Imperial Outdoors XploreRV X145

A builder of ice-fishing houses uses its cold-weather expertise to construct rugged four-season travel trailers.

By Bruce W. Smith

July/August 2024

The digital thermometer hanging outside the dinette window of our trailer registered 15 degrees Fahrenheit as the rays of the morning sun streaked through the snow-covered pines where we were dry camped. Inside, it was 50 degrees warmer, the windows were fog free, and the heating system didn’t seem to be the least bit stress ed in these midwinter conditions.

A full-size bed rests at the front of the X145.

A full-size bed rests at the front of the X145.

My wife and I were “overlanding” on a multiday winter trip, exploring the high desert of Central Oregon using a 2024 XploreRV X145 travel trailer as our base. Overlanding is the popular term these days for RVers who enjoy camping for extended periods of time off-grid while exploring the less-traveled regions of the great outdoors. The unit was provided for our use by Technique Vehicle Outfitters of Bend, Oregon.

In my view, few, if any, RV manufacturers know how to build travel trailers for use in extreme weather (down to negative 40 degrees) better than Wisconsin-based Imperial Outdoors, part of Nelson Industries. The company utilized decades of expertise in constructing high-end custom ice-fishing houses to produce its own overlanding-type trailer, the XploreRV X145.



The X145 is a rugged, smartly designed, single-axle trailer built to withstand the rigors of extreme weather, winter or summer, and to hold up well to the rougher roads found in backcountry travel. It has the best insulation and heating system you’ll find in a camp trailer of this size, a testament to its ice-fishing roots. Imperial Outdoors also builds a five-foot-longer tandem-axle model, the X195.

A single-burner induction cooktop comes standard.

A single-burner induction cooktop comes standard.

The X145 spotlighted here is truly a four-season, tow-anywhere travel trailer. The roof and walls have an R-18 insulation rating; the floor is rated R-15. The RV measures 21 feet 7 inches long, with a 78-inch-wide interior and a 6-foot-3.5-inch ceiling height — comfortable dimensions for most couples who love the outdoor lifestyle.

It’s a comfy design that sleeps two. The bedroom is in the front, with a full-size RV bed oriented east to west, and the bathroom is in the rear. In between is a kitchen/eating area that features a cozy convertible dinette, a single-burner cooktop, and a small fridge. This layout gives the trailer a bright, airy interior, which contributes to its sense of spaciousness.

My only issue with this floor plan concerns the kitchen. As noted, it has only a single-burner cooktop,and there’s no microwave. 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. This particular setup puts a damper on easily making multi-item meals. (The larger X195 has a bigger freezer/fridge and a dual-burner cooktop.)



One area where Imperial Outdoors designers hit the bull’s-eye is in the way this trailer is built to handle weather extremes. The composite walls are nearly 3 inches thick and filled with block-foam insulation. Lightweight acrylic thermopane windows are used throughout for a nice view of the surroundings. These dual-pane, nitrogen-filled windows have built-in shades and screens.

The thick window shades act as another level of insulation from the heat/cold of the outside, and the separate screens provide excellent airflow during warm weather without letting in pesky bugs.

Another nice touch in the X145 are the window locks, which allow the windows to be opened in varying degrees as needed to reduce condensation in winter and to add circulation in summer if one wants to cut down on the heater or A/C use.


The galley contains a convenient slide-out storage rack.

The galley contains a convenient slide-out storage rack.


One aspect that makes a camp trailer stand out is storage space. The XploreRV X145 ranks high in that arena 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 under the stainless-steel sink and a pull-out storage area for cookware beneath the True single-burner induction cooktop. In addition, a cabinet above the 12-volt fridge, located to the left of the stove, serves as a roomy pantry.

Items can be stowed beneath the padded dinette seats.

Items can be stowed beneath the padded dinette seats.

More storage is available underneath the dinette seats, which are large enough to keep extra bedding, backpacks, clothing, or other bulky items out of sight but within easy access.



A nice surprise in the X145 is the bathroom. It’s roomy for a trailer of this size. The shower easily accommodates six-footers and has a sliding glass door to separate it from the rest of the bathroom. The sink is deep and the vanity spacious.

However, the coolest item in the bathroom is the Dry Flush Laveo waterless toilet system, which is popular in the marine industry. After a half-dozen or so uses of the toilet, and sprinkling a little gelling agent after each deposit, the RV owner presses the “flush” button. That causes the inside of the toilet to spin around as it sucks and seals the waste that’s been deposited in a bag made of shiny polyester film. The sealed waste is then pulled downward, leaving in its place a clean bag ready for use.

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. It’s a really neat and sanitary setup.



One of the many features of the XploreRV X145 that we liked was the camper’s robust 12-volt GoPower solar and Expion360 LiFeP0₄ lithium-ion battery system. This particular unit was outfitted with the optional three-battery (1080 amp-hour) package and Stage 3 (740-watt) solar roof panel kit.

The optional three-battery package and 740-watt solar roof panel kit can provide off-grid power for more than a week.

The optional three-battery package and 740-watt solar roof panel kit can provide off-grid power for more than a week.

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. But in my opinion, the upgraded solar panel/lithium battery option is a no-brainer for anyone planning weeklong off-grid camping trips without bringing along a generator.

We spent five days camping off the grid, relying only on the solar battery system. We used the cooktop multiple times each day, kept the interior and exterior LED lights on late into the night, ran the furnace and water pump, and were still left with more than 40 percent power, according to the electrical power monitoring system.



Extended off-grid camping trips require bringing along equipment and provisions such as extra fuel, water, tools, a spare tire, firewood, camp chairs, fishing gear, possibly a canoe or kayaks, and maybe even mountain bikes. The X145 has the capacity to carry all those items and more.

Out back, the X145 is designed to accommodate multiple jerrycans, a spare tire, a utility box, a Hi-Lift jack, and special gear panels to hold other off-road accessories. Up top is the standard 270-degree bat-wing-style awning, the solar panels, bathroom vent, and A/C unit. And on the front upper section is yet another panel for carrying more gear.

In addition, a pass-through storage compartment under the front of the trailer makes an ideal spot for secure storage of longer items. The large steel storage box on the trailer tongue has enough space on top to carry e-bikes, with room inside to house the dual 20-pound propane tanks as well as other gear.



When it comes to towing, the XploreRV X145 (and big brother X195) sits atop a powder-coated, heavy-duty boxed-steel frame fitted with a Cruisemaster ATX off-road independent air suspension imported from Australia.

This suspension allows up to 5 inches of adjustment per side — and provides a full 21 inches of ground clearance (at max ride height) to the steel skid plates that protect the 60-gallon fresh-water and gray-water tanks mounted in the enclosed and heated underbelly.

Also of interest to those camping way off the grid, the X145 rides on 33-inch mud-terrain tires with heavy-duty disc brakes. The plumbing and wiring of the X145 is routed well above the frame as well. This gives those critical parts excellent protection from damage caused by encounters with rocks and other large obstructions.


The trailer is outfitted with an articulating hitch that enables the RV to swivel, pivot, and rotate separate from the towing vehicle.

The trailer is outfitted with an articulating hitch that enables the RV to swivel, pivot, and rotate separate from the towing vehicle.

In addition to everything else under the X145’s body, the frame is fitted with a Cruisemaster DO45 Plus articulating hitch that allows the trailer to swivel, pivot, and rotate separate from the towing vehicle. This design greatly reduces the typical jerk-and-jar a traditional ball-mount hitch places on those inside the towing vehicle. The DO45 Plus hitch also provides a stronger, more secure hitching system than the traditional ball mount.

We towed the X145 behind a 2023 GMC Sierra AT4X 1500 pickup over more than 75 miles of rutted, sometimes rocky, snow-covered back roads in Oregon’s high desert. Not once did the trailer affect the ride quality of the new GMC, and the trailer’s contents never seemed to be jostled about when we got to our campsites.



The Imperial Outdoors XploreRV X145 is a top-tier towable that should 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 is also one of the best-insulated overlanding trailers on the market, thanks to the implementation of techniques the company learned from decades of building upscale ice-fishing houses. Sure, it carries a high price tag, but it delivers a comfortable camping experience regardless of the season or location, and it’s built stout enough to be passed on for the next generation to enjoy.



Imperial Outdoors (Nelson Industries Inc.), 2191 Aspen St., St. Croix Falls, WI 54024;; (715) 483-9955

Imperial Outdoors XploreRV


21 feet 7 inches

91 inches including fenders

9 feet 9 inches

6 feet 3.5 inches

6,172 pounds

(1) 6,172 pounds

4,400 pounds

450 pounds

1,772 pounds

265/75 R16 all-terrain

heavy-duty disc

fresh water — 60 gallons;
gray water — 60 gallons;
black water — N/A

(2) 20-pound tanks

Truma Combi RV furnace/water heater

30 amps; (3) 360-amp-hour lithium batteries and 740-watt solar panel roof kit, optional

14,300 Btu; Truma Combi RV furnace/water heater

(1) 6,824 Btu, 12-volt

3-cubic-foot, 12-volt

1 year limited



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