Hybrid Travel Trailers
When it came time to buy our first camper, we wanted to make sure we got the greatest value available as well as a camper that suited all of our requirements. From hybrid travel trailers to standard travel trailers, we looked at it all.
At the time, a hybrid travel trailer wasn’t high on our priority list, but after doing some research and interacting with other hybrid travel trailer owners, it rapidly became one.
When we finally made a purchase, we went with a more traditional travel trailer, but we now have a good understanding of the benefits and drawbacks of a hybrid model.
Consider the following scenario: you’ve chosen to purchase a hybrid travel trailer. The sun beats down relentlessly, and the canvas sides provide little protection from the heat. The air conditioning isn’t doing anything to relieve the stuffiness.
It also rained yesterday night, and part of the bedding was brushing up against the canvas edges, allowing water to seep in and flood the sleeping space. The generator at the campground next to yours has now begun, and the canvas walls are doing nothing to muffle the sounds.
That’s a worst-case scenario, but it doesn’t seem like a lot of fun.
If you make the wrong buying decisions, then this can happen with some Hybrid travel trailers. However, with some clever choices and informed decisions then it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, hybrids offer many advantages over traditional travel trailers.
Before you buy a hybrid travel trailer, there are a few things you should know.
With almost any traditional travel trailer, you can quite happily turn on the generator, go inside and close the door and marvel at how quiet it is. That’s why many of us enjoy going to the countryside in the first place, for a bit of quiet relaxation.
However, in a hybrid camper, the noise from the generator is difficult to ignore. Canvas has very little in the way of acoustic dampening, largely due to its thin walls.
Unless you plan on locating your generator far away, turning on the generator and then nipping inside to enjoy some quiet time isn’t really an option.
The Floor Plan’s Spaciousness
If you’re looking for a significant amount of internal space for your money then a Hybrid travel trailer is an excellent option.
As the construction of a Hybrid is generally lighter, manufacturers can afford to include many more popouts without compromising on the weight of the trailer. As such, hybrids can upwards of three popouts, which makes the internal space feel far more roomy and spacious.
Experience of True Camping in its Purest Form
If like me you have fond memories camping out in a tent when you were a kid then a hybrid might just rekindle those memories without sacrificing convenience.
When you’re in a traditional travel trailer it can often feel like you’re in a small apartment, and not like your on an outdoors adventure. A hybrid feels much closer to a genuine camping experience but is still able to offer the usability offered by a standard travel trailer.
Some travelers find comfort in the fact that their trailer appears to be more secure than it actually is, which is something that is less obvious while using a hybrid. Although it is extremely unlikely that any wild creatures will pose a threat to any type of trailer, a hard-sided trailer can at least provide sturdy walls and a sense of protection to its occupants.
Whether you should be concerned about this issue is highly dependent on your unique circumstances as well as the company you keep when traveling.
In addition, Canvas offers very little in the way of deterrents for criminals. I would say that neither style of travel trailer is going to discourage a determined burglar, but I do believe that hybrids are more likely to be the target of crimes of opportunity.
You will find larger beds in a Hybrid Travel Trailer
If you like the thought of relaxing in a giant queen sized bed when you’re on your travels, then a hybrid trailer is well worth considerations. Due to the increased availability of various popouts in a Hybrid, it’s not uncommon the find queen sized beds throughout.
If you are someone who, when you sleep, likes to spread out, or if you have a spouse who is someone who does, then the additional space is a huge benefit for you.
There might be issues with the water.
99% of the time of the time, even the heaviest rainstorms won’t cause you any problems. However, condensation from cooking and breathing can cause a problem, especially if there is little ventilation.
You may wake up to find that your bedding is somewhat damp from the places where it has been in contact with the walls, but you should continue to be dry.
The main concern is that you’ll need to make sure they everything is thoroughly dried out before you pack up everything up at the end of the trip. If you’re not careful, mold and mildew can occur. If you’re only ever camping when the weather is nice, then this is less of a concern for you.
Maintaining the Temperature
Unfortunately, canvas offers very little in the way of insulation. Some people resort to additional popup covers to cover their hybrids so as to offer a level of protection from the elements. This feels like an extra hassle that we could do without when camping, our whole reason for getting a travel trailer was because they are easy to use and convenient.
Having said that, I have driven a hybrid vehicle in the snow before, and it was not nearly as difficult as I had anticipated it to be. You won’t have any trouble staying warm and cozy, and the inside area of the trailer can be heated up in a very short amount of time. You need to travel prepared for the weather in order to make the most of the opportunity to make a warm and inviting space indoors by using blankets and a heater when the temperature outside is below freezing.
The issue of weight is not as significant.
On a traditional travel trailer, any slideouts can weigh in excess of 700 pounds. This means you’re not likely to find more than a couple on most trailers.
While if we take a look at a hybrid travel trailer, a popout is unlikely to get above 60 pounds. This means you can have multiple popouts without making much of an impact on the overall weight of the trailer, which is great if you’re looking for extra space.
Set up Time
If you’re worried that a hybrid might take a long time to set up, then you need not to worry. Most of the newer hybrids can be fully set up in under 5 minutes, which is amazingly fast. Older models may take slightly longer, but you’re still only looking at 20 – 30 minutes to go to a completed setup.
We don’t think this much of an issue, having spent years camping and setting up tents, a hybrid travel trailer is much faster. However, if time is constrained, the weather is poor or if your mobility is restricted, then the extra effort and time required to setup could be a problem.
If you’re spending a week or more in a single location set up and taking it down again is not a problem for us, but if we’re making a quick overnight stop, then that extra few minutes spent setting up is a bit of an inconvenience. It’s worth thinking about how you’re going to be using your Hybrid travel trailer.
You can, of course, cheat slightly, and just not set everything up when you’re making a quick stop for the night. It’s very easy to park up and just have the essentials available to you without struggling to set everything up. This is especially useful if there’s only a couple of you traveling.
It might be obvious, but it’s worth pointing out. Canvas offers much less privacy compared to a solid wall. Your neighbors can quite easily hear your kids laughing, babies crying and possibly even your conversations if they’re close enough. This might not be a concern to you, but it’s worth bearing in mind.
You might also want to be aware of what light sources inside your trailer are projecting onto your hybrids travel trailer walls. It’s not uncommon to see a silhouette projected onto canvas if the light is just right, akin to something out of Austen Powers.
Ventilation and Airflow are Important
Ventilation and air flow are often much better on a hybrid travel trailer when compared to a normal camper. When it’s a warm day it’s very easy to open up the numerous windows and let the air flow naturally through the trailer space. This has the added bonus of making you feel that much closer to nature and put less of barrier between you and the great outdoors. it’s definitely a win for hybrids.
Durability & Maintenance
A well-maintained hybrid trailer should last years or decades of use with very little in the way of problems. However, the canvas is much weaker than a solid wall, and it can tear, rip, wear away or suffer from mildew or mold if not cared for carefully. This is obviously much less of a problem on a traditional trailer.
Ample Sleeping Space
As we eluded to earlier, hybrids travel trailers offer a ton of comfortable and dedicated sleeping space. As hybrids can have multiple pop outs, you can quite easily assign each of your family members their own sleeping ‘room’. There is no messing around with converting the dining area into a bed each night, and no arguments as to who gets the bigger bed. Fantastic if you have older kids.
If you’ve been camping during the summer months before, you’ll no doubt have been woken up by the sun rising at 5 am. The same is true of hybrid travel trailers, the sunlight can create a very effective if unwanted alarm clock. This is a complete non-issue in a travel trailer due to the solid walls.
If you’re someone that likes to wake up early, then a natural alarm clock might be a good thing.
Families with young children might think otherwise. Convincing a three-year-old that 5 am is too early to get up is difficult when it’s daylight at that time inside the hybrid. Nobody wants to deal with an overtired toddler full of camping excitement but not enough sleep.
Managing the Problem of Leaks
As well as dealing with condensation, it is possible for hybrids to leak, especially when items are touching the side of the canvas when it’s raining. You’ll want to avoid this as much as possible as over time this can definitely cause problems. Just make sure that nothing is touching the sides and make any repairs as soon as you can.
All trailers can leak, so as long as you’re careful it shouldn’t be an issue. Even if you do have a leak, a bit of airing out when the sun is out should get things dried out nicely.
Whether you decide to opt for a hybrid or a traditional travel trailer, it’s down to your personal preferences, and what you’re looking for in a trailer. There is no right or wrong choice.
If you want fast to set up, lot’s of privacy and an easy way of controlling the internal environment, then a traditional hard-sided trailer is a great choice.
If you want additional space, an experience that’s closer to camping and feeling of being close to nature, then a hybrid is a great option.
Whatever you decide, we hope you have years of enjoyment and we’d love you hear your thoughts on Hybrid trailers in the comments below.