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Pros and Cons of Hybrid Travel Trailers

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Pros and Cons of Hybrid Travel Trailers

When I purchased my hybrid it was a perfect fit for me, but a few years later we decided to move on to something larger when our needs changed. Owning a hybrid travel trailer has many benefits, but there are some drawbacks. Here are my top 5 Pros and Cons of Hybrid Travel Trailers.

Pros of Owning a Hybrid Travel Trailer

1. Light weight, the tent end beds provide a great weight savings by reducing the overall size of the camper. This is particularly important with a smaller tow vehicle like an SUV or Crossover.

2. Short(er) overall length, Again the tent ends allow the length of the camper to be shortened while still providing a large living and sleeping space. This is helpful when towing and for storage when you are not camping.

3. Full time access to interior compared to a pop-up camper. With a pop-up camper you cannot utilize the space inside for storage when traveling. Also the camper must be opened up to pack this is not a problem with a hybrid. We were still able to load 4 bicycles in the camper, this could never be done in a pop-up.

4. Full bathroom compared to pop-up. The hybrid provides the luxuries of a separate bathroom with a shower, compared to a pop-up where you are lucky to get a curtain around a portable toilet.

5. Onboard water and waste tanks. Again, compared to a pop-up camper the hybrid provides fresh and waste water tanks. With our 19 foot Shamrock we could camp for a 3 day weekend and have sufficient fresh water and waste water capacity. We still used the shower house at the campground if full hookups (Electric, Water and Sewer) were not available.

Cons of Owning a Hybrid Travel Trailer

1. Folding in and out the beds. When traveling the bed ends of the Hybrid must be folded in, this means that the beds cannot be made before setting up at camp and the pillows must be stored somewhere else when traveling. If there is rain when setting up or getting ready to leave you are going to get wet. If the beds are put away wet they have to be opened up to dry out once you are home to prevent mold and mildew.

2. Lack of insulation in temperature extremes. When camping in cold weather in the spring and fall the tent ends can get very cold at night even with a furnace or electric heater running. In the summer the sun heats the tent ends, causing the camper to get very warm inside. Especially a concern if traveling with pets that may be left at camp while you are out for the afternoon.

3. Smaller Storage Tanks. To keep the weight light hybrids are made with smaller storage tanks than a travel trailer of 5th wheel. This means that for a long trip without full hookups water usage must be carefully monitored, a tough job with 2 children.

4. Movement and bouncing. Having the beds hanging off the ends of the camper creates a lot of leverage. Any movement on one bed translates to a bounce on the bed at the other end and anyone with kids knows that they seem to jump every time they move.

5. Limited storage space. The longer you camp the more gear you will acquire. The design of a hybrid camper does not allow for a large amount of storage. In our case our clothes were stored in small shelves above each bed because I had added shelves to the closet to create a pantry for storing food and other gear.

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6 thoughts on “Pros and Cons of Hybrid Travel Trailers”

  1. I like that the hybrid is lighter weight, as you said, because I’d like something that doesn’t use up too much gas to tow. My husband and I love to go camping and now that the kids are all moved out, we want something that we can go out in together that is simple and easy to take care of. Lack of insulation, though, would be something of a problem for us, as my circulation isn’t great and I generally need something warm. We may end up getting a full camper trailer, but if it looks like we’ll end up camping in mild climates for the most part anyway, then we may go with the hybrid.

    1. Rhianna,
      Picking the right RV is always a tricky decision. It looks like you are already asking the right questions, deciding where and when you will do most of your camping should help you. One other thing I will point out is that many of the hybrid campers come with heated mattresses. This may help you in colder weather, but only if you are camping with electrical hookups.
      Good Luck making you decision and please let me know if there is anything I can help with.

  2. We loved our hybrid but the older we get we may switch to something larger. We do seem to take more and more stuff when camp….the older we get. We got the hybrid because most suv’s will pull one. You don’t have to have a pickup truck. That’s great for someone with kids. We do notice sometimes when its very cold, the beds are chilly but nothing an electric blanket didn’t fix. If you want a camper and don’t own a pickup they are perfect!!

    1. What type of hybrid do you own? My husband and I are thinking of purchasing one for our retirement and spending time with kids and grandkids without have to have a large travel trailer.

      1. I owned a Flagstaff Shamrock 19, we have moved up to a 5th wheel now, but we loved the shamrock while we had it.

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