FAQ 16: Is an Overlanding Trailer Worth the Extra Cost?
I won't lie. I'm tempted.
An overlanding trailer is a unique type of RV designed specifically for off-road exploration. It features rugged construction and heavy-duty components that make it suitable for tackling challenging terrain. It also offers superior storage capacity and convenience over traditional RVs or camper trailers.
What are the pros of having an overlanding trailer?
These are the crème de la crème of the offroading and camping communities, but are they worth the extra price? Here are some benefits worth considering over rooftop tents or regular RVs:
Rugged, good looks. Most overlanding trailers turn heads as soon as they drive by on the trails or the highway. They are ruggedly handsome and complement overlanding vehicles better than regular trailers.
Increased storage capacity for food, supplies, and gear. With a spacious interior and extra storage containers on the outside, you can bring more items than you could with just your truck.
Better off-road performance than other RVs. Overlanding trailers are designed to handle the rigors of off-road exploration. They feature specialized components that can withstand harsh terrain and have multiple shock absorbers for a smoother ride.
Increased comfort and convenience compared to an RTT. Overlanding trailers come with luxuries like built-in refrigerators, showers, solar panels, and other amenities that make camping more comfortable.
Easier to tow. Most overlanding trailers are smaller and lighter than traditional trailers, so smaller vehicles can tow them. However, they can be heavier than expected for their size.
Minimalist setup for a simple travel experience. Overlanding trailers don't require much setup. Many models can be ready to go within minutes so you can get back on the road quickly.
What are the cons of having an overlanding trailer?
Despite their good looks, convenience, and off-road performance, there are some drawbacks to consider when choosing an overlanding trailer. Here are a few:
Expensive initial cost. Overlanding trailers often come with a hefty price tag due to their rugged construction and specialty components. Overlanding squaredrops and teardrops routinely sell for upwards of $20,000. You could buy my full-sized trailer with that money.
Heavy weight. Overlanding trailers are often smaller and lighter, but they weigh more than other trailers of the same size. For example, my trailer has a dry weight of 3,280 lbs. Black Series makes an overlanding trailer of a similar size and floorplan, with a dry weight of 5,291 lbs. In case you're wondering, it costs about $50,000.
Fewer amenities. Overlanding trailers offer more amenities than rooftop tents and more manual setups. However, they generally pale in comparison to offerings from regular RVs. For example, most overlanding trailers do not have indoor plumbing or enough room to eat at a dinette on a rainy day.
Who needs an overlanding trailer?
Unless you plan to do some hardcore offroading, there are few places you can't just take a regular trailer. I have seen motorhomes, travel trailers, and fifth wheels on some terrible dirt roads over the years ― and I was dragging my Keystone Bullet behind me when I saw them.
Even so, some people might benefit more from offroad trailers than others:
Overlanders: The traditional overlanding setup centers around the vehicle and includes a rooftop tent. Using just one vehicle improves maneuverability and makes it easier to get to hard-to-reach places. However, some overlanders prefer the additional amenities of a trailer.
Nature Photographers: Not everyone who travels along challenging terrain does it for the journey. Some people need to get to these unspoiled destinations in the wilderness so they can take photographs. Whether for work or a hobby, an overlanding trailer is an excellent addition to their travel gear.
Environmental Researchers: Researchers often also need to go into the wilderness for extended periods. The capabilities of offroad trailers ensure they rarely need to rethink a route they know will get them to the data they need.
So, is it worth getting an overlanding trailer?
If you have the extra money and want the additional capabilities, then it's worth getting. However, if your trailer will spend most of its adventure time as a pavement princess or inside an RV park, paying extra for an overlanding RV doesn't make financial sense.
I have considered getting an overlanding trailer, but I can't justify the cost. Nevertheless, there are five I would buy in a heartbeat ― if I could. I'll share my top picks next week with paid subscribers.
Alexis Chateau | Free Ramen is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.