What is an Expandable Travel Trailer?

Expandable Travel Trailer
Image source: www.jayco.com

Just when you think there surely can’t be another type of RV out there on the market, you learn about the expandable travel trailer. Also known as hybrid RVs, expandable travel trailers are a cross between a pop-up camper and a hard-sided travel trailer. While in motion, the hybrid RV looks just like any towable trailer on the road. But when parked, the front and rear of the trailer can open and expand outward. These expansions – which are made of the same vinyl and canvas materials and meant to function exactly as pop-up camper extensions do – typically house sleeping quarters.


Expandable travel trailers do offer several advantages for today’s RV enthusiasts. Consider that these rigs are:

  • Relatively lightweight to tow – Towable by trucks, SUVs, and in some instances, minivans and cars, hybrid RVs are an excellent option for families looking for a camping adventure without too much hassle. Be sure to always check the weight restrictions on any vehicle you plan to use as a tow vehicle.
  • Compact but spacious – Because of the expandable ends, the body of the travel trailer can be dedicated to a roomy living area, kitchen, and bathroom, amenities that are sorely lacking in traditional pop-up campers. Yet, because the expanding ends can be tucked away during travel or even during the day, the unit itself is compact and easy to bring to most locations. What’s more, the core living area is accessible even when the sleeping quarters are collapsed. You can’t do that with a pop-up camper.
  • Customizable – Depending on its size, an expandable travel trailer can be customized with different amenities and finishing touches – think stainless steel appliance upgrades, interior color choices, energy-efficient windows, and more – so you can get the rig that will truly suit your taste and needs.


As with any RV, the expandable travel trailers have some disadvantages, too. For example, with one of these rigs you can expect:

  • A reasonable amount of maintenance – Because of the expandable aspect of these hybrid RVs, as well as size and potential customization options, the maintenance can be more involved than some other types of RVs.
  • A higher risk of mold and mildew growth – The expandable portion of these RVs (again, typically beds encased in canvas) are susceptible to mold and mildew growth, particularly during wet weather and humid conditions. These spaces will need to be dried fully before the rig sits unused for any length of time.
  • Limited storage space – Finding space for your things can be a challenge in any type of RV, but may be particularly challenging in a hybrid RV, especially if you travel with a lot of gear.

So, is an expandable travel trailer right for you? Let us know what you think in the comments or contact us today!

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