By Jesse & Rachael Lyons (Sponsored Post)
Why are overland travel trailers designed for boondocking and off-grid RVing becoming so popular? During the RV boom, campers increasingly turned to dispersed camping as an alternative to busy campgrounds.
Boondocking, or camping outside designated campsites without water, electricity, and sewer hookups, was more than twice as popular in 2021 vs. the previous year, according to the Dyrt’s camping report. Boondocking RVers love the proximity to nature, flexibility, and affordability of dry camping. Those epic RV campsite views, as seen on social media, are usually on public lands.
Therefore, off-grid camping’s popularity only continues to increase, and RVers need overland campers, RVs, and travel trailers that will allow them to access and stay on more remote campsites.
Campers searching for the right off-grid RV can choose between vans, class B and C motorhomes, truck campers, and a wide variety of travel trailers. However, as travel trailers are the most popular type of RV, the overland trailer has emerged as an accessible, comfortable, and capable option for off-grid campers.
Our Road to Ember: Why We Wanted an Overland Trailer
We’re Jesse & Rachael Lyons (@thetasteforadventure), and we’ve been full-time RVers since 2018. During that time, we’ve made many types of RVs our home on wheels. As a result, we’ve learned that the right RV greatly varies by camping preference and lifestyle.
We began our adventure in a fifth wheel. This rig allowed us to comfortably travel the country, but as we became more curious about boondocking, our fifth wheel limited the types of sites we could access.
A few years later, we purchased a truck camper as our first off-grid RV. This camper made travel days and boondocking a breeze. We dry camped from the Appalachian mountains to the Badlands to the Rockies. However, the limited square footage was tight for a couple and a dog living, working, and traveling full-time.
Last year, we purchased an Ember Overland 191 MSL travel trailer, and found it was the best of both worlds. Its features enabled easy off-grid RV travel with enough space and comforts for day-to-day life. For us, an overland travel trailer was the best RV for boondocking.
Finding the Best Off-Grid Travel Trailer For Boondocking: Must-Need Features
The best off-grid travel trailer will have features that allow campers to reach more remote or tricky-to-access campsites. Once parked, off-grid RV capabilities equip campers to live without utilities for longer periods of time.
Our years of boondocking experiences informed our list of necessary features for an overland camper. We chose the Ember Overland travel trailer because it met all our requirements, but you can use this list of off-grid RV features to guide your own search for the perfect boondocking camper.
Travel Trailers With Independent Suspension
A good overland travel trailer features independent suspension. This alternative to a traditional axel absorbs shock and keeps trailers more level as they navigate bumps and ruts.
When we had a fifth wheel, we had bad experiences with axel damage after driving down dirt roads or over potholes. Therefore, the CURT independent suspension in our Ember Overland travel trailer was a game-changer. Now we can drive over rugged dirt roads to more secluded campsites without fear.
Heavy Duty Trailer Tires
We used to hold our breath when driving over rocky roads and pray that a sharp stone wouldn’t leave us with a flat. A good boondocking travel trailer will feature all-terrain tires to keep your camper safe in rocky or slippery conditions. The Goodyear Wrangler off-road tires on our Ember Overland trailer kept us safe going up (and down) the Colorado mountains.
Shorter Travel Trailer Length & Height
Bigger isn’t always better. We specifically wanted a shorter-length travel trailer so we could fit in more campsites. A shorter-height RV also allows us to navigate under low-hanging branches. The 190-series Ember Overland clocks in at 22.5 feet in length, counting the hitch, and 10.5 feet high to the top of the AC. This allows us to squeeze into National Park and National Forest campsites, which tend to be smaller than modern campgrounds’.
Solar Power Equipped Off-Grid Campers
We’ve installed DIY solar in our past two RVs, so it was a treat to purchase an off-grid travel trailer already equipped with a Max Solar package.
Solar is the key to RV boondocking. The sun recharges off-grid RVs with electricity for phones, laptops, lights, water pumps, and more as long as campers can catch some rays.
Our off-grid travel trailer has 600 watts of roof solar panels and a 270-amp lithium battery. With this electricity, we can work on laptops from the top of mountains or in desolate deserts. Our Ember trailer is even equipped with solar-on-the-side ports for additional suitcase solar panels.
Thanks to this powerhouse setup, the sun recharged our Ember Overland camper to 100% battery power every day when we spent a few weeks boondocking near Utah’s Mighty Five National Park.
RV Tank Sizes For Boondocking
How often we have to move to a new dry camping site is determined by the need to dump our tanks. Larger fresh water, gray water, and black tanks are a big benefit to Overland travel trailers versus smaller campers and vans.
With a 55-gallon water tank, 35-gallon gray tank, and 35-gallon black waste tank, we can enjoy RV boondocking without the hassle of dumping tanks for 5-10 days. Our tanks made our dry camping stay near Rocky Mountain National Park much more relaxing, giving us more time for hikes and exploration.
What’s the Best Off-Grid Travel Trailer For You?
If you’re planning to explore the great outdoors, choose an off-grid travel trailer equipped with features that will make your boondocking experience comfortable and enjoyable. Look for a camper that can handle rough terrain and has the ability to conserve power and water so you can stay off-grid for longer. With a travel trailer like the Ember Overland, you’ll be ready for your next adventure!