Photography Trek and Adventures

If your Photography Talk, you probably know that we've started a new series called Photography Trek and Adventures.

Part of this series involves over landing and doing so safely. That's the subject of today's.

I've discussed my over landing setup in earlier posts, but the gist.

But simply having these things isn't good enough for over landing. I need to use them safely.

The whole point of our Photography Trek and Adventure is to highlight the many possibilities there are for getting out there and taking photos in your own backyard.

Living in southern California as I do, there is no shortage of places to explore. But in this era, I want to get off the beaten path and explore places that allow me to be away from people.

My old jeep was a good four-wheel-drive option. But it didn't have the ground clearance or the towing capacity for getting way out there.

So, I saddled up with a Jeep and an off-road worthy trailer.

Now, I didn't decide to pickup an off-road trailer on a whim. I researched for months and learned that an off-road trailer offers tons of benefits:

  • You can have creature comforts even when you're way off grid
  • It allows you to have a base camp for making forays deeper into the wilderness with your vehicle, bike, or on foot
  • You have a safe means of having your supplies in the back country, yet inaccessible to predators
  • You can have the trailer ready to go at a moment's notice when the mood strikes to get away and take photos

For me, these benefits made an off-road camper a much more viable option than something like a camper van or simply sleeping in my car. Plus, being able to unhook the trailer and still have use of my Jeep is a huge bonus.

Additionally, the Turtle back Expedition allowed me to add a roof-top tent on top, so not only do I have a trailer with a kitchenette, a solar system, and tons of storage, but I also have a comfortable place to rest my head at night!

The options available with off-road trailers are mind boggling, but there are a few must-haves from my point of view.

First, be sure that it's actually specifically built for off-road use.

You want something that is ruggedly constructed and that can handle the rough-and-tumble trek overland. This includes having proper clearance so the trailer can get over obstacles as easily as the tow vehicle.

Second, an articulating hitch is a must for over landing. Having the freedom of 360-degree rotation and movement on three axes will help you get through without your tow vehicle or trailer.

Third, I wanted a trailer with electric brakes. There are a lot of steep grades in Southern California, and I didn't want to stress the brakes of the Jeep too much. Having electric brakes means the trailer can assist in slowing things down.

Fourth, an off-road trailer needs to have recovery points in the event you get stuck. For example, my Turtle back trailer has a 2-inch on-frame receiver on the back. Likewise, I have a Hi-Lift Jack that I can use to side winch in case the trailer tips over (or if I come upon someone else who's trailer has tipped). Having a powered winch on the front bumper of the tow vehicle is a good idea, but side winching with a Hi-Lift jack is much simpler to do.

Finally, be sure you inspect the kind of suspension the trailer has.

Like I mentioned before, I looked for months for an off-road trailer, and while I found many that looked good, upon researching their suspensions, I found many so-called off-road trailers to have subpar suspensions.

The last thing you want is to bust an axle when you're miles and miles from civilization, so be sure the trailer you invest in has a beefy suspesion that can stand up to the rigors of overlanding. 

One of the things that impressed me the most about the Turtle back is the incredible suspension it has. It includes off-road suspension technology, Icon Vehicle Dynamics Remote Reservoir shocks, Hypercoil Custom Wound Dual-Rate Progressive Springs, and Daystar Kevlar Pivot Bushings.