Considering the popup-to-hybrid move

JoeInPI

Member
Aug 26, 2020
16
Presque Isle, Michigan
I'm considering replacing my Fleetwood popup with a hybrid (like a Jay Feather 23B, because we would like to do some late fall/winter weekends, possible deer season trips, and our popup just isn't going to do that again. We did some high 20's and low 30's last season and it just requires too much propane to keep it marginally warm, and not really warm enough for my 84 year old Father on a bunk. This could also be for deer hunting, so my thought is with the larger hybrid, we could just leave both bunks up if we're out in the cold, and sleep on the dinette/couch since there are only 2 of us. Then, we'd also have the popup (out) option in the warmer weather for more space. How are the hybrids on staying warm? I wouldn't think that they would be any worse than a solid side trailer. Am I thinking sane? lol!

Towing with my 2016 F-150...
 

Snow

Super Active Member
Jul 19, 2007
11,906
Ontario
A large hybrid does offer the ability to turtle in the rig if it's cold or you're doing 1 nights but you still have to deal with wet canvas.. When we went dark years ago, we considered a few hybrids for the reasons above but ultimately decided against getting because inorder to turtle with 2 older teenagers, a dog (then two) we would need a large hybrid, so instead we went with a TT with a hard rear slideout bed and front bunks..
 

JoeInPI

Member
Aug 26, 2020
16
Presque Isle, Michigan
Thanks @Snow I did see one of those Outback slideouts- it looked intriguing to me. I had not thought about the wet canvas issue, but I'm guessing that I'd be handling that the same as my popup. I'll have to look at them a little bit...
 

Sjm9911

Super Active Member
May 31, 2018
11,505
Nj
This is what i have. And you can access the beds bathroom and kitchen when the rear slide is in. So plenty of room. Its supost to be a 3 season camper, that means it has a bit more insulation in it. You can tell the diffreance, but im sure ot still gets cold in the winter. I havent really camped in freezing weather. Your truck should handle something like this, it will be slow up hills and top speed will be in the 60s. While not really heavy, its a big change from a pop up. Other options would be just a smaller TT. I wouldnt want to turtle in a camper that wasnt exactly what i needed. Look around you'll find something that right for you. It may take some time. 20210804_180246.jpg
 

GalsofEscape

Super Active Member
Nov 26, 2013
1,088
Maryland
we turtled in our hybrid for the first time a couple of weeks ago. Not really for the temps but it was just a single night with rain threatening and we did not want to set up the bunks. it worked for a single night, but my hubby is a bit on the tall side (6 foot 1) and the dinette is not long enough. and the couch we have is good enough for a kid - not an adult. so i think you need to go see one and lay down on it and make sure you will fit (comfortably).
 

eoleson1

Super Active Member
Jul 5, 2011
3,613
Macomb County Michigan
Disclaimer: I've never used a hybrid. My son and his wife have one and they love it (but they've never had anything else). On to my story....

I have a camping buddy who went from a pop up, to a travel trailer, to a hybrid, then back to a pop up. I was considering going to a hybrid so I talked to him about his experience. He described the hybrid as the worst of both worlds and he was surprised how much he didn't like it.

It was easier to set up than the pop up, but not as easy as his TT.
The air conditioning and heat weren't as effective the TT and not much better than the pop up.
It was louder than the TT and no quieter than the pop up.
It was just as hard to tow as the TT.
He still had to fold it up with wet canvas.
The air flow through the hybrid was no where near the air flow through the pop up.
He didn't like to turtle in it because the dinette be wasn't very comfortable.
The beds were not as comfortable at the TT bed, and he couldn't leave a mattress topper on the hybrid bunk like he did in his pop up.

He advised me to decide whether I wanted a pop up or a travel trailer and go with one of those.
 

Snow

Super Active Member
Jul 19, 2007
11,906
Ontario
I should say .. don't get the wrong ideas from our above posts.. hybrids are great, depending on how you camp, where you camp and when you camp.. I know a few people who have gone full circle, from popup, hybrid, TT, 5er and back to a popup and one even went back to a hybrid again after all that.. Now a 20ft hybrid, with the beds setup, will seam (and is) more spacious then a 20ft TT just because of the bed locations.. but they are no bigger and infact are a whole lot smaller when you try to turtle in a 20ft hybrid.
 

Snow

Super Active Member
Jul 19, 2007
11,906
Ontario
Thanks @Snow I did see one of those Outback slideouts- it looked intriguing to me. I had not thought about the wet canvas issue, but I'm guessing that I'd be handling that the same as my popup. I'll have to look at them a little bit...

Mine is an Outback 21RS. If I could have found one, I would have gone with the 23RS.. from the entry door back it was identical , the big difference was/is the front bunks in the 23 are single over double instead of the twin over twin that my trailer has...

For awhile, every brand out there had something similar, Outback, KZ, Jayco, Shamrock, Malibu.. to name a few.. These days there aren't as many.. As far as I know Outback is the only one still making them..
 

theseus

Living the Darkside...
Silver Supporting Member
Feb 6, 2007
3,494
Centerville, OH
I considered a hybrid, but ultimately went with the trailer for the following reasons.

1. A hybrid wasn’t going to tow any better than a TT.
2. I didn’t want to deal with wet tenting.
3. I wanted something that would allow people to get out of bed without crawling over someone.

As a side note, I didn’t want to deal with a slide, so no slide either.

We love the unit we have.
 

Sneezer

Super Active Member
Aug 8, 2015
2,965
DFW, TX
Same as above. I would like to move to a TT, but financially it just doesn't make sense for us, so I will soldier on with the pup. Biggest cons for a HTT was the beds - neither of us wanted to climb over the other to use the bathroom, which seems to happen way more often when camping than at home. Also didn't want to deal with wet canvas, and many of the used ones often had water damage on the bunks due to poor maintenance.

We found one HTT that we fell in love with - had a murphy bed in the front, slide out dinette and pop out rear bunk. That was perfect for us, but Forest River only made it a couple years and it is damn near impossible to find. We also just found out our neighbors in the back will be building a new fence with a sliding gate on their driveway, which means parking any trailer in our back driveway will require a trailer valet now, and it may be even harder with a small TT. There will not be enough room in the alley to swing wide once they build it.

My dream would be an elusive Airstream with the front slideout and twin beds in the back, but my TV won't handle the TW so that is out. A 25' older Airstream with twin beds would do though.
 

Dingit

Super Active Member
Mar 8, 2017
1,947
Ya know, for me a hybrid WOULD tow better than a TT because a hybrid can sleep more people for the same length trailer and I have 2 kids. Or, alternately put, I don't need as long a trailer if I get a hybrid. Short stuff tows better where we camp.

I could fit us comfortably into a hybrid that is shorter than my popup and it would tow even better than my popup!
 

jmkay1

2004 Fleetwood/Coleman Utah
Oct 10, 2013
7,402
Northern Virginia
long a trailer if I get a hybrid. Short stuff tows better where we camp.
. This is exactly my thought too. Many of the places I camp are narrow and tree lined with tight corners that would be easier for a smaller length trailer to maneuver around but far harder and scarier with a longer setup. Then you will also have to look at maneuvering to get into your campsite. So I say look carefully where you like to camp and what the max length you feel you can get away can getaway with and still fit your whole setup. In my opinion an Hybrid would be better accommodating for a family vrs a TT. With that said all the used hybrids I saw had delamination all around their bunk ends so Finding a used one without existing water damage very hard. My friends love their hybrid although they are good about maintaining even theirs has suffered delamination around the beds. So that appears to be a big downside to them. Good luck with whatever your decision and finding something that works well for you and your family.
 

Dingit

Super Active Member
Mar 8, 2017
1,947
I do find that a popup goes into my garage much easier than a hybrid of full TT would. :)
 

DiamondGirl

Adventures with KODI in AZ
Jul 2, 2016
1,335
AZ
I’ve camped inside a Truck Camper, Teardrop trailer, PopUp, Hybrid and Travel Trailer.

I went with a TT because I didn’t want to deal with the canvas and I wanted to have more camping seasons that allows camping during all four seasons. The air conditioner and furnance works better in an enclosed TT than a HTT in AZ. I have a short TT at 21.5ft. which still allows us to camp at many of our favorite places. It’s a couples coach for just the two of us empty nesters.

Happy Camping…[put&hy]
 

Jon McDuffie

Member
May 30, 2019
19
Same as above. I would like to move to a TT, but financially it just doesn't make sense for us, so I will soldier on with the pup. Biggest cons for a HTT was the beds - neither of us wanted to climb over the other to use the bathroom, which seems to happen way more often when camping than at home. Also didn't want to deal with wet canvas, and many of the used ones often had water damage on the bunks due to poor maintenance.

We found one HTT that we fell in love with - had a murphy bed in the front, slide out dinette and pop out rear bunk. That was perfect for us, but Forest River only made it a couple years and it is damn near impossible to find. We also just found out our neighbors in the back will be building a new fence with a sliding gate on their driveway, which means parking any trailer in our back driveway will require a trailer valet now, and it may be even harder with a small TT. There will not be enough room in the alley to swing wide once they build it.

My dream would be an elusive Airstream with the front slideout and twin beds in the back, but my TV won't handle the TW so that is out. A 25' older Airstream with twin beds would do though.

What is the model number of the Forest River that you referenced? Sounds interesting!
 

Taxus812

Active Member
Jun 1, 2010
233
So we have a 25’ 2015 shamrock 233s. It opens to 30’ and can sleep 10 in (in theory). We planned it so we can turtle in late fall (with my wife and our dog) but with reflectix and heated mattresses it was cozy and comfortable. Days in Mid VT in October we’re still warm however. The table/bed is also very comfortable so we don’t have to pop the bunks out at all if we don’t want to. I don’t worry about wet canvas when camping. The bunk ends seal up when stowed so no moisture gets in. The hard sides are the same thickness and insulated just as well as their TT.

Our coldest nights were only about 30deg however.

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Scotgrob

Member
Sep 21, 2021
11
One thought that might extend your season - PopupGizmos.com. They're covers for the bunkends on popups. Basically, they're a large emergency blanket that you put over the top of your canvas. They reflect the heat back into your camper, so you don't lose quite as much.
 

kitphantom

Super Active Member
Platinum Supporting Member
Dec 26, 2009
13,552
Albuquerque, NM
When it was clear I could no longer handle our 8' Coleman Cobalt reliably enough for solo trips, I did consider hybrids and A-frames, as well as travel trailers. For me, the hybrids available weren't going to be much of an improvement over the popup, except if I turtled, although there looked like there would be less cargo shifting at set up and take down. [With the small popup, with very little storage space to just put stuff in it to stay on the road and in camp, I had to move clothing bags back and forth to put the shepherd's poles in place, plus there was galley flipping, etc..] We opted for a small (17') travel trailer, which has been great. I do have a list for a "someday" trailer, if we can find one that meets the list and limitations, Our TT is not 4 season, and was made before they improved the insulation in general for the model, but we manage into the 20s. We just did that in October, reverting to water jugs for our water supply (we drained the lines) but we still used the waste tanks. With power to run an electric radiator to supplement the furnace, I stayed warm, warmer than in the popup in the same place (with many heat retention measures in place), under similar conditions, with a different space heater.
 

JennG

Member
Jul 27, 2020
73
Lakeville, MN
So we have a 25’ 2015 shamrock 233s. It opens to 30’ and can sleep 10 in (in theory). We planned it so we can turtle in late fall (with my wife and our dog) but with reflectix and heated mattresses it was cozy and comfortable. Days in Mid VT in October we’re still warm however. The table/bed is also very comfortable so we don’t have to pop the bunks out at all if we don’t want to. I don’t worry about wet canvas when camping. The bunk ends seal up when stowed so no moisture gets in. The hard sides are the same thickness and insulated just as well as their TT.

Our coldest nights were only about 30deg however.
I just bought a used 2017 23KSS and I noticed water sitting in the bunk when I opened it. I brought it to the shop and they put electrical tape around the hinge in hopes it would close more tight. Do you have any problems with water sitting on the bunks? It’s not getting in the camper but it’s molding the canvas
 

Taxus812

Active Member
Jun 1, 2010
233
I just bought a used 2017 23KSS and I noticed water sitting in the bunk when I opened it. I brought it to the shop and they put electrical tape around the hinge in hopes it would close more tight. Do you have any problems with water sitting on the bunks? It’s not getting in the camper but it’s molding the canvas

Yes I had one bunk end (now fixed) that had a small gap between the bunk and seal when it was closed. Super easy to adjust. One way is using a couple of wraps of tape on the post. Just a few wraps makes a lot of difference.

The other requires adjusting the threaded rod that connects the latch to the lockable lever. That gives you a bigger adjustment to the latch but you may also have to re-calk. To do that, you need to unscrew the lever (two screws) from the camper and loosen the threaded rod a turn by twisting the lever. Then you re-fasten the lever and look at the seal to make sure it fully contacts all the way around. I got on a ladder and opened and close the lever watching how much the seal compressed. I dont want it to over tighten. It only needs to make light but even contact. To much pressure will cause it to flare out and leak

The tape around the post is easier and I can check (adjust) it a few time a year if needed. I can also replace the tape when it wears out.

If nether work you have to replace the seal. (also not hard)

To test just use a hose and wash your camper ;). Open and hopefully it is dry.

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