What makes an RV considered off road?

What makes an RV considered off road?

off road conqueror

What makes an off road RV so different? This question is actually a common one and one that needs a clear answer to, because there is some confusion out there about off road campers. One myth is that it’s all about the tires. If you slap on a huge set of tires, then the RV must be an off road RV right? No, there is more to it than that. Whether it is Xplore, Pause, OBI, or another great off road trailer, they share some commonalities. Those traits specifically are what we want to tackle here.

So, what actually makes a camper off road?

First, the suspension.

This is hands down the most important parts of an off-road trailer. If your camper doesn’t have the right suspension, you will destroy it when taking it on the trails and through mountain passes. Have you ever ridden in a vehicle that the suspension is going out? Every little bump on the road feels like an earthquake. Not only does it feel bad, but poor suspension can cause damage over time too. On the other hand, if you have a nice Lamborghini with fantastic suspension, then driving feels like a dream and won’t cause damage to the vehicle. You can think of off-roading in the same manner. Without proper  suspension, your camper will not only drive poorly, but may get severely damaged as well.

off road supsension

What is the best suspension then?

Some may argue that solid axels with leaf spring are the way to go, but let me tell you a little story. A close friend of mine went to a car museum and was transported into the 1920s with these olden day vehicles. The most interesting observation he made was actually about their suspension. Guess what kind of suspension these century old vehicles were sporting. Yep, leaf springs and a solid axel.

Leaf Springs And Solid Axel

The shocking thing is that the suspension on many travel trailers now is still almost identical to what those old vehicles had. Think about it. Do you really want to stick with a century old suspension system? One that was built for cars not meant to traverse much more than a simple dirt or paved road? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying it’s impossible to off road with this old suspension system, but there is definitely better suspension systems that have been created since the early 1900s.

The suspension we would recommend is Independent Coil suspension or independent airbag suspension. These suspensions are a lot more versatile than a solid axel. It allows each tire to move up and down, independent of the other tires. This is a huge deal when encountering rocks, bumps and ledges out on your adventures. Not only does the independent suspension make your rig seem to float over the rough terrain, but it takes off some of the stress, making your trailer last longer.

Second, the quality.

There is a reason you can buy a larger RV meant for the pavement and campgrounds for the same price as a smaller off Road camper. Off road trailers are built to take more stress and made with better materials than your average RV. Off Road trailers are like the Lamborghinis of the camping world. Let me give you a simple example of that quality I’m talking about.

In your average RV, the latches are just cheap little things that often don’t hold cabinets shut under much pressure, sometimes coming open from nothing more than a drive on the highway. This isn’t a good thing because you never want to walk into your trailer to find your stuff scattered or broken on the floor. That’s just the worst! On the other hand, a good off road camper has cabinets with locking latches. The Xplore latches you actually have to push in a button and then turn it before the cabinet will open.

  off road latches


Third, the angle of departure/clearance.

The angle of departure, or clearance, is a big deal because when you are off roading there is going to be rugged terrain. Campers like Conquerors, Pauses and Patriots, all are perfect examples of fantastic clearance. On the other hand, have you ever driven over a dip in the road and heard that awful scrapping sound as your car drags across the ground? That is exactly why angle of departure is a must with off road trailers. Could you imagine trying to take a camper with very low clearance across some of those rocky trails? Taking it a step further, imagine trying to rock crawl with a low clearance trailer. Now that is just a bad idea, plain and simple.

Fourth, The hitch.

Your hitch is easily as important as your suspension. Most travel trailers have your classic ball and hitch hookups, but those are not meant for off-roading. Off road trailers use fully articulating hitches like Mc-Hitch, Cruise master or lock and roll to name just a few. These hitches really are vital in off road situations. In fact, it is a guaranty that your camper and your vehicle will be going at different angles at one point or another.

Conqueror Side Angle

Having a hitch that can articulate and pivot takes off a lot of stress from your trailer, meaning less damage and wear. In fact, with the classic ball hitch that doesn’t articulate and pivot, it can be not only inconvenient, but dangerous.

Of course you would never want to roll your trailer, but could you imagine what would happen if your camper fell on it’s side and you didn’t have an articulating hitch? That’s right, your vehicle would follow suit. That’s not something that you want to risk. Having an off road hitch is a must when you go off the beaten path.

The fifth thing is the capability.

What do I mean by capability? I mean your ability to stay away from the campgrounds and the places everyone else congregates. Off road campers most often have bigger water tanks and battery banks. They also very often have solar power to recharge your batteries out in the wild too.

Here’s the important thing though. Not only do off road trailers have more resources, but they have a way to use them off grid. Your average travel trailer can’t operate many of its components unless the camper is plugged into shore power. On the other hand, off road campers have power inverters which allows everything to operate when you aren’t plugged in. For a trailer to really be considered off road, you need to be able to use everything on the trailer when you are away from civilization.

Finally, the look.

Most of your average trailers are very generic. They look similar to each other despite being different brands. If your trailer looks the same as every other rig on the highway, it’s a little disappointing. That’s not how it goes with Off road campers. They all have their own styles. In fact, when you buy an off-road camper, you become somewhat of a celebrity. When you stop at the gas station or the grocery store people will gravitate to your caravan and ask you about it, because it is so different.

When you take into account high quality, superb suspension, and stylish looks, off road campers really do stand apart from RVs that are made for the road and campgrounds. Knowing this, the choice is yours of course, but if you want my bias opinion, off road trailers are the way to go.

This beautiful world awaits! So, get out there and see it!


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