OFF GRID TRAILERS: Overland Camping Pre-Trip Checklist

Setting up camp with an Off Grid Trailer

A helpful list of things to investigate and maintain on your Off Grid Trailer before leaving for each Overland camping adventure.

  1. If you have a CU Offroad hitch, service it according to the manufacturer’s guidelines. This usually means greasing the moving parts, especially if they’ve been submerged or exposed to water. Check the rotating part of the trailer side hitch for excessive play – up and down and fore and aft.    Check the vehicle side of the hitch for excessive play in the same axes.   Ensure the vehicle side pivots freely.  If play is found on the vehicle side, check the hitch for proper install – there’s a link to the install article at the end of this checklist.
  2. Check the 7 pin trailer wire connection on the vehicle side, and the trailer side.  Ensure the connection stays tight and that there’s sufficient slack to turn both left and right without tension being put on the wiring system.
  3. Check the safety chains between the trailer and the vehicle hitch. The fasteners with which they are attached to the hitch should be secure. The chains should not drag on the ground and need to be attached properly – see the video link at the end of this list.
  4. Ensure that the tongue jack functions properly.
  5. Check your trailer battery system.    Depending on prior use, the trailer should be plugged in for 2+ days before departing to ensure the batteries are fully charged. A reading of 12.6 volts on the voltage meter (when not charging, and with no load on the system,) indicates a full charge.
  6. Check the battery system for the emergency brake disconnect – this is done by pressing a button on the battery box located in the trailer’s front storage. Consult the manual for the breakaway brake system for more details.
  7. Make sure that all of the door latches operate properly – check the locks.
  8. Fill the water system and check the tank drain for leaks.
  9. Check the faucet to make sure it operates.   It’s a good time to make sure you have the drain plug and sink drain tube, if you have one.
  10. Determine your propane level, either by refilling or weighing the tank – make sure you’re not running out!
  11. Turn on the hot water heater and make sure that it works via the showerhead – this will test both of these components.  
  12. If you need to use the propex furnace, turn it on and ensure that it functions well.
  13. Check the rooftop fan for proper operation.
  14. Look at the running gear.   Check tire inflation (including the spare,) ensure that the lug nuts are tight, and do a thorough visual inspection of all of the suspension bolts.  For the Timbren system, there are bolts in the horizontal plane and the vertical plane, 6 total, and 4 bolts that bolt the spindle to the control arm.   There’s a link to a technical article on the Timbren suspension below.
  15. Grab the wheel and tire at the top and give it a good shake into and out of the trailer.   Is there any indication of trouble with the wheel bearings, any noise or movement?  It is very easy to lift one wheel and investigate further using the leveling jack on that side!  There should be *no* movement when you try to move the wheel in any direction except for rotation.   You can grab the front and back of the tire and try to twist it, and also the top and bottom.
  16. Since you’re plugged in and ready to go, check for proper operation the clearance lights, licence plate lamps, running lamps, signal light and brake lights – with the vehicle running to make sure it’s all as expected while driving.
  17. Pull ahead and apply the trailer brakes manually using the brake controller.   You should feel a substantial slowing of the truck/trailer at low speeds. On loose surfaces, the trailer brakes can lock. You can always adjust the gain to best suit your rig once on the road/

As usual, if you need additional information or run into trouble when preparing, please contact our warranty and service department at warranty@offgridtrailers.com.    You can also call us!

Recent Posts

How to Pack Your Off Grid Trailer

Hitting the road with an improperly loaded trailer can be a risky business as it can not only stress your tow vehicle leading to structural or mechanical issues but also can create an unstable tow load putting others on the road at risk. Therefore, you must ensure that the trailer is loaded correctly and ready to be towed before starting your trip.

Read More »

Spread the word!

Exclusive Offers

We send out a newsletter once a month! Sign up below.