Wednesday, September 22, 2021
Wednesday, September 22, 2021

RV Review: 2021 Black Series HQ21 overlanding trailer

Remember the olden days, when there were RV shows and lots and lots of things to see, feel and touch? I sure miss those days. The last time I was at the RV show in Southern California I got to walk through a bunch of the Black Series Campers and was pretty intrigued. In fact, I remember seeing the Black Series HQ21 travel trailer there. 

Black Series

Wait, you ask. Who is Black Series? They’re a company that started in Australia building travel trailers (caravans as they’re called there, mate) for the Outback and have since started offering their trailers in the U.S. market. The trailers are now built in China with final assembly in Southern California. Most of the parts that would need maintenance such as heaters, air conditioners, appliances and such are sourced from U.S. companies like Dometic and Suburban, just like virtually every other RV we Yanks, er, Americans can buy. 

The company makes a full range of trailers from small pop-ups to larger two-axle trailers, including ones that feature a unique washing machine (under the counter in the bathroom, where you don’t even notice it).

When I first saw these in 2019 I didn’t have an idea of how popular overlanding is, but now I am much more aware. In fact, I saw one of these on a recent camping trip and it was filthy. So someone was using it for the intended purpose – which reminded me to share these with you. 

Overlanding

If you’re truly interested in taking a trailer or any camping machine to places where there isn’t even a hint of a road, trailers like these from Black Series are a choice to consider. 

Underneath, the suspensions on these are long-travel independent suspensions at each wheel featuring coil springs and shocks mounted to a hot dipped galvanized steel frame. The 16” wheels are shod with serious off-road tires. If you happen to find yourself in a place where you pop two tires, no worries. There are two spares on the back. 

If you really get yourself in a jam there are even heavy-duty hook points on the trailer to pull it out of where you stuck it. Brush guards keep brush from scratching the trailer. But the lower half of the trailer is covered in diamond plate, so scratching isn’t as big a deal as it would be otherwise. 

The tongue is unique in more ways than one

The tongue is also a unique thing with a jockey wheel that can flip up, but it allows you to push the trailer around if need be. There is also a hand brake on the tongue. So you can apply the brakes there, which is much more convenient than having to go back and put chocks on the wheels. 

The Polyblock hitch is different, too, offering a full 360° of movement. You’d need that if you were hauling this out into the back country – or the Outback, for that matter. 

While we’re out here, it would be a good time to check out the windows, which are a dual-pane Lexan variety. There are also flood lights on all four sides of the trailer. So if you hear that Bigfoot you’ve been tracking, you can finally light up the scene and get that picture that’ll make you famous.

There’s also an outdoor kitchen on a drawer. It features a two-burner propane stove and a stainless steel sink that has a gravity drain. There’s also a flip-over prep table on this. It’s pretty cool. 

What’s inside the HQ21

The door is another unique thing about these with the screen door actually being the main component of the door and featuring the lock. The glass outer door is almost more decorative. Having a strong screen door, though, means pets won’t be able to get through it. Also, you can lock and latch it, leaving lots of air flow. 

Once you’ve marveled at this, you get to a large U-shaped dinette with large windows all around it. 

The dining table has a round plug in the middle. If you lift that, you’ll see buttons that raise and lower the table pneumatically. You know you’re going to show this to other campers – it’s pretty cool. 

“Hey, how’s it going? Wanna see something cool inside?” [Pushes button to raise and lower dining table.]

Lots of power and an aluminum roof

That would be a cool trick. But what would get me all hot and bothered are the four 100 amp-hour AGM batteries and 2,000-watt pure sine wave inverter that come standard in this trailer. There are two flexible solar panels on the roof of the trailer, which is built of a single sheet of aluminum. Furthermore, there’s an Anderson plug on the front to allow for a higher-capacity connection to a solar panel. 

Dear almost every American RV manufacturer: Did you just miss that? I wrote that the roof is a single sheet of aluminum. No rubber. Whichever one of you was the first to put a rubber roof on an RV, please go sit in the corner for a while and think about what you did. 

Surrounding the dinette on three sides is a halo of cabinets. There is storage under the camp-side cushions. But the front and road-side cushions conceal all that battery power and the inverter. I like that this is inside the trailer rather than out on the tongue – inviting sticky fingers. 

The galley in the HQ21

The galley features a three-burner stove with oven and a sink. That sink also has something unusual – two faucets. The larger one is connected to a 50-gallon general-use fresh water tank. The smaller one is connected to a drinking water system with its own 16-gallon tank and three-stage filtration system. 

Lastly, a propane-electric fridge rounds out the galley. While there isn’t a tremendous amount of counter space here, there is a pantry beneath the cabinet that holds the sink. 

Above the sink is some cabinet space but also the controls for the water system and power. Interestingly, the tank levels are measured in displays that show the percentage of their content rather than just three lights that become inaccurate after the second trip out. 

Two floor plans

I’ve seen two floor plans for this model: one where the shower is on the road side and the toilet on the camp side, and another where the shower is on the camp side as well. Either way, there’s an accordion door that snaps in place via magnets when it’s closed to conceal the shower and the toilet space. The sink in the toilet space is a nice ceramic sink mounted to the top of the cabinet. 

In the bedroom is a double bed with wardrobes on either side. There are also cabinets beneath. That is storage accessible from the outside, but they appear to make it more difficult to get into bed. But there are windows all around – so you could wake up to some great views if you’ve found the right spot. 

In summary

If you’ve ever modded a Jeep or an old Bronco to become a true off-road beast, you know those upgrades are far from cheap. Suspension systems and all the things to make it a machine to take virtually anywhere costs mucho dinero. 

So the price of this rig is not cheap, either. Part of that is just the build quality and materials, the advanced suspension, heavy components and that sort of thing. 

I wish American trailer manufacturers would copy some of these features

There are absolutely things on this rig which I wish American travel trailer manufacturers would copy. Those include the hand brake on the tongue, the flip-up wheel on the tongue and the complete lack of a rubber roof. I’m sure the folks at the rubber roof company are firing up their typewriters now, but I’ve seen plenty of these with tears in them. I am no fan. 

These trailers are very interesting to me and I like some of the components used here, obviously. 

I have stated more than once that there’s a huge opportunity for someone to come in and do things differently – rather than simply copying what others are doing. Whether that’s a foreign manufacturer or someone here remains to be seen. But taking a hard look at the Black Series line isn’t a bad place to start. 

There was some conflicting information between Black Series’ video and the floor plan illustration so there may be some inaccuracies in this.

Tony comes to RVTravel having worked at an RV dealership and been a life long RV enthusiast. He also has written the syndicated Curbside column about cars. You can find his writing here and at StressLessCamping where he also has a podcast about the RV life with his wife. 

These RV reviews are written based on information provided by the manufacturers along with our writer’s own research. We receive no money or other financial benefits from these reviews. They are intended only as a brief overview of the vehicle, not a comprehensive critique, which would require a thorough inspection and/or test drive.

Got an RV we need to look at? Contact us today and let us know in the form below – thank you!

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REVIEW OVERVIEW

Hand brake
Suspension
Aluminum roof
Manual awning

SUMMARY

The Black Series HQ21 is a travel trailer with serious off-road credibility that also has some great off-grid cred as well.

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Lil John
1 month ago

I could get by the price, but made in China? No thanks.

Steve
1 month ago

The four 100AH AGM batteries only provide a usable 200AH of 12v power and weigh a total of ~300 pounds. Four 110AH LiFePO4 batteries would provide 400AH of usable power and weigh only ~140 pounds. For a trailer advertised as an “overlander”, meaning “off-grid” for extended periods, the lithium batteries should be standard equipment, not even “optional” on an $85,000+ travel trailer.

Clayobx
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve

I completely agree. 85K is not justified w/o additional solar Rooftop and liFeP04 or comparative power.

Diane Mc
1 month ago

Our late Australian friend would probably have one. He had a caravan that was ruggedized similar to this one. We went on a 6 week trip with him and his wife through eastern Australia including a trip to and through the Outback (where only 10% of Australians have been). Experience of a lifetime. Their caravan was outfitted externally much like this one. We were driving a Land Cruiser with roo bars and snorkel towing a Jumbuck, a rubberized tent (totally enclosed to keep out the scary critters Australia has) on a trailer base. Our hosts offered their Caravan, we couldn’t accept. We did cheat when we stayed at some Caravan Parks and stayed in their end suites to have a real bed and bathroom 😬. Mox would have loved this one as he and his wife were both gourmet cooks & love to entertain. This trailer would have met all his needs.

Don
1 month ago

First TT I’ve ever seen that I’d consider buying. But O M G – the price is out of sight! Still – if I had that kind of money I’d buy this before a similarly priced Airstream!

Bob M
1 month ago

While I do like the camper, the black and gray tanks are too small. While the gray water can be used to water the trees. Not sure of the formula for how long black tank use will last. Aluminum roof would be ok if it is one piece, glued down and fastened on the side. When you use a thin sheet of Aluminum and it leaks slightly under the sheet. The Aluminum corrodes from the underside to the outer surface. Can be easily repaired with a aluminum patch, pop rivets and epoxy. Never use silicone, it deteriorates quickly.

Tommy Molnar
1 month ago

If I was single and young again, I would be ALL OVER THIS! When I think of all the years I slept in the bed of my truck, or worse – ON THE GROUND – this looks like the Waldorf in comparison.

The wheel on the tongue wouldn’t do much for moving the trailer around though. It’s too small. Kinda like the wheel on the front of our utility trailer. And the double bed would work fine for one person. The black and grey tanks (especially the grey) are a bit shy, but if you’re truly boondocking neither of these are a worry. Just remember how you did it when backpacking and mountain climbing. [grin]

Donald N Wright
1 month ago

I would enjoy seeing one of these at the Dallas RV show or in a campground. It looks like it was designed to be used, not designed to sell & break.

Jake
1 month ago

Explore USA’s Dallas location has these in stock.

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