The Right Overland Trailer Suspension Means the Difference Between Destination or Bust
Overland trailers allow you to take your gear with you on your off-road adventure or your tools and building materials over that rough, unfinished job site. In this article, we talk about how an independent suspension makes your off-road trailer a better utility trailer. You’ll also learn how the Axle-Less trailer suspension will allow you to take your camper trailer way off road – to places you never thought possible!
Here are four questions with answers below:
- If I want to take my camper off-road for a real camping adventure, where do I start?
- What kind of overland trailers are best for off-road?
- How easy are axle-less suspensions to install?
- Why is Timbren’s Axle-Less trailer suspension the best off-road trailer suspension?
If I want to take my camper trailer off-road for a real camping adventure, where do I start?
Overland camping – also known as off-road camping, drive-in camping, or backcountry camping – provides access to some of the world’s most pristine, undisturbed natural landscapes. If you’re thinking about taking your camper trailer off-road, there are a few things you need to consider.
There are a few distinct differences between an overland trailer and a normal pull-behind trailer:
- The ground clearance is higher than a standard trailer.
- Frame and body are made of durable lightweight materials.
- Tires will be all-terrain, mud, or off-road made from a thick durable material that is not easily punctured.
In order to gain more ground clearance, you’re going to need to modify the suspension by installing an axle over-under kit that reverses the placement of the springs and axle. This will also allow you to install larger off-road tires.
If your camper trailer doesn’t have any of these features, you’d be wise not to attempt an off-road adventure. Without them, you’re going to have difficulty navigating a rugged trail or switchback.
What kind of overland trailers are best for off-road?
Whether you want a little extra storage or an apartment on wheels, these seven off-road-ready trailers are some of the best on the market:
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. Black Series come with both pop-top and full-height models ranging from 20 to 26 feet long.
Overlanding is about communing with nature, not burning a lot of fuel for power, heating and cooking. Colorado Campworks resolved this problem with their new Nomadic System One. Even though it’s 100-percent solar-powered, it offers all of the amenities one would expect from a trailer, not to mention badass off-road capability.
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 and air conditioning, into a footprint that’s smaller than an Airstream Bambi.
The Taxa Outdoors Woolly Bear trailer has a lightweight, off-road-ready construction and can be towed by a base-engine Subaru Outback. It’s versatility includes a full camping kitchen, ample gear storage, and a rooftop tent.
The Sierra ZR is a stripped-down version of the Australian Off-Road mobile bunker-like Sierra trailer. With its maximum versatility, it enables you to turn it into whatever you want: 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 rig to store your gear.
Mobi Nomad's Mobi X is tiny on the road, but when parked and unfurled, it offers most of the comforts of home — including a kitchen, bathroom, shower and sleeping for up to six people. The wide array of standard equipment makes it ready to go pretty much from the moment it arrives.
The Boony Stomper offers few frills, but it weighs just 586 pounds, 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.
How easy are Axle-less suspensions to install?
Whether a factory or retro-fit it, installing the Timbren Axle-Less suspension is as easy as it gets. That’s because Timbren does most of the work for you. There are basically 5 components to install:
- Steel Hanger: The hanger facilitates a simple, bolt-on installation. Each hanger comes with 3 laser-cut holes, a template to mark the frame where holes need to be drilled for mounting. Additionally, the steel hanger has a 2” square hole through which a steel pipe can be fed for frame reinforcement.
- Control Arm: A control arm is a critical component of an independent suspension system, controlling the motion of each separate wheel, allowing the tires to articulate smoothly. Without a control arm, the ride would be rough. The control arm on the Axle-less suspension holds the jounce spring, the rebound spring and the outboard arm in place.
- Jounce Spring: Aeon® rubber springs are the heart of every Timbren solution. That’s because rubber springs have certain characteristics that you don’t get with metal and air: Progressive spring rate and shock-absorption.
- Rebound Spring: The rebound spring is a single-convoluted Aeon® hollow rubber spring that plays an important role. This ‘hidden’ spring puts constant tension on the much larger jounce. That way - full or empty – the trailer always maintains a smooth ride. The unique characteristics of a hollow rubber spring apply to the rebound: Progressive spring rate and shock absorption. Both jounce and rebound springs contribute to a quiet, controlled ride even on rough terrain.
- Outboard Arm: The last piece of the suspension puzzle is the outboard arm. The outboard arm comes with built-in camber. Metal shims help to make any necessary adjustments. If the spindle gets damaged, replacing it is a snap. Just undo the four bolts, remove the damaged arm and bolt the new component in its place.
Why is Timbren’s Axle-Less suspension the best off-road suspension?
Ever since the day Axle-Less won first prize at the 2011 SEMA Show in Las Vegas for best new product in the off-road category, it has continued to meet the standards of trailer manufacturers around the world.
The Axle-Less has basically five components that work together to produce what many agree to be a better off-road trailer suspension. It’s better because it allows for:
- Maximum ground clearance: Axle-Less means exactly that, “No Axle.” For even more clearance, a 4” lift outboard arm is also available.
- A smooth, quiet ride: The combination of 2 Aeon® rubber springs provides a ride quality so smooth and quiet that you’ll forget you’ve got a trailer behind you!
- Greater control even on the roughest terrain: Because of its independent suspension, each tire moves independently creating a comfortable ride that’s stable and safe.
If you’ve read through the above article, you now know what’s required to turn your camper trailer into a proper overland trailer. You’ve also learned about the best overland/off-road suspension, and why the Axle-Less trailer suspension is considered the best in its class.
Click here for more information on the Axle-Less trailer suspension.