Hybrid travel trailers (or HTTs) combine some of the convenience of regular travel trailers with some of the roominess of pop up tent trailers. Here's how to decide if these expandable trailers are for you.
A hybrid travel trailer looks like a regular travel trailer - until it is set up.
Then you notice a canvas projection on one or both ends - just like on a pop up tent trailer.
There are beds in the projections, giving the trailer additional sleeping space without adding significantly to its weight.
A HTT has more room for its weight than a hard sided RV does. There can be lots of beds in a relatively small unit.
Since the beds are outside the floor area of the trailer, the trailer feels roomy.
An HTT has a solid roof and walls.
It gives more protection from the elements than a tent trailer does.
Since it weighs less, pulling an HTT takes less gas than pulling a standard travel trailer with the same amount of usable space.
Compared to a tent trailer, hybrid camping trailers are easy to set up.
Set up is very quick with two people working together: one on the outside and one on the inside.
It's even possible for one person to do it alone, especially if she or he is tall and strong!
What if you arrive at your campground late in the evening - or in the rain?
If you have a tent trailer, you must do your set up before you can get into your shelter.
With a hybrid, you can go inside without opening up the beds - a practice known as "turtling".
Depending on your floor plan, you may be able to sleep on the couch or the fold down dinette.
This is crowded and less comfortable, of course, but when you arrive at your campground in the pouring rain it's nice to know that you have the option of scurrying indoors without doing any setup.
Some owners of older model hybrids have issues with leaking around the tent ends - both when the ends are open and when they are closed. If you are buying a used HTT, be sure to check carefully for signs of water damage around the ends.
In cool weather, many hybrid owners report issues with condensation. Moisture from people's breathing collects on the inside of the fabric walls, just as it does in a tent.
Leaving a window open overnight can help, just as it does in a tent. That means that you'll have cold air coming in, though.
And remember - the tent ends are not insulated. If being toasty warm is essential to you, you may prefer a hard sided trailer.
Of course, an HTT requires more set up than a regular travel trailer does.
A canvas-sided shelter cannot be as secure as a hard-sided trailer. If you will be traveling in areas where crime may be an issue, you might prefer a fully secure RV.
There are a few campgrounds in the United States and elsewhere that do not allow tents or tent trailers, because of bear issues. They don't allow hybrid travel trailers either.
You are probably familiar with the camper vans with beds that pop up out of the roof.
There are also truck campers with pop out beds.
Like hybrid travel trailers, these options provide additional sleeping space without sacrificing floor space or fuel economy.
If you want the convenience of a travel trailer with some of the fuel economy and spaciousness of a tent trailer, a hybrid might be the perfect solution!