Love to travel off the beaten path? We’ve got the rigs for you! Today we’re taking a look at the off-road RV… for travelers who want to venture off the pavement in style, with all the comforts of home in their living space.
From full-size off-road motorhomes to off-road travel trailers, truck campers, and even pop-up campers, there are off-road RVs made to fit every style of adventure travel.
So, shift into 4 wheel drive, and let’s take a look at some ultimate off-road motorhomes and camper trailers… true expedition vehicles for off-road enthusiasts!
- 1) What Is an Off-Road RV?
- 2) Can Motorhomes Go Off-Road?
- 3) Class C Off-Road RVs
- 4) Class B Off-Road RVs
- 5) Off-Road Travel Trailers
- 6) Have You Done Any Camping in an Off-Road RV?
What Is an Off-Road RV?
Off-road RVs are manufactured with travel over tough terrain in mind. They generally have raised axles for greater ground clearance, upgraded suspensions, beefy off-road tires, and of course (for motorized rigs) 4-wheel drive. But that’s not all.
Rigs intended for off-road travel have a heavy-duty design and rugged construction to ensure safe and competent travel to and throughout the outer corners of the places where most RVers travel.
In addition to all of this, off-road campers are generally designed with off-grid living in mind since it’s obvious that a traveler buying an off-road rig isn’t likely to constantly be connected to shore power and water.
So, off-road motorhomes and off-road trailers tend to have large holding tanks (fresh, gray, and black water) as well as solar power systems with lithium batteries for powering everything off-grid.
We should also note that not all off-road RVs are built alike. There are various levels of capability, depending on how far off-road and off-grid a traveler intends to go. Some rigs are nearly unstoppable, while others are ruggedly built, but not quite as capable as hard-core expedition vehicles.
Can Motorhomes Go Off-Road?
The answer to this question is “yes and no.” A more detailed answer really depends on two things… the motorhome and the extent of “off-road” you want to go.
We’ll use ourselves as an example.
Our motorhome is a Newmar Mountain Aire. It’s a 43′ diesel pusher and, as you may guess, is not 4-wheel drive (okay… technically it IS 4-wheel drive due to the dual wheels on the drive axle, but you know what we mean).
However, here we are, well off-road and off the grid, in the Alabama Hills:
We’ve also been out to Trona Pinnacles, which is a wonderful destination for boondocking (dry camping) in the Mojave Desert. It’s definitely off the beaten path as you can see, but believe it or not, it’s still quite easy to access.
If you’re interested in seeing more, have a look at our aerial drone footage of the area from when we traveled there with our friends Nikki & Jason Wynn.
So, here we’ve got a couple of Class A motorhomes off-road and off the grid, but 4-wheel drive and an upgraded, uplifted suspension aren’t necessary to get there.
This is a great example of how even a Class A diesel pusher can go “off-road” without requiring the special capabilities of an off-road RV. This kind of “off-road” travel is commonplace for us.
However, there are many off-road locations to which we could never take our Class A RV. In fact, this is precisely why we’ll soon be heading to California to pick up a Black Series camper, to travel down the Baja Peninsula to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. We’ll be there to spend the winter of ’22/’23 filming for The RVers with our friends and co-hosts Tom & Cait Morton.
So, yes…motorhomes can go off-road, but there are some that are built for serious off-road travel. Let’s take a look at some now!
Class C Off-Road RVs
There are a number of seriously off-road-capable motorhomes on the market today. Despite the sizes of some of these RVs, they wouldn’t be considered Class A rigs, but instead, fall into the Class C category, technically speaking.
But these aren’t your typical Class C RVs. They’re not even marketed as Super C rigs. (See our post entitled “What Is a Super C RV?” for more information).
These rugged RVs are built to traverse some serious off-road locations and are marketed more as “expedition motorhomes”.
The Bengal Tiger 4×4 RV
The Bengal Tiger from Tiger Adventure Vehicles is a Class C motorhome built on a one-ton 4×4 truck chassis (your choice of Ford, Chevrolet, or Ram). They’re available with standard, extended (double), or crew cabs and with either gasoline or diesel engines. All have skid plates, 8-9 inches of ground clearance, and all-terrain tires.
The frame of the coach is aluminum and is mounted directly to the truck chassis. Note that there’s a pass-through that allows movement from the truck’s cab to the coach without needing to step outside the vehicle.
Wood, fiberglass, and insulation surround the frame and this rig is billed as an “all-season cabin”.
The Bengal has an enclosed RV wet bath and sleeps 4 with a full-size cab-over bed and a convertible sofa. It has a full galley kitchen and amenities such as heated holding tanks, insulated plumbing, an 11,000 BTU air conditioner, and a 16,000 BTU propane furnace.
Tank capacities include 33-gallon fresh water, 18-gallon gray water, and 14-gallon black water.
The rig is powered off-grid by either a 2,800-watt generator or 220 amp hrs of AGM batteries charged by 400 watts of solar and a 3,000-watt inverter.
EarthRoamer XV HD
Another breed of off-road motorhomes, EarthRoamer’s XV HD is not only built to sustain the most adventurous off-road conditions but is also built with some serious off-grid time in mind.
Like its more compact sibling, the EarthRoamer LTI, the HD has a vacuum-infused carbon fiber camper body. But while the LTI is built on the Ford F-550 chassis, the HD is built on the big-brother Ford F-750 4WD chassis and has a powerful turbo diesel engine.
The HD has massive holding tanks for long-term overlanding including 115 gallons of diesel fuel, 250 gallons of fresh water, and 125-gallon capacity black and gray water tanks.
This massive rig is powered by 2,100 watts of solar power and a 20,000-watt-hour battery bank. You can see an entire gallery of interior photos of the EarthRoamer HD here.
Global Expedition Vehicles
Like EarthRoamer, Global Expedition Vehicles offers a wide variety of hard-core off-road RVs with some serious capabilities for long-term overlanding.
Let’s take a brief look at Global Expedition Vehicles’ Adventure Truck (AT) and Adventure-XT (AT-XT).
Adventure Truck (AT)
The Adventure Truck (AT) is built on either the Ford F550 or the RAM 5500 Single Cab.
This rugged rig is 24’3″ long and has an overall height of 11’3″ with a 20″ wheel and suspension upgrade.
Because it’s so compact, its interior is uniquely designed to incorporate everything you need in a relatively small living space. This panoramic interior view allows you to see the compact interior design:
It has a 90-gallon freshwater tank and 400-600W of solar power with 400ah of lithium batteries for some longish-term off-grid camping.
The considerably larger Adventure Truck XT (AT-XT) is 28’1″, nearly four feet longer than its little brother. It has a height of 11’8″ with the 20″ wheel and suspension upgrade.
Built on the RAM 5500 Crew Cab, this rig has a heavy-duty front bumper with a 40″ LED off-road light bar.
With cab-to-coach access, the AT-XT has a large cab-over sleeping area and a wet bath with a cassette toilet.
Tank capacities include a 74-100 gallon diesel fuel tank as well as 90-gallon fresh water and 20-gallon gray water tanks. (We’re not sure why they opted to go with a cassette toilet instead of a composting toilet, which we think is a far superior choice for a vehicle geared specifically toward boondocking.)
The rig is powered by 600-800 watts of solar power and 800ah of lithium-ion batteries.
Class B Off-Road RVs
Class B RVs are easy to maneuver due to their comparatively small sizes and there are lots of Class B RVs with off-road capabilities to take you far off the grid.
Let’s take a brief look at a couple of Class B off-road RVs:
Winnebago 4×4 Revel
Built on the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter chassis, the 19’7″ Winnebago Revel offers a 3.0L 6-cylinder, 188 hp turbo-diesel engine with a 7G-Tronic automatic transmission and a 220-amp alternator.
The Revel has an on-demand 4-wheel drive with Hi and Lo ranges as well as electronic stability and traction control on its 4-wheel ABS brakes.
Sportsmobile Mercedes-Benz Sprinter4x4
The Sportsmobile Sprinter 4×4 (with high/low) is available in a 144″ and 170″ wheelbase.
Equipped with the highest performance power-train offered in a U.S. Sprinter, the 3.0L BlueTec V6 offers 188 hp with a 5-speed automatic transmission.
These vans are raised 4.3 inches in the front and 3.1 inches in the back. This gives the Sportsmobile 4×4 a 20% greater ability to climb hills and mountain terrain.
Sportsmobiles are ordered with features suited to your RV lifestyle. For example, you could customize your Sportsmobile to have a permanently installed marine flush toilet with or without a macerator, a cassette toilet, or a porta potty. You can opt to have a shower…or not.
You can choose a propane furnace, a diesel air heater, or a space heater. You can choose to have a generator or not.
Sportsmobiles are made to your specifications based on your needs.
Off-Road Travel Trailers
Off-road travel trailers offer a special combination of ruggedness and versatility. Let’s take a look at a couple of the most popular off-road travel trailers on the market today.
Black Series HQ19
Black Series offers a wide array of heavy-duty off-road camper trailers with premium furnishings on the inside and incredibly durable ruggedness on the outside.
All Black Series travel trailers are designed for rugged outdoor adventures with armored chassis’ and patented suspension systems offering incredible all-terrain capability. The chassis is impact- and corrosion-resistant, and the travel trailer has 6 full-size off-road tires.
The 25.8′ HQ19 is a popular model. It sleeps 3 people (a queen bed and a convertible lounge) and features a pull-out all stainless steel open-air kitchen. It has a private en-suite bathroom with a vanity and even a small laundry.
The 13′ remote control electrical awning allows you to enjoy the outdoors you came off the beaten path to find.
The Black Series HQ19 is equipped with four 150W solar panels, a 63.4-gallon fresh water tank, 15.85 gallons of drinking water, and 26.4-gallon gray and black water tanks.
Opus Off-Road Travel Trailers
Opus Campers makes several rugged off-road campers. Some are “pop-up” type campers with exceptionally rugged exteriors while this one, the OP15 Off-Road Hybrid Caravan is fully decked out for living large in the great outdoors.
The OP15 has 2 all-terrain tires (265/75r/16 mud tires) and 2 spares under a fully galvanized and welded chassis with 4 heavy-duty drop down stabilizer legs, as well as a Fulton tongue jack wheel and a Cruisemaster DO35 hitch with 360-degree rotation ability.
The RV sleeps four comfortably with a king bed and twin bunks. It has a full bathroom with a shower, sink, and flush toilet.
Comfort is achieved with a TRUMA Combi furnace/water heater and a Dometic 13,5000 BTU air conditioner.
The rig is powered by three 100-ah batteries connected to a 300-watt solar panel system.
Have You Done Any Camping in an Off-Road RV?
These are just a few examples of the off-road RVs available in a widening off-grid camping market. If you’ve done some off-road traveling and camping in an RV designed for tough terrain and off-grid living, we’d love to hear about your experience. Drop us a comment below!
Geek Out with Us Every Week
Join our newsletter to learn about all things RV-related. Every week we offer free tips, tricks, product reviews, and more to our online community of RVers. So, whether this is your first time on the road or you’re a seasoned expert, we’d love for you to geek out with us!
Monday 14th of November 2022
I'm really surprised you questioned GXV's use of a cassette toilet instead of a black tank; Expedition vehicles never use a black tank since they don't generally stay in camp sites with an RV dump! It's important to be able to empty toilet waste conveniently, and that means a regular toilet somewhere or a hole dug in the ground - where it's legal. And incidentally, Earthroamers use cassette toilets too.
Wednesday 28th of December 2022
Except, these all have wet baths and a composting toilet in a wet bath seems to be a bad idea. I don't have personal experience but I've watched more than one YouTuber have serious issues with a composting toilet in a wet bath with all the moisture. Everything is a trade off in RVing.
Monday 14th of November 2022
Hi Peter! We totally understand your point, but it's mostly because we've RVed internationally 5 times (for over a month at a time) with every one of the rigs we rented in Europe, Australia, and NZ having cassette toilets, and we absolutely HATE them. A 2-to-3-day capacity for 2 people and smelling after a day is not our idea of a solution. If we were to have a rig like any of these, the only really great solution is composting! That solves all of the issues. We've spent a week using one (on a friend's catamaran sailing through the Panama Canal) and they're a great solution. We just edited the post slightly to include that thought about composting toilets. Should have done that before. Thanks for your input.
Sunday 13th of November 2022
Good write-up but why no mention of MSRP or price ranges for each rig? I've read a bit about the Black Series trailers and know they have a premium price tag so assume all in this review are at the top of the price pyramid but it would have been nice to see something on costs. Fwiw I just came from the Bengal Tiger Adventures website and found nothing on pricing, only a link to apply for financing which seems like an ominous sign...
Gay RV Enthusiast (Jason)
Sunday 13th of November 2022
Hey guys. I hope you're doing well. Another awesome review. I've seen a few RVs that are capable of going off road. They're awesome vehicles to have for those who want to go farther than the typical Class A, Class B, or Class C, or even a travel trailer.
Sunday 13th of November 2022
Hey Jason! Glad you enjoyed this! We're doing well, thanks, and hope you are too!