The two different ‘finishes’ is where Manley really thinks outside the box. The Economy finish is perfect for budget-minded people who need to get into a trailer for the least amount of cash. These trailers are assembled in the US from foreign sourced tubs and frames. For $1,500 more, the Elite finish is 100% fabricated and built in the USA, for those able and willing to support 100% Made in the USA products. Josh put together a short YouTube video showing the differences between the finishes.
Since the primary purpose of our trailer will be as an ORT, we opted for the Explore Model that includes an aluminum lid and tall rack. The curb weight on this model is 850lb with a 2,000lb GVWR, so after the ~150lb RTT we have about 1,000lb for payload. That should be enough to haul the piles of gear we normally travel ‘lightly’ with.
We originally planned a quick trip to Kansas City to meet Josh and pickup the trailer, but time got away from us so when it was ready (we customized the wheels & tires to match our FJC) we had it shipped. In the end we’re glad we opted for shipping so we got to see the detail that goes into packing a MORV for shipping. Not only is the trailer stretch wrapped to the pallet, but there are straps everywhere hold the trailer down. They bolt the foot of the trailer jack to the pallet, cover the wheels and protect all the corners with Styrofoam before wrapping. You can tell the artists at MORV love their work and want to make sure it arrives in perfect condition.
The little details on the Explore trailer are really what get me. The bed of the trailer comes with a nice rubber mat, and the tongue includes anti-skid coating. The trailer jack is easily removable, MORV uses safety cables instead of chains, and even uses cables on the tailgate, all of this to keep your trailer quiet and annoyance-free on the trail. The lid struts seemed very heavy when closing until we installed the tent – now it opens and closes perfectly. You do have to lift the lid to open & close the tailgate, which is a great security feature even if it’s not the most convenient. It’s also nice to have a large tailgate to help easily slide larger items in and out of the trailer with much less lifting.
This is a great starter trailer that won’t remain stock for long. We had Discount Tire Direct ship our Nitto Trail Grapplers and Level 8 Tracker wheels directly to Manley, who installed a Toyota bolt pattern axle on the trailer before he shipped it. The matching tires look great on the black wheels. For future additions, current plans include a tongue box, propane mount, integrated lighting for the tent and accessories, and possibly integrated storage options for smaller items. We’ll cover details of those mods in future issues.
As luck would have it, we haven’t been able to get the trailer out in the woods for real use before this issue is published, so for now we’ll have to settle for a few poser shots. We’ll be down to Arizona twice this spring, along with a trip to Moab for Cruise Moab. Of course you’ll see the trailer at other events this summer including the FJ Summit in Ouray and Thrill on the Hill in Cloudcroft, NM.
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