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Old 06-15-2012, 12:46 PM   #1
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what's the most pup-like hybrid?

Our family's camped for almost 20 years in almost everything: tent, pop-up, 5th wheel, Class C with slide. We sold the latter a few years ago and we really miss camping (but not so much that we're ready to go back to the tent!). Problem is, by now we recognize the pros and cons of almost every option so we need fresh thinking.

We have a 97 Ford F150 4x4 5.6L with o/d. We need something lightweight that sleeps 4 and can accommodate 2 large, energetic dogs. We LOVE the open feel of a pop-up but hate the set-up/breakdown. We camp primarily in the high desert so think dry, windy, dusty, hot days and cold nights.

It seems a hybrid with a small slide (and lots of windows!) might be just the ticket. Or should we re-consider a popup with powerlift (e.g., a Coleman Niagara)?

Anyway, we're hoping for your advice and suggestions, from pros/cons to specific models.

Thank you all in advance for your advice!

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Old 06-24-2012, 07:11 AM   #2
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I think that a hybrid will fit what you're looking for. We went from a popup to hybrid and are very happy. The amenities that our hybrid affords beat the popup hands down. We are able to use the inside of the trailer like a regular hard-side when we stop for food (hard to find places to sit and relax with 4 large dogs), and the bathroom is a nice option when we are not near civilization (speaking about when we are on the road).

Setup is much easier (my opinion) than a popup, and as long as you have a power supply for your AC, you won't have an issue with high desert camping. We live in AZ, and I think a hybrid is the perfect camper for this dry but varied climate (desert to mountain). PUGS (Pop Up Gizmos) or some other type of covering (space blankets) for your bunk ends will help tremendously with both light intrusion and heat buildup/loss.

Canvas bunk ends, of course, are an individual choice. We like the extra room a hybrid affords inside the trailer, and our bunks give us several large screened-in dog perches that allow lots of light and nice views. We've turtled a time or two, and that is also another nice option to have.

Good luck in your search! As many will surely point out, make sure you don't go bigger than what your tow vehicle can handle.

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Old 06-24-2012, 07:27 AM   #3
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Ok... Now that I've given you the opinion about everything you didn't want (I went back and re-read your post), I'll share some (hopefully) helpful info...

Expecting that you realize a hybrid is not going to have tons of storage space, try looking at the FR Roo 183 or 21SS. I'm not sure if those are within your tow limits, but each has benefits. Neither has much (or any) real counter space, but we make do with ours (Roo 233S), so unless it is a huge issue you will figure out ways to find space for what you need to do.

If your kids each need their own bunk, the 183 might be a nice option. The 21SS will have lots of floor space for your dogs, but is going to be heavier than the 183. We have four large (100+/- lbs) dogs, and we have plenty of room on the floor for all four to sleep (I think the 21SS will have at least as much floor space as ours), but they also like to lay in the bunks and keep watch on the world as it passes by our camper.

Most of the hybrid brands carry similar floorplans, but take a look at the various models and see what you think works for you.

Forest River: Roo, Shamrock and Surveyor (Coachman?)

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I'm by no means an expert on hybrids, but google and see what you come up with.
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Old 06-24-2012, 11:23 AM   #4
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Yes, I agree, With a hybrid you get the most bang and space for the $$$. First off, what can your F-150 pull? If it can handle a longer hybrid with a slide, that would be the ticket.

Our 24' 2005 hybrid had a couch slide and 26 cabinet doors or spaces for stuff inside. Loaded it was about 4500lbs. Our new 25' 2013 hybrid has a few less cabinet doors (24), but they are larger. It now has a slide that includes the couch and kitchen, but is about 4800 or 4900 lbs. loaded. I would never buy any RV trailer without a slide.

We also had a pop-up, and with a hybrid some much more stuff can be left for the next trip. Far less loading and moving stuff. On our 2005, we were able to set up camp in 20 minutes.

In my 2013, each cabinet has a purpose. I have one inside I use for flashlights, vacuum, rags, bike parts. On the outside I have 3 storage openings. One is for two toolboxs, jack, lug wrench, tarp, power cord, wheel chokes. Another is for awning lights, brooms, grill, hiking poles, bag chairs, buckets, table and tie down ropes. And the last one is for water hose, clothesline, assorted spray cans and water supply accessories.
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Old 06-24-2012, 07:16 PM   #5
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I just recently got 2012 Roo21SS. Perfect size for our family of 4. I like the tent ends as you get more of a camping feeling yet all the amenities of a TT. I see one issue with your requirements. The front side of the Roo only has one small window above the kitchen sink. Of course you can always open the beds and the door to get more views but that depends on the elements.
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Old 06-26-2012, 09:17 PM   #6
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Thank you all for your excellent advice! It's amazing how many hours you can spend researching campers (not that I'm complaining, mind you).

Like many of you stated, one big advantage of hybrids is keeping the beds out of your living space. Because the rear slide hardside models with bunkhouse in the front (e.g., the Roo 23rs and Jayco Jay Feather x213) also do that, we've been researching and crawling around in both hybrids and rear slide hardsided models.

Our tow vehicle is a F150 with the 5.4l engine and the 3.3 axle, which can handle a fair bit. But it's elderly and we travel in mountainous territory, so we wanted to limit the dry weight to under 4500 lbs. Our other goal was to stay under 25 ft in length.

We finally decided to stick with a hybrid, because we just couldn't reconcile ourselves to feeling as closed in as a hard side TT made us feel. We really love the floorplan of the Roo 21ss (and its kissing cousins from other manufacturers) but the lack of storage and counter space pushed us over to the 23ss. We signed the paperwork for a 23ss today and hope to take delivery next week.

thank you all for all your help!!
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Old 06-26-2012, 09:57 PM   #7
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What about a TrailManor? (hard sided popup). We considered those when we were going from an Apache popup, but sold our tow rig later and went to a class c. In our area it rains a lot so not having canvas is useful. (you don't have that challenge).
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Old 06-26-2012, 11:04 PM   #8
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We've been looking at the 23SS also but the wife is still think TT so we found a Flagstaff 26RBSS that has the exact same living/ slide as the 23ss but with the front bed and full bath in rear. Both weigh about 5000 dry so now we need to flip that coin. I prefer the hybrid as the beds are huge but the wife thinks the TT bed will be easier to make. Plus she likes the bigger bath. I think I'm going to lose.

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