Overlanding is by far today’s hottest trend in the four-wheel-drive segment of outdoor recreation. Exploring remote destinations in the backcountry, where the journey itself is the primary goal, has captured the attention of a whole subculture of like-minded adventurers of all ages, backgrounds, and professions from around the world.
The attraction of being totally self-reliant, camping for extended periods of time off grid, and exploring the vast wonders of the outdoor world has resulted in some unique technology specific to such adventures.
One area of overlanding that has sparked massive tech growth is in the area of lodging — specifically off-road trailers. No U.S. RV manufacturer knows this better than Wisconsin-based Imperial Outdoors, a company that has utilized its expertise in building custom high-end ice fishing houses to design and produce its own overlanding trailer — the 2023 XploreRV X145.
In short: Imperial Outdoors’ 2023 XploreRV X145 is a rugged, smartly designed, four-season expedition trailer built to withstand the rigors of extreme weather and backcountry boondocking. But, its hefty price tag keeps it out of reach of the average off-roader.
Imperial Outdoors XploreRV X145
- Length 21’7”
- UVW (Empty) 4,400 lbs.
- GVWR (Loaded) 6,172 lbs.
- Suspension Independent w/ Air
- Fresh water 60 gals.
- Gray water 60 gals.
- Sleeps 2
- MSRP $104,300
- MSRP $124,300 (as tested)
- Superb insulation from heat/cold
- 21” of ground clearance
- Air-adjustable independent suspension (+/- 5”)
- Heated enclosed underbelly
- Dry flush toilet
- Heavy-duty chassis w/ articulating hitch
- Composite materials
- 60-gallon fresh/gray water tanks
- Single-burner induction cooktop is too small
- Tight confines around toilet
- No microwave or oven
2023 Imperial Outdoors XploreRV X145 Review
Imperial Outdoors 21’4” XploreRV X145 is truly a four-season overlanding trailer. It has the best insulation and heating system you’ll find in a camp trailer of this size and style. The interior measures just over 14 feet with a 6’3” ceiling height and acrylic thermopane windows throughout.
The high ceiling, east-west full RV bed up front, with rear bathroom floor plan, gives this trailer a bright, airy interior, which contributes to its sense of spaciousness when you step inside.
Abundant Interior Storage Space
One aspect that makes one off-road trailer better than another is storage space. The XploreRV X145 ranks high in that category because it has two large upper storage cabinets, one above the galley and another above the dinette. The interior is built of composite materials and the upper cabinets have high-end latches, hinges, and support struts for the lid.
The X145 also has big drawers beneath the big, deep stainless sink, and a pull-out storage area for cookware beneath the True single-burner induction cooktop. There’s also another cabinet above the 12V fridge located to the left of the galley that serves as a roomy pantry.
More storage is located underneath the seats at the dinette. The two compartments are large enough to keep extra bedding, backpacks, clothing, or other bulky items out of sight but within easy access.
Acrylic Thermopane Windows: A Nice Touch
Imperial Outdoors’ designers utilized acrylic thermopane windows throughout the X145, with windows at the head and foot of the bed, a large one over the galley, another at the dinette, and a small one in the bathroom.
They all incorporate both shades and screens. The thick shades act as another level of insulation from the heat/cold of the outside, and the separate screens let fresh air flow during warm weather without letting in pesky bugs.
Another nice aspect of the XploreRV X145 design is the window latches. Each window in the living area has four locking latches that can be set to just crack the window open to provide a breath of air seep by the seals to prevent condensation you’d get in the winter, or the latches can be rotated to allow the windows to open from one-third to full.
X145 Galley Needs Attention
Anyone who spends much time camping knows the galley is an integral hub of activity during the day as meals are prepped and cooked, followed by dishes being cleaned. The XploreRV X145 camper falls a little short in that area because the designers sacrificed the cooking area for cleaning space.
Our X145 counter had a True single-burner induction cooktop and a big, deep farm-style sink, with no cover(s), which would expand the useable countertop space. This is an oversight, which can be easily corrected on the next model.
Some overlanders making a one-pot meal can get by with a single-burner cooktop. But the majority of those who are charged with making camp meals would prefer a two-burner cooktop and a slightly smaller sink — with an insert cover to create more countertop space.
Big Bathroom: Another Nice Touch
A nice surprise in the X145 is the size of the bathroom. It’s roomy. The shower easily accommodates 6-footers and has a sliding glass door to separate it from the rest of the bathroom. The sink is deep and the vanity is spacious.
Another nice touch is the toilet. What’s cool about the X145 toilet is it’s a Laveo Dry Flush waterless system. Use the toilet, shaking in a little of the supplied chemical to gel any liquids after each use. But don’t flush.
After eight to 10 uses, hit the toilet’s “flush” button. The inside of the toilet spins, sucks, and seals the waste in the shiny mylar bag, and then pulls the sealed waste downward leaving a clean, new silver bag ready for use. (Watch the video)
After several days of using the Dry Flush, you pull the toilet’s liner up/over the mylar bag and replace it with a new cartridge. Your hands never touch anything other than the plastic liner. Simple. No muss. No smell. No need for a black tank or using an RV dump station.
Independent-Axle Air Suspension
The XploreRV X145 (and big brother X195) is a couple’s camper designed as a true off-road, off-grid overlanding trailer fully equipped to handle all the challenges presented by those who love taking less-traveled tracks regardless of season or geographic location.
For example, the 21’7” heavy-duty boxed-steel frame is powder-coated and fitted with a Cruisemaster ATX Off-Road Independent Air Suspension imported from Australia. It rides on 33-inch mud-terrain tires and is stopped by heavy-duty disc brakes.
This air suspension is state-of-the-art and allows 5 inches of air adjustment per side — and a full 21 inches of clearance between the ground and the steel skid plates that protect the 60-gallon fresh water and gray water tanks mounted in the enclosed-and-heated underbelly.
The plumbing and wiring of the X145 are routed well above the frame, too, so these critical parts are well protected from damage caused by encounters with rocks and other trail obstructions.
Strong Off-Road Chassis Design
The boxed-steel XploreRV X145 off-road chassis is fitted with a Cruisemaster DO45 Plus articulating hitch that allows the trailer to swivel, pivot, and rotate separately from the tow vehicle.
This hitch design greatly smoothes out the typical jerk-and-jar of a traditional ball-mount hitch. The unique hitch design also allows for a more secure hitching system than the traditional ball mount.
In a nutshell, wherever the vehicle towing an XploreRV X145 can go off-pavement, the trailer is perfectly capable of following along with a minimal amount of jarring and jostling to whatever is carried inside it.
I towed the X145 behind a 2023 GMC Sierra AT4X 1500 for more than 50 miles over the snow-covered backroads of Oregon’s high desert and never once did the trailer affect the ride of the pickup.
Solar Juice for Multiday Camping
One of the many features of the XploreRV X145 that we liked a lot was the camper’s healthy 12V GoPower solar and Expion360 LifeP04 lithium-ion battery system. This model particular trailer was outfitted with the optional three-battery (1,080aH) package and Stage 3 (740W) solar roof panel kit.
That’s by far the biggest upgrade, cost-wise, on the XploreRV X145, adding $17,000 to this custom overlanding trailer’s $104,300 base price. The upgraded solar panel/lithium battery option is a no-brainer for anyone planning long off-grid camping trips without a generator.
I spent nearly 4 days under mostly cloudy skies, used the cooktop morning and night, kept the interior LED lights on more than we should, and ran the furnace and water pump, and I was still left with more than 40% power according to the electrical power monitoring system.
Exterior Storage Solutions of the X145
Off-grid camping trips, or extended time overlanding, requires bringing along equipment and provisions such as extra fuel, water, tools, spare tire, firewood, camp chairs, and even mountain bikes. The X145 has the capacity to carry all those and more.
Out back, the X145 is designed to carry multiple jerry cans, a spare tire, a utility box, Hi-Lift Jack, and special gear panels to hold other off-road accessories. Up top are the standard 270-degree bat-wing-style awning, the solar panels, the bathroom vent, and A/C unit. And on the front upper section is yet another panel for carrying more gear.
There’s also a pass-through storage compartment under the front of the trailer ideal for secure storage of longer items — like skis and paddles. In front, on top of the trailer’s tongue, is a big steel storage box with enough space on top to carry e-bikes, and room inside to house the dual 20-pound propane tanks on the off side and other gear on the street-side corner.
Imperial Outdoors XploreRV X145: Conclusions
Imperial Outdoors XploreRV X145 overlanding camper is a premium-level, custom overlanding trailer built to last for decades of hard, off-the-grid, off-road, four-season use. It’s best towed by full-size half-ton pickups or vehicles that are rated to tow up to 6,200 pounds.
The XploreRV X145 camper is one of the best-insulated four-season overlanding trailers on the market, thanks to the implementation of techniques the company learned from building high-end ice fishing RVs. This makes it an excellent camper choice for use in the depths of winter or during the heat of summer.
If you are looking for a limited-production, top-tier camper that is well-suited for year-round overlanding adventures and extended off-grid camping trips, the X145 would be a solid choice. It delivers a comfortable camping experience regardless of the season or location. MSRP starts at $104,300, with the heavily optioned model I tested listed at $124,300.