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#Vanlife: Hitch Hotel lets you tow an expandable camper without any wheels

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There are a lot of options when it comes to sleeping out on the open road. You can rough it in your car, build a deluxe van, bring a tent, tow a camper, or even just toss your sleeping gear on the ground. But if you’re looking for a bit of shelter that’s easy to bring along, the Hitch Hotel looks like an interesting option that can be towed by most vehicles with a Class 2 hitch.

#Vanlife: Hitch Hotel lets you tow an expandable camper without any wheels #Vanlife: Hitch Hotel lets you tow an expandable camper without any wheels

Originally starting as a locking box to safely carry a mountain bike, the design eventually evolved to include an expandable sleeping space. The key to the wheel-less design is a light weight frame that telescopes to expand or contract. This allows the 240lb assembly to simply ride on your trailer hitch without any supporting wheels. Then when you get to your destination, it expands into a sleeping space with 135 cubic feet and an internal footprint that’s bigger than a queen size bed.

When it’s closed, it also still provides 60 cubic feet of storage space to stash some gear inside while you drive to your destination. That’s enough to comfortably store at least two mountain bikes with the front wheels removed apparently.

#Vanlife: Hitch Hotel lets you tow an expandable camper without any wheels

Thanks to the lightweight design, the Hitch Hotel can be towed by a vehicle with a Class 2 hitch and a tongue weight rating of at least 350lbs. That allows you to carry the 240lb Hitch Hotel and up to 100lbs of additional gear inside. And once expanded, the floor can support more than 1000lbs with the adjustable aluminum legs.

Completely waterproof when expanded or collapsed, the Hitch Hotel has a T6 welded aluminum frame with white or black UV gel coated fiberglass for the shell. It includes two vented windows with an optional third, and a number of options like highway legal brake/running lights, root mounted air vents, 12v light and USB port, insulation, and more.

Compared to a trailer, the Hitch hotel will fit in smaller parking spaces, doesn’t have any speed or lane restrictions, requires no registration, and sets up in less time than a tent. Currently, the Hitch Hotel is on Kickstarter and has surpassed their funding goal by more than $50,000. If you want to get in on the Kickstarter, you still have a few days left to pick up a Hitch Hotel for $3,100 which includes free shipping in the continental USA for members of the “First 100 club”.

kickstarter.com

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23 Comments
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JimmySan
JimmySan
4 years ago

What are “cubic square feet”?

JimmySan
JimmySan
4 years ago
Reply to  JimmySan

Nice edit/correction stealth move BikeRumor.

JNH
JNH
4 years ago
Reply to  JimmySan

Something only a creature of The Warp can truly understand.

comrad
comrad
4 years ago

Boy I worry about how much leverage that 240 lbs is putting on the hitch, especially if you hit a big bump.

Seems neat, but lots of worries like price, previously mentioned leverage, and no insulation. Would give it a shot if it wasn’t the price of a used camper/30 nights in a decent hotel

i
i
4 years ago
Reply to  comrad

Believe it or not, hitches are designed for the weight of stuff that gets put on a hitch… you know, like trailers that weigh a lot more than 240 pounds and are half-supported by the hitch. There is a published tongue weight: 300# for class 2, which you’ll note is over 240.

I know, you think you’re a better engineer than the people that designed every hitch, trailer and accessory that’s ever been made; you thought of something that none of them did, right? A problem that somehow has never shown it’s face, but no doubt will some day.

Dylan
Dylan
4 years ago
Reply to  i

The max towball weight rating from Subaru for an XV as in their bottom picture is 140kg, or 308lb. Given the stated weight of 240lb of this thing (and actual weight of just about anything you buy except gold tends to be higher), you wouldn’t need to be packing much in to exceed the rated weight. Easy to picture somebody loading it up and completely throwing off vehicle stability, even if the hitch itself is strong enough.

FWIW, the towball could only carry half the weight of the trailer if your trailer has zero rear overhang. In reality trailers are constructed with the box being relatively centred over the axle, so the trailer axle carries a much higher proportion of the trailer weight (let alone aggregate trailer mass) than the hitch does. In Australia the recommendation is typically for the ball weight to be around 10% of the aggregate weight, and I’ve read that in the US you may go up to 15%, but it’s never anything like 50%. In Europe ball weight limits of 50-75kg are common, even with heavy caravans, so the hitch is potentially only carrying 5% of the total weight.

But of course you knew all that, because you’re a better engineer than Comrad.

r0b0tat0ms
r0b0tat0ms
4 years ago
Reply to  Dylan

On top of this very real issue of towball and tongue weight limits being easily exceeded once loaded, how the hell do you initially mount this thing to your hitch without endangering your toes, bumper or $3,000 box? Seems like some sort of rolling scissor lift would be necessary to do so properly? Maybe I’m missing something…..

Joe Bond
Joe Bond
4 years ago
Reply to  r0b0tat0ms

Heave up one side of box, deploy side legs. Heave up other side of box, deploy side legs. Back “dat ass” of your host vehicle up close to the now raised box and feed the support beam into the trailer hitch.

xcracer
xcracer
4 years ago
Reply to  i

You don’t tow with a 1.5ft long tow bar. 300 lbs at 1.5ft =/= 300 lbs at 6″.

ChknBreast
ChknBreast
4 years ago

Now that’s thinking outside the box!

Tucker
Tucker
4 years ago

this thing popped a up a couple of week back on various 4wding and camping forums and pages I follow.

it was suitably laughed off all of them.

Vazzedup
Vazzedup
4 years ago

Is there a door handle on the inside? don’t see one.

Hobbanero
Hobbanero
4 years ago

During that 3 years of design apparently no one thought to try and open the back door on the vehicle.

Bob
Bob
4 years ago

is there a way to cool this thing or is it only usable in the high mountains or winter months? That is the main drawback of a tent in the midwest or southern states. 95F and humid during the day does not usually change to comfortable sleeping weather at night.

it also does it has some sort of seal on the segments. most campers have a visible seal on the slide out portion. Any crevasse would seem like a great place for things or critters to collect.

i
i
4 years ago
Reply to  Bob

It’s been my observation that people who live in California (like the designers of this thing) have a real hard time understanding that there are places where the weather is not like Cali. They don’t understand that water falls from the sky sometimes, or concepts like humidity or mud.

I can’t imagine the inside of that thing being bearable ever. It would either be an oven or a freezer, and from what I can see, the only way to get any ventilation is opening the door, which would get you eaten alive by bugs.

Interesting idea, but seems to fall way flat on execution. Maybe if they knocked a zero off the price…

Bob
Bob
4 years ago
Reply to  i

Design engineers in California being completely self centered and ignorant of places other than California? You dont say!! /s haha

BMX
BMX
4 years ago

Above ground mobile Fritzl chamber!

Sheriff
Sheriff
4 years ago

Seems like a very complicated solution to a non-existent problem.

Nick
Nick
4 years ago
Reply to  Sheriff

bingo

Dominic
Dominic
4 years ago

I’m less concerned about total weight rating than I am about how much that thing will twist. Even a 2″ hitch mount bike rack with three bikes will twist a bunch under its own weight.This can’t be better.

Padrote
Padrote
4 years ago

I cant handle the irony of buying a van and then putting a huge box on the end of it.

Joenomad
Joenomad
4 years ago

Does it come with a ghost arm to hold the latch door open?

Aaron
Aaron
4 years ago

My favorite part was when that little Scion was carrying another little Scion on its hitch.

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