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If you’ve spent any time on the road in the last couple of years, you’ve undoubtedly seen more trailers and rigs built out to take on a variety of unruly outdoor settings (although many never make it that far), as part of the “overlanding” trend.
To overland, for the newcomers, means to travel a long distance over land, but how you travel that distance is largely up to you. While popular options include going in Jeeps, 4Runners and other burly SUVs, the Taxa Outdoors Cricket Overland trailer keeps most of the unruliness to a camper trailer, and separate from your towing rig of choice.
As the name would suggest, the Overland is the more rugged edition of Taxa’s Cricket trailer, a popular overlanding option despite a smaller stature than competitors.
While my fiancée and I are regular campers, we’re by no means “overlanders.” We’ve been curious about bigger buildouts, and when it might make sense to cross that threshold. We spent a few days using the Cricket Overland as our first venture into overlanding to find out how comfortable it is to leave most of the living to a camper of this caliber.
Keep reading for our detailed review of Taxa’s Cricket Overland to learn more about our experience taking this camper to the Olympic Peninsula, who we think would enjoy this trailer and our overall verdict. If you’re looking for a quick answer, there isn’t one. Our verdict is largely dependent on necessity and long-term vision of using this trailer.
Taxa Cricket Overland, At a Glance
- Exterior length: 15 feet
- Exterior height: Closed: 7’2″, Open: 9’4″
- Interior height range: 4’2″ to 6’10”
- Fresh water tank: 15 gallons
- Grey water tank: 16 gallons
- Ground clearance 14 inches
- Dry weight: 1,978 lbs.
- GVWR: 3,000 lbs.
- GAWR: 3,500 lbs.
- Cargo capacity: 1,022 lbs.
- Easy setup
- Good functionality
- Easy towing
- Tough value proposition
- Bad locks
- Storage isn’t the best
Taxa Cricket Overland Design
The overall design of the Cricket Overland is pretty slick. Taxa managed to get a good wealth of essentials into a tight, efficient footprint that feels almost routine once you get the hang of the right switches and levers.
Inside, there’s a two-burner stove and small sink, both hooked up to standalone systems with additional hookups for shore power, water and solar charging (with an extra adapter). With warm weather, we did all of our cooking and cleaning outdoors, but you could envision the functionality of this system in cooler conditions.
Through the rest of the cabin, there’s a full-size bed with a removable top that transforms into a seating area with 25 cubic feet of under-bed storage. While I wouldn’t rate overall storage as “generous,” there is plenty without sacrificing living space.
Taxa states that two adults and two kids could sleep in the cabin using the fold-down berths from the ceiling, but after three nights, I’d say four people in this tight space would certainly feel cramped. We’re both short, so this worked for us, but taller families would run into some issues.
Connecting the trailer to your towing rig is a “lock n’ roll” hitch, which was quite easy to use once we watched a couple of video tutorials. The only issue we had was that the wheel bracket didn’t match the low clearance of our Kia Telluride (to no fault of the vehicle). Coming out of a parking lot, we bottomed out, bending the bottom of the bracket and making that specific feature no longer usable. Fortunately, it’s not a vital piece of the system, but something worth noticing for lower-clearance towing.
Setting Up and Using Taxa’s Cricket Overland
Even for first-timers, the Cricket Overland is rather easy to use. The trailer’s roof pops up and down with three bracket levers. With just a bit of practice, you’ll learn to level the trailer by hand with included lever rods that stow away under the seating/sleeping area. The wheel bracket up front serves as another way to level and keep the trailer in place (unless you bent it like we did).
It was frustrating, however, not having a built-in way to understand if we were level. We could manage to sleep on a slight slant, but others may not feel the same way. We had to switch sleeping directions the second night, trying to find an optimal sleeping angle. Next time, we’d probably bring our own hand level and try to even it out where we could. It didn’t really affect using the trailer, but it was frustrating, nonetheless.
As for power, turning it on is as easy as turning a switch, like many of the other one-touch trailer features. From there, almost everything is turnkey, and maintenance seems rather standard compared to other, similar trailers.
With the interior cooking unit, the Cricket Overland includes an integrated exhaust fan that doubles as an air circulator to help cool things down. We found this fan quite effective at night, but on an especially balmy evening, trying to run the optional 5,000-BTU air conditioner, we found that the local outlet didn’t work. Luckily, we had a Jackery Solar Generator to use for a few hours. This was a suitable option, and one we were glad to have planned for. If you’re considering travel into the dog days of summer, the A/C, and a plan to power it, are essential add-ons.
Each Cricket Overland comes with a Dometic portable toilet, but you’d potentially want to devise another plan, depending on your comfort level. We were at campsites with established bathrooms, so we didn’t attempt to use ours.
One of the disappointing things about the Cricket Overland is the storage layout — or lack thereof. There are many carabiner holes around the interior, which seems to be how Taxa figures you to anchor things when not in use or for extra storage. It’s not necessarily ideal as these things will move during transport and it sort of takes away from the overall aesthetic, having things hooked into every nook and cranny. It would have been nice to see some more integrated eye-level storage instead of relying on hooks. For a weekend, it’s fine. For longer expeditions, maybe not.
The biggest downside of the Cricket Overland is the included locks. For whatever reason, Taxa decided to use basic latching locks. On our tester, they became less effective over time and only the main lock of the two-keyhole system ended up working. It required a bit of finessing to make them latch each time, which wasn’t ideal. If you’re keeping valuables or even just basic supplies in your trailer, this is a crucial piece that needs to be fixed or adjusted.
The Verdict: Should You Buy It?
For us, the jury is out on this one. As tested, this unit checked in at $48,363 — almost $12,000 more than a base Cricket. Considering the “utilitarian” feature list and footprint of the Overland upgrade, it’s a bit tough to think of “value” when looking at the overall picture. Approaching $50k, you could look at a variety of small- or mid-size SUVs and build out your own camping footprint without the need for a trailer.
To justify the price, we would like to see more features, better finishes and better locks. It’s certainly capable and durable, but at that cost, it’s not for the occasional user. Investing in a Cricket Overland (or even a Cricket for that matter) requires a plan to use it and the additional operating costs of finding places to park it if the user isn’t committing to off-grid options.
For less regular campers, I encourage you to find a place where you can rent one of these to test it for yourself. It’s a solid three or four-day trailer, but longer treks may require more commitment and understanding of what you’re getting into.
Editor’s Note: Ahead of publishing, we reached out to TAXA to see if they had any advice regarding the lock issue. We were informed that the unit tested had just come “straight from a marketing shoot,” and recommended users who experience difficulty use a new service they’re beta-testing when needing help on the road. We noted that in our own testing environment, cellular connectivity was often unobtainable.
Taxa offered this advice: “Every TAXA product is made with proven, durable materials that last. Live on September 1st, habitat owners will be able to join the “Adventure Together” program that will allow 24/7 assistance from our knowledgeable Habitat Specialists. In a situation like the one you had encountered, our qualified staff would host a virtual video chat to assist any technical issues.”