outdoor kitchen. Prime Time is a subsidiary of Forest River and doesn’t get a lot of press. On the surface, the interiors don’t have the glamping appeal that high-end RVs have, but this entry-level RV manufacturer puts the quality in the construction and features.
The 29BB is a fifth-wheel bunkhouse that has plenty of space to walk around the residential queen bed since the wardrobe is on a slideout. The full-size bunk beds give the kids enough room to double up. Don’t worry parents, significant others can sleep on the fold-out dinette, and you can watch them with your RV Wireless Alarm System camera on your mobile device.
Primetime Crusader 29BB Review (Video)
Winnebago Solis Pocket
|Chassis: Dodge ProMaster 1500||Length: 17.10 ft.|
|Engine: Chrysler 3.6L Pentastar V6||GVWR: 8,550 lbs.|
|HP @ Torque: 280 hp @ 262 lb./ ft.||Solar: Solar port std.|
|MPG: 21 city/ 28 hwy||Sleep: 3|
|Tow Capacity: 3,500 lbs.|
Tour the New Solis Pocket Camper Van (Video)
In 2009, Daimler sold its 80.1% ownership of Chrysler. The relationship was pretty much over in 2007 when Mercedes left Chrysler, but the two brands still had to finish the contract on the Sprinter. When Mercedes gained its rights back to sell the Sprinter under its logo in the U.S., Dodge had the Ram ProMaster designed, prototyped, and the manufacturing plant in Saltillo, Coahuila, Mexico, ready to go.
The Ram ProMaster comes with Chrysler’s Pentastar V6 engine. The engine is just as fuel-efficient as the Ford Transit. In addition, Winnebago keeps the Solis Pocket close to the van’s empty fuel efficiency by keeping the Ram ProMaster 1500 van chassis light, so it’s one of the best gas mileage RVs in the Class B category.
The Solis Pocket is the greatest achievement by Winnebago. The garage space under the fold-down rear master bed is tall enough to fit your bikes, long enough to store your kayaks, and big enough to keep your St. Bernard comfortable behind the built-in gate. The extra-strong insulation will keep Goliath comfortable in the middle of August, while the 13.5k BTU A/C stays on low cool.
The front sofa and moveable pedestal table have numerous configurations. Change it to:
- A full sofa
- Twin-size bed
- Office Space (with configurable storage to support your work purposes)
- Group table (pivoting the pilot seats with the table in-between)
Like the big siblings, the refrigerator is accessible both inside and out. In addition, the adjustable outdoor table adapts to whatever angle you need, based on however you park the campervan.
Thor Motor Coach Tiburon Sprinter
|Chassis: Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 3500||Length: 24.9- 25.8 ft.|
|Engine: 3.0L V6 Turbo Diesel||GVWR: 11,030 lbs.|
|HP @ Torque: 188 hp @ 325 lb./ ft.||Solar: 100-watt panel|
|MPG: 20 city/ 29 hwy||Sleep: 2-4|
|Tow Capacity: 5,000 lbs.|
Thor Motor Coach Tiburon Sprinter (Video)
The Automotive Side
If you were to make a list of the most significant advancements throughout the over 100 years in the RV Industry, The Mercedes-Benz Sprinter would be somewhere in the top 10. Class B Campervans started in Germany in the late 1940s with the Volkswagon Type 2 Combi (Bus). Yet, the Sprinter completely changed the nature of Class B by revitalizing the category and creating the small Class C subcategory.
The Sprinter brought the European-styled full-size van to the United States, giving RV manufacturers a whole new canvas. The vehicle is more fuel-efficient, taller, lighter, and more adaptable than the classic wide-bodied American-styled vans like the Ford E-Series or the Chevrolet C10.
The Motorhome Side
Thor Motor Coach took the essentials from their standard-sized Class C motorhomes and reimagined them on the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Chassis. The Tiburon small Class C comes in three floorplans: the FB, RB, and the TT. While the video above features the TT, we had a hard time choosing our favorite floorplan. Either way, the Sprinter is the best gas mileage RV Class C on the market.
The FB has a full-width bathroom in the rear and a queen murphy bed on the slideout. The RB’s full-size bed has a rear slideout and a front theatre seat across the standard dinette. The TT brings back the Dream Dinette found in the FB and splits the rear between the all-in-one bathroom and queen bed. (Insert frustration here!)
Ford F-150 Lightning & inTech Sol Horizon
|Number of Motors: 2 motors with 4×4 drive||Length: 19 ft.|
|HP @ Torque: 563 hp @ 775 lb./ ft.||Dry Weight: 3,230-3,350 lbs.|
|Driving Distance: 230-300 miles||GVWR: 4,000 lbs.|
|Tow Capacity: 10,000 lbs.||Solar: Port std.|
|Seat: 5-6||Sleep: 2-4|
If you want to save fuel, why not go fuel-less? A few years ago, you found all-electric vehicles at a movie theatre near you. By the end of 2021, you may sit next to some of the most anticipated EV trucks at a stoplight. You can read more about Electric Trucks: What Are They and Can They Tow in our discussion about them.
SOL Horizon Travel Trailer by Intech RV (Video)
As more information comes out about EV pickup trucks, some of them will use dedicated in-bed expandable campers, expandable tents that fit on cargo bed covers, and other non-traditional camper devices. One all-electric pickup truck that will tow your travel trailer is the 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning.
Even though this F-150 can go toe-to-toe with its siblings, you have to be mindful of the power storage. The non-base models have an estimated 300-mile capacity. You’ll lose 50% of your driving distance when you tow near the maximum towing capacity due to the extra strain. A good rule of thumb is to tow at half of your max limit to balance distance and a good size travel trailer.
If you want a travel trailer that looks futuristic but has a luxury quality to it, check out the inTech Sol Horizion. This Tilt-Forward Design 20-footer is aerodynamic, has a laminated RV construction with a complete aluminum frame, and is a low-rider that uses Dexter Torsion Axles. The split floorplan gives you a huge U-shaped dinette upfront to enjoy the brand’s signature panoramic front window, and the rear queen gives you a thick, comfortable mattress to relax.
Some RV manufacturers make their RV wet bath spaces utilitarian. inTech continues their high quality and design inside the ship-style door. You’ll find a porcelain commode and an outstanding balance of functionality with design. The door contains everything inside, leaving your senses unspoiled to enjoy the natural surroundings around you with your windows open.
Take advantage of the popular RV outdoor kitchen optional feature when you’re outside enjoying the living space under the awning. The chest-style fridge, griddle, and storage let you stay out even longer. After all, you came to enjoy the great outdoors. Of course, when it’s time to go inside, you can rest comfortably in your rolling condo.
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How Can I Make My RV More Fuel Efficient?
You can make your RV more fuel-efficient without buying a new one with some easy veteran tips. Keeping up with your RV preventive maintenance is always a great place to start. Keep your tires at their optimal pressure, seal up gaps, and manage other issues before they become a problem. You can use the RV Troop Preventive Maintenance Checklist to guide you through.
Balance your gear and pack smartly. RVs and tow vehicles that ride with balanced weight take less fuel than those with most of the weight on one side. Use side window shades and other legal methods to block the sun and cool the cabin area of your tow vehicle or drivable RV. Dashboard air conditioners eat up fuel. When it comes to your A/C, remember the acronym M.A.G.G.: Max air guzzles gas.
Always plan your trip with a trip planner app and drive smoothly. RV-friendly trip planners help you avoid congested areas and roads not suited for your overall specs. Also, you’re not on a NASCAR track; smooth and steady saves gas instead of accelerating and braking (we admit there’s a little bit of the kettle calling the pot black on this one).
For these and more tips, make sure you bookmark RV Troop on your favorite web browser. Then, add a reminder on your calendar to check in often as we continue to bring you the latest trends in this exciting time to be an RVer. The next couple of months will be the best time of year to stay informed since all of the RV manufacturers will be releasing their new models in July and August. In addition, the “Super Bowl” RV show is coming up in September in Hershey, Pennsylvania.
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