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Old 07-08-2014   #1
Fort Collins, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 101
Trailer advice needed; modify harbor freight, wheel size, options...

I need some trailer advice on putting together a trailer for my 14ft raft for <$1000. I'd like to be able to use it as a utility trailer with removable sides as well. I searched around on the forums a bit, but didn't find the info I was looking for. Here are a couple options I am kicking around:

1) Modify my existing harbor freight trailer into something like below. I could pretty easily and cheaply add a deck which would fit my boat. But, I question its ability to make it through a Deso shuttle safely, tow at highway speeds, and generally hold up.

2) Buy the deck-over tilting snowmobile trailer, below (~$600). It looks like it would work well for towing a raft. But, the smaller 18.5 x 8.5 x 8 tires seem like they might lack clearance at rougher put-ins and would be spinning awfully fast on the highway. Also, the deck-centered axle seems like it might be problematic for loading/towing. And, I'd have to rig up a way to add side walls for it's utility purposes. Does anyone have experience with a trailer like this? Thoughts?

3) Buy a larger utility trailer ~ 5'x10' and modify to add a removable deck on top, like below. Looks like I can get one locally for about $1250 with 15" wheels. Then adding rails for the boat + sides for the utility trailer would be beyond that. More than I want to spend, but seems like a solid option.

What are your 2c?

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Old 07-08-2014   #2
Avon, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 471
option #3....no question. i just did the Deso shuttle. It trashed 2 smaller trailers pretty good. (5'x8' 12" wheels) multiple lites that were welded and rollers are now in the desert.

option #3 already has sides, just need some 2x10 strapped across the top.

If you do it right...you only cry once.

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Old 07-08-2014   #3
East of the Pine beatle, Colorado
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 1,363
Option 3 for sure- I just modified a 10' utility trailer with 15" wheels. PM me if you go that route and need some ideas. My cross braces and rear roller come off with just 8 bolts and I'm back to a utility trailer again.i did all my mods- braces, roller, winch and stand for $300

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Old 07-08-2014   #4
cataraftgirl's Avatar
Sandy, Utah
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 3,120
Another vote for option #3. I have an 9.5 X 6.5 ATV trailer with added stake pockets & removable 24 inch metal mesh sides. I did as ENDOMADNESS and strapped on 2 X 8s wrapped in marine carpet. No roller yet. Works pretty well to slide the fully rigged & loaded raft on & off at the put-ins and take-outs. Osseous's bolted on design sounds a little more secure. Look at the trailer porn thread, posts #85 & 96 for another buzzards similar design.
"We are all visitors to this time, this place. We are just passing through. Our purpose here is to observe, to learn, to grow, to love....and then we return home."
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Old 07-08-2014   #5
Salida, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1986
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 727
Those trailers are way under engineered to drag rafts around the western US, and I'm talking about paved roads, forget the dirt roads. One friend ended up dealing with three episodes on one chama trip (from Boulder), and that trailer is now serving a different purpose. I will say the issues were primarily related to the small tires, but the rest of the trailer is of similar (lack of) durability. Save yourself the headache and go option 3 now, not after you learn the hard way.
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Old 07-08-2014   #6
Carbondale, Colorado
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 317
Take a look at tractor supply. They have 5x8's starting around $800, non-sale pricing. I haven't looked too hard into the specs on them, but superficially, on the lot, they look a whole lot better than the harbor freight fold up toys.
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Old 07-08-2014   #7
rollo88's Avatar
Toyota pickup, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 15
You get what you pay for... just buy a good trailer.
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Old 07-08-2014   #8
albuquerque, New Mexico
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 134
option 4: get a good trailer, like #3, used, for 4-500$
denver for sale / wanted classifieds "utility trailer" - craigslist
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Old 07-09-2014   #9
Helena, Montana
Paddling Since: 2013
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 95
Get a small trailer with small wheels. Fixing problems with them out on the road will test your patience and repair abilities. Also when you get to the takeout and your trailer is not there, you will hope that your frame is a takedown type. Everyone should have to figure out what to do now at least once.
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Old 07-09-2014   #10
Front Range, Colorado
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 19
With option #1 or #3 do you worry about added stress to your raft floor since it is not supported at all?

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