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Off Road - yes or no? 4x4 camper van vs Oliver.


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Hello Oliver Community,

I am curious how many of you take your Olie off road, remote locations, rougher terrain?  I am assuming I would have a strong tow vehicle like a F250 4x4.  So I am wondering two things?

1. Should you modify with a lift, better suspension and some all terrain tires?  Any or all of these mods?

2. Any experience or feedback taking the Olie remote.  

Thank you, eager to see some thoughts and get some sage advice.

BTW, looking to purchase an Oliver vs a 4x4 camper van.  Thoughts on this topic are also appreciated!

 

 

Edited by MikeSByrne
typo
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I  haven't gotten my Oliver yet so can't comment beyond what we can both find here on the forums on this topic. But I have talked to folks who have 4x4 camper vans and my take is that they  do have their limits. So their usefulness depends a lot on where you want to go. They're not really what you  want for instance if you hope to get out on a lot of the sandy 4x4 roads in the southwest for instance. The folks I know who travel at will around there are all in 4x4 trucks (or jeeps or land cruisers etc.) and ideally in one with modern computerized "crawl control" for helping get out of deep sand (one photographer I  know down there who heavily travels in AZ and UT swears by the  Toyota Tacoma's crawl control and he has a Four Wheel Camper brand slide-in camper on his - I know a handful of folks with these campers  and who use them on very  rough roads, all of whom are quite happy with them btw). I have another friend with a 4x4 converted van who, though he can access some places down there that I can't reach in my RWD camper van, has discussed sharing a jeep rental with me to get to some places such as White Pocket which involve a lot of sandy road travel.

 

 

Edited by Jim_Oker
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Jim and  Yanna, Woodinville WA

2004 Ford E250 camper conversion

Oliver Elite II December 2020 delivery

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"Offroad" is a relative term and most people think of it as just off pavement.  Gravel roads and such.  From the factory, an Oliver should be able to handle maintained, moderately smooth gravel roads.  Even so, lots of washboard, potholes, etc. would run the possibility of small damage, like to a water line, electrical connection, components like the water heater, etc.  To me, vibration is the biggest enemy of the trailer.  If you've been to Chaco, think of the entry road there, and that's about what I think the limit of the trailer is - for 95% + of owners that's surely a perfectly acceptable level of durability.  And with some small modifications, like securing water and electrical lines, you can go a long way to improving durability in those situations.  I would hesitate to lift the trailer much, even though relative to true offroad trailers, one of the biggest limitations of the Ollie is a poor amount of suspension travel.  Many early Elite I trailers have the axle flipped and so have about 3"-4" more clearance, but the Elite II gets a little ungainly when you try that.  The factory actually mounted our suspension like that for us, but weren't comfortable with the possibility of decreased stability.  Plus it looked dumb, and we switched it back.  But there are some suspension options that will give you more like 1"-2", plus a little more cushioning.  I'm trying out one of those on our upcoming trip (Lippert Centerpoint) and will report back.  It was a dead simple install so I'm hopeful that it will show some benefit.  There are clearance and perhaps durability tradeoffs with that type of solution, so you have to be OK with the compromises.  

The main advantage of a camper van would be maneuverability, and the main drawback would be that you can't leave it behind.  We've been very happy with using our camper as a basecamp and venturing out for one or two nights in a tent.  Last year, we did the white rim trail in Canyonlands that way and we felt that it was ideal. True "overlanding" really isn't a thing in the US, unless you go out of your way to travel like that.  There are a few multi day overland routes here and there, but IMO, not enough to justify an Aussie or South African style setup.  Most places in the US aren't seen best by going from point A to B to C each day.  Instead, you go to point A for three or four nights, see what's around to see, then go to point B, etc.  And if you travel like that, keeping your home on your back every hour of every day will get old.  Better to set up your basecamp then go adventure.  

Edited by Overland
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Snowball • 256 • 2018 Ford Raptor

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9 hours ago, Overland said:

"Offroad" is a relative term and most people think of it as just off pavement.  Gravel roads and such.  From the factory, an Oliver should be able to handle maintained, moderately smooth gravel roads.  Even so, lots of washboard, potholes, etc. would run the possibility of small damage, like to a water line, electrical connection, components like the water heater, etc.  To me, vibration is the biggest enemy of the trailer.  If you've been to Chaco, think of the entry road there, and that's about what I think the limit of the trailer is - for 95% + of owners that's surely a perfectly acceptable level of durability.  And with some small modifications, like securing water and electrical lines, you can go a long way to improving durability in those situations.  I would hesitate to lift the trailer much, even though relative to true offroad trailers, one of the biggest limitations of the Ollie is a poor amount of suspension travel.  Many early Elite I trailers have the axle flipped and so have about 3"-4" more clearance, but the Elite II gets a little ungainly when you try that.  The factory actually mounted our suspension like that for us, but weren't comfortable with the possibility of decreased stability.  Plus it looked dumb, and we switched it back.  But there are some suspension options that will give you more like 1"-2", plus a little more cushioning.  I'm trying out one of those on our upcoming trip (Lippert Centerpoint) and will report back.  It was a dead simple install so I'm hopeful that it will show some benefit.  There are clearance and perhaps durability tradeoffs with that type of solution, so you have to be OK with the compromises.  

The main advantage of a camper van would be maneuverability, and the main drawback would be that you can't leave it behind.  We've been very happy with using our camper as a basecamp and venturing out for one or two nights in a tent.  Last year, we did the white rim trail in Canyonlands that way and we felt that it was ideal. True "overlanding" really isn't a thing in the US, unless you go out of your way to travel like that.  There are a few multi day overland routes here and there, but IMO, not enough to justify an Aussie or South African style setup.  Most places in the US aren't seen best by going from point A to B to C each day.  Instead, you go to point A for three or four nights, see what's around to see, then go to point B, etc.  And if you travel like that, keeping your home on your back every hour of every day will get old.  Better to set up your basecamp then go adventure.  

We sold our Leisure Travel Van for this very reason.  Although, I will say, we took it on a few Forest Service roads that were more suited for "crawling"  Long wheel base and 2wd drive, but she make it through!  Crazy kids that we are 

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Ray and Susan Huff

Elite II Twin "Pearl" - Hull#699; taking delivery December 7, 2020

2013 F350 3.2l diesel Super Duty 4x4 long bed crew cab

2017 Leisure Travel Van Unity Twin Bed (sold)

AZARCACOGAHIIDILKSLAMSMONENVNMOKORSCTNTX

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19 hours ago, Overland said:

"Offroad" is a relative term and most people think of it as just off pavement.  Gravel roads and such.  From the factory, an Oliver should be able to handle maintained, moderately smooth gravel roads.  Even so, lots of washboard, potholes, etc. would run the possibility of small damage, like to a water line, electrical connection, components like the water heater, etc.  To me, vibration is the biggest enemy of the trailer.  ,,,,,,,,,

  There are a few multi day overland routes here and there, but IMO, not enough to justify an Aussie or South African style setup.  Most places in the US aren't seen best by going from point A to B to C each day.  Instead, you go to point A for three or four nights, see what's around to see, then go to point B, etc.  And if you travel like that, keeping your home on your back every hour of every day will get old.  Better to set up your basecamp then go adventure.  

As much as I have toyed with this idea of a true off road Oliver - Overland really captures the best reasons for not going that route. I have seriously thought about the true off road truck mounted RV - Earth rover type - and keep coming back to the benefits of the base camp concept.

I'm still trying to figure out how to carry additional "stuff" mainly larger heavier  - like a multipurpose motorcycle, a boat, or perhaps a true off road Jeep or side by side.  But my wife brings me back to earth - ride the MTB, walk, and bring a Canoe if you must......  I can always rent when in Moab, much cheaper in the  long run. 

RB

 

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Cindy,  Russell and  "Harley dog" . Home is our little farm near Winchester TN

2018 Oliver Legacy Elite II - 2018 GMC 2500 Duramax 

"Die young - As late as possible"

ALAZARCACOFLIDMTNVNMOKORTNTXUTWAWYd56201524964bac5483378b34b491562080842sm.jpg

 

 

 

 

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