Our new hybrid

Discussion in 'PopOut (Hybrids)' started by GreenEnvy22, Dec 20, 2021.

  1. GreenEnvy22

    GreenEnvy22 Member

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    Jan 17, 2016
    Hi all,
    I posted a bit about this in a towing thread looking for advice, but now we've got our popout and our new tow vehicle, so going to post it here.

    We've had two popups, and really like going camping in them. My middle daughter also loves driveway camping too, which we have done most weekends the past year.

    We decided we wanted to move to a hybrid/popout for ease of setup/packing and also to allow for all year round (driveway) use here in southern Ontario Canada. We still wanted tent beds because we love the camping feeling of being in those, and also you save so much floor space with them.

    Our 2012 Dodge caravan towed our 12 foot popup ok, but would not be able to handle anything bigger. So we decided to get a new vehicle. We settled on a Hyundai Santa Fe XL. This is the extended wheelbase, 3 row version of the Santa Fe. It's rated at 5000lbs and 500lb tongue weight when it has AWD. We didn't want to go up a size class to something like a Ford Expedition or Suburban side, because we're only towing a few weekends a year and don't want that fuel economy hit all the time. It came down to a Ford Explorer and the Santa Fe. They had almost identical specs but we both preferred how the Santa Fe drove. I bought a 2014 with only 88,000km on it.

    For the camper, we bought a 2007 R-Vision Trail Lite Bantam F-18. It's rated around 2600lb dry, and GVWR is 3754, so even fully loaded should be within our comfort zone. We really like that it has both a dinette and a couch that both convert to beds, so my daughter and I can camp inside all winter without opening up the tent beds. It was the smallest/lightest one I could find that still had that and a bathroom/shower and large fridge.
    We've done a couple weekends of driveway camping already and it's great :) First weekend was still warm enough that we used the rear popout too, and this past weekend just used the internal. Even with my youngest (3yr old) in there as well it still worked. The kids slept on the couch bed, and I slept on dinette.

    One thing we found when we got it home, is that it was very close to not fitting to the back of our driveway. Our driveway is double wide in the front of house, then continues beside the house as a single width, to the detached garage behind. The house chimney is along that driveway and sticks out about 16 inches into the driveway. Never an issue with the popup, but I had added a direct vent fireplace a couple of years ago and put it's vent coming out the side of the chimney, and it's about 2 inches to low for the new camper to pass by (I installed it as high as I could by code). So that meant it ate up another 6-8 inches of driveway. With the camper all the way to the edge of the driveway, I have about 4-5 inches of clearance getting the camper past that pinch point. I didn't feel comfortable doing that with a vehicle so I bought a manual trailer dolly which worked great for pushing the camper past that.
    I won't be towing this one until next spring (borrowed a pickup to take delivery as we didn't have the santa fe yet). However this weekend I did tow away our old popup to a family members farm to store until spring when I can sell it. The Santa Fe towed so much nicer than the minivan did.

    One extra use we might have is as a quarantine location, both for the current Covid situation, or anytime someone get a flu or something. My wife works in a long term care home, and they had a bad outbreak the first go around with Covid. With Omicron spreading so fast, we're pretty sure they'll have another one soon. So if that happens, she wants to move into the popout. So now I'm just researching how we can make at least the toilet functional in winter. Seems like just some RV antifreeze in the black water tank will work. The fresh water tank I believe is actually inside the main body, so it won't freeze because we'll be keeping the camper at a livable temperature anyway (electric since it's available). Showers might be an option too, but I feel like that tank would fill up too soon and would need a lot of antifreeze due to dilution.

    So I'm looking forward to learning the quirks of having a hybrid/popout, and hopefully going camping more often since it's so much easier than the popup.

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  2. theseus

    theseus Living the Darkside...

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    Feb 6, 2007
    Centerville, OH
  3. neighbormike

    neighbormike Well-Known Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Oct 6, 2012
    Congratulations on the new camper!! Looks very nice!
  4. BillyMc

    BillyMc Well-Known Member

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    Mar 25, 2018
    South Carolina
    Looks nice. I don't know where you are or how cold your winters get. If it's going to be cold enough to worry about the tanks I would recommend leaving the bunks closed and sleep on the sofa. If you plan to use space heaters also plan on connecting it to more than a 15 amp household breaker. Even hooked to a full 30 amp service all the outlets in the camper are usually supplied by one or two 15 amp circuits, plug in a 1500 watt space heater and that circuit is near maximum load. Get some rigid Styrofoam board insulation to close off the underside, thicker is better. Use a plumb bob from the edge of the camper to mark where to put some support stakes. Then place the foam boards against the camper and drive long stakes on the outside to hold them in place. Insulate you propane tank and regulator from the cold as best you can while still being able to change the bottle. You may also need a heat lamp under it to prevent frozen pipes. Leave an easy to remove section for emptying the waste tanks. Make sure you have a place to dump the tanks before you fill them with waste. I can dump ours by removing the clean out plug for our sewer, but not from where it stays parked. I did a practice transfer dump by filling the turd taxi with fresh water to see if I could roll it around the house full by hand and dump it without spilling. Yes I can, but one with bigger wheels would probably roll easier. The refrigerators aren't frost free so I would turn it off for a couple hours every week or two if you end up long term. Ask your smart phone or device to set a timer to remind you to turn it back on, trust me eventually you will get sidetracked and forget.

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