It seems that campers who choose smaller trailers are often the ones who also have a taste for adventure. So having a small trailer and, many times, a smaller tow vehicle, you have to make some decisions about what to bring. Those kayaks or bicycles may just have to stay home. But, then, what’s the whole point?
The more time I spend looking at the latest offerings from Winnebago, the more I see them truly addressing real issues that owners face. Perhaps that’s because they seem to have their ear to the ground when it comes to product design. And that listening has resulted in the 2022 Winnebago Hike 170S.
The Winnebago Hike can trace its roots back to the old Minnie Drop, which was sort of a take-off on Winnebago’s iteration of the Forest River rPod. But Winnebago went a lot of steps further in the design. In addition, there were significant upgrades made in the cabinetry and finish of this trailer.
Probably the most notable feature on the Hike is the exoskeleton. It looks like metal bars or a roll cage around the outside of the trailer. In a recent interview with Adam Christoffersen from Winnebago Towables, he mentioned that the design of this was very intentional and serves several purposes.
The first of those purposes is that the framing was designed with racks from companies like Thule in mind. The tubing is very specifically intended to be able to accommodate racks that would hold things like kayaks or bicycles—or even storage containers.
This solves a lot of the issues many owners of smaller trailers have—where to put the things you want to bring. In fact, this is one of the biggest reason my wife and I are currently shopping for a new trailer—our eBikes have no home on the road.
The exoskeleton extends to sort of a halo around the bottom of the trailer which, again, serves two purposes. One of those is to provide a place to stand to get to the racks and things you might want to put on the roof or the front of this trailer.
But the whole system is also a good protective measure for branches and other things that could damage the exterior of the trailer if you’re towing it into places that aren’t places on a map. So the exoskeleton also serves as a brush guard.
This is a relatively small trailer. But the first thing to get out of the way is that this does have a dry bath with a proper toilet and shower in separate places. I will admit the shower’s a bit small, but it’s still not a wet bath. In fact, the toilet is actually pretty friendly to those whose physical build enables them to put on the Santa suit at Christmas without the pillow.
The bathroom also features a closet that’s not bad in size. There is decent storage overall in here, again, especially in light of the dimensions of this little trailer.
One of the things that really stands out and seems to be a hallmark of Winnebago of late is the cabinetry. It has a very high-quality feel to it. I have to count myself as a fan of Winnebago’s cabinetry. The overall build quality that they’ve maintained despite all the issues facing RV manufacturers of late is also good.
The kitchen in this is small but features a two-burner stove and a convection microwave. This trailer is specifically designed for folks who want to go off-grid. So the choice of refrigeration is traditional propane-electric, which is very efficient with power.
Boondocking and travel access
On the subject of power, this does come with a single 100-watt Go Power! flexible solar panel. It serves as a battery tender, really. However, I have gotten by for more than a week with my own single Go Power! 80-watt portable solar panel.
Despite the diminutive size of this trailer, it does have a slide room on the road side. It is effectively the entire kitchen. Even so, when the slide is in you can still access everything in the trailer without issue.
One of the many things I like about this trailer includes the fact that the roof and front and rear walls are all a single piece of fiberglass. That means there’s no rubber roof to maintain. Now, that doesn’t excuse you from having to check the seals up there every three months, like a good camper. But there’s something about rubber roofs that I don’t like.
This trailer features a fully enclosed underbelly and comes with 12-volt tank heating pads. It’s well-suited for trips to colder campouts. However, I am by no means calling this a four-season coach. But this is an upgrade from the past for trailers of this size whose tanks were exposed.
There’s also a receiver hitch at the rear that’s good for 300 pounds. On the front is a large metal box which holds the propane tanks. It can also serve as storage for some of the things you might need like wheel chocks or pieces to hook the trailer to the tow vehicle.
This is a nifty little trailer. Now, I’m not a fan of east-west beds but I don’t see how you can avoid that and still maintain a size like this. The body of the trailer is just seven feet wide, so many tow vehicles may not have to have tow mirrors. However, more and better capability in every aspect of towing is never a bad thing.
The fit and finish of the interior of this trailer is really nice. There’s no carpeting but it has a marine-grade flooring product instead. There are no floor ducts for the furnace. There are a number of nice little touches like an LED strip above the kitchen work surface.
The Winnebago Hike solves a lot of things that are inherent in smaller trailers, so when someone tells you to go take a Hike, they may actually be doing you a favor.
I would love to read your comments and suggestions over on our new forums, where you can weigh in and start or join a discussion about all things RV. Here’s a link to my RV Reviews Forum.
Tony comes to RVtravel.com having worked at an RV dealership and been a lifelong RV enthusiast. He also has written the syndicated Curbside column about cars. You can find his writing here and at StressLessCamping where he also has a podcast about the RV life with his wife.
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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