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RV Review: Hi-Lo Trailer

My poor parents. As kids, when my sister and I would see Hi-Lo trailers on the road, it became a long string of us saying, in the most annoying voices ever, HI LOW. Over. And over. 

Today in the campground I was sitting here writing reviews and stories and what should pull in in the next spot over? A Hi-Lo trailer. I was surprised – I thought the company was gone. Nope. 

Hi-Lo Trailers

I was right, sort of, that Hi-Lo trailers had disappeared from the scene. Like so many manufacturers, Hi-Lo disappeared after 2010 following the economic downturn. But one of the company’s dealers, William Kerala, thought that the brand should continue and bought the rights, trademark and intellectual property from the original family – and so Hi-Lo Trailers are back. 

The history of the company is interesting. Their website is pretty fun to look through with historical images of Hi-Lo products including ones I didn’t know they even made – motorhomes. But there are plenty of images of the iconic trailers whose top halves raise up. 

I’ve written before about aerodynamic drag and how much it affects your fuel mileage. So I had to be a nosy neighbor and ask the camper with the Hi-Lo how badly the trailer affected the fuel economy of her Toyota 4Runner. She was surprised by the minimal hit to fuel economy the trailer causes.

About 20% reduction in fuel economy on the straight and narrow is about what she has been experiencing. This is far, far better than my own truck. It can achieve about 20 miles per gallon unladen versus about 11 miles per gallon with my light trailer in tow. 

Interestingly, Hi-Lo is not located in Indiana, but in Transfer, Pennsylvania. 

The Grand Tour

There are two models of the Hi-Lo trailer: a Wanderer RB (rear bed) and a Wanderer SD (side dinette). I thought the model with the rear bed was the most intriguing. That happens to coincide with the fact that that’s what my neighbor had. 

Your first step is to raise the roof. No, no. Not hold some epic party. Hi-Lo trailers are essentially cut in half along the middle. The top half goes up and down courtesy of an electrically-driven hydraulic system. 

Once you’ve upped the ante by upping the top, you step inside the RB where the kitchen is along the front. It consists of a counter with a two-burner cook top and small sink. That sink is fed by a 10-gallon water tank and drains outside the camper. So you can run a hose down a sewer if you’re in a park with full hook ups, as I am right now. Or you can run it into some form of collection vessel like a bucket. 

There is a small three-way fridge over on the road side. This allows you to keep the thing cold while on the road courtesy of power from your tow vehicle. 

The bed occupies the rear/camp side of the small trailer and provides storage beneath it, of course. Along the foot of the bed there’s a wall onto which a folding table is located. That’s the dining spot. 

In addition to sleeping and eating, there’s also a provision for a cassette toilet on the camp-side rear wall of the trailer. 

In summary

This trailer has the basics but it’s more camping than full-on RVing when you consider the lack of a gray tank. However, we’ve also recently looked at several RVs that have no gray tank, including the Palomino Backpack SS-1251. A more similar concept to the Hi-Lo is the TrailManor, which we looked at a while back. 

The TrailManor offers more amenities but shares the light weight and aerodynamic nature with the Hi-Lo. I had written in an article a while back that I thought this configuration makes a tremendous amount of sense. Some RVers seek greater fuel efficiency without giving up many, if not all, the comforts of a traditional RV. 

Seeing my neighbor towing this and hearing about how small a hit it takes on her fuel economy was encouraging. I don’t always advocate towing a travel trailer with things like a 4Runner or Jeep. The aerodynamic drag is more of a challenge to overcome than the actual weight of the trailer. Oftentimes, just because a trailer is within the specifications of what these vehicles can theoretically tow, factors like the tongue weight can actually mean they are more than the vehicle should tow. 

Enough of that. A Hi-Lo trailer might be a good choice for some campers and, who knows, perhaps the kids in the car behind you might be annoying their parents by hollering “HI LOW” when they see it. 

Tony comes to RVtravel.com having worked at an RV dealership and been a lifelong RV enthusiast. You can find his writing here and at StressLessCamping, where he also has a podcast with his wife about the RV life.

These RV reviews are written based on information provided by the manufacturers along with our writer’s own research. We receive no money or other financial benefits from these reviews. They are intended only as a brief overview of the vehicle, not a comprehensive critique, which would require a thorough inspection and/or test drive.

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REVIEW OVERVIEW

Easy towing
Garageable
Limited availability
No gray tank

SUMMARY

Hi-Lo trailers is a brand that goes back to the 1950s and has been revived today. These trailers ability to raise and lower their tops makes them easy towing and garageable.

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Donald N Wright
2 months ago

I like this camper, trouble is, the ceiling height is a little low.

John Macatee
3 months ago

Interesting, however it’s all about the $$$, it’s great until the cost is to high.

Robert Jensen
3 months ago

Where do you hang clothes? Where do you use the portapot? If the outside is wet, do you have to wipe it down before lowering? It is heavier than a 15 foot tt with a wet shower.

wanderer
3 months ago

Good informative piece, thanks! Did not realize the plumbing is one of the things left out. Wonder if one could attach a blueboy to catch the grey water?

Glad to see this option for people who don’t have, or want, behemoth trucks or SUVs for towing.

Steve flippo
3 months ago

To me Hilo represents the true character of rving…economical, innovative, practical. I just wish they were more readily available.

Bob p
3 months ago

Back in the day(the late 80s) I toured an RV show in Birmingham, AL and toured a HI LO display that included a 5th wheel. I’m not sure of the length but I would guesstimate 28’-30’ that hinged at the back wall and raised and lowered at the front. Interestingly when lowered t was about the same height as the roof line of the towing truck making for an aerodynamic profile.