Trailer/RTT combo for long-term travel?

#1
Planning a year-long road-trip around the western states and Baja. Trying to decide what set-up will work best for us within our modest budget.

Two adult humans, no kids or pets. Will need to carry 2 sea kayaks and bikes. We typically "basecamp" for several days
and do day-trips to explore the area.

Currently have a capable 4th gen 4-Runner that we have camped out of for a number of years.
Do not currently own an "adventure trailer" or RTT (sold my Maggi last year).

Like so many others, we are looking at vans to do a build. Obviously the cost of getting into a 4wd van can be daunting.

So considering other options. Looking for feedback from folks that have done protracted trips pulling an adventure trailer set-up.
What works and what are the PITA things that make a van/camper a better option?
One of my primary concerns would be security of the trailer in out of the way places (read: Baja).

I welcome your thoughts and as always, thanks in advance....

Nate
 

Jnich77

Expedition Leader
#2
I'd go for a small travel trailer. Park it somewhere safe and do your day trips from it. That way when you come home you have a comfortable, dry, and secure place to stay.
 

ITTOG

Active member
#3
I'd go for a small travel trailer. Park it somewhere safe and do your day trips from it. That way when you come home you have a comfortable, dry, and secure place to stay.
Same here. Only reason not to go this route is if you need to be able to off road with it.

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#4
Same here. Only reason not to go this route is if you need to be able to off road with it.

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Thanks guys....

We would limit off-road travel to easier forest service roads with the trailer.

GF is not too excited about a traditional "camper" (hence the van idea) and I worry about towing capacity with my 6-cylinder 4-Runner.
 
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jadmt

Active member
#5
Any interest in a freespirit journey offroad trailer with large tent king size sleeping area? Has removable/locking tongue for security and bear proof locking doors for securing valuables when away from camp 1000w zamp inverter located in Montana. Extremely light.
 
#6
Any interest in a freespirit journey offroad trailer with large tent king size sleeping area? Has removable/locking tongue for security and bear proof locking doors for securing valuables when away from camp 1000w zamp inverter located in Montana. Extremely light.
Let me do a little research....

Thanks.
 
#9
pop up fully loaded, heat, sink, stove, fridge, dual 12's, blue tooth stereo.. all composite and aluminum, walls and floor are all insulated, the first few builds will be around 29k, will go up to 34 to 35 eventually.
 

Jnich77

Expedition Leader
#10
Thanks guys....

We would limit off-road travel to easier forest service roads with the trailer.

GF is not too excited about a traditional "camper" (hence the van idea) and I worry about towing capacity with my 6-cylinder 4-Runner.
My advice : get something where you can stand up when you are in it. There is no joy in having to do everything hunched over.
 
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#11
Modest budget? How about a pop-up camper? They aren't too difficult to beef up to handle the kind of service you are talking about. Your bikes or kayaks can easily be carried on the roof.

On longer trips It's nice to stand up getting dressed and have a dry place to sit down and eat if the weather turns sour. It's also pretty easy to rig up a decent potty/shower in a tent trailer; in my opinion having on board facilities available dramatically increases the comfort factor for the type of travel you describe.

With a pop-up you are now into a rig that could already have on board hot water, a completely safe forced air furnace, basic electrical system, comfy mattresses, LP system, awning, etc for under $3K easy. A few upgrades/mods as needed for your trip and you are in business. The only major downside is they aren't suited for a stealthy night's sleep at Walmart or truck stops while travelling. Well that, and they aren't expo sexy I guess.

Hmm. after typing all this I am talking myself into buying another one....
 
#12
My advice : get something where you can stand up when you are in it. There is no joy in having to do everything hunched over.
That is one of the bigger dilemmas we are having. Trying to find something with standing headroom that will support carrying two sea kayaks and fit in a 8 1/2 foot garage door (HOA rules).

Pop-top on a AWD van seems to be the best fit but we are looking at other options as well....hence this thread.

Thanks for your feedback,

Nate
 
#13
Modest budget? How about a pop-up camper? They aren't too difficult to beef up to handle the kind of service you are talking about. Your bikes or kayaks can easily be carried on the roof.

On longer trips It's nice to stand up getting dressed and have a dry place to sit down and eat if the weather turns sour. It's also pretty easy to rig up a decent potty/shower in a tent trailer; in my opinion having on board facilities available dramatically increases the comfort factor for the type of travel you describe.

With a pop-up you are now into a rig that could already have on board hot water, a completely safe forced air furnace, basic electrical system, comfy mattresses, LP system, awning, etc for under $3K easy. A few upgrades/mods as needed for your trip and you are in business. The only major downside is they aren't suited for a stealthy night's sleep at Walmart or truck stops while travelling. Well that, and they aren't expo sexy I guess.

Hmm. after typing all this I am talking myself into buying another one....
My concern would be the construction quality of your typical RV industry pop-up.
Do you think those are rugged enough for a year long trip?
 
#14
My concern would be the construction quality of your typical RV industry pop-up.
Do you think those are rugged enough for a year long trip?
What are the generally recognized problems with pop-ups? Weak cabinetry, stables, what else?

I also keep thinking that a beefed-up pop-up might be an option for me. I can stomach general "repairs" but if these things leak all the time, fall apart, can't be towed on freeways at >50mph, etc. then that'd be great to know. Hoping some feedback here further helps the OP (I'm not trying to hijack, just also interested in the topic and the suggestion of a pop-up intrigues me).
 
#15
Sure, it's absolutely true that some stuff on pop up campers is junky - most especially the inside cabinets. They're usually 3/4 x 3/4 soft wood framing, paneling and staples. That's easy to remedy with basic woodworking skills, just don't go overboard and add too much weight. When cared for they don't leak and I have towed at extra legal speeds plenty of times. That's a function of proper load, tongue weight, hitch and tires more than anything else. I have found that most of them have tires and sometimes axles that in my estimation are marginal for the weight. Also usually easy fixes; trailer axles are cheap and so are tires. The frames look sort of wimpy but really the entire thing is a torsion box and sturdier than it looks. You can weld in chassis gussets here and there for almost free (chopped up bed frames from the thrift store) to make it more rigid if required.

My old 1980 Jayco I bought from the original owners back in 2000:

trailerleftside.JPG

It had made the trip from WA to AK and back several times while the PO had it and I towed it all the way to NC loaded to the gills. In that picture it has a spring over axle conversion with beefed up springs and 5.30x12 tires. As you can see it had more than 12" of ground clearance even on those smallish tires. The big vent on the side was for a dandy 70s era "gravity" heater that I pulled from an RV junk yard. It replaced the built in ice box and would keep the trailer toasty warm without a forced air fan. I dragged that little trailer up and down very poor (like 4LO required) forest service roads during multiple deer and elk hunting seasons and it was never the worse for wear. Sold it in 2006 for double what I paid for it.
 
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