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5 Things To Consider Before Purchasing An Off-Road Trailer

 

5 Things To Consider Before Purchasing an Off-Road Trailer

The pandemic had many unforeseen consequences and changes to the US Economy. Some good and some bad. One big difference was the outdoor activity increased substantially. There were an estimated 7.2 million first-time campers in 2022, and over the last two years, an estimated 15.5 million more added to that number. One of the results of this surge of campers was that finding a campsite was reported to be 5x harder than it was in 2019, making 2022 the most booked year for campsites on record across the United States.

Sorry Camping is Full Sign

Simple math would suggest that unless we are adding exponentially more campsites each year, it will continue to grow harder and harder to get a campsite as time goes on. For this reason and many others, people are opting to move over to the off-road market where space is in abundance and no reservations are needed.

In an Amazon next-day shipping world, we have grown accustomed to getting what we want, when we want. This level of freedom has become hard to do with on-road campers, whereas off-road campers have opened a new world of possibility and spontaneity.

I have a good friend who is an owner of an off-road trailer. One day he came into our experience center and told me about a recent experience. He was overjoyed to report that at the last minute he decided he wanted to go camping with his wife during one of the busiest times of the year. Shocked that he would want to do that, knowing what a crazy time of year it is to try and go last-minute camping, he went on to explain that they packed up their off-road trailer and drove to the San Rafael Swell in Utah. With a huge smile on his face, he shared that they were gone for a week and in 6 or 7 days they only saw one other person. They found a beautiful spot at the edge of a cliff they camped by, and he told me, “I have stayed in the nicest hotels across America and none of them could offer us the kind of view or experience we were able to have with our trailer.”

His experience has always stuck out to me because those kinds of things are just not possible in a trailer designed to be at a campsite. Off-road trailers are designed to be off-grid and off-road without hookups to water or electricity. Capable of handling rough terrain and extended stretches of washboard roads give you access to traditionally inaccessible camping destinations providing unforgettable views.

Jim exploring remote Alaska with his off road trailer
(Jim exploring remote Alaska with his off road trailer)

So how are off road campers different from traditional on road campers?

1. Construction

The way off-road trailers are built is significantly more robust than traditional trailers. Massive all-aluminum frames, thick powder-coated steel, or hot-dip galvanized steel frames are most commonly used in off-road trailers. Compared to standard American trailers, you will see a huge difference when you see an off-road trailer frame vs. a traditional trailer.

 

RV Construction

The walls are stronger, usually made out of fiberglass, composite materials, high-density foam for insulation, and aluminum. The materials used in the walls vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, but the best manufacturers build walls that will last a lifetime. In addition, the cabinets often have locking mechanisms that prevent them from swinging open on bumpy roads.

When you buy an off-road trailer, you want something that can handle a beating, so they are built to anticipate and withstand it.

2. Suspension

The suspension is one of the most distinguishing and commonly looked for features on an off road trailer. RV suspension

For hundreds of years, we have been using leaf springs and axles. The invention of independent suspension opened a new world of possibilities. It provided the ability to traverse uneven terrain while maintaining balance and stability. Properly designed suspension also prolongs the life of your trailer by reducing the stress put on the chassis and body of the trailer. Its purpose is to take the stress so your trailer doesn’t. Having a capable, strong suspension is an integral part of a proper off-road trailer.

3. Clearance 

One of the big reasons many trailers are not taken off-road is the presence of boulders, dips, and terrain that make it impossible to pass without appropriate clearance. Off-road trailers typically have much more clearance than a standard on-road trailer.

RV Clearance

Traditional on-road trailers often have black and gray release valves hanging low and other components likely to get caught and ripped off during anything other than on-road travel. In contrast, the underside of off-road trailers is usually very clean, with nothing hanging down that can get caught and damaged.

4. Off Grid Power

Another prominent feature of off-road trailers is their off-grid capabilities with power. In the past, it was out of the question to run the AC on your battery or camp without a generator off-grid. Now, you can. Off-road trailers vary in capabilities, but recently you can get trailers with over 1000 amp hours of lithium, allowing you to run a 120V 13,000 BTU AC unit for 10 hours completely off-grid without a generator. If used sparingly or at a temperature that the AC can reach and turn off, you can camp for a week without a generator. Good solar, great construction with proper insulation, a strong inverter, and powerful battery capacity make this possible. What you can do while never being connected to any water or power source was simply not possible in the past. This ability to disconnect and be one with nature is what makes off-grid camping so special.

5. Cost

Lastly, due to the increased cost of construction materials and build quality, off-road trailers are more expensive. Plain and simple. No way around it. You could buy a trailer twice the size and probably still pay less than what you might for an off-road trailer. But they are made to do different things, and technically, an off-road trailer can go everywhere an on-road trailer can go, but an on-road trailer can’t go everywhere an off-road trailer can.

Pause XC20.3 Exploring Remote Destinations
Pause XC20.3 Exploring Remote Destinations

Conclusion

Off-road trailers offer a unique and unparalleled camping experience that traditional on-road trailers simply cannot match. From robust construction and advanced suspension systems to high ground clearance and off-grid power capabilities, these trailers are designed to take you to places you’ve only dreamed of. While they come at a higher cost, the investment is well worth it for those who seek adventure, freedom, and the beauty of the great outdoors.

If you’re ready to explore the possibilities and experience camping like never before, consider investing in an off-road trailer. Don’t let crowded campsites and limited access hold you back from your next adventure.

Take the next step towards your ultimate outdoor experience. Download the Off-Grid Camping guide today to learn more and find the perfect off-road trailer for your needs.