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Old 08-15-2022, 02:47 PM   #1
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Question Do I REALLY need Air Conditioning for a small hybrid-trailer?

Hello Campers,

I'm in the market to buy a small hybrid-trailer (i.e., think 2,700 lbs dry, like a Jay Feather or equivalent).

I do 90% of my camping within 5 hours of Edmonton, Alberta - including the Rockies, various provincial parks, etc. In this climate (similar to Montana), an average summer's day could reach 27C (81F), with the occasional heatwave raising to 35C (95F). Of course, by nightfall, these temperatures drop down to more comfortable levels.

In light of this, do you feel it's worth the expense (and maintenance hassles) of ensuring my future hybrid-trailer has a built-in air conditioner? I've spent the last couple of summer's in a tent-trailer, which has a roof vent, a couple of hanging fans, and the mesh areas zip open to allow for ventilation too. I'm not sure if hybrid-trailers are better or worse in terms of their day-time heat retention. Could a portable air conditioning unit potentially do the job if I changed my mind later, or should I just splurge and get the built-in AC?
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Old 08-15-2022, 02:52 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Craig in Alberta View Post
Hello Campers,

I'm in the market to buy a small hybrid-trailer (i.e., think 2,700 lbs dry, like a Jay Feather or equivalent).

I do 90% of my camping within 5 hours of Edmonton, Alberta - including the Rockies, various provincial parks, etc. In this climate (similar to Montana), an average summer's day could reach 27C (81F), with the occasional heatwave raising to 35C (95F). Of course, by nightfall, these temperatures drop down to more comfortable levels.

In light of this, do you feel it's worth the expense (and maintenance hassles) of ensuring my future hybrid-trailer has a built-in air conditioner? I've spent the last couple of summer's in a tent-trailer, which has a roof vent, a couple of hanging fans, and the mesh areas zip open to allow for ventilation too. I'm not sure if hybrid-trailers are better or worse in terms of their day-time heat retention. Could a portable air conditioning unit potentially do the job if I changed my mind later, or should I just splurge and get the built-in AC?
Based on where you live you probably won't need it, but getting the factory option is usually less expensive and you have to consider future resale.
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Old 08-15-2022, 03:34 PM   #3
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I own a 2018 Jayco 16XRB. It has a factory installed 13,500 BTU AC unit on the roof. Two weeks ago we camped at Ellacoya State Park on Lake Winnipesaukee. That week it was 95 degrees. Were glad we had AC. Tip- put the Pop-up Gizmos on your tent ends. They truly help keeping the heat out, and AC in.
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Old 08-15-2022, 06:36 PM   #4
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I agree with Grumpy. Selling it without air might prove difficult, You may nor want or need it, but the next guy might, and just because you have it doesn't mean you have to use it.
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Old 08-21-2022, 06:52 PM   #5
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When we bought our X17Z last year, we thought it a bit ridiculous that we couldn't get it without AC. But were we glad that we had it this year, in 35C temperatures. For reference, we are in New England.
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Old 08-21-2022, 07:15 PM   #6
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Resale value is king but there is always the possibility that Arizona, Florida or somewhere warm is in the cards. Portable ACs don't work very well, take up floor space, etc. Got one for a porch in Florida and it works but takes up 2 feet square plus must be at a window.
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Old 08-21-2022, 08:57 PM   #7
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Won't hurt to get it then you have it if you need it. Instead of needing it and not having it
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Old 08-22-2022, 07:07 AM   #8
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When you want it , you will be glad it is there.. Don't limit yourself to travels because you are concerned with heat.

We've camped three weeks this summer all in Maine and needed it twice. And not needed it 19 days. But the two days of heat ( we are getting more hot days..about two above 90 this year and maybe 18 in the sweltering 80s.)was tolerable b/c of AC.

I do agree hybrids have better ventilation.. Which makes humidity our enemy.. We ran the AC not because of heat but to dehumidify. In Alberta of course you don't have that humidity.
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Old 08-22-2022, 08:46 AM   #9
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I am not sure you can even buy a TT of any type without AC anymore. I think they are pretty much a standard item.

Maintenance wise, there is very little. I "clean" (shake) the inside foam filter about every 7 days of use. The outside condenser unit, every two years or so, I pull the cover and hose it down. More often if I have been around cottonwood trees that are dropping while using the AC.

I'm not a huge AC fan. Grew up without AC, and we only have a single Mini-Split in our house. Generally speaking I like being warm. Once in a while I like to have a spot to cool off. My DW likes having the AC fan turned on at night for white noise. She is a VERY light sleeper. She wakes up to any sounds in the AM. The AC white noise lets her sleep past the first people who rising early in the AM.

I also added an electric heating element to our AC. Very nice to take the chill out of the air, without using propane.
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Old 08-24-2022, 05:23 PM   #10
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We like the air-conditioned that is in our 17 EX Port hybrid. At night we run the AC to help
drowned out the noise.
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Old 08-24-2022, 05:35 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Jagiven View Post
I am not sure you can even buy a TT of any type without AC anymore. I think they are pretty much a standard item.

Maintenance wise, there is very little. I "clean" (shake) the inside foam filter about every 7 days of use. The outside condenser unit, every two years or so, I pull the cover and hose it down. More often if I have been around cottonwood trees that are dropping while using the AC.

I'm not a huge AC fan. Grew up without AC, and we only have a single Mini-Split in our house. Generally speaking I like being warm. Once in a while I like to have a spot to cool off. My DW likes having the AC fan turned on at night for white noise. She is a VERY light sleeper. She wakes up to any sounds in the AM. The AC white noise lets her sleep past the first people who rising early in the AM.

I also added an electric heating element to our AC. Very nice to take the chill out of the air, without using propane.
Come spend July and August with us down here in Texas, you'll leave a fan of a/c, promise.
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Old 08-24-2022, 07:29 PM   #12
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You likely do not need it in Alberta. As someone said, however, if you travel to other regions in the spring, summer, and fall, you will be glad you have it. In the South, it's hot all year except for the winter. Even then, we've had plenty of balmy Thanksgivings and Christmases. It just depends on where you want to travel. We lived in the PNW for years, and we never had a/c in our cars or homes. Along the way, there were a few heat waves in July that called for it. But we survived.

Down South it is standard issue. That said, I grew up in the San Joaquin Valley and lived in GA for a bit. We did not have a/c in our homes or cars back then. Honestly, I do not know how we did it. It's one thing to be a kid in that, but I cannot imagine how my parents and elders dealt with it. Nowadays, we are much bigger wimps on a lot of fronts. Full disclosure, our a/c is blowing nice and cold at this moment. By my own words, I am have become a wimp.
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Old 08-27-2022, 11:55 AM   #13
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Campers are like breadboxes in the sun. Outside it might be 80 but inside it can get 90 or more from the sun. I would buy the AC. I have a J Feather 19 in Wisconsin and I use the AC more often than not. On cool nights I set the unit on fan.
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Old 08-27-2022, 12:05 PM   #14
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We had a Jayfeather X23B for 5 summers and not sure if we would've survived some of the summer days we camped in it, especially the times we had sites with no shade. I honestly think the hybrid was hotter than the 2 regular campers I've owned since. Definitely get the covers for the pop outs as recommended above.
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Old 08-27-2022, 12:13 PM   #15
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Vent Fan Helps Too

We added a Max Air vent fan and loved that it would exhaust quite a bit of heat and cool the box down
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Old 08-27-2022, 12:20 PM   #16
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I would get it, because the one time you end up somewhere in the heat you will be glad you put it in. There is no maintenance on them other than maybe cleaning a filter or putting a draft barrier in during the winter.
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Old 08-27-2022, 12:23 PM   #17
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Going south in the USA?
Humidity will leave you wishing you had AC.
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Old 08-27-2022, 12:54 PM   #18
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Agree on others indicating to have an air conditioner, but maybe not for same reasons.

De-humidification [only] is possible, but most thermostats don't have a dehumididy function anymore. Last I saw was a 11/12 button ccc2 from dometic. Furion may have it now, however. Still, having the ability and not using often outweighs needing it often and not having it.

Selling down the road may be problematic, and not for the obvious. Finding a model that has AC as an option will be wired for one. A model that AC is not offered, will not be pre-wired. Verybeasy to slap an AC on with adb (manual controls), rewiring or running extension cord to top is definitely not preferred.

Heat Strip / Heat Pump - as was mentioned, a heating option is great. Most ultra-lites only have a single lp cylinder.

Portable AC - you are in an ultra-light or hybrid. Where are you going to keep the portable at in case you need it? Answer: you don't. Have one on the roof up and out of the way. Or built into a cabinet (fancy window unit). And along those lines, a 2-hose portable likely costs more than roof mount from factory.

Just my thoughts.
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Old 08-27-2022, 01:11 PM   #19
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I wouldnt even think about the way the environment is changing. Go big or go home - get the AC
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Old 08-27-2022, 01:36 PM   #20
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Big or small, these puppies are all little ovens in the sun. we had an 18 footer for our first travel trailer and it had a 13,500 BTU air conditioner. I would say they are probably going to be very noisy. At least ours was, but that was a 2008 trailer, maybe they are quieter now. Our second had a 15,000 BTU and it was ducted and direct out of the ceiling. Still pretty noisy. If it were me I would go ahead and get the air conditioner. Resale will be much easier with it then without it. Happy camping.
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