Wood-free Off Grid camper trailer leaves the trees in the forest
Canadian company Off Grid Trailers surfaced in the mid 2010s amidst the market rush of small off-road trailer manufacturers. It was among the subset that eschewed traditional aluminum-skin wood-frame squaredrop construction and cut the wood out altogether. Its all-aluminum Expedition and Pando trailers have since moved on to their second generations, and Off Grid now welcomes a new baby to the family. Along with the perfect small off-road trailer name, the Switchback brings a lightweight, tow-friendly construction, unique tent-topper layout, and list of options that includes solar power, slide-out BBQ and Jeep-matched wheels.
The Switchback sizes down a full 3 feet (91 cm) from the Pando teardrop and Expedition squaredrop, measuring in at 10.8 ft (3.3 m) long. It weighs 1,300 lb (590 kg) dry, making it 400 lb (181 kg) lighter than the mid-weight Expedition.
Part of the reason for the Switchback's low dry weight is its compact size and aluminum body, and part of it is that it's technically a utility trailer that buyers can upgrade into a camper by topping it with a roof-top tent and other available options. Its standard specification includes a galley, electrical system and plenty of storage space.
Interestingly, Off Grid offers Switchback buyers the choice of a rear or side kitchen, denoted by "R" and "S" models. The rear galley is the more familiar of the two in the world of US overland vehicles, though instead of a lifting tailgate, this kitchen sits inside dual doors. It features a slide-out dual-burner stove on the right side of the load area, and a slide-out 35-L Dometic fridge box on the left. A fold-down shelf on the door and a slide-out worktop on the available drawer sink create work space.
The Switchback S features a long kitchen that folds down from the sidewall, outfitting the campsite chef with a dual-burner stove and worktop. The drop-down counter around the corner on the rear door is still there for slicing and dicing, and the fridge is still just inside the left rear door.
We like the idea of the foldaway side kitchen, but the rear kitchen seems to be the most user-friendly option, grouping all the kitchen equipment, worktops and shelves together in one place. Those that want to add grilling capability to either kitchen layout can add an optional BBQ slide-out that fits the available Weber Q like a glove.
The other standard piece of the Switchback puzzle is the electrical system with 130-Ah deep-cycle battery, onboard charger, four USB ports, digital voltmeter display and LED lighting. Buyers can upgrade with an extra battery, 1,000-W inverter, solar charging and more.
Not included in the standard kit, the optional water package brings on a 117-L fresh water tank, stainless steel kitchen sink and on-demand hot water system with outdoor shower. An available drop-down shower room provides privacy.
Shelter for two+ people can be added by way of an optional roof-top tent that mounts to the top rack. Off Grid offers a selection of 23Zero tents, and buyers can always purchase their own tent separately. Off Grid also offers 23Zero awnings.
Construction-wise, the Switchback follows its bigger brothers in ditching all the wood, and the mold, mildew and rotting that can come along with it. A laser-cut powder-coated steel frame serves as the sturdy foundation supporting the multi-piece powder-coated aluminum body.
The Switchback's 15-in Pro Comp wheels are shod in Pro Comp all-terrain tires and kept in check with a 12-in electric braking system. The Timbren Axle-less suspension smooths out the ride and delivers a 3,500-lb (1,588-kg) gross vehicle weight rating, providing roughly 2,200 lb (998 kg) of payload for adding on tents, awnings, plumbing and other available options, not to mention bringing along food, additional gear and whatever else needs to come along for the ride.
The Switchback is designed to comfortably traverse particularly rough, trying sections of off-road, relying on its lightweight, compact size and rugged construction to roll through spaces that might catch or cripple larger, heavier off-road trailers. It has 21 inches (53 cm) of ground clearance and a 50-degree departure angle. The 10-minute video clip below shows Off Grid putting it (and its brothers) through some torture testing of tire-swallowing slop, rutted dirt, stepped rock and more.
The Switchback is available for preorder now, starting at US$19,900 in the US and CA$25,900 up north in Off Grid's home country. Additional options include an outdoor Bluetooth audio system with marine speakers, Max Coupler articulating hitch, larger refrigerators and a spare tire package.
Source: Off Grid Trailers