Off road camping trailer – how to choose the best one.

Off-road camping is a thrilling adventure, and having the right trailer can make all the difference. Whether you’re a seasoned off-roader or a novice explorer, choosing the perfect off road camping trailer requires careful consideration. In this guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know to make an informed decision before you buy.


The first and most important consideration is what you intend to use the trailer for. Will it serve as a means of storing and transporting camping gear, or do you need a fully-equipped trailer? Your intended use will be the ultimate determining factor when deciding on the perfect off road camping trailer.

Here are some other suitability factors to keep in mind:


Consider who you will be travelling with – alone, with a partner, family, or friends. If you’re travelling solo, a smaller trailer may suffice since you won’t require much space. However, if you’re travelling with more than two people, it’s worth considering a 4-berth option like the Summit Kilimanjaro. If a larger option doesn’t fit your budget, you can opt for trailers with add-a-rooms, such as the Everest. You can also pack an extra tent.

Terrain Intensity

When choosing an off-road camping trailer, it’s important to think about the level of intensity of your trips. Consider where you want to travel and the terrain you’ll encounter. Do you plan to visit caravan parks accessible via easy roads, or do you intend to navigate steep mountain passes like Sani Pass? The difficulty of your journeys will dictate the required durability, manoeuvrability, and repairability of your off-road camping trailer.

Trip Duration

When deciding on a camping trailer, it’s important to think about how long your trips usually are. If you typically go on weekend trips you may not need a lot of storage or water capacity. However, if you enjoy longer overlanding adventures that span 2-3 weeks and take you to remote areas, you’ll need a trailer with more storage, water, and fuel storage. Additionally, for longer trips, it’s beneficial to look for a lightweight trailer that is easy to tow, such as the Summit Everest.

Features vs. Maneuverability

It’s important to find the right balance between features and manoeuvrability that suits your needs. If you prioritize comfort, you may have to sacrifice some manoeuvrability. On the other hand, if you prefer a more adventurous experience and want to travel to remote, hard-to-reach locations, you may want to consider a lighter and smaller option like the Summit Everest.

Off-road Capability

Not all trailers are created equal – some are designed for smooth tar roads and easy dirt paths, while others can tackle rougher terrains like rocky paths or muddy trails. Keep these factors in mind when choosing a trailer for a more challenging off-road experience:

Ground Clearance

You need a trailer with high ground clearance if you’re planning to tackle tough terrains. A good way to know if your trailer has enough ground clearance is to compare it with your vehicle. If it has the same or more ground clearance than your vehicle, you’re good. If not, your trailer will limit the capabilities of your vehicle.

Clearance Angles

There are two main angles to consider when choosing your off road camping trailer: the approach angle and the departure angle. These angles determine the steepest incline and decline your trailer can clear from a flat surface.

Centre of Gravity

A trailer’s centre of gravity determines the maximum angle it can pivot from side to side before falling over. A top-heavy trailer will have a higher centre of gravity and will therefore topple more easily on axle-twisting terrains. If you require a very capable off road trailer, look for something with a low centre of gravity, like the Summit Everest.

Size and Weight

Again, this all comes down to your needs. If you’re looking for a hotel on wheels with all the bells and whistles, size and weight probably won’t be your main concern. That said, it is still wise to compare various trailers to determine the one with the best size-to-weight ratio. Bigger isn’t always better. Larger trailers are less manoeuvrable, have more wind resistance, require a larger storage area, and are generally less capable off-road. Therefore, if you’re looking for an off road camping trailer that you can take anywhere, you want to look for something as compact and light as possible, without sacrificing durability.


A trailer’s wheelbase is a crucial factor that is sometimes disregarded. While it may not be as significant for paved roads, it plays a vital role in off-road terrain. To ensure that your trailer can navigate rough terrain with ease, it is essential for the wheelbase of your trailer to match that of your vehicle. When the wheelbases are in perfect alignment, your trailer will follow the exact path of your 4×4 vehicle, giving you the confidence that if your vehicle can handle it, so can your trailer.

Assess your typical off-road destinations and choose a trailer that matches the demands of those environments.

Summit off-road Karenga 4x4 caravan being towed by a Ford Ranger on a dirt road in the bush, showing the exterior of the caravan from the back.

Design and Durability

Design and Ergonomics

When choosing an off-road camping trailer, it’s important to consider both its appearance and practicality. Imagine you’re on a camping trip and ask yourself if the trailer’s layout is convenient. For instance, it’s not wise to position the kitchen on an uncovered side of the trailer, as it can’t be used during rainy days. You should also ensure that everything can be easily accessed even when the trailer is packed up. You don’t want to set up camp just to get a mug.

Materials and Finish

Investing in an off-road camping trailer is a significant decision, and you want to ensure that it lasts a lifetime. However, if the trailer is entirely made of 10 mm stainless steel, it may not be suitable for steep trails. Therefore, it’s essential to find a trailer that balances durability and weight. While a fibreglass body may be lightweight, it may not be resistant to scratches and dings. Instead, try to look for a trailer that has sturdy materials where it matters and lighter materials such as aluminium in less demanding areas to reduce weight. The Summit Karenga is an excellent example of such a trailer.

The aluminium frame of Summit Off-road's Karenga off road camping trailer.

Parts and Maintenance

You don’t want to be stranded between a rock and a hard place in the middle of nowhere. That’s why it’s important to pick an off road camping trailer that is easy to maintain and repair with easily accessible parts. Although air suspension might be comfortable and advantageous in some off-road terrains, it is not something you can easily fix in a desert. You should be able to repair your trailer with a simple toolbox and a few bolts and nuts.


Accessibility becomes more important as you get older and should thus be considered when you plan to use your chosen trailer your entire life. It’s also important if you have any disabilities or physical limitations. For example, look at the ease of getting into bed — is it high up, and do you have to climb a ladder to get there? Do you have to lift anything heavy to open a section of the trailer or tent?

Storage and Features


There are a few factors to keep in mind when assessing storage space. Firstly, you should take note of the storage capacity and ensure that it is sufficient for your needs. Secondly, it’s important to consider the ease of access to the storage space, especially during adverse weather conditions. Lastly, you should evaluate the accessibility of the storage compartments when the trailer is hitched and ensure that all compartments can be easily reached on the road.


If you’re heading to remote locations, you need to take enough water for drinking, cooking, and cleaning. Therefore, you want to look at the capacity of the water tanks on the off road camping trailer and whether or not they are safe for storing drinking water. Here are some important questions to ask: How easy is it to fill, access, and drain the water? How many water access points are there? Is there a water heater/geyser, and how do you switch between hot/cold water? Lastly, is there a shower and basin?


If you’re searching for a more comfortable camping experience, consider exploring off-road camping trailers that offer gas and electricity options. When embarking on overlanding adventures, it’s important to have a battery system in place to store electricity and the ability to charge those batteries utilizing your vehicle and/or renewable energy sources. Additionally, a gas system comes in handy for cooking and heating water when electrical access is not available.

Kitchen and Living Space

A built-in kitchen is a great feature on an off road camping trailer if you’re looking for a convenient cooking experience. Some kitchen units, like those on Summit off-road trailers, can even be used while the trailer is hitched if you feel hungry on the road. Another thing to think about is the size and comfort of the trailer’s living space. Do you want an indoor dining area and bathroom? Then you should look at a larger trailer such as the Summit Kilimanjaro.

Two pots boiling on the dual-burner gas hob with wind deflector mounted on the Summit Everest off-road trailer.

Convenience & Ease of Setup

Camping should be a relaxing and fun experience. You shouldn’t require a degree in advanced engineering to pitch camp when you reach your destination. Your trailer should provide a more convenient experience as opposed to a regular camping trip. Therefore, you should look for a trailer that is quick and easy to set up and take down, so you can have more time sitting around the fire and less time making camp.


It is always recommended to take extra fuel on off-road adventures to remote areas. You don’t want to be stranded in the middle of nowhere with no fuel station within a radius of 500 km. That’s why looking for a trailer that can hold some additional fuel canisters for your journey is wise.


Affordability is, of course, a key factor to consider when looking for the perfect off road camping trailer; however, it shouldn’t be the main factor. As mentioned previously, a camping trailer is a lifelong investment, and you want to invest in something that meets your current needs and your future needs. Don’t compromise on suitability for the sake of a few thousand Rand. There are many financing opportunities and options available to make sure you ride home with your dream trailer.

Choosing the perfect off road camping trailer can be a lengthy process, but you’ll thank yourself when you find your perfect match. By delving into the details, you’ll be able to select a trailer that not only survives but thrives in the challenging environments of off-road exploration.

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