The Chobe Tec overland trailer is a new and unique caravan for North America, providing sleep-inside comfort for four, with stand-up height and escape from most inclement weather.
Comfortably sleeps four
Full stand-up height inside
Durable, lightweight construction
Independent, long-travel suspension
Full outdoor kitchen
Limited compression travel
Limited tire size due to wheel well opening
Full setup will require about 15 minutes.
On the Trail
For each trailer we evaluate, pulling it through our test course is an important task, as it helps us baseline the performance against other units in the segment. It also pushed the trailer well beyond what most owners will attempt, including rocky ledges, deep cross-axle terrain, 28 degree side slopes, etc.
In the case of the Chobe Caravan, it complete all of our slow-speed technical tasks without complaint. The trailer had excellent side slope holding and notable stability through the more dynamic obstacles.
It cleared our breakover challenge and did not ground once, including on larger ledges and ruts. It is worth noting that the rear trailer corners do not have steel protection, so care should be given to the departure angle.
We also found that the max tire size was quite conservative, with (maybe) a 285/75 R16 tire fitting in the available space. This is more a reflection of typical use in South Africa, but North American overland trailers are often subjected to more technical terrain, at times requiring a larger tire, particularly one that matches the bolt pattern and diameter of the tow vehicle. The trailer is also surprisingly light given the overall features and ability to sleep inside. We weighed it at our local scale, and it came in at 1,940 pounds, which is impressive in its own right, and below the tow limits of even most cars.
At higher speeds, the Chobe performed well there too, with the suspension absorbing smaller events without issue. Larger events resulted in some hard bottoming and even a few notable bounces, but it is far better than the typical torsion suspension. The only feature we could not test properly was braking, as this test unit had surge brakes, which will be revised to electric brakes for US and Canadian customers.
From my perspective, I have always advocated for the ability to sleep inside something I am towing. In the case of the Chobe, I could not only sleep inside it, but even stand up, work, and even eat inside it.
The set-up takes about 15 minutes for one person that has some familiarity with the unit. This may seem long, but it is on par with most tent-style trailers. Just to sleep or take a nap, that time can be cut in half. To set-up the full kitchen and awning, plan on the 15 minutes. However, when all that work is done, there is an entry door, a ladder, and standing room for 2-3 people off the ground. The main bed is about queen size, and the secondary bed similar to a double. It would be easy to sleep mom, dad, and a few kids.
I used the second bed as a stowage area for clothing bags and photography equipment. And the edge of that bed makes for a comfortable seat to work. A large electrical control panel is mounted to the interior, which has several outlets, including USB. There is a water usage indicator, and switches for lights, the water pump, and the battery isolator. There are also a few little cubbies for stashing smaller gear items.
The quality of the materials and the attention to detail on the rain fly and windows.
The kitchen is also an impressive feature, with a full pull-out galley, complete with Dometic fridge, sink, and stove. The dry goods and kitchen storage in the pantry is generous, and includes a drop-down panel for food prep.
The Chobe overland trailer can also be specified with a shower/toilet stall. It mounts to the front of the frame and supports both an entire enclosure, but also a sink. An on-demand propane-fired water heater supplies the shower head.
Overall, the Chobe overland trailer is a high-quality, and extremely well thought-out trailer with both capability and comfort. Ideal for life on the road and longer forays, the Echo trailer had the available water and storage space for 7-10 days in the field. The only accessory required will be an appropriate solar solution to maintain the batteries. It will be less ideal for extreme or highly technical terrain where much larger tires and under trailer protection is required.
As an evaluator, the Chobe camper hits the sweet spot of capability and camp life. These units are available in North America through Off Grid Trek, a veteran-owned business. $41,995
Note: Look for Off Grid Trek at the Overland Expo East, 2019