It’s like a broken record in the overland world, “why are all the awesome trucks only sold overseas?”. “Why can’t we have the Defender, the 70 Series Land Cruiser, or the Patrol?” Sure, it bothers me too. It drives me nuts that I can’t have a Defender 130 or the new VW California (seriously though c’mon VW) but there’s something that kills me even more, the lack of imported off-road trailers. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of awesome models available in North America. After overlanding started to become prominent here, many companies began to shove the U.S. trailer market forward with a series of fantastic new designs, each bringing an area of expertise and unique advantages that can’t be found in other models. Like the Land Cruiser troop carrier though, there are certain things that we just plain want regardless of what we have here; in this case, it’s the Australian and South-African styled touring trailers.
Because many of their roads are unpaved and unpredictable, Australia and Africa have been building, testing, and reinforcing their trailers out of necessity since before the North American trailer market was even started. The years of refinement have paid off, and it appears that they have nailed down what a bush trailer should be. It’s no surprise then that when Michael and Denise Rogers spotted these honed pieces of equipment conquering the African outback they were blown away. Unlike the wood and staple structure they were used to in trailers, these were made from metal, heavy duty parts, and high quality components. They packed small but assembled into a full safari camp in just minutes. They left Africa knowing that they had to bring these trailers back to Canada, and two years later a business was born with North America’s first approved Echo 4×4 trailers.
Looking at their website, these things exude African toughness. Olive drab and tan paint cover the galvanized structure, steel wheels and heavy leafed suspension are sprung underneath, and convenient accessories are tucked carefully into their designated spots. What we found most impressive though, is the truly ready to roll setup and the planning that went into it. Every feature and amenity is incorporated into the design from the beginning, even down to the plates, bowls, and cups. No more rattles or worries about your utensils not fitting, this trailer was designed to hold that silverware. The result of all this work is a simple, reliable, easy to use camper with nothing cheesily bolted on after the fact, a mobile base-camp built to endure the toughest of beatings over a lifetime of use.
The North American Safari Company has started with three trailer models, the Echo 3, Echo 4, and Echo 5, which range from a small camping trailer, to their top of the line safari tent on wheels. All models come ready to roll, which for Echo 4×4 really means ready to roll. Among the standard included items are dishes, bowls, plates, cups, silverware, coffee mugs, a 9 cup coffee pot, a primus two burner stove, salt and pepper shakers, bottle opener, two wolf pack containers, a stainless steel table, a portable bathroom, two jerry cans, AGM battery, refrigerator, two 5lb propane bottles, a wash basin, awning walls for the tent, and even beer glasses, wine glasses, hi-ball glasses and tumblers!
While they haven’t brought over their fully enclosed Kavango or Namib caravans yet, this is one heck of a start and finally shows some hope that more people like the Rogers will bring us the trailers we love. Check out their website here for a serious case of trailer envy. Be sure to ask them about how they’re built, it’s impressive to say the least.