Top 5 overland accessories for a DIY trailer. | OVERLAND BOUND COMMUNITY

Top 5 overland accessories for a DIY trailer.

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Argleben34

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I'm building a overland trailer and I'm search of some of the top must needed things I should add to it. Any advice helps with the journey I'm going threw building it! Thank you!
 

Padams7

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Good morning!

Water - some sort of holding tank. I have seen store bought and homemade PVC tanks. Pressurized.

Power - a battery box system, solar.

Cooking - some sort of cooking area, propane.

For the first two, I think about my step dad, he’s 76 now. Bought a 2021 GMC elevation, Duramax. He pulls his camper with. He’s also a retired hardware sales rep and really the smartest man I know.

On his truck, he has a DIY Compressor and a homemade air tank (pvc wrapped in fiberglass) attached to the underside, under a steel plate. He also has a pressurized water tank. It’s only about 5 gallons.
Then he has an inverter with a power outlet near his trailer plugs. He actually plugs the camper fridge into his inverter while he drives.

The dude is a mad scientist on home brew modifications.

So my first 3 are food, water, power for any build. The last two I would assume be shelter, and…. a spare tire?
 
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MOAK

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Our trailer is dependent upon being plugged into the vehicle’s power inverter to run the 110 volt, $50 aquarium pump to supply water to the kitchen in the rear of the trailer. That’s the only electric on our trailer. All power emanates from the vehicle as it has a pair of batteries with 120 amp hours and 200 watts of solar panels. The fridge & freezer are mounted in the vehicle. I look at it this way, when you’re at camp, the vehicle is there with you. Instead of breaking up power into two separate grids and wasting valuable space in the trailer. I just have one powerful grid that the trailer can plug into. We carry about 20ft of extension cord which enables us to set up camp in various configurations. So, for us- water- 20 gallons with soft plumbing, aquarium water pump. Rear kitchen with portable sink, campstove & utensils, lots of stowage room, comfortable sleeping quarters. Tires & wheels that match the tow vehicle. (BTW, the soft plumbing with the aquarium pump has frozen up solid on multiple occasions with no harm done) Good luck with your build
 

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Really abstract question so

Departure angle and lighting protection.
Tucked up wiring and protected plumbing.... if you have plumbing.
Slam shut doors, top as opposed to tarps you must tie down.
Access to everything without unloading everything.
Organization.
 
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kwill

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I may be contrarian since most small trailers have a built-in galley of some sort. I deliberately avoided having a galley because I don't want food/cooking smells around the trailer when we camp in bear country. I also don't like fixed solar panels because I want to park/camp in the shade whenever possible. Having portable solar panels allows me to chase the sun angle and direction.

I do have onboard water and a propane shower system.
 

MOAK

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Really abstract question so

Departure angle and lighting protection.
Tucked up wiring and protected plumbing.... if you have plumbing.
Slam shut doors, top as opposed to tarps you must tie down.
Access to everything without unloading everything.
Organization.
We use a custom made tarp; my BIL uses hatch type doors, we have zero ingress of trail dust and zero rain leakage. He has both dust and water problems and is still trying to fix it.
 
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Road

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That's a very open ended question, as SO much of what folks consider the "top most needed things" for an adventure trailer depends on what type of adventures they plan on undertaking the most often.

Where, how long, how far off-pavement, how experienced you are with adventuring and camping, etc. A lot of what I might consider "most needed" may be far different than yours or anyone else's.

That said, @MOAK made some good points about making your tow vehicle the primary power source in certain situations. Right now, my trailer is my main basecamp power source (120w full time but portable solar with 100ah quality deep cycle batts to store the energy), and I'm replicating it in my van to have redundant and interchangeable system and parts.

I like to have water storage in my trailer, and have a built-in 22gal underbody, over-the-axle, armored, tank (with a baffle so it does not all slosh to one side or the other when off camber). Having it under body but over axle keeps my center of gravity low when the tank is full, too.

Because I like to go way off-grid for long periods of time, like weeks and months, and enjoy extended base camp setups where I may leave my trailer set up for weeks at a time, I do like having separate and self-sufficient power in my trailer, though, to supply the water pump, simple 12v outlets and power the inverter in my nosebox for charging 110 items like my camera batts and ebike battery. It also allows me to leave stuff charging, or leave others in camp with power and water, while out in my van and away from camp.

Like @Billiebob said too, approach and departure angles can be critical in a good off-road trailer, along with your hitch height. No fun to be hung up in a deep desert arroyo or woods gully because you have not thought about your bumper, hitch, or forward gear getting hung up.

And, as Bill said and should be 2nd nature if you get out a lot; organization. Make it easy on yourself; pack so you can unpack easily and pack back up in smart ways. Everything will eventually have its right place to be.

I like an open cargo bed in which I can organize things the way I want for any particular adventure, and not be stuck to stuffing stuff in smaller compartments like so many off-road trailers have. It's easily one of the best features of my trailer. I like having an easily-sealed cargo bay area (as large as a long bed pickup), with a raise-able rack and RTT above, water tank below, good side boards and fenders, and a very nicely-sized nosebox up front with power center and tons more storage.

I employ a lane system for packing my trailer because I can easily get to both sides and the rear, even when my awning and RTT are deployed. I pretty much always load with the most necessary and most used things to the rear, though in three lanes, front to back. At the tailgate is my chuck box, bag with lines and stakes, recovery gear, whatever I think I will need most along the way and out first next stop. The lane system then also allows me to access other gear like awning poles, shovel, etc from the sides when needed while camped without pulling out a mess of other stuff to access what I want.

packinglanes-2-900.jpg
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Actually, the main thing Tyler, @Argleben34, is to NOT pre-think what you need too much before you get out there a bunch of times, but take your trailer out barebones and packed however it happens several times, and see what YOUR particular needs are in regards to how YOU set up your trailer, and what you need more of next time or can leave behind.

Let it evolve and not be restricted to what you thought it should be before using it much.

*** If you're paying attention and listen to your gear, it will tell you where it wants to live and what you need to make life easier on the road. ***
.
 
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reaver

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I was going to reply earlier today, but decided to hold off. I'm currently starting to build my trailer as well.

I'm looking at what I want to do with the trailer, and designing systems that accommodate those requirements.

I have a family of 3 that love to camp.

The longest we've gone so far is 4 nights, mostly due to space. Trying to cram everything we needed into a 2003 Xterra to supply us for 4-5 days is..... Challenging, to say the least.

We want the trailer to allow us to be self sufficient for at least a week. Trailer also needs to be able to function as a Basecamp.

The plan is to build the box with on board battery, dc charger (fed by a 50A cable from the tow vehicle, or built in solar controller), 100Ah battery, minimum 20Gal of water (could be split between the tow vehicle as well). I also want a fridge in the trailer (I have one for the X, might put another in the trailer as a freezer).

So, you need to figure out what you absolutely have to have in the trailer, and use that to determine what your top overland trailer needs are.

@Road provides solid advice, as usual as well, so you'll definitely want to consider what he's mentioned.
 
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reaver

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I hate double post, but need to amend my previous statement by saying my needs are different than roads. I don't want to get to camp, and have to pull anything out of the trailer other than chairs. Unfold the RTT, deploy the awning, kitchen, and open the fridge. Everything is there, waiting, and ready to go. I'm shooting for 10 minute setup/tear down for two people (20 mins solo).
 
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MOAK

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Actually, the main thing Tyler, @Argleben34, is to NOT pre-think what you need too much before you get out there a bunch of times, but take your trailer out barebones and packed however it happens several times, and see what YOUR particular needs are in regards to how YOU set up your trailer, and what you need more of next time or can leave behind.

Let it evolve and not be restricted to what you thought it should be before using it much.

*** If you're paying attention and listen to your gear, it will tell you where it wants to live and what you need to make life easier on the road. ***
Absolutely; Here's the thing, It may not matter much how it is packed or unpacked or how long it takes, on that perfect sunshiney 75 degree day, however, how quickly can you unpack, or pack everything in when it is pouring down rain, windy, 40 degrees and keep everything dry? Not only do we have a packing order we have a system that we stick to rain or shine. Certain things happen in a very specific order and for us, team work is essential. Since we switched to a roof top tent on our trailer it has become a complete game changer for us. We can set up late and be in bed in less than 10 minutes. Or, full base camp set up takes roughly 45 minutes, with the zippered annex and floor taking about 15 minutes. It's all about developing a system and sticking to it, no matter the weather.
 

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I hate double post, but need to amend my previous statement by saying my needs are different than roads. I don't want to get to camp, and have to pull anything out of the trailer other than chairs. Unfold the RTT, deploy the awning, kitchen, and open the fridge. Everything is there, waiting, and ready to go. I'm shooting for 10 minute setup/tear down for two people (20 mins solo).
Sort of like me. My setup, pack up time is under a minute since I use a Square Drop with an actual kitchen behind the rear hatch and the bed is always made up.
If I was more compact, I'd need to set up camp everytime.

DSCN1487.jpeg
 
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reaver

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Sort of like me. My setup, pack up time is under a minute since I use a Square Drop with an actual kitchen behind the rear hatch and the bed is always made up.
If I was more compact, I'd need to set up camp everytime.

View attachment 210853
We actually considered a teardrop style trailer. In the end, my wife said she'd prefer a tent based setup (though I don't know why), so that sort of settled it. Also, one advantage of an expo style trailer over a teardrop is footprint. We can utilize a 4'x6' trailer with a tent on top. To accomodate our needs, a teardrop would have to be bigger (we also need a place for our 5yo, until she gets big enough where we can boot her to her own tent).

This brings me back to my point though. Everyone's needs are unique to them, so you have to spend some time figuring out what, exactly is important to you.
 
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Mtnmn99

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My first trailer was a M-416 Military trailer. I built it up for camping and 4 wheeling here was my first 5 considerations

1. Tent. With all of the options research choose what is best for you. Roof Top tents were not an option when I started, now they are.
2. Water storage of some kind. I used a small water tank above the Axel
3. Power Battery. I used a battery set up, now have moved to a Goal Zero. Highly recommend a "Solor Generator" like Goal Zero or Jackery. Easier to manage and add solar too.
4. Storage organization. How will you organize everything. You may think you have room now, but that will quickly disapear.
5. Comfort/Cooking. Close tie. I would lean more to comfort. Bed, etc. Food and cooking can easily be done with common camping. I used the little green cans for a while. A comfortable matress goes along way. Especially if you have a significant other.
 

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i guess you basically either live in your trailer, or live out of it...meaning if you live in it, then the focus is more on it and creature comforts centered around the trailer (television, entertainment, high end galley, etc) or like us, we live out of the trailer, meaning that we generally leave out very early in the morning to go explore all day and come back late to eat, shower and sleep.
the way we use our camp trailer, it is basically more for good sleep than anything else. my priorities are a good mattress, an air conditioner if we're next to power or a good 12v fan (mr. fantastic) that i can run off solar and batteries off grid, and a decent shower set up. with those items addressed, i can sleep good and clean and wake up refreshed and ready to go in the morning.
our camp trailer has a slide out galley that we use a good bit, but i also carry a single burner stove in the pickup and many mornings i'll just use it to make coffee and fry some eggs and then head out...really dont need a fancy cook set up.
the trailer also has a 30 gal water tank, but we rarely use it. we are either at a campground and dont need it, or boondocking out in the desert and i'd rather use 5 gal jerry cans and not have all that water weight sloshing around and causing problems when going over the rough terrain.

good question OP, but also a lot of different variables depending on how you use the camper and who is with you and what they need to be happy....
 
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Road

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I hate double post, but need to amend my previous statement by saying my needs are different than roads. I don't want to get to camp, and have to pull anything out of the trailer other than chairs. Unfold the RTT, deploy the awning, kitchen, and open the fridge. Everything is there, waiting, and ready to go. I'm shooting for 10 minute setup/tear down for two people (20 mins solo).
.
Absolutely.

Though I carry a lot of gear of a wide variety, not much of it gets pulled out once stopped. My trailer allows me to be self-sufficient--other than groceries--literally for months. My longest non-stop adventure with my current trailer was eight months, much longer without the trailer but just van.

Time to set up with trailer: I routinely unhook my trailer, raise the rack, undo just 4 latches and simply give a shove to pop up the RTT, swing out my 360 awning, and have my chairs and kitchen setup in 18 minutes; ready to relax, cook, and have a beer. This is solo, no one else needed. I can do it in the dark, I've done it so many hundreds of times.

Time to set up if just the van: Park and crawl in back and sleep.

The whole thing for me in designing my trailer system the way I have is to have all the gear I need for a wide variety of weather, both back country and urban environments, and extended stays over multiple months, with no returns to a home base to switch out gear for the next adventure. But to be able to set up and tear down in any environment in quick fashion, ready to cook and relax, with next to nothing going on the ground other than my chairs and small table. All the main elements unfold and fold back up into the trailer like a Swiss Army Knife.

Simplicity and being organized is key.

I love my set up.
.
 
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