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Thursday, May 16, 2024

24-Month Turtleback Expedition Trailer Review

It’s hard to believe that I’ve had my Turtleback Expedition trailer for two years now. I’ve been on a lot of adventures from the beach to mountaintops to deserts, and this thing has been a champ in every instance.

I chose Turtleback for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that these trailers are impeccably designed, ruggedly built, and come with a host of standard features that make overlanding a much more functional and comfortable proposition.

Now that I’ve had a couple of years to make adjustments and modifications, though, my trailer is even better suited to my specific overlanding needs. So, in my two-year Turtleback Expedition Trailer Review, I’ll give you a quick rundown of the specs, features, options, and upgrades that have made the most impact on my outdoor adventures.

In the video above, you can watch my full Turtleback Expedition Trailer review. I’ve outlined some of the highlights below for your convenience.

Table of Contents

Original Specs of the Turtleback Expedition Trailer

turtleback expedition trailer Joshua tree

The term “fully loaded” is definitely applicable to the Turtleback Expedition Series trailer. From top to bottom, front to back, these trailers are built for tough adventures in wild locations, to say the least!

For example, my 2020 Turtleback Expedition trailer features a Timbren axle-less 3500HD suspension paired with a welded 2″x3″ galvanized steel chassis. This is an ultra-strong yet lightweight setup.

The trailer came with 16-inch wheels wrapped in 265/75R16 tires for enhanced off-road capabilities. You also get a swing-out tailgate spare tire mount that has a flip-down table for added prep space.

turtleback expedition trailer galley 2

I love to cook, so I wanted to invest in a trailer that had a well-appointed galley. The Turtleback Expedition trailer fits the bill with a full Birch kitchen. I’ve got a big Dometic stainless steel sink, a tempered glass top for the sink for added counter space, and an 18-inch Partner steel stove.

The galley also features tons of storage for utensils and food. Plus, you get an 11-pound propane tank to run the Partner stove and the Dometic 6-gallon water heater. Yeah – this bad boy has hot and cold water!

Speaking of water, my trailer has a 42-gallon BPA-free water tank, so I have plenty of water capacity for extended off-grid trips. The tank has a 12-volt on-demand water pump that feeds the kitchen sink and an outdoor shower.

lighting for 4wd vehicles

The power system in a stock Turtleback Expedition trailer includes Blue Sea marine-grade components. For example, you get an 8-circuit Blue Sea control panel, a Xantrex Freedom 2000-watt inverter, and dual Zamp obsidian 100-watt unregulated solar panels. Likewise, the trailer came with dual AGM deep-cycle batteries and multiple 12-volt and USB ports for charging your gadgets. There’s a 110-volt outlet in the back of the trailer as well.

My trailer came with all sorts of features that make overlanding an easier undertaking. For example, there’s Molle panels and a pole storage tube for added storage, tread plate side box toppers, and corner steadies.

Likewise, the trailer came with an Arc wheel jack, Rigid reverse lights, and a water filtration system with UV and carbon filters. The Cruisemaster hitch with handbrake and Icon remote reservoir shocks are additional goodies that came with the original trailer.

Like I said, this thing is fully featured. And what I’ve listed so far only scratches the surface!

Turtleback Expedition Trailer Review: Top Factory Features


One of the things that makes or breaks an overlanding setup is storage space. And my Turtleback Expedition trailer definitely brings storage space to the party.

In fact, while this is a compact trailer, it still offers 50 cubic feet of storage. That’s an incredible amount of storage space, especially for a trailer that’s this small. Yet, I somehow manage to fill up every compartment, cubby, and drawer with gear, even if I’m only heading out for the weekend. Go figure!

turtleback expedition trailer galley

In addition to all the storage space, another favorite factory feature of my trailer is the galley. Like I said before, I love to cook, and this trailer has a smart kitchen setup that makes camp cooking a functional and enjoyable experience. As you can see in the image above, there’s all sorts of drawers for keeping kitchen gear neatly organized and easily accessible.

I also like how the kitchen folds out and expands to give me more space to cook. The stove and sink are on slide-outs to give me a little more space, while two fold-up tables offer extra counter space for prepping food or putting utensils within easy reach.


My Turtleback Expedition trailer also came from the factory with rooftop rails that enabled me to add a rooftop tent. Originally, I had a Torro Offroad Skylux rooftop tent, but I replaced it with the SMRT Summit Suite to better fit my needs. Having the tent on top of the trailer means I’m up and away from predators and off the cold ground. Likewise, I don’t have to unpack and set up a ground tent every time I go camping, which is a huge bonus!

Options and Upgrades I’ve Added


Now for the fun part…

While the Turtleback Expedition trailer offers tons of features and amenities, I wanted to upgrade certain parts of the trailer to be a better fit for my needs.

In many cases, this involved very straightforward additions, like adding a rooftop tent, as discussed above. Likewise, I’ve added tools like the Forrest Tool Company MAX toolkit, the Tailgater Tire Table, and the ALP 1000-watt propane generator to provide me with greater utility around camp.

But as I discuss in the video at the start of this article, I made some more involved upgrades, too…

For example, I added a Planar diesel air heater to the nose of the trailer to supply heat to my rooftop tent.

As I show in the video above, the installation of this upgrade went as smoothly as I could’ve hoped. And as a result, I can stay toasty warm in my tent, even when the temperatures take a nosedive.

What’s more, I can sleep comfortably knowing that carbon monoxide poisoning isn’t a factor because the heater isn’t in the tent with me. I just enjoy instant, dry heat all night long!

Another critical upgrade I made was adding dual 180-watt Sunflare XPLOR solar panels to the roof of my SMRT Summit Suite Tent. Having solar panels is a game-changer because it means I can stay off-grid for much longer. That’s especially true since I’ve made significant upgrades to the trailer’s electrical system, including a REDARC RedVision Manager30 kit to manage my Ultimatron lithium-ion batteries.

Again, this only scratches the surface of the things I’ve added and upgraded on my trailer – not because the trailer didn’t start out awesome, but because I simply wanted an overlanding setup that perfectly fits my needs. Get a complete review of all the additions I’ve made by watching my full video tour at the beginning of this article.

2023 Update: Testing a New Overlanding Power Source

inergy power station overland west

In addition to the upgrades and additions I’ve discussed thus far, I’m currently at Overland West (with my travel buddy, shown above) testing several products from Inergy, including the FLEX 1500 Power Station, two 1,000-watt FLEX Batteries, and two Ascent 100-watt solar panels.

The brains of the operation is the Power Station, which has a vast array of power ports:

  • Six 110-120V AC outlets
  • Two 60W USB-C ports
  • Two USB-A ports
  • Two 5.5mm x 2.5mm DC outputs
  • Two 15A cigarette lighter ports with a 13.8V regulated DC output

That’s a lot of ports!

inergy power station graph

On the front is a console LCD display that gives you the means to check up on the system’s vitals. There are separate power buttons for DC and AC, a FLEX Battery LCD display to check on the battery’s current levels, and loads of cooling vents so the unit doesn’t overheat.

The FLEX 1500 Power Station also has a 1,500-watt pure sine wave inverter, an MPPT charge controller, and it only weighs 29 pounds! Best of all, you can charge this power station using multiple sources at the same time. For example, using solar panels, shore power, your car, and the optional FLEX MPPT Supercharger, you can charge this power station in about 1.5 hours!

inergy flex battery

The FLEX Batteries I mentioned are worth a deeper look, too. These batteries can be run in a series or in parallel, and are stackable, meaning, you can stack up to five FLEX batteries and then connect multiple stacks together using a battery adapter plate. You can connect up to 96 batteries for an incredible amount of clean, quiet power. Nice!

And like the FLEX 1500 Power Station, these batteries can be charged with solar, your car, shore power, or a combination thereof. Normal charging time is about 3.5 hours.

ascent solar panel

The final component of this system is the ASCENT 100 solar panel. As I mentioned, I have two of these panels, each of which weighs about 22 pounds and is 25.59″ x 19.88″ x 2.36″ when folded in half. They are super portable as-is, but you can add a panel carrying case to make transporting them even easier.

The panels have a built-in kickstand, so setup is easy – unfold them, deploy the kickstand, connect them to the FLEX 1500 Power Station, and you’re all set!

Remember – this is just a quick preview – I’ll have much more content coming up on these products, so stay tuned to 4WDTalk.com and our YouTube channel for more details. First  impressions are very good, though!

Turtleback Expedition Trailer Review: Money Well Spent

smrt tent flat roof

When you buy an overlanding trailer, it’s a significant investment of money. That makes it imperative for you to find a trailer that gives you a solid base camp and allows you to customize it to your specific needs. That’s exactly what the Turtleback Expedition Trailer is for me!

This trailer is rugged and tough, feature-rich, and has the capability to be modified as you see fit. Better still, it’s backed by the hard word and dedication of an incredibly knowledgeable team at Turtleback Trailers. Over the years, I’ve gotten to know the folks at Turtleback pretty well. They make awesome trailers! More importantly, they are amazing people that really take pride in what they do and care about your experience as a customer.

So, two years in, and I couldn’t be happier with my Turtleback Expedition trailer. It’s been money well spent making it my ultimate expedition rig!

Learn more about Turtleback Trailers by visiting their website.

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