Overview of Trailer use for Vehicle Dependent Expedition Travel
Expedition and adventure travelers typically fall into two categories: "Light and efficient" or "Heavy and complicated". Some may fall in the middle, but it is not typically the case. Payload capacity quickly becomes the limiting factor to the amount of equipment a team can bring. As desired equipment begins to mount and space for it all dwindles, a decision must typically be made to either put the extra equipment on the roof, or pull it behind the vehicle in a trailer.
There are distinct advantages and detractions to both approaches, but I have always preferred using a trailer to carry additional equipment as opposed to a heavily laden roof rack. I have used both systems over many miles of remote travel, and find the end result to be more a factor of personal preference than any real empirical result.
A trailer for expedition travel?:
There are many benefits to using a trailer for expedition travel, especially one that incorporates a sleeping arrangement.
A trailer moves the weight over an additional load carrying axle, providing additional payload (though not GVWR). The trailer also allows the vehicle to maintain a lower center of gravity and wind resistance. In the case of the Jumping Jack trailer evaluated here, the trailer allows for comfortable sleeping accommodations and a payload of nearly 1,800 lbs. While it would not be typical to bring that amount of additional gear along, even a load of 4-500 lbs would be a welcomed relief from the tow vehicle. It is important to remember though that the tongue weight of the trailer must be factored into the vehicle payload.
There are downsides to trailer use though, as backing up or turning around in technical terrain can be challenging, if not impossible. This often requires removing the trailer from the vehicle and rolling it around or winching it through the challenge. Testing and trials with the trailer before the first real adventure is critical to success.