Common Off Road Trailer Upgrades

Common Off Road Trailer Upgrades

Trailer Upgrade Components | TCT MagazineThere are a few schools of thought when building a capable, useful off-road trailer. Some choose to go very basic, using their trailer as little more than a cargo carrier, while others go all-out with built in kitchens, showers, and entertainment systems.

Regardless of how you intend to use a trailer, the basic upgrades are usually the same. Of course storing basic camping gear such as food, accessories, clothing, and camp gear is a given, a few other essentials are usually on the list of upgrades.

Water StorageTrailer water storage | TCT Magazine
Storing water in standard camping-style containers works OK for short trips close to home, but usually a permanent (or semi-permanent) water storage system is high on the list. An under-trailer tank (usually a re-purposed RV water tank) is a good option if you’d like to keep the weight low and near the axle, but you also have to worry about protecting that tank and ensuring it’s adequately drained & cleaned when not in use. Front Runner makes a jerry-can-sized water tank with a spout on the bottom, which allows you to use almost any standard jerry-mount for storage. There are a variety of other permanent mount solutions available from A/T Overland, Front Runner, RotoPax and others as well. Finally, Expedition One sells the Geri Water Pack, which is meant to be stored on a roof or mounted in some way. This low-profile water tank holds 4 gallons and is designed to handle up to 800lbs stacked on top of it.

Tongue Box
A tongue box is also high on the list for many trailer owners. If you have a friendly local fabricator, one can be fashioned from diamond plate or another suitable material fairly easily. Any trailer supply store will have a variety of options, from tall, heavy steel boxes to lightweight plastic versions. Prices vary, but for a size that fits most M416 style trailers, you can expect a $150-$250 range. Boxes are very useful for storing trailer essentials such as the tongue jack, wheel chocks, and locks when not in use. Many owners also choose to add a battery box inside the tongue box for easy charging & access.

Solar PowerTrailer water storage | TCT MagazineBeyond showers, shower mats, and mini-bars, a solar setup is very common among overland travelers. Those that choose to install a battery in the trailer usually follow with a solar setup soon after. Goal Zero has a large presence within the community mainly due to their very user friendly systems. All of their products (panels, battery packs, etc) work together well, but you pay a premium for this convenience. The Yeti Solar Generator system with panels will run over $1700 retail, yet enterprising tinkerers can build a similar system for less than $1,000.  One of the newer options (in the US) is the ArkPak battery box. Combined with a quality collapsible panel and a good AGM battery, the ArkPak is a great way to solve your portable power problems. Another option is the Wagan Solar Cube 1500. It’s similar to the Yeti but much less expensive (under $1,000), although it comes with a lower capacity battery and the built in panels can be cumbersome.

Propane Storage
With wildfire threats and burn bans in effect across the western states every year, the traditional campfire is not as common as it once was. Many of us have opted to purchase a propane-fueled fire ring for use during these times, our fire ring, cooking and the A/T portable heater burn through propane very quickly, so we need plenty of it. Storing a tank in your trailer is never a good idea, so finding a suitable tongue or trailer-side mount is important. Some trailers include shelves on either side for additional storage, while others will need a permanent tongue-mount solution. Most of the overland vendors offer propane storage for 5-20 gal tanks.

Sleeping OptionsTrailer tent with extra room | TCT MagazineLast, but certainly not least, is your choice of sleeping options. Our original CVT Mt. Ranier tent worked great for Angie, Brenden, and I, but now that we have a baby girl to keep warm while camping, we’re looking for a more family friendly option. Multi-room family style tents are available, but are quite expensive. The 3DogCamping option (see New & Noteworthy, Oct 2013 issue of FJC Magazine) is a great way to go, if you can afford the $5,000+ price tag that goes with it. Manley ORV now offers a ‘Basecamp’ option, which replaces the stock lid with a fold out tent that includes a large room, but you lose your lid and the versatility that goes with it. CVT is currently working on a top-secret project to create a lower height, family style tent that will work on several trailer platforms. We’re excited to learn more about that in the coming months.

We’re still deciding on the best way to upgrade the TCT Magazine MORV Explore, but hopefully by this summer we’ll have our major upgrades in place. Stay tuned to our website as well as for updates and more upgrade ideas.

All Photos!

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