Can I Take a Pop-Up Trailer Off-Road?

If you’re a fan of rugged camping while maintaining the basic comforts of home, you may find yourself daydreaming about a pop-up trailer to adventure with on the weekends.

The idea of waking up on a soft bed while taking in the beauty of unspoiled nature is one of the reasons the pop-up trailer is so appealing.

However, you may wonder how far into nature can you go, and can you take a pop-up trailer off-road?

You can take a pop-up filter off-road. You can do this by either purchasing an off-road equipped pop-up or make a few key adjustments to your existing trailer. With either of these options, you’ll be ready for wherever nature is summoning you.

Now that you know your options, let’s take a look at what requirements a pop-filter needs in order to go off-roading safely.

We will also explore the pros and cons of purchasing a new, off-road trailer or renovating your existing one.

What Do I Need to Take a Pop-Up Trailer Off-Road?

The most important features that you need to ensure the safety of your trailer as you move onto gravel and rougher driving conditions are proper wheel height and maximum ground clearance.

Let’s take a look at what specs you should meet for wheels and tires, as well as how to position your axles for the best distance between your trailer’s undercarriage and the ground below.

Off-Road Wheels and Tires

First, you will need to get tires that are made for off-roading. These tires will be different from typical highway tires or even winter tires.

You want to look for a deep tread that will grip the road, no matter what kind of road that might be.

You will notice that the appearance of the tread will differ as well, with larger and deeper gaps in order to dig into and push off from all types of terrain. 

Off-roading tires will be constructed from different materials as well.

These materials are used specifically to make the durability of this type of tire stronger than a normal tire.

This would help your tires resist the wear and tear that would rapidly befall regular tires if you attempted to offroad with them.

When it comes to the wheel itself, you want to maximize the dimensions that are possible for your trailer.

Getting the tallest options while making sure the wheels and tires will comfortably fit without making contact with the wheel well is the goal. 

Another note on wheels is, if you have the option, always choose steel over aluminum.

Steel can take on much more impact with maintaining its structure when compared to aluminum.

This means as you encounter some rough patches in your off-roading adventures, you are maximizing your wheels’ abilities to get you through smoothly.

Position of the Axles

The way axles on trailers are usually designed is with a low center of gravity and optimum aerodynamics in mind.

With this setup, the trailer is more sturdy on the road and less prone to swaying under the influence of strong winds.

However, this design does not maximize the potential distance between the trailer and the ground.

There is a process called flipping the axles that allow you to maximize that clearance distance.

Depending on your trailer, you could benefit from raising the undercarriage up to six additional inches.

The key to this process is moving how the springs relate to the position of the axle.

In the traditional setup, the springs are located below the axles, meaning extra materials between the ground and the axle.

In order to flip the axle, the springs are moved to a position above the axle, freeing up that precious space close to the ground.

It’s best if you already have experience driving a pop-up before making these adjustments.

This is because you are changing the center of gravity, so you may notice your trailer is a bit more sensitive on the road.

This means you may need to adjust your driving style to stay safe with your new adjustments. 

What to Remember

If you have chosen to make these changes to an existing camper, remember that larger, sturdier wheels and tires will inevitably weigh more than your previous setup.

Be sure to make any adjustments to make sure your front vehicle will be able to handle the new weight load you intend to pull.

Make sure your existing shock absorbers and suspension system are tuned up and fully functional.

Having quality shock absorbers will help with the comfort in the cabin as you take on all types of trails and roads. 

It might be worth carrying an air pump with you as well in order to keep an eye on your tires as you cross all types of terrain.

On a smooth, paved highway, you will want much higher air pressure in your tires than on a rocky dirt road.

By lessening your tire pressure on rough terrain, you are creating some space in the tires to absorb the shock. 

Inevitably, you will have to reenter the highway eventually and not want to do so with low tire pressure.

Carrying an air pump with you helps you adjust your tire pressure depending on your needs at that moment.

This will help you have the safest and most comfortable ride possible.

Buy a New Pop-Up or Remodel Your Existing Pop-up?

There are a lot of pop-ups that are designed specifically for off-roading. You could purchase one of these and head straight out into the wilderness.

There’s no need for adjustments and corresponding trips to the mechanic. You can pick up a new one of these in a range of prices, but you have plenty of choices in the range of $10,000 – $20,000.

You may enjoy the mechanical aspect of these trailers since they are ready to go off-roading without any after-manufacture adjustments.

However, these can be a bit small if you are looking to head out with the whole family.

If the size of your pop-up is a priority for you, perhaps it is best for you to renovate an existing pop-up.

If you already have a good-sized trailer for your family with the right amenities, it would be suitable to bring it to a trusted mechanic and get the recommended work done.

Even if you don’t have a pop-up already but are concerned about budget, it could potentially be less expensive to buy a used trailer and pay for the work to be done.

Checking local forums for used trailers and talking to your mechanic will give you more information specific to you and your situation. 

If you’re unsure of what you prefer, it’s possible to rent out a pop-up first to see what it feels like.

Perhaps taking the family out with a small, rented pop-up will give you a sense of what size will work comfortably for you. 

Conclusion

By equipping yourself with a pop-up trailer that can handle getting off the highway and away from established campsites, you are equipping yourself to be free in nature and make the most of your time escaping from your daily routine. 

How you choose to acquire an off-road-ready trailer is up to you. Make sure you have the right tires and wheels, as well as plenty of clearance to protect its undercarriage.

Keep your tire pressure in mind, and remember to maintain your shocks and suspension. With these few things in mind, you are free to explore the world in a new way.

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