Hitch Hotel’s innovative expanding micro camping trailer

Hitch Hotel Traveler Expanding Micro-Camping Trailer
The Hitch Hotel Traveler, when expanded, transforms into a snug daytime refuge and a comfortable camper for overnight stays. Images © Hitch Hotel

Back in March 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic began to create chaos, Hitch Hotel, a California-based company, was in the process of raising funds for the development of an innovative telescoping micro-camping trailer called the Traveler. Despite the challenging circumstances, Hitch Hotel successfully launched the expandable Traveler, a unique micro-camper option priced under $10,000.

Hitch Hotel made its debut in 2018 with a distinct trailer concept. This design compacted down and mounted directly to a vehicle hitch without wheels, stretching out at camp to provide space for two people. Initially, the company raised over $170,000 through a successful Kickstarter campaign, thanks to the buzz surrounding its unique design.

However, challenges arose as Hitch Hotel prepared the hitch-able camper box for the market. The design’s weight increased from 240 lb (109 kg) to over 380 lb (172 kg), necessitating a Class III hitch. This change meant that a large, expensive SUV or truck was required for towing, limiting the potential market.

To address the issue, the Hitch Hotel team developed the Traveler by placing the telescoping fiberglass box on a wheeled chassis, creating a more conventional trailer. The company initially planned to offer the wheel-less Hitch Hotel Classic and the wheeled Traveler side by side, but due to lockdowns and supply chain difficulties, it decided to focus solely on the Traveler.

Hitch Hotel Original Wheel-Less
The Original Hitch Hotel.

The Traveler is lightweight for a trailer body, weighing 950 lb (431 kg) empty, making it suitable for crossovers, small hatchbacks, sedans, and electric vehicles, not just large SUVs and trucks. The compact trailer measures 7.8 feet (2.4 m) long when fully extended and 3.5 feet (107 cm) long when closed. It stands 6 feet (1.8 m) tall and is 6 feet wide, allowing for easy storage in garages or against a house.

Hitch Hotel Traveler Towed
The Hitch Hotel Traveler in tow.

Designed to function as both a cargo trailer and hard-sided camping shelter, the Traveler can be filled with various car camping gear, such as tables, chairs, stoves, cookware, and dishes. Its 1,800-lb (816-kg) torsion axle accommodates a payload of 850 lb (385 kg) for gear, while the removable front cargo box provides additional storage.

At the campsite, the Traveler can be transformed into a comfortable, insulated shelter in just a few minutes by extending the body and sliding out the expansion segments. Campers access the interior through a tall tailgate, which can be locked from both inside and outside. The fiberglass interior is lined with marine-grade canvas and padded insulation. A standard 60-Ah battery powers a roof fan, LED light, and two USB ports, while three locking dual-pane screened windows and a bidirectional roof fan ensure proper ventilation. The standard package does not include a mattress, so campers must bring their own sleeping pad(s).

Hitch Hotel Traveler Expanded
When fully expanded, the Traveler cabin extends just beyond 7 feet, providing ample space for two people to lie down.

The 2023 Hitch Hotel Traveler is available for order at a base price of $9,800. Optional upgrades include a 100-Ah lithium battery, memory foam mattress, power closing system, battery-powered A/C, and diesel heater. The company is also working on adding kitchen, onboard water storage, and portable toilet options.

Hitch Hotel hopes to launch the original direct-to-hitch camper in the future, but its success depends on the Traveler’s performance in the market. With its unique design and affordability, the Traveler offers a versatile micro-camping solution for those seeking a compact, comfortable outdoor experience.

Hitch Hotel Traveler Tailgate
The Hitch Hotel Traveler, featuring a tall, wide-open hatch door, transforms into a practical tailgate-style hangout at the campsite.

Source: Hitch Hotel