Regular camping trailers aren’t made for off-road travel. Sure, you can drag ’em down a dirt road, but when the dirt road turns to trail, the limitations of a standard camping trailer, like limited ground clearance, are a disadvantage. The good news is that there are a number of camping trailers available that have been designed to handle off-road travel. All have good ground clearance, some are smaller than an average camper so they’re easier to maneuver, and all offer storage for the things you’ll need in the backcountry. Some even offer the latest in convenience and high-tech gadgetry so you won’t have to rough it even though you’re off the grid. Some of these trailers are designed for the hardcore wheeler, while others are geared for those who just want to put some space between them and the crowd.
We’ve collected info on eight trailers, and each is different in its own way. However, they all share a common bond—they’re trailers made for the trail.
Manley ORV Company Explore Elite
This is the Explore Elite trailer by Manley ORV Company. The company also offers other trailers, but this is its top-of-the-line unit. The welded, mitered, and fully-boxed frame is made from 2x4-inch, 1⁄8-inch-thick steel and it has front and rear receivers that are tied into the crossmembers. The 6-foot-long tub of the trailer is made from 14-gauge steel and it has a 1⁄8-inch-thick floor that is welded in place with all outside seams ground smooth for a clean look. The tub is designed with an exclusive patent-pending tailgate that features a smooth exterior, lanyards and safety chains, and one-handed, slam-shut operation. All metal is powdercoated. The trailer uses a solid axle and a simple leaf-spring suspension consisting of Dexter 3,500-pound springs. Large LT33x10.50R15 BFGoodrich Mud Terrain T/A KM2 tires help to increase ground clearance and they’re mounted on 8.5-inch-wide, five-lug Pro Comp Rock Crawler steel wheels. All of the trailers wiring is fully sealed and hidden through the frame and has a four-pin connector. LED lighting is used on the trailer for brightness and longevity. Other features include 35 total tie-down points (21 hidden) and stainless steel hardware that will never rust. The trailer has a patent-pending locking aluminum lid and a tall patent-pending rack system that allows uninhibited use of the lid. Mounted on the rack is a Tepui Kukenam rooftop tent that has a footprint of 56x96 inches and sets up in approximately 2 minutes. The trailer is 9.5 feet in length, 5.5 feet in width, 5.8 feet in height (with the tent folded) and has a weight of 1,050 pounds. The Explore Elite has a base price of $7,795. Many optional configurations of the Explore Elite are available including a different tents, spring-over-axle suspension, larger tires, and customization of the bolt pattern and wheel and tire to match the tow vehicle.
More info: 330/227-4865, www.manleyorv.com
Jayco Baja 12E
The slideout-equipped Jayco Baja 12E sleeps 6-8 people and has several unique features that make it a trailer you can confidently pull into the backcountry. It rolls on large LT235/75R15 Dunlop Mud Rover off-road tires that help create improved ground clearance. It’s a full-featured pop-up camper and its list of standard equipment includes heavy-duty, corrosion-resistant A-frame construction; one-piece Structurewood floor wrapped with Poly Flex underbelly material; domed, seamless fiberglass roof; power roof lift with hand-held remote key fob; DuraTek water-repellent sectionalized tent; E-Z Lube axles; leaf-spring suspension; outside shower; dual 20-pound propane tanks; and 12-volt electrical system with 110-volt converter. The 12E also has a cool utility deck that is rated for 1,500 pounds. The deck has dual-use ramps and deck railing so it’s perfect for hauling your ATV, dirt bikes, or even firewood. Standard interior amenities include Concord Cherry cabinetry; an acrylic sink and faucet; 6-gallon water heater; 30-gallon fresh water system with 12-volt demand pump; 2 cubic-foot three-way gas/electric refrigerator; dinette with carry-out table; and gas-powered cooktop. The Baja 12E has a travel length of 22 feet, 6 inches, a travel width of 85 inches, and a travel height of 69 inches. In base form the unit weighs 2,910 pounds. Base price is $16,321. A number of options are available including a bath/shower with hard walls, 16,000 Btu furnace, and a Customer Value package that includes an awning, solar prep package, and water purifier.
More info: 574/825-5861, www.jayco.com
Adrenalin Campers Blast
The Blast is Adrenalin Campers newest model and it utilizes a 1⁄8-inch-thick saltwater-resistant brushed aluminum body, stainless steel latches and brackets, powdercoated 1⁄8-inch steel chassis, flush-mount LED taillights, flush-mount license plate light, automotive rubber seals for all doors and the top, 360-degree off-road-style tow hitch, stabilizer jacks, and a rear swing-out tire carrier that converts to a legless table. The top is designed to carry 800 pounds of weight, so it opens up new hauling options. Under the trailer is a fully independent air-ride suspension with individual wheel control and Rancho shocks. A pair of 10-inch electric brakes helps to stop the trailer and there’s also an e-brake with stainless steel cable. Cooper A/T3 LT285/70R16 tires are mounted on either steel or alloy wheels in a 6-on-5.5-inch configuration (custom bolt patterns are available). The Blast has up to 27 inches of ground clearance at the bottom of the chassis rail. The trailer has a total length of 14.5 feet, a width of 6 feet and a height of over 4 feet (adjustable via air ride suspension). The heavy-duty tent canvas is waterproofed four times and has a pre-waxed roof. The unit has two complete 9x16-foot rooms with walls, floors, and awnings. The complete setup measures 25x16 feet and includes all poles, guide ropes, and tent pegs. All walls are split into three sections, allowing you to use them as individual wind breaks or sunscreens. Interior features include a queen-sized bed; pull-out three-burner propane stove and sink combo with glass lids, prep board, and electric water tap; 20-gallon fresh water tank; three 12-volt power outlets; two USB charging ports; remote control interior LED strip lighting; reading lamps over the bed area; Restop RS2000 full commode system; and a vinyl-covered hard floor. Other features of the trailer include a rear access door to load and unload the camper when in the closed position and a front toolbox that includes a propane bottle holder, AGM battery in a hard case, and all of the tent poles. The Blast has an approximate dry weight of 1,500 pounds and a base price of $17,990. Options include loading ramps and exterior paint. Want one? Mention this story and you’ll receive a $1,500 discount (valid until 7/31/13).
More info: 970/275-5566, www.adrenalincampers.com
Livin’ Lite Jeep Extreme Trail Edition
If you think this trailer bears a resemblance to a Jeep Wrangler, that’s because it was designed that way. The Extreme Trail Edition incorporates Jeep design cues including Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 17-inch cast aluminum wheels (with 5-on-5-inch bolt pattern), taillights, fender flares, badging, and hood tie-downs. The camper is designed to accommodate four adults and it features a queen-size bed, a sofa with storable table, a built-in aluminum cabinet, 76 inches of headroom, 110-volt power supply, premium canvas enclosure, and a unique torsion-bar and trailing-arm suspension. The Extreme Trail Edition has a heavier frame than its Trail Edition sibling, also available from Livin’ Lite, as well as 35-inch-diameter BFG radial tires, full underbody skidplate, and high-mounted heavy-duty fenders. Options include a 360-degree axis pintle hitch. The trailer has a length of 88 inches, a height of 52 inches (folded), ground clearance of 15 inches, and a dry weight of 1,050 pounds. The Extreme Edition has a base price of $11,199.
More info: 574/862-2228, www.livinlite.com
Mountain Trail Campers Evolution
The Australian-made Evolution by Mountain Trail Campers is one of four trailers that the company offers and it’s the company’s flagship trailer. It’s also available for export to the US. The Evolution is designed for long-term, heavy-duty off-road touring and it’s built tough. It uses heavy-duty off-road construction, adjustable independent coil-spring suspension, Gabriel nitrogen shock absorbers, 12-inch electric brakes, 265/65R17 all-terrain tires, and 17x8 alloy wheels. Some of the trailers standard exterior features include seven storage compartments, dual jerrycan and gas bottle holders, a rear recovery point, front storage box with pole holder, and a Hitchmaster off-road coupling. General standard equipment includes a main tent with insulated roof; awning roof with kitchen end wall and half end wall; internal staircase with platform for bed access; a slide-out kitchen with sink and three-burner stove; 13 LED lights; fridge and panty slide with Waeco refrigerator; four internal clothing drawers; queen-size innerspring mattress; and a 34-gallon water tank with 12-volt water pump and water level gauge. But wait, there’s more. Webasto diesel hot water service; shower; ducted heating; seven-stage AC battery charger; 300-watt pure sine wave inverter; three-stage, 20-amp DC battery charger; battery monitor; and dual AGM deep-cycle batteries. The trailer has an overall width of 73 inches, a length of 194 inches, and an overall weight of 2,844 pounds. There are a number of options available on the Evolution and some are pictured here, including the swing over storage rack and the Outback solar pack. Base price of the Evolution is $42,996 AUS (approximately $41,843 USD at time of print).
More info: www.mountaintrailcampers.com.au
Starcraft Comet 12RT
The Starcraft Comet 12RT is a slideout and front deck-equipped pop-up camper that also has decent ground clearance so you can get away from the crowds. Construction highlights include aluminum sidewalls with scratch-resistant embossed aluminum finish; a domed seamless fiberglass roof with an automotive roof seal; Structurewood floor sealed with a Darco underbelly; and AquaShield Aqualon water-repellent sectionalized tent with 7-year warranty. The 12RT has a leaf-spring suspension, E-Z Lube axles, and LT235/75R15 tires. Inside, the camper sleeps 5-6 people, the bunk ends are rated at 1,050 pounds, it has a dinette, three-burner stove, 2 cubic-foot refrigerator, microwave, 6-gallon water heater, 33-gallon fresh water tank, 16,000 Btu furnace, shower, and cassette toilet. Other standard features of the 12RT include a 30-gallon propane bottle, aluminum wheels, and patio light. The Customer Convenience Package is mandatory and it includes a canopy awning, electric brakes, spare tire, and stabilizer jacks. The 12RT has a travel length of 21 feet, 5 inches, a travel width of 85 inches, and a travel height of 66½ inches. Total weight of the unit (dry) is 2,685 pounds and the front deck capacity is 1,000 pounds. It has a base price of $13,357 and the Customer Convenience Package is $929, for a total of $14,286.
More info: 800/945-4787, www.starcraftrv.com
Adventure Trailers Chaser
The Chaser is one of three campers that Adventure Trailers offers and one of its many cool features is the 6-foot cargo box that offers 46 cubic feet of storage. The manufacturer notes that this is three times that of a Jeep Wrangler. On top of that, the lid (with gas-assist struts so you can open and close it even with a tent on the roof) keeps your gear dry, dust-free, and safe. The box is made from 14-gauge powdercoated steel and is designed so that panels can be easily replaced if damaged. The trailer comes with a standard ball hitch, but it can be outfitted with an optional multi-axis coupler that allows significant movement over rough terrain. The skidplate-protected tongue of the trailer can be used to house things like the optional water tank, fuel cans, and nose box. The food-grade plastic water tank has a capacity of 19 gallons and a pair of 5-gallon containers can be placed in front of the water tank. The trailer uses a heavy-duty Expedition chassis and the company’s patented TASS long-travel suspension with air bags and Old Man Emu shocks. This system creates up to 24 inches in ground clearance and allows for payload and ride height adjustments. The Chaser can be fit with up to 38-inch tires. The trailer has a base price of $7,236. Many options are available including a roof rack, roof tent, stove, electric brakes, tailgate, and rear swing-away tire carrier. In standard form the Chaser has a weight of 700 pounds and measures 141 inches in length and 64 inches in width.
More info: 877/661-8097, www.adventuretrailers.com
Livin’ Lite QuickSilver 10.0
The QuickSilver 10.0 is a lightweight camper that uses lots of aluminum. It is also available with an Off Road Package that includes 15-inch off-road tires, aluminum fenders, and 4 inches of additional ground clearance when compared to the standard QuickSilver 10.0. The trailer has a tubular aluminum frame, Aluma-Plank interlocking floor deck, tubular aluminum sidewall framing, aluminum sidewall exterior skin, tubular aluminum bed base framing, tubular aluminum cabinet framing, aluminum-covered cabinetry, tubular aluminum Bimini Rafter System (which supports the tent), and aluminum bumper. The suspension system is a Dexter independent torsion suspension, which the manufacturer says provides the smoothest ride, best tracking, and less rebound in all terrains compared to leaf-spring suspensions. The heavy-duty lightweight tent sets up in minutes and offers 76 inches of headroom. Inside the trailer there’s custom molded composite countertops, marine-grade vinyl seating, 12-volt and 110-volt electrical outlets, sink with hand-pump faucet, and 5-gallon water tank. The QuickSilver 10.0 sleeps up to 6 people, has a travel length of 14 feet, a travel width of 7 feet, and a travel height of 4 feet. Dry weight of the trailer in standard form is only 1,050 pounds. Many options are available including surge brakes, air conditioning, awning, portable radiant heater, camp stove, and electric cooler. The QuickSilver 10.0 has a base price of $8,399 and the Off Road Package adds $700 for a total of $9,099.
More info: 574/862-2228
One of the benefits of an off-road camping trailer is that you can drag it into the backcountry with your wheeling rig, uncouple it, and leave it behind as a base camp if you wish. Another benefit of a trailer is that it gives you the space to store gear so it isn’t cluttering the tow vehicle/wheeling rig. In most cases the trailers will also contain everything you need to cook meals, and they’ll give you a convenient water source. Finally, most off-road camping trailers are less expensive than pickup truck campers and 4x4 motorhomes, so they make sense economically.