We’ve been proud owners of a 2018 Lifestyle Reconn R2 for over 4 years now, and have written a huge number of posts covering a whole array of topics on the Hybrid Camper. This post links to everything we’ve done, to make it easier for you to find what you really need.
Before we start though, know that this is our unit, and was fully paid for (second hand, at a year old) with our own funds, and we’re not interested in sponsored deals, or promotions under the table. These are our thoughts, and we’re completely transparent in our posts below.
After hundreds of hours of research, years of real life use and a comprehensive understanding of Hybrid Caravans and Campers, we’ve written what we think is the ultimate guide to buying a Hybrid Camper. They fit a very niche group of people, and we cover everything you need to look at, and think about before laying your hard earned down.
Lifestyle Reconn R2 Reviews
This was our first post that we wrote on the Reconn R2, explaining a bit about the unit, why we upgraded, and our initial thoughts.
After 3 years of use, and hundreds of nights away, we wrote an independent, honest and transparent review about what we love, hate and dislike on our Lifestyle Reconn R2.
We’ve had our Reconn R2 for 4 years now, and have done somewhere around 600 nights, and I couldn’t help but write an extra long review, for those who really want to know how they perform in long term use.
We’re still travelling full time in our Reconn R2, and wouldn’t be if it wasn’t something that we really loved. It certainly has its compromises, but to date we cannot find an alternative that would be a better option for us, and here’s why.
Reconn R2 Weights
If you are towing anything heavy, I cannot stress the importance of getting someone out to weigh your setup with mobile scales. We had ours done when we were fully loaded for a 6 week trip up north, and the results were super fascinating. Even with a Dmax GVM upgrade, and only towing a 2300kg camper, we were only just legal, and there would be a LOT of people who are way overweight.
Individual component reviews
I don’t really like our Reconn R2 Rope Edge Awning, and we avoid setting it up as much as we can. Here’s why.
Thankfully, our Truma Hot Water System is working fairly well at the moment, but initially I couldn’t hate this unit any further. It would blow out all the time, and I used to get very cranky with it!
One of the most well known Caravan suspension companies in Australia is Cruisemaster, and I was keen to see how their product would go on our Reconn R2 after doing a huge number of rough roads, 4WD tracks and everything else we could throw at it.
The standard caravan water tank gauges are a very vague indication at best, and that’s without bad installation practices. We have two Topargee water tank gauges on our Reconn R2, and here’s our thoughts on how well they work.
The previous owner installed a Quick Pitch Shower Tent on our Reconn R2, and we’ve been using it full time for the portable toilet, and for showers. Here’s our thoughts.
Problems we’ve had
After 5 years of use, our Evakool Fridge (that we run as a freezer only) died to a level that was no longer usable, and we had to get it repaired. Here’s what happened, and how it was fixed.
I don’t really like our Camec door, and its caused a few problems over the years. The latest one was that it had started to sag, and I had to do a bit of a bush mechanic fix to get it working properly.
I knew our Camec door handle would break at some stage, and it did not too long into our Lap of Australia. We replaced it, and show you how, along with the advice of carrying a spare, at all times!
Our Reconn R2 has always worn tyres out badly, and I was keen to go to the manufacturer of the suspension, and see what they could see. As it turns out, Cruisemaster fixed the alignment by installing offset spindles, and I’m over the moon.
Accessories we’ve fitted
After doing a major upgrade to our campers electrical system, we installed 600W of Renogy Solar Panels onto the roof, simply using Sikaflex, and aluminium angle. This was done with extreme attention, after a panel mounted by someone else came off on our way home a number of months prior. If you want to know how to fit Caravan solar panels properly, this will help you out.
Before our Big Lap of Australia, we decided to upgrade our electrics in the Reconn R2 in a big way. We fitted 340aH of lithium batteries, a 3000W inverter, 600W of solar panels and a 60 amp MPPT solar regulator, all tucked away in the storage hatch.
We’ve got three 200W Renogy solar panels on top of our Reconn R2, and I’ve been fairly happy with them overall. They feed into a 60 amp Renogy MPPT, and we still have a 120W panel feeding into a separate Enerdrive DCDC.
When we first got our Reconn R2, we plumbed a portable diesel heater in for warmth, and it worked a treat. Here’s what we did, and how it worked.
After much to and fro, I finally comitted to installing our portable diesel heater into the Reconn R2 as a permanent installation, and I’m really glad we did it. It took quite a bit of time, but its been well worth the investment of time.
After 9 months of full time use, with an induction cooktop, toaster, freezer and other normal appliances, here’s our review of the 170aH Renogy Lithium batteries that we’ve been using.
If you are considering an induction cooktop for camping, then this post covers the finances, benefits and downsides of using one. We love ours, and use it all the time, but it uses a bucket load of power and we are very glad to have gas as a backup.
After buying our Reconn R2 rather unexpectedly, we had to work out how we’d make it safe for our youngest to sleep, and with the help of a local canvas company we came up with a nice baby bunk cot.
One of the best modifications we’ve made to our Reconn R2 was to install curtains for each of our boys. This has helped us keep lights on, have some privacy and feel somewhat human until later on in the night (rather than just turning the lights off at 7PM!).
Caravans vs Hybrid Campers
There’s a lot of people doing a Lap of Australia, and one of the most preferred methods is in a Caravan. Not too many people travel full time in a Hybrid Camper, and here’s our thoughts on whether we regret not getting a Caravan for the Lap.
If you don’t take the time to torque your wheel nuts regularly, you might end up in tears. As it turns out though, the exact torque setting is somewhat vague, and you need to do a bit of digging to get the right information.
Wondering how much water you might use when travelling around Australia? In this post, we take a look at our consumption, and how long we can go without filling up with water.
With the Reconn R4 out now that can come in dual axle, its worth while thinking about what is best for you, and what you really want. We never looked at the dual axle options (they weren’t out back then), but there’s pro’s and con’s to both setups.
We’ve been running a Smartspace Cookware Bundle for a long time now, with square pots and a rectangular pan. These have been fantastic, and are compatible with gas and induction, which was important for us. They also stack well, and as the name suggests, are quite smart with space!
A lot of people overlook tow ball weight, and its hugely important. So much so, that you should check your ball weight with empty water tanks to see what its sitting at, as this will happen from time to time, and you don’t want a crazy high tow ball weight.
If you have a caravan or camper trailer and notice any strange wear patterns on your tyres, you might have considered a wheel alignment. Turns out its a good idea regardless, to ensure your fuel consumption is as good as it can be. Here’s our experiences.
After 30,000km on our Big Lap of Australia, I decided to drop our Reconn R2 off at Lifestyle to get a full service, and had a walk through their production factory. Here’s what they did, and what I thought of their facility.