Ultimate Hybrid Camper Guide For Beginners

Rilor Staff
Update: April 12, 2021
Table of Contents

A hybrid camper is a brilliant investment for every outdoor enthusiast. While a standard motorhome brings fun and comfort already, there are still some things that you can only experience in a hybrid camper.

At first, I was not convinced about this matter. After all, several years of using a trailer had already compelled me to believe that it is the best that there is. However, in the summer of 2019, one of my friends invited me to venture the Highway 101 in California with his hybrid camper. After the trip, I was automatically convinced that these "new" campers could really make the good times roll.

If you are aiming to use a hybrid camper on your next trip, your decision is correct. But before you buy one or head to your destination, you might want to read this simple but comprehensive guide about this particular camper. 

Hybrid Camper: What Is It?

What is a hybrid camper?

Many people are exactly familiar with motorhomes, but not with these hybrid trailers. But contrary to popular belief, these hybrid campers have been in existence for roughly two decades already. Their popularity shot up during the time where pop-up campers were steadily declining in use. 

A hybrid camper combines a recreational vehicle with a practical home on wheels. The most popular hybrid designs feature pop-up or removable roofs that maximize living space by transforming the vehicle into a home. This can come in handy if you want to save space, time, and effort.  In most cases, you can pack up your home and move it, saving time and effort compared to building and setting up a conventional house.  Once you park your hybrid camper, you can relax knowing you have your own house to come home to.

In a nutshell, I can say that these hybrid campers are designed to be lightweight but allow more people inside. The weight management of these hybrids is inspired by pop-up campers, while their spaciousness is derived from standard motorhomes. 

Why Choose A Hybrid Camper?

So why did I say that a hybrid camper can be a great alternative to standard RVs and motorhomes? Well, here are my solid reasons. 

Small But Impressive

Hybrid campers are a new concept in a recreational vehicle.  They are designed to be just like a regular motorhome, except instead of using a large diesel engine in the back, they use a smaller 2 to 4-liter gasoline engine and a battery pack to power it.

This allows for a lot of the same comfort and conveniences that a diesel motorhome would offer.  The gas engine can be used to provide power in a lot of the places that it would be needed, and the battery pack can be charged up by the engine while in motion.

Spacious Floor Plans

These hybrid campers are far from being cramped. After all, there are two queen size beds that are rigged to these vehicles. Each of them is placed at the opposing sides of the camper. 

Because of this design, there's no need for you to bring additional beds in the interior compartment of the vehicle. It opens up the floor plan to accommodate extra amenities such as kitchens, storage compartments, and entertainment sets.

In fact, there are some hybrid campers that are equipped with bunk beds. These models are usually bigger than your ordinary pop-up and travel trailers.

It Is Cheaper Than Other Motorhomes And Trailers

One should know that the square footage of a hybrid camper is cheaper than trailers and motorhomes of the same size. Of course, the quality of finish and refurbishment can influence the prices of these hybrid campers. However, it is undeniable that these hybrid campers are a cost-efficient alternative as compared to their counterparts. 

Storage Is Not A Problem

Pop-up campers have to be folded down while you are camping. Hence, it is quite impossible to store a lot of things inside them. It is the very reason why you should only bring your necessities whenever you are using a pop-up camper. 

On the other hand, a hybrid camper will give you generous storage space. It is almost similar to standard travel trailers. The expendable beds free more space for you to store other essential items such as food, clothing, and appliances.

They Don't Need Large Storage Space

Compared to motorhomes and trailers, these hybrid campers are not demanding large parking spaces. They can fit well on small driving ways and crowded campsites. Because they are not that big, towing them is not a problem. 

Are There Downsides On These Hybrid Campers?

Honestly, I can say that these hybrid campers are not that perfect. While they offer a lot of perks, they also have some quirks that can cause minor inconveniences. Here are some of them:

Imbalances In The Temperature

Hybrid campers are prone to fluctuations in temperatures. The middle of the camper can be warm, but the pop-up beds can become cold, especially if the external temperature is low. During warm days, the main compartment is too hot, and only the beds have a comfortable condition. You can fix this issue by installing fans or heaters, depending on which is applicable.


These hybrid campers are also susceptible to condensation build-up. This particular phenomenon occurs when humid air and cold air meet. If the warm air outside gets in contact with the air inside your camper, condensation can take place. 

Tips In Towing Hybrid Camper

1. Make sure that the camper and the towing vehicle are set up properly. They should be leveled with one another. 

2. Take time in turning and reversing. You don't have to rush things, especially if you are not used to towing a camper. You can also practice in open parking spaces. Always look at your hitch and be sure that you will not jackknife the camper. 

3. Be wary of your speed. Vehicles have prescribed maximum towing speed in their manuals. 

4. Clean your camper before and after you use it. The tires, bearings, and hubs should be checked and maintained at all times. You should not let them deteriorate. 

5. Do not overload your hybrid camper. Just because it has generous space doesn't mean that you can put a lot of stuff on it. As much as possible, the camper should not carry a weight that exceeds its GVM. 

6. Ensure that your water tank is full before your trip. Doing this will lower the center of gravity of the camper, allowing you enhanced control while you are driving. 

7. Do not forget to inspect the tire pressure and wheel nuts before traveling. As much as possible, you should adjust the tire pressure to the expected road conditions. 

8. If you are going to drive on off-the-grid terrains and isolated destinations, bring various essentials with you, such as food, water, and extra fuel.

9. Do not drive too fast. Adjust your driving to the conditions of the road and not the other way around. 

10. Check and guarantee that all latches of the camper and towing vehicle are secured. 

11. Park the camper in front of your home two day before your trip. During that period, you should turn the fridge on. 

Tips In Camping With A Hybrid Camper

1. Bring Only The Essentials

You should never overload your hybrid trailer with a lot of items. Sure, it has a lot of space. However, you should remember that it is not as big as your motorhome. Hence, it is essential that you should still stick with the essentials.

2. Organize

If you want to have a successful experience in camping with your hybrid camper, you have to learn how to organize. All of your items should be arranged and grouped according to their use and purpose. For instance, your cooking ware should be present in one place only. They should be separated from your food, clothing, and tools. 

Once you are at the campsite, you can take out some of the items inside the camper and place them outside. It would help free up some space. But before doing this, your items should be kept in a container or storage bin. Make sure that you have a separate bag where you can throw your waste. 

3. Plan Ahead

It's never too soon to start planning for your next camping trip. If you want to have a successful trip, you must start planning early. The earlier you start, the better chance you have of getting the information you want, the gear you need, and the space you need. While planning in advance is key, there are a few things you can do the night before that can make a world of difference.  

Create a checklist of the things that you need to bring. If possible, you should have studied your destination and the traffic conditions of the route going there. If you are going to a campsite, make sure that you know the area's regulations. 

4. Check The Weather

When you're traveling with your hybrid camper, knowing the weather forecast is key to making a campsite decision. It should be part of your packing checklist. If the forecast is questionable, you may want to wait to make a decision. Bad weather can make your driving experience difficult. At the same time, it can eliminate the "fun" in your trip. 

5. Understand The Boundaries

If you are going to an established campsite for trailers and campers, you have to know the boundaries. Specifically, there are no physical walls or demarcations that limit your movement. However, it is not that ethical to get close to other people's RVs, especially if you are not acquainted with them. Do not trespass on their area. Furthermore, you shouldn't enter their campers without their permission.

6. Don't Create Too Much Noise

Going camping means making a lot of compromises. You're giving up a lot of the comforts of home: a pillow, a bed, a bathroom, and electricity—not to mention the steady supply of hot water and hot food. But it doesn't have to be that way. With a little creativity and elbow grease, you can minimize the noise you make and still get the comforts you crave, so you can enjoy your time in the great outdoors.

Camping with your hybrid camper is not an excuse for you to create excess noise. You have to be mindful of your surroundings, especially if you are around other campers. Nobody wants to get disturbed while doing their own stuff. 

7. Pick The Right Area

Choosing a campsite is tough. Do you go for a spot with a view of the lake or mountains? Or do you find a place protected from wind and rain? In reality, the most important thing to consider is whether you have easy access to a power outlet. 

A hybrid camper is a house on wheels, and while you might not need to use your kitchen for cooking dinner, you're going to need to plug in the refrigerator. Batteries can only last so long before they give out, and smart campers always plan ahead. That means a good campsite not only has to have a power outlet, but it also has to be close enough to the bathroom and showers.

When choosing the ideal campsite, I suggest that you move away from those within cities and towns. There's a good chance that these in-city trailer parks are full of people. If you want peace and leisure, travel some distance and settle on some secluded camping grounds.

8. Practice Leave-No-Trace Principles

While camping is a time for everyone to have fun, it should also be a time to be responsible for the natural environment. If we all follow the practice leave-no-trace principle, we can make sure we leave the environment in the same or better condition than we found it.

The leave-no-trace principle is a set of guidelines to follow when you are camping to make sure you leave nature as it was before you came. It includes rules about how you should store food (make sure animals can't get to it), how to clean up after yourself (make sure the area is as clean as it was before you came), and how to dispose of waste (make sure you are not polluting the environment). In addition to following these rules, it is essential to know that leaving no trace doesn't only apply to the campsite; it also applies to where you hike.

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