One of the first expedition trailers I had ever come across in the overland community is Turtleback Trailers Expedition model. The refined design, craftsmanship and features of these off-road trailers is really impressive, including its unique ICON independent trailing arm suspension and on-board electronics.
For those who don’t already know, Turtleback Trailers is one of the top manufacturers of expedition style off road trailers.The brand is well-known for their quality craftsmanship, and based in Phoenix, AZ.
I got a chance to walk around the Turtleback Expedition trailer with Barry Henderson, Director of Operations at the Overland Expo East event, so enjoy learning below what their flagship model is all about.
Expedition Rear Kitchen Galley
The rear galley has a bunch of storage in for the form of 2 large locking bearing slider drawers for food, pots, pans, etc. A slide-out counter below the drawers reveals some standard features of the galley, including a 10,000 BTU 2 Burner Cook Partner Stove and a Dometic deep dish stainless sink that has hot & cold water. There’s a couple of additional drawers below the countertop for a utensil tray, soaps and other kitchen items you desire to bring on the trail.
According to Barry, one of the things that sets apart the Turtleback Expedition from the other brands is the amount of countertop surface prep space in their rear galley. You can see it, with the fold down table on the back of the swing out door, and additional counter from behind the swing out spare tire.
ICON Trailing Arm Independent Suspension
In a special partnership with ICON Vehicle Dynamics, a trailing arm independent suspension was developed specifically unique to Turtleback Trailers. If you get a chance, it’s worth it to take a peek under one of these trailers to look at its beautifully designed suspension, with custom ICON remote reservoir shocks, and Hyperco progressive rate coil springs. If that isn’t enough, the spring rate can be adjusted for your load by adjusting the spring location.
Barry comments, “What’s really nice is actually when not just on the trail with all the bumps, but when you are going down the freeway at 65 miles an hour or 75 miles and you hit a washing in the road, the trailer just sits behind you it doesn’t bounce around like a torsion axle or axle system”.
Standard is a 16” steel wheel with 35” 265 All-terrain tires. Up to a 37” tire can fit with a bit of modifications. The trailer also includes electric brakes.
Expedition Trailer Electronics
On the driver side, a large storage box contains the main power control panel, with a main battery shutoff, remote switch for the Dometic water heater and remote switch for the inverter. There’s also 12V socket, 2 USB ports.
Finally, a cool 8 switch panel that controls all the cool lighting throughout the trailer, which is really another unique trademark of Turtleback Trailers. The panel powers:
- Exterior lighting around the trailer
- Interior lighting above & below shelves, as well as storage compartment
- Kitchen lighting over the back
- Turtle lights (green back-lit led lighting behind trademark Turtleback logo cutout easter eggs throughout the trailer – cool!)
Switch for the USB/12V socket ports
- Propane safety switch for standard 11 pound propane tank
- Water Pump
- Spare accessory switch port
Up in front nearest the hitch is a triangular shaped sealed storage box that houses a dual battery system setup the inverter & charge controller. There’s also a quick connect shower port with hot and cold water controls.
Right behind the battery box is a very large pass-through storage container, and if you take a peek inside you’ll see a large Turtleback logo cutout on the back wall. On the other side is a massive 42 gallon fresh water tank and it’s back-lit green as part of the turtle light switch. Beyond cool ambiance, this serves as a visual indicator to take a peek and check the water level in the tank. An additional 6 gallon capacity in the Dometic water heater
On the passenger side is the 6 gallon Dometic water heater and an additional storage locker. A Rhino batwing 270 degree awning is mounted on this side of the roof rack.
The Expedition Trailer Roof
The roof rack can accommodate any roof top tent (a CVT tent was on this installation). There’s also a tube pole storage container for things like fishing poles, etc. There’s tons of attachment points and within the rack, there’s a table storage compartment that will hold 2 full 6 foot length tables.
Adventure Camping Looks Fun with a Turtleback Trailer
Lots of little practical details on the Turtleback Expedition make it apparent these trailers have been throuroughly vetted in the field on an on-going basis. The 10,000 hour rule comes to mind, where if you apply yourself to something passionately, you eventually become an expert at it with investment in time. I can feel that with Turtleback Trailers, and they should be a serious option to consider for anyone looking to do some quality camping with an off road trailer.