Is an overland trailer really worth the expense?

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Billiebob

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Is it worth it? Stays loaded and ready all the time.
View attachment 144031
View attachment 144032View attachment 144032
This ^^^ is the biggest reason to tow a trailer.

Off work on Friday, hook up, stop for some food and beer..... GO.
Home late Sunday, drop the trailer, the SUV? is ready to go to work.

That is the beauty of a trailer. It maximizes the overlanding time, minimizes the load up and pack up time.
Lets you come home late and make it to work on time.
 

Greayghost

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Just to toss in an extra 2c, building a trailer is not everyone's cup of tea. And they are expensive to purchase.
However one thing that is very important to the wife and I is Comfort!
Nothing beats a shower and a heater after a hard day of riding the dunes in early spring. The ability to cook a meal without dirt and bugs is fantastic. Dressing the fresh caught fish without having to fiddle with water jugs and fish hands is handy.The security of being able to lock up your expensive gear while your out adventuring Is nice. ( locks only keep honest people out)
It's what fits the specific person's needs that counts, but we will never go back to tents I enjoy the memory foam too much.
 

m_lars

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I'm another one who likes having a trailer for the grab and go aspect of it. Until recently my wife's schedule was very irregular and we needed to be ready to go if she unexpectedly got a night off. I am also another DIYer. IMO, most of the manufactured ones are stupid money. No offense meant to anyone, they're just not worth it to me even if I had the cash lying around. I built as much of mine out of salvaged materials and bought the RTT used (KSL.com in SLC usually has a few at a time up for sale). I'm into mine for under $1500. Compactcampingconcepts.com is a great resource if you want to try the DIY route but don't yet have the fab experience. IMG_9907.jpgIMG_9908.jpg
 

Jean Klaude The Jeep

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My Jeep is a daily driver so a trailer is a good option for me, everything is loaded and ready to go at a moments notice, just need food and clothes. The turnkey built trailers are way to expensive for me. So I’m building my own DIY PoBack Off-Road Trailer Build

I’ll be well under $10,000 when I’m finished, and I’ll be able to repair it if something breaks because I built.
 

taliv

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I'm firmly in the pro-trailer camp, though there are downsides

1- grab and go is great, for weekend trips or bugging out
2. not having to break camp if you need your vehicle on a trail or to go somewhere
3. much more space and weight budget - leaves room in the tow vehicle for friends and family

on the downsides...
1. tight turns - i scout ahead a LOT more with this than i would a smaller trailer
2. probably $, depending. however, a lot of people prob don't realize that with "campers" unlike cars, you can finance with 20 year loans so monthly payment can be quite small (not that i recommend that)


I use an imagine trailvan and for my specific trailer (3 years, well over 100 nights, at least 30k miles), I have to say I'm kinda surprised a lot more people don't own them. people seem to go the conquerer route instead, which is definitey cool. the imagine is similar but the conquerer costs 2-3x as much, and is larger and weighs a lot more. the imagine has simpler suspension, but since it weighs a lot less, it doesn't need it. it's still sturdy though, with a thick aluminum frame, and a good system of sealing the doors.

What I like about this style of trailer more than the box trailer with RTT, is that i don't have to set much of it up. for example, in the pic below with the snow (north of coeur d'alene) I just popped out the forward facing double bed, and left the other double bed stowed, which is way less space to heat. if i'm catching a few zzz's in a walmart parking lot on my way to somewhere cool, it takes under 90 seconds to flip that bed out and climb in, and nothing is hanging outside the vehicle footprint.
i think the largest conquerer will let one person sleep inside without even popping anything up. but again, $$ and size and weight.
but if i feel like taking the time, i can deploy all the popups and a very large room tent that covers the pull out kitchen and uses the trailer as one of the walls.
or, if i don't feel like doing that, in less than 30 seconds, i can deploy the 270* bat wing, and stow it almost as fast.

I also like that i can stand up in the trailer (I'm 6'5"). and have an inside toilet, though there's not room to do much else. (comes with a separate shower tent)
If you are into long distance shooting, it's also pretty comfy to shoot from either bed too.

I like that the electrical system (solar and 300Ah batteries) is extremely simple. there are no complex/heavy/expensive panels, ipads etc. it's pretty easy to figure out and work on. (which is good because it needed to be rewired from the factory...)
I like that everything on it locks. (apparently theft is a thing in SA) so i don't have to worry about someone stealing the 4 jerry cans on the back, etc
And there's a LOT of ventilation, or not so much, depending on how many windows you open.

in the last pic, you can see the bar is much better than any other trailer I've seen. covered a lot of ground and never had any problems keeping bottles and glasses where i put them. that's obviously a big part of what sold me on this trailer lol. 90L fridge/freezer keeps ice and everything you need to make a great old fashioned in the evening, then bacon and eggs in the morning.

on the downside....
the smaller, lighter box style and little tear drops are easier to muscle around if you need to on a tight turn.
i also think in bear country some times of the year, it may not be wise to cook and sleep in the same spot. a lot of the little trailers make built in kitchens, but it seems just as many people have a box for stowing stuff that they could carry 100' away and cook, then hang.

cades cove
,AD8CD4A6-9D34-45B8-A8F9-B22A15E3DCBB.jpeg
TN
4A323646-6BE1-4FF3-930F-BEA43F57A7C4.jpeg
north of coeur d'alene
6A76B29D-1CD5-44BE-913F-9B37C9A46252.jpegE413EC1A-8FE9-42D6-A6CD-894B98C24B7A.jpeg
Ouray
40267EB5-8585-4BE4-AD57-2BFA8CFAABC7.jpegFAAB51ED-2A2B-40DB-B141-3B46481580F7.jpeg
 

tundra21

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In my opinion buy used we are looking at two rigs that fit our needs. Less depreciation and the bugs have been fixed.
 
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JDGreens

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I'm firmly in the pro-trailer camp, though there are downsides

1- grab and go is great, for weekend trips or bugging out
2. not having to break camp if you need your vehicle on a trail or to go somewhere
3. much more space and weight budget - leaves room in the tow vehicle for friends and family

on the downsides...
1. tight turns - i scout ahead a LOT more with this than i would a smaller trailer
2. probably $, depending. however, a lot of people prob don't realize that with "campers" unlike cars, you can finance with 20 year loans so monthly payment can be quite small (not that i recommend that)


I use an imagine trailvan and for my specific trailer (3 years, well over 100 nights, at least 30k miles), I have to say I'm kinda surprised a lot more people don't own them. people seem to go the conquerer route instead, which is definitey cool. the imagine is similar but the conquerer costs 2-3x as much, and is larger and weighs a lot more. the imagine has simpler suspension, but since it weighs a lot less, it doesn't need it. it's still sturdy though, with a thick aluminum frame, and a good system of sealing the doors.

What I like about this style of trailer more than the box trailer with RTT, is that i don't have to set much of it up. for example, in the pic below with the snow (north of coeur d'alene) I just popped out the forward facing double bed, and left the other double bed stowed, which is way less space to heat. if i'm catching a few zzz's in a walmart parking lot on my way to somewhere cool, it takes under 90 seconds to flip that bed out and climb in, and nothing is hanging outside the vehicle footprint.
i think the largest conquerer will let one person sleep inside without even popping anything up. but again, $$ and size and weight.
but if i feel like taking the time, i can deploy all the popups and a very large room tent that covers the pull out kitchen and uses the trailer as one of the walls.
or, if i don't feel like doing that, in less than 30 seconds, i can deploy the 270* bat wing, and stow it almost as fast.

I also like that i can stand up in the trailer (I'm 6'5"). and have an inside toilet, though there's not room to do much else. (comes with a separate shower tent)
If you are into long distance shooting, it's also pretty comfy to shoot from either bed too.

I like that the electrical system (solar and 300Ah batteries) is extremely simple. there are no complex/heavy/expensive panels, ipads etc. it's pretty easy to figure out and work on. (which is good because it needed to be rewired from the factory...)
I like that everything on it locks. (apparently theft is a thing in SA) so i don't have to worry about someone stealing the 4 jerry cans on the back, etc
And there's a LOT of ventilation, or not so much, depending on how many windows you open.

in the last pic, you can see the bar is much better than any other trailer I've seen. covered a lot of ground and never had any problems keeping bottles and glasses where i put them. that's obviously a big part of what sold me on this trailer lol. 90L fridge/freezer keeps ice and everything you need to make a great old fashioned in the evening, then bacon and eggs in the morning.

on the downside....
the smaller, lighter box style and little tear drops are easier to muscle around if you need to on a tight turn.
i also think in bear country some times of the year, it may not be wise to cook and sleep in the same spot. a lot of the little trailers make built in kitchens, but it seems just as many people have a box for stowing stuff that they could carry 100' away and cook, then hang.

cades cove
,View attachment 146344
TN
View attachment 146346
north of coeur d'alene
View attachment 146347View attachment 146348
Ouray
View attachment 146349View attachment 146353
I'm in the middle of building my trailer. I agree with you pro-con list. But the main reason I am building my trailer is to have certain creature comforts that would make my wife more comfortable when we explore together. Making our trips better. She really doesn't like the shelf type of trails that I like to explore, She like so many other of my friends wives just cuts me loose to go of with the guys. So for those trips I have my rig set-up differently. I can't wait to have both options available for us.
 

JDGreens

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so if you bring your wife, you bring your comfy trailer? if not you go rtt?
Yes wife goes the trailer goes, when I get it done. When I go it alone, my rig has a sleeping platform no need for a tent.
For right now we both can sleep in the rig
Just the trailer will give us so much more room in the rig. And all the amenities.
 
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I'm sure people have hit all the points. For us, the extra expense of the trailer is gonna be a necessity if the whole family goes out. This also means the rig can be lighter and less packed.

But I'm also building the trailer to the specs I want/need. basically converting a small tent trailer, into a hybrid family 'tear drop' foamie. but I'm also trying to get as close to full amenities I can ... for 3-4 people, as low profile as I can (while still being able to 'use' without setting up) ... 1,000-1200 lbs DRY , (I know loaded and water, etc will easily be over 2000lbs). so the challenger can move it too.

I don't need it to survive bouncing off rocks and trees on a regular basis, it'll be base camp. so I just need it to GET to the trails (the off chance the whole family does a trail based excursion, or like an event)
 

TX_Big_Rig

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Older, used popups or teardrops will get the job done on 90% of the trails at a fraction of the price. I wouldn't take them rock crawling, but if you do your research and buy a quality built unit, it will follow you for years. This 86 Coleman Tara has been in the family since new. My father handed it down to me and now I'm taking my family of 5 off the pavement. No, after 30yrs of abuse, the cabinets have not rotted or shaken apart. AC still blows cold, furnace adds 30 degrees to outdoor temps, running water for dishes, and stovetop for cooking. We love it!
 

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theMightyGoose

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For the way we camp, the 'Pros' of a trailer far outweigh the 'Cons'.

Pros:
  • Trailers can be set up and ready to go at any minute
  • They can be pulled by either of our 4x4's, or anyone else's car who might want to go
  • The 4Runner can spend the majority of it's days living like a regular 4Runner and less like a Sherpa. I see overland builds which are daily drivers and they do look cool, but I think daily chores would be a bit harder. A trailer means I'm not stressing out the 4Runner 365.
  • Ours can hold up to 40 gallons of fresh water
  • Two lithium batteries provide 200Ah of energy,
  • A trailer can be equipped with a full kitchen, pantry, fridge, cooking area, large propane canisters, and still have tons of internal storage leftover. If you built out an SUV or truck, there isn't much room left after the kitchen and fridge go in.
  • Dogs can ride comfortably in the SUV with climate control; no more worrying about the dog overheating or freezing in the bed of the truck.
  • The SUV probably performs better, and requires minimal modifications to tow a trailer vs. handle a ton of weight on it's back. Think about a wheel barrow. You can load it with 200 pounds of dirt and move it around the yard fairly easily. Try loading that same weight on your back. That's kinda what your car experiences and is why tow ratings are significantly higher than payload ratings.
  • Related to above, A good off-road trailer should have it's own brakes to help stop all that extra weight you bring.
  • The trailer can be disconnected in camp and go exploring via 4x4.
  • I can bring a lot more stuff in a trailer than I can in my 4Runner.
  • Rooftop tent is not as high off the ground, which is good for many people.
  • Our trailer is actually more capable than the 4Runner. So we're not limited by where we can go.
  • We can sell the 4Runner and get any other car, and still be ready to go camping at a minute's notice; no need to completely build out another car. Also, the trailer will probably outlast the 4Runner (well, maybe. It is a 4Runner after all).
Cons:
  • Turning around is harder
  • Backing up is harder
  • You need somewhere to store it.
The cost comparison of a decent off-road trailer (vs. a truck build) might be less than you think. When you load your car all down with all that overloading gear, you'll probably need to modify the suspension, maybe the brakes, and possibly some other items to ensure it can handle the weight safely. These are some of the costs which don't get factored in to an overland build. If you'e comparing a trailer to just throwing some camping gear in your bed and going, then I don't know what to say. But comparing a well-built trailer to a full overland-built rig is more what I'm referring to above.

We have 2 4Runners and I love that everything is ready at any minute and I can take either 4Runner. The added benefit of knowing my dog isn't suffering in the back of the truck is enough for me. If we had the 4Runner all built out, she couldn't even come at all. When I had my Tacoma with shell, I worried about her when driving through the desert in 120 degree heat. Now she rides comfortably with us. A good off-road trailer is a great investment.

Everyone's situation is different. We prefer a trailer.
 
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theMightyGoose

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Here in Australia Campertrailers (as we call them) are extremely popular and over the last few years have become very robust and capable off road.

Mine is an Australian made Pioneer 'Longreach' which is a rear foldout hard floor version - that is, when it is all packed up the floor is the roof and when folded out the roof is the floor.

I have a kitchen with a two burner stove and a sink, a slide with my Weber Baby Q BBQ on it, it carries 120 litres of water, there is a hot water system and a shower and two 120 Amp hour batteries for power and two 9kg gas bottles.

This Campertrailer will go anywhere I take my 4WD and I love it - pics below to show you what it looks like.

Karl

Packed away for towing.

View attachment 143315

View attachment 143316

All set up.

View attachment 143317

View attachment 143318

Set up with the 'en suite' so that SWMBO (She who must be obeyed - aka the wife) can have a shower and use the porta potti.

View attachment 143319
You guys get the best toys down there.
 

theMightyGoose

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64Trvlr

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My current trailer has many "jobs". I use it to haul things that won't fit in my Willys or van, it takes all my camping gear perfectly, has a winch I can use to load game by myself during hunting season.

As I've mentioned before it's not pretty or fancy but it does everything I need it to do.
 

Boucher

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Older, used popups or teardrops will get the job done on 90% of the trails at a fraction of the price. I wouldn't take them rock crawling, but if you do your research and buy a quality built unit, it will follow you for years. This 86 Coleman Tara has been in the family since new. My father handed it down to me and now I'm taking my family of 5 off the pavement. No, after 30yrs of abuse, the cabinets have not rotted or shaken apart. AC still blows cold, furnace adds 30 degrees to outdoor temps, running water for dishes, and stovetop for cooking. We love it!
your hand me down made me think

1612898939804.png

Even the Brady Bunch were into Overlanding
 

Rath

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Absolutely worth it for me. I sleep in the back of my truck, so having more room now that I have the trailer is soooo nice. I can leave the trailer at base camp when I want to go somewhere else for the day, I can load it and unload it whenever I want, it's always ready to go. Gives me all the room I need in my sleeping area, let's me take a lot more gear with me if I want too, only downside is.... hmm. can't think of any really!

Mines not really an "overland" trailer, per se, but its a trailer I can use for overlanding. Basic home built utility trailer that gets the job done!



 

legrena

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It all depends on what you want to use it for, how often you will use it, and whether or not you do your research before buying it. If you're overlanding, most trailers designed for, or modified for it shouldn't hold you back from most trails. If you're hardcore rock crawling, then, yes, almost all of them will limit you to varying degrees. Trailers bring a lot of advantages and a few drawbacks. If you like to just stop for the night and then move on to a different location the next day, OR you like to take difficult trails, then a ground tent or roof top tent should be fine for you. If you want the additional comfort of a trailer, or like to set up a base camp, then leave during the day to explore and come back, then a trailer may be a better choice.
In our case, we opted to have the additional comfort of a trailer since we usually go out for 4 or more days at a time and tend to set up a base camp, unhook, and explore the area with the truck unencumbered. For us, that leaves the truck more trail capable than it would be if we had all the extra weight of a rack, RTT, and all of our gear loaded up while exploring. We also go out for 4 days usually twice a month plus a couple of weeks additionally during a year. Other than the height, our trailer is more trail capable than our truck, because it was designed for the purpose.
This was very well said. I appreciate the time you took to post. For me, new to overlanding, I found it invaluable and it changes my thought process in a clearer way. More research is needed. I will be busy.
 
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