Off-road camper trailers are, in a word, wonderful. They can offer you the mobile campsite you want, whether that's minimalist gear storage and a tent mount or a full-service affair bringing along many of the comforts of home.
Fitted with all-terrain suspensions and all-terrain tires, they're equipped to follow your Jeep Gladiator, Toyota 4Runner or other overlanding vehicle anywhere you want to go. But parsing your way through the countless options in the off-road travel trailer world can be a bit arduous — so we've pulled together this list of the top trailers for living in once you've taken that right turn off the paved road.
Colorado Campworks Nomadic System One Read More
Escapod Topo2 Teardrop Trailer Read More
Opus OP-15 Read More
Taxa Outdoors Woolly Bear Read More
Black Series Off-Road Trailers Read More
What to look for when buying an off-road camping trailer
What factors should you consider when buying an off-road trailer? We decided to consult the experts and spoke to Chris and Jen Hudak, the co-founders of Escapod, to give us their rundown of the basic factors buyers should look at.
The trailer must be able to surmount the obstacles you put in front of it. Not having enough ground clearance will be a limiting factor. “The first thing I’d look at in an off-road camper is the off-road trail conditions you want to achieve,” Chris said. “How high does the trailer have to be off the ground?”
Having the right off-road suspension
The second thing Chris and Jen would look at is the suspension. They note that a “broad spectrum” of suspensions would be classified as off-road. Not all of them are optimized for the weight of the trailer. They opted to build their own freeride suspension for the Topo2.
“It’s an independent suspension with a coil over design,” Chris said. “And that was because what we realized is that if we can give you a more enjoyable towing experience you can go to further places and you can be less hard on the trailer itself”
Weight factors in two ways. The first is meeting the weight limit for the tow vehicle. “Can your tow vehicle tow it to where it needs to go,” Chris said. A lot of off-road vehicles like the Ford Bronco and Jeep Wrangler deliver ample capability but are limited on what they can tow vs. more specialized trucks.
The other is the amenities. You can have a super-light trailer, but the trade off is that it may not have all of the features you want. Striking that balance is going to be up to the customer. “That’s where you end up in that mobility versus firepower kind of battle,” Jen said. “What makes sense for the customer in terms of what experience they want?”
Length is a major consideration. It’s a factor on trail. More compact trailers are going to be more maneuverable. “Some of these longer trailers can’t do a u-turn on a trail or a forest service road,” Chris said. It's also a factor when you come back from the trail. Chris and Jen wanted the TOPO2 to fit in a standard seven-foot garage, and it features a removable coupler to help achieve that.
Ease of Use
Setup time is a major factor, both when you’re arriving at a camp site and packing up to head home. A shell with a tent attached may be cheaper. A more utilitarian trailer will have a tent attached and a lot of moving parts. More premium options won’t require as much time and effort. A goal with the Topo2’s design was to minimize that effort.
“We started Escapod because we were time-strapped people that wanted to go out for a quick weekend getaway and we didn’t want to deal with all of the setup,” Jen said. “We wanted to attach something to our vehicle and have everything ready to go.
The Best Off-Road Camping Trailers
Colorado Campworks NS-1
- Length: 12.7 ft
Dry Weight: 1,750 lbs
- Sleeps: 2
Overlanding is about communing with nature, but burning a bunch of fuel for power, heating and cooking feels antithetical to that pursuit. Colorado Campworks has resolved this conundrum with their new trailer, the Nomadic System One (also known as the NS-1). It's 100 percent solar-powered — with up to 11,000 watts of battery storage — but still offers all of the comforts and amenities one would expect from a quality trailer, including badass off-road capability.
- Length: 13.5 feet
- Dry Weight: 1,920 lbs
- Sleeps: 2
The Topo2 is Escapod's four-season off-road teardrop trailer. It's built from a composite fiberglass monocoque that's lightweight, durable and eliminates wood underpinnings that would leave the trailer susceptible to mold. Its proprietary freeride independent suspension system offers up to five inches of travel on each wheel. And it has a nifty "mudroom" perch with space to remove dirty footwear and wet jackets.
- Length: 15 ft
- Dry Weight: 5,159 lbs
- Sleeps: 4
Sacrifice doesn't have to be part of the off-road trailering experience. The Opus OP-15 sleeps four and cleverly fits all the comforts of home, including a hot shower, a large fridge and freezer and air conditioning, into a footprint that’s smaller than an Airstream Bambi. With a galvanized and welded stainless steel chassis and a trailing arm suspension with dual shock absorbers, the OP-15 can withstand pretty much anything Mother Nature can throw at you.
Taxa Outdoors Woolly Bear
- Length: 10.7 feet
- Dry Weight: 1,270 lbs
- Sleeps: 2/3 (with rooftop tent)
The Taxa Outdoors Woolly Bear trailer would make this list based on the name alone. It's super lightweight. At 1,270 pounds, it can be towed by a base-engine Subaru Outback. It’s also versatile, accommodating a full-sized camping kitchen, ample gear storage, and most two or three-person rooftop tents. Options include a mosquito net room and a propane package.
Black Series HQ19
- Length: 19.6 ft
- Dry Weight: 4,422 lbs
- Sleeps: 3
Sadly, Black Series off-road trailers have nothing to do with those super-hot AMG models, but don't hold that against them. This originally-Australian brand creates all-terrain trailers that are tough as nails on the outside —packing steel armor, independent suspension and a 360-degree-rotating hitch — yet offer Airstream-like comfort and luxury inside. With both pop-top and full-height models ranging from 20 to 26 feet long, there's a Black Series for just about everyone.
Sunnyside Offroad Boony Stomper
- Length: 9.25 feet
- Dry Weight: 600 lbs
- Sleeps: 2
Setting up a tent while you’re traveling by side-by-side can be annoying and time-consuming. Nevada-based Sunnyside Offroad has a solution: the Boony Stomper. It offers few frills, but it weighs just 600 pounds (depending on options), allowing it to be towed by pretty much any vehicle, including a UTV. Plus, it's specially designed not to impede trail performance, thanks to a custom long-travel suspension and hard-walled, aluminum-sided construction
Australian Off-Road Sierra ZR
- Length: 14.8 ft
- Dry Weight: 1,874 lbs
- Sleeps: 2/3 (rooftop tent)
The Sierra ZR is a pared-down version of Australian Off-Road's mobile bunker-like Sierra trailer. It offers pretty much maximum versatility, enabling you to turn it into whatever you want: it can be a fully outfitted mobile campsite with a tent platform, a well-equipped kitchen, fridge and barbecue setup, awnings, even a shower — or, it can simply be a stripped-out rig to store your gear. And with a departure angle of 40.7, it can follow your off-roader pretty much anywhere.
Signature Deluxe II
- Length: 14.4 ft
- Dry Weight: 2,205 lbs
- Sleeps: 2
Rooftop tent or rooftop cargo box? Signature partnered with Toytuf to offer both. There's additional gear storage on the roof with a full-length storage cage. This cage can hold loose items like firewood or unwieldy items. You can also remove the front and rear doors to create a pass-through for surfboards or a kayak. A Signature or third-party rooftop tent can then mount above the storage cage. You can also choose an awning to add as an option.