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Cargo trailers to tow behind an RV

cptqueeg
Explorer II
Explorer II
I'm wondering about factors that one might consider in the purchase of an enclosed cargo trailer to haul all that bulky, dirty sports equipment and nice stuff that we can't fit in the RV. (I think Reality Check built the model for this type of trailer with his endless ability and creativity.)

I'm considering a bumper hitch, dual axle from 8'-16' - long enough to hold bikes, 13' canoe, SUP, extra camping gear, 30gal fresh water, and all the stuff that's now mounted on the outside in boxes, etc. It needs to be 7' tall, but not sure of width - wheel wells inside or outside cargo area. I am a huge fan of surge disc brakes so will most likely get them. Does the angled front affect gas mileage enough to warrant the loss of space over a squared fronted trailer? I doubt there is SxS or other OHV in my future.

We do a mix of dispersed camping usually 1 or 2 nights enroute to a destination for 3-4 days and then home again. Or just run to a local place for 2-4 nights. Currently camping w a class B, Sprinter van, but just getting underway w our retirement camping.

Thanks for your thoughts.
2024 Chev 3500 CCLB Diesel
Four Wheel Camper Granby Shell
47 REPLIES 47

cptqueeg
Explorer II
Explorer II
Thanks Grit and the rest for the solid input. I tend to overcomplicate and overthink most everything and this is no different.
2024 Chev 3500 CCLB Diesel
Four Wheel Camper Granby Shell

JIMNLIN
Explorer
Explorer
cptqueeg wrote:
Thanks JIMLIN.

Brakes on 1 axle or both?

Now days brakes on all axles.
Back then brakes on trailers under 7k were just one axle. Tri axles had brakes on two axles. However towing for a living I ordered all my trailers with brakes on each axle.

Don't forget you need to figure in the empty weight of the trailer also when sizing the trailer for your needs. The dealer/mfg can help you find their trailers unladin weight.
"good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment" ............ Will Rogers

'03 2500 QC Dodge/Cummins HO 3.73 6 speed manual Jacobs Westach
'97 Park Avanue 28' 5er 11200 two slides

blt2ski
Moderator
Moderator
Grit is correct, if you buy an SA or tandem with 3500 lb axle(s) you will get 14 or 15" tires, in an ST load range C or D. That is plenty of tire. If you want an LT, you might be able to still find a LT235-75-15 LR C out their.
If you go to 5000 or 6000 lb axles, those will need an LR D minimum, more likely an LR E tire. Usually a 16" version of some sort. A tandem version is way more trailer with these axles than you will need.

Marty
92 Navistar dump truck, 7.3L 7 sp, 4.33 gears with a Detroit no spin
2014 Chevy 1500 Dual cab 4x4
92 Red-e-haul 12K equipment trailer

Grit_dog
Nomad III
Nomad III
And personally, unless you decide to go cheap and small and stay at a little 10 footer, Get a 12' + vee and just slide the canooo in the trailer.
2016 Ram 2500, MotorOps.ca EFIlive tuned, 5” turbo back, 6" lift on 37s
2017 Heartland Torque T29 - Sold.
Couple of Arctic Fox TCs - Sold

Grit_dog
Nomad III
Nomad III
cptqueeg wrote:


The only reason for me to consider anything longer than 10' is to stuff the canoe in there. In my minds eye I see this as being a short in length, wide, and tall in height trailer, good ground clearance, extended tongue, w brakes and some LT tires.

I guess I need to find out what my cargo weighs in total to determine whether to get the SA or DA. Unfortunately I'm about 100 miles from the nearest CAT scale.


1. You can get close enough on cargo weight. Just list everything and a relatively accurate weight. Cargo is bound to change a bit anyway and you want a little headroom in capacity anyways. This is kind of like the 1000s of truck payload discussions. No need to buy double what you intend to haul for the sake of "safety."
2. 10' length and tandem axle. Basically a unicorn, but you can order one. Will tow worse than a single axle due to "most" of the cargo areas being under axles and will be tough to get real tongue weight. Have towed many trailers like this (big generators come to mind) and they tow like cr@p. Your scenario could be better than the genset scenario, but similar.
3. Wide? and 10-12' box. 6' and 7' wide are basically it in short cargo trailers. You're moving into the 14-16' long trailer range to get 8' wides, reasonably. Again, foregoing special order or possibly finding used.
4. Tall in height. Again the vast majority of little trailers are 6' or 6'-6" inside height with more 6' than the other. Back to availability cost and special order.
5. Good ground clearance. You basically have 2 options. "Normal" cargo trailers which are wheels outside the box or wheel wells up into the floor space and those are the "lower" ground clearance. Higher ground clearance is basically only found (readily) in enclosed snowmobile trailers.
6. Extended tongue. I don't even understand this "want". Never met a normal little cargo trailer than couldn't be sufficiently jack knifed 90 deg plus behind a full size vehicle. Some trailers have shorter tongue lengths, typically v nose, but then you get the advantage of the V to keep the trailer from kissing your tail lights or bumper.
7. Brakes. Sure, sounds good. Again, a little single axle 10'-14' trailer which best suits what you've said your cargo needs are generally don't come with brakes but you can add them (or special order if new). Not sure if you're the guy who mentioned disc/surge brakes. No bueno, IMO. Not the right application E over H brakes are better...again, more money and more complicated than necessary...by a good margin.
8. LT tires. You're looking at trailers that are basically ALL 14" rim size axles wither single 3500lb or tandems. Special order a 5klb SA or DA to get 15" rims. Neither rim size has ANY LT tires available that get anywhere near the capacity of D or E load ST tires.... Except a couple off the wall commercial "European" style heavy duty tires and actually Falken I saw makes a 15" LT size now that is comparable to the MULTITUDES of ST tires. It's not until 16" that LT tires become viable options. (again without being "different" and that = more $$)

Now, what you've effectively done is you're trying to find the "perfect" trailer that meets 100% of you "wants" (since most aren't actual needs). If money is no object, have at 'er. But think about WHY the vast majority of trailers are what they are. The mfgs have figured out what most "need." Your needs aren't any different. So you can pay alot more money to be eccentric in your quest for the perfect little run of the mill cargo trailer, or spend some time assessing your budget vs your "wants." It's a trailer. It will haul shite behind your van and it will be there when you stop and be there when you go again...


NOW, what I feel meets the most of your "wants" is readily available, regardless of how much you need of it, or think you need. And it costs about double what you actually need.
That is a small, heavy duty 2 place enclosed snowmobile trailer.
They can be had with as short as a 12' box but will have about a 4' vee. They can be had with tandem axles, high ground clearance, wide (8') and most are at least 6' tall. 6'-6" is fairly common as well.
They are also going to weigh at least 2klbs empty unless you go all aluminum and that will add $Thousands to the price of a steel framed trailer and you have towing weight limitations you are also needing to stay under.
2016 Ram 2500, MotorOps.ca EFIlive tuned, 5” turbo back, 6" lift on 37s
2017 Heartland Torque T29 - Sold.
Couple of Arctic Fox TCs - Sold

cptqueeg
Explorer II
Explorer II
Grit dog wrote:
Cpteeq, I’ll start by saying your cargo trailer “wish” list is starting to sound like a guy named rerod on here.
And if you’re going to even get close (some of the things you’re saying make no sense or are basically not possible or a downgrade) you’ll be custom ordering a new trailer.
Given the trailer you “need” is about $5k new (back east, add the west coast factor of about +20% if buying in the PNW) and something close to the trailer you want (new) is probably double that, maybe start including budget into your trailer features Xmas list.

If you’re interested I can point out the impossible or conflicting “wants” or features but won’t unless you want me too. As it comes off offensive rather than knowledgeable.

I will say I 100% do not understand the need for an extended tongue and whatever pitfalls of a v nose Marty is talking about. The V lessens the tongue length need from a jack knife standpoint as well.
In short this is becoming a case of WAAAY overthinking a small trailer to haul some little toys and camping gear.




I'm here to learn and participate - your opinion is valuable and your suggestions are very welcome.

And yes I'm overthinking this which is my MO. (Yes it's frustrating trying to make people "see the light" - thanks for keeping at it.)
2024 Chev 3500 CCLB Diesel
Four Wheel Camper Granby Shell

Grit_dog
Nomad III
Nomad III
Cpteeq, I’ll start by saying your cargo trailer “wish” list is starting to sound like a guy named rerod on here.
And if you’re going to even get close (some of the things you’re saying make no sense or are basically not possible or a downgrade) you’ll be custom ordering a new trailer.
Given the trailer you “need” is about $5k new (back east, add the west coast factor of about +20% if buying in the PNW) and something close to the trailer you want (new) is probably double that, maybe start including budget into your trailer features Xmas list.

If you’re interested I can point out the impossible or conflicting “wants” or features but won’t unless you want me too. As it comes off offensive rather than knowledgeable.

I will say I 100% do not understand the need for an extended tongue and whatever pitfalls of a v nose Marty is talking about. The V lessens the tongue length need from a jack knife standpoint as well.
In short this is becoming a case of WAAAY overthinking a small trailer to haul some little toys and camping gear.
2016 Ram 2500, MotorOps.ca EFIlive tuned, 5” turbo back, 6" lift on 37s
2017 Heartland Torque T29 - Sold.
Couple of Arctic Fox TCs - Sold

Grit_dog
Nomad III
Nomad III
I’d love to help or share some of my other Washtaxington workarounds but not on a nanny site like this. Would just upset the Patty Murray voters…
2016 Ram 2500, MotorOps.ca EFIlive tuned, 5” turbo back, 6" lift on 37s
2017 Heartland Torque T29 - Sold.
Couple of Arctic Fox TCs - Sold

blt2ski
Moderator
Moderator
Brakes on both! Get pulled oner in WA st you'll get a ticket for not having brakes behind all the tires. Plus you will stopp quicker.

Let's not disCUSSvstate taxes too much. No we don't have an IT, but we do have one of the highest ST rates in nation. 10.x% here where grit and I are in greater Seattle area. None on food in grocery stores. 2nd highest fuel tax. At the end of the day, it will always be two things in life guaranteed, death and taxes. It's a matter of how the taxes are charged, if you feel they are correct. I'd be glad to pay an IT, if we can get rid of all the other Sales oriented taxes we pay. Not saying I'm right....

Jim is correct on how much trouble a longer SA trailer can be to balance. Hence my experience given in the trailers I've used from a hitch and axle orientation. Tandem axles are also typically 60-40. 60% in front of the centerline between them, 40% behind. Even with these, depending upon the what you are carrying, having them at 65/35 or farther back can tow easier, along the not having HW uncontrolled sway issues depending upon how you are loaded, and what is being loaded.

Marty
92 Navistar dump truck, 7.3L 7 sp, 4.33 gears with a Detroit no spin
2014 Chevy 1500 Dual cab 4x4
92 Red-e-haul 12K equipment trailer

cptqueeg
Explorer II
Explorer II
Thanks JIMLIN.

Brakes on 1 axle or both?
2024 Chev 3500 CCLB Diesel
Four Wheel Camper Granby Shell

JIMNLIN
Explorer
Explorer
Good idea.
My experience with single vs tandem axle cargo trailers came from using them on job sites as tool trailers.
Our first cargos were two 7k gvwr SA 14' footers with brakes. It was impossible for us to put the tools back in the right spot inside/outside the trailer for the right amount of hitch weight for the size truck we used moving to the next job site.

As the business grew we went with two 10k gvwr 16" tandem axle cargo trailers. Every agreed the TA trailers handled much better...much better braking and didn't pound the tow truck like the SA trailers did if the hitch weight wasn't exactly right.

Point is load the single axle trailer with the right amount of hitch weight and make a note where every thing inside and outside the trailer goes.
"good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment" ............ Will Rogers

'03 2500 QC Dodge/Cummins HO 3.73 6 speed manual Jacobs Westach
'97 Park Avanue 28' 5er 11200 two slides

cptqueeg
Explorer II
Explorer II
DP, deleted
2024 Chev 3500 CCLB Diesel
Four Wheel Camper Granby Shell

cptqueeg
Explorer II
Explorer II
Grit dog wrote:
If you’re going tandem axle anyway and have already considered up to a 16’ trailer, why not just put the canoo inside the trailer?
Even a 6x12 or 7x12 trailer with any sort of vee nose will fit the canoe.
Just a suggestion.
Another suggestion, shop around. The further east you go, the cheaper trailers (and most other things) are.
Since moving up to Wa$hington, I find myself making purchases back east more than the PNW.

Also don’t necessarily discount the “lesser” or regional brands vs the big names.
Not sure how far west they distribute, but if buying new, I was impressed with the quality of a “low end” trailer from MTI. Middlebury Trailers.



You guys have no state income tax, that's gotta count for something doesn't it?

Add for the WA guys w easy access to OR - no sales tax! win-win!!!

ID charges 6% on FOOD, smh........... and the tax on food is higher than the income tax rate......


The only reason for me to consider anything longer than 10' is to stuff the canoe in there. In my minds eye I see this as being a short in length, wide, and tall in height trailer, good ground clearance, extended tongue, w brakes and some LT tires.

I guess I need to find out what my cargo weighs in total to determine whether to get the SA or DA. Unfortunately I'm about 100 miles from the nearest CAT scale.
2024 Chev 3500 CCLB Diesel
Four Wheel Camper Granby Shell

blt2ski
Moderator
Moderator
Grit, as a 2nd gen washtaxington person, you're speeding the name wrong!

Issue I see with a V nose, is it will not help alot with aerodynamics with his van. I see it potentially hurting the backing issue, where a shorter trailer may turn too quick vs a longer WB tow rig. But, being as there are positives and negatives to all things great and small with a trailer....what I might choose vs you and OP.....
Id skip dual axles for a single 5k axle. If one wants low clearance/rider put some 235-65-16 lre tires like on transit vans, torsion axles. You could go to a single 6k with tires I mentioned.
Too many options and choices in reality.
Marty
92 Navistar dump truck, 7.3L 7 sp, 4.33 gears with a Detroit no spin
2014 Chevy 1500 Dual cab 4x4
92 Red-e-haul 12K equipment trailer