Firstly, what is a hybrid caravan?
That’s a mighty good question - and we’ve got lots to explain. That’s why the team at Driva is excited to bring you this ultimate guide on hybrid caravans to help you further understand what you’re getting yourself into!
So, let’s take a look at all the things you need to know about hybrid caravans.
What is a hybrid caravan?
Isn’t it the same as a camper trailer?
Essentially. Many people define hybrid caravans as a cross between caravans and camper trailers.
The key difference is that hybrid caravans take the hard and permanent walls from their caravan side, while they take their towing and suspension abilities from their camper trailer side.
They’re the fantastical offspring of the two!
Essentially you’re getting a caravan that’s capable of providing comfort while still being able to venture off onto off-road conditions.
So, why the ‘hybrid’?
They’re called hybrids because they’re a combination of a caravan and a camper trailer.
You're getting something unique by taking various elements from each of these vehicles to create a hybrid caravan. They’re like Frankenstein’s monster of the vehicle world, except hybrid campers are lovely and not as scary.
They can be as misunderstood as Frankenstein’s monster, however, and are often called by many different names.
Don’t stress, if you see any of the following throughout this article or other articles you read, they all mean pretty much the same thing!
- Camper trailer
- Hybrid camper
- Hybrid camper trailer
- Off-road camper trailer
- Hybrid caravan
- Track trailer
- Caravan cousins
- …or simply, hybrids
Benefits of a hybrid caravan
Hybrid caravans might be luxurious, but their greatest strength is their off-road ability. The best hybrid caravans will have dual shock absorbers and coil springs, as well as heavy-duty brakes fitted—and what’s better than going off the beaten track to parts of the world others may not have seen?
It’s the best of both worlds. Getting to explore without the lack of comfort other options might provide.
Excellent tow vehicle
One of the biggest reasons we call hybrid caravans ‘hybrids’ is because of their towing capacity. A hybrid takes its towing aspects from camper trailers. With a hybrid camper trailer, you’re likely going to get independent trailing arm suspension, making towing and navigation a piece of cake. Not needing an enormously large four wheel drive as a towing vehicle is one of the biggest benefits of a hybrid.
Loaded with features
Hybrid caravans are loaded with great features that may make them your favourite over normal camper trailers.
A great hybrid caravan combines amenities like hot water, kitchens, solar power, shower, toilet, and air conditioning with ease. This just adds to the on-the-road comfort and camping experience. Not all caravan manufacturers will have chosen to include all of these amenities in their hybrid camper trailers, but for the most part, a lot of them do.
One thing to note is that the more amenities a hybrid caravan has, the more weight it has overall.
Weather/wind resistance and security
Due to the hard walls and roof, most hybrids are far more weather resistant than a standard caravan or camper.
This weather protection is perfect when you’re faced with a stormy night or intense wind conditions which might be hurtling sand in your direction. Above and beyond the weather resistance is a sense of security.
Hard walls and roofs mean you’re far more protected against dingos, snakes, and criminals - not that there are many of them around!
Shape and size make it easier to navigate tricky terrain
A lot of hybrids have a more narrow shape and are smaller overall - making them easier to tow. This means;
- You’re able to take your hybrid down narrow bush tracks or paths that might be a bit trickier for standard caravans and campers, and;
- You don’t need a large four-wheel drive to tow your hybrid caravan down off-road tracks, to begin with!
Unlike standard campers, a hybrid is insulated thanks to it borrowing the hard roofs and walls aspect from caravans. This means you’re not only able to stay warmer in colder climates, but you’re also able to take advantage of the air conditioning in warmer conditions.
This is a major benefit and is sure to make the entire family love you even more!
You’d think that all of these benefits would come at the cost of simplicity. However, that’s where you’d be wrong.
Manufacturers in the caravan industry have gone to great lengths to make use of the space in the best possible way, and in doing so, they’ve made things far simpler than expected.
Thanks to less gear, there’s less likelihood of something going wrong in the harsh outback of Australia.
Cons of hybrid caravans
Limited floor and storage space
It’s important to remember that hybrid caravans have given exceptional focus to luxury and the addition of numerous features. As a result, they’ve had to make some sacrifices and one such sacrifice is floor and storage space.
Yes, inside space is limited. Is it a train wreck? No! They’ve been designed to ensure you don’t need to spend all your time inside. Thanks to some models having canopies and many features which are used on the exterior of the hybrid caravan, this isn’t the worst con in the world.
Likely to have fewer luxuries and creature comforts at low prices
This shouldn’t really come as a surprise. When you find models which are cheaper, they’re bound to be missing some of the features that the best hybrids usually have. It’s not a bad thing, either. We can’t all afford to have the best models out there, and the cheaper models are still great.
However, at lower prices, you’re looking at some aspects of hybrid caravans being omitted. For example, no air conditioner, microwave, TV, internal shower and toilet, etc. This isn’t the worst thing in the world though - it’s important to realise that the lower weight your caravan is, the better it will drive and the less fuel it will use.
Outdoor kitchens are great until they aren't
This one is really conflicting. While having an outdoor kitchen provides far more space than you’d get on the inside of your caravan, it’s not always going to be a ton of fun. Why? Well, you’re contending with the elements, and you’re less protected from animals and other creatures.
This is something that might not bug everyone, but there’s always someone out there not a fan of outdoor cooking.
Hybrid caravans can cost a lot of money
This was made clear earlier, but it’s worth repeating. A mid-range model is going to be expensive, and the high-end models are going to give you sticker shock. Be prepared to see some numbers that truly shock you when you’re shopping around for the best hybrid caravans.
But now you know what to look for, there are lots of awesome deals and great finds out there.
So, what are you waiting for? Get your hybrid today!
You’ve got a long list of reasons why hybrid caravans are the best thing ever and a few minor reasons why they’re not. The choice couldn’t be clearer; hybrid is the way to go!
Now it’s time to find a hybrid caravan you like and make a purchase. And as a cherry on top, the team at Driva have already compiled a list of the best hybrid camper trailers out there and sorted your financing options.
The only thing left to do is to start the application process, and you’ll have a caravan in no time!
Are hybrid caravans and camper trailers the same?
No. At their core, they share many similarities, but overall there are some major differences. We define a hybrid caravan as a combination of concepts between luxury caravans and smaller camper trailers. So, you’d expect things on a hybrid caravan like slide-out kitchens and pop-top roofs, all with the explicit purpose of preserving as much space as possible. On the other hand, camper trailers are primarily for sleeping and transporting everything you need. As a result, they’re usually far smaller.
How much is a good hybrid camper?
In Australia, you’re looking at hybrid campers costing anywhere between $30,000 to $200,000. The average cost is $70,000. While these prices are considered the highest and lowest prices, that doesn’t mean there aren’t models out there cheaper or more expensive than this.
Are hybrid caravans easier to tow than caravans?
Yes. This is because hybrid caravans tend to be far lighter than standard caravans. So, thanks to this difference in weight distribution, you can travel somewhat easier with a hybrid caravan. Hybrid caravans are on average, slimmer than their caravan cousins too, making them ideal for taking down narrow bush tracks when you’re off road. Of course, it’s important to take into account what extras your chosen model comes with or what extras you put in the caravan.