Which of these trailers would be best? - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #1
 
Seattle, Washington
Join Date: Jun 2019
Posts: 3
Which of these trailers would be best?

Newbie here looking to buy a 13'-14' raft with fishing frame. I'm doing my research on trailers and I'm debating between a smaller/lighter aluminum trailer vs a heavier larger steel trailer. I'm driving a Toyota Sienna rated to pull 3500lbs, so I don't think the towing capacity is an issue. I will ONLY be using the trailer to haul my boat. I'm leaning toward the aluminum trailer, but I'm concerned that it might be TOO light (I have images of the whole thing blowing over on a windy drive). Is this a valid concern? Is it better to go heavier when it comes to a trailer or is a smaller, more nimble trailer.

Here's what I'm looking at, in either case I will be building a platform to store gear and set the boat on top:


5x8 aluminum flatbed with tilt and 13" wheels
or
5X10 Steel Utility with 14" wheels
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #2
Never enough free time
 
Red Lodge, Montana
Paddling Since: 1998
Join Date: Feb 2018
Posts: 247
Personally, I like steel as it is easier to modify or repair. Almost anyone can weld steel but aluminum is a different deal. Modifying the aluminum without being able to easily weld on it, means that everything will have to be bolted or screwed in... which will lead to a less robust trailer after you have added the platform. This also means that you will probably end up with a smaller trailer that weighs about the same as the steel one anyway.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #3
 
Missoula, Montana
Paddling Since: 1992
Join Date: Mar 2015
Posts: 484
Of the two, go with the utility trailer, it will be able to do double duty if you ever need to use it to haul non-boat stuff. You can lay 2x6s across the utility trailer for decking, the alu trailer will be a little more work to add a big enough deck to.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #4
 
RidgeLivin's Avatar
 
Nederland, Colorado
Join Date: Apr 2019
Posts: 24
I vote #2. I imagine it would also be easier to install a roller bar on the back of that one as well as a winch on that crossbar in the front. The rails would also be good for strapping the boat down.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #5
 
Jenks, Oklahoma
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,723
Decades of rafting and at least 3 raft trailers along the way.

Steel is the most durable raft material out there in my opinion.

Now that I am a beat up senior level rafter, dealing with the weight of my current raft trailer is a pain in the back side (literally). I am looking at aluminum trailers. Which my next raft trailer will be made out of even if I modify a basic utility trailer. Your needs may be different for a lot of reasons but my advice is at least consider an aluminum trailer. And, please message me if you find a good deal on aluminum unit.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #6
 
Grand Junction, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1994
Join Date: Jun 2015
Posts: 264
I vote for #2. There's a place to store stuff and easy to modify or retro-fit. Also good for multi-use, like going to the dump. I doubt I would ever buy a flat bed, aluminum or steel. Regardless, make sure it's sturdy. My 2000 Toyota 4Runner has no trouble pulling my trailer full of gear and two inflated boats to Sand Wash. Just my opinion and experience.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #7
 
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Hampden, Massachusetts
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Mar 2014
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#2. I use a 5x10 carry on trailer just like the one you pictured. Fold the gate down, bolt on a few 2x6s. Throw the raft on.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #8
 
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Hampden, Massachusetts
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My trailer has 15” wheels. If you can go with bigger wheels without adding too much to the cost, definitely do it.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #9
 
thornton, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1969
Join Date: Aug 2008
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Get the black one(Big Tex trailer), I've had one for 25 years. No spair tirer I bet. So when you get a spair tirer, buy two. That trailer is tough, as they come. 2X6 or 2x8 decking too.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #10
 
Salida, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1983
Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 208
Go with the steel trailer, the aluminum ones when traveling on dirt / washboarded roads will quickly develop stress fractures in the aluminum, which are a royal pain to repair. All the other reasons / comments mentioned are relevant too.



The bigger tires you have, the slower the wheel bearing speeds, which means less heat, which means longer life. Look for a trailer with an "Acculube" axle, has rubber caps on the bearing dust cap with a grease zerk inside.



Bearing buddies are better than nothing but they don't get grease to the inside bearing, the acculube axles have a grease journal to the inside bearing as well as the outside. Nothing worse than having a bearing fail on a trip and regular greasing will help prevent this.The torsional suspension axles as well provide a smoother ride than a conventional leaf spring axle.
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