Off Grid owners come from a variety of backgrounds. There are full-time travelers, families who do weekend getaways, and Overlanders. Each month we will feature an owner to highlight how they love their trailers, where they go, and what gear they use.
I have been camping since I was a child. We lived in WA and AK which provided lots of camping opportunities. I also camped some during my early twenties but had a large gap until I was in my early forties. My wife didn’t do as much camping but still loves the outdoors. We purchased our FJ Cruiser in 2013 and that was the catalyst for all of our current adventures. I run a small company called 4X Overland Adventures where we discuss gear and help people plan trips. My wife participates in about 25% of the trips I take. I happen to have more free time than her.
We live in central AZ but explore all over the southwest and have been as far as WA and ID overlanding. I have been in AZ since 1987 but have lived in NJ, WA, AK, MD, and CO.
Since October 2019
Our Expedition 2.0 is our 2nd teardrop trailer. For us, it was the build quality and the amount of storage in as small a form factor as possible. We never want our trailer to limit where we like to go and explore.
A 2011 Toyota FJ Cruiser with lots of modifications
Stay within your budget. There are a lot of great options out there. If you have never owned a trailer or are new to offroad camping/overlanding I would encourage you to go to local meetups to see what other setups people have. We have gone through many different setups in the 7 years we have been doing this. Each trip we evaluate what we have and make adjustments as required. There is no perfect setup regardless of budget. Everything is a trade-off. Our Off Grid trailer makes it incredibly fast to set up and break down camp. This is very important when you are changing locations on a daily basis while overlanding.
At least once per month with 2-3 extended trips per year. We have favorite “secret spots” within 2 hours of our house that makes it easy for quick escapes. We also do longer trips throughout the southwest.
It is a complete mix. During the summer we always take at least one long trip. We love the RideBDR.com border to border routes as well as some of the other iconic trails in the 4 corners region.
It is just the two of us and our 2 border collies but we typically go out with 2-4 other vehicles. Safety in numbers is always good when we go far off the beaten path trying to discover new places to camp.
Regions – AZ, Southwest CO, Southwest UT, and Baja. We loved the ID Border to Border trip and would like to return. I am also hoping to do either the OR or WA BDR this summer. We have completed the AZ, UT, and ID Border to Border routes.
As for trails – Death Valley has amazing places to go, the El Camino Del Diablo trail in southern AZ has a lot of history as does the Mojave Road which I just completed for the 3rd time this month. Southwest CO is insanely beautiful in the summer.
The bottom line is you can never run out of places to explore. It is just a matter of how much free time you have.
What is your dream trip?
Alaska to Tierra Del Fuego, Ushuaia Argentina. I have never explored AK as an adult. We visited Ushuaia in 2012 by air. Argentina is an amazing place and we would like to explore it more.
Gaia GPS! We plan all of our trips with this great app. Gaia allows us to download routes from a variety of sources, build our own routes, record tracks, create waypoints, and a lot more.
The Aquabot which is a simple but very effective hand pump pressurized sprayer for the Nalgene style water bottles. We use it to take quick showers, wash hands, rinse dishes, and cool off. It is very efficient with water use. It is also great to cool off the dogs.
Omnia Oven – This is the latest gadget added to our camping setup. It is a great way to bake things and will expand our dining menu going forward.
This list is pretty long. Lots of different minor modifications. We have an ongoing list on our website, 4xoa.com. We added a solar controller above the batteries, spare tire mount on the roof rack (this allows our FJ rear door to clear the trailer vs the factory mount), LED lighting in the back galley, kitchen, and front box. A USB power port on the stove
Thank you for taking the time to share your story.
You can follow Chris and Annette’s journeys on their Instagram page @4xoa.