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I'm buying a trailer for art show events this season. I'm a photographer located in Central Wisconsin. The last two years I've been U-Hauling (6x12). Right now I'm thinking of a similar size new unit. I will not be on the road away from home weeks at a time and my longest trip this year will be about 500mi. one way.

I will not need to set up a work area in the booth, just transporting my work and then storing it in the trailer at home for the summer and fall. Any tips for things that I should look for in a new trailer? Ramp door vs double doors? (Does a ramp door make it tough when unloading due to space needed to drop the ramp?)Tandem axles vs single? v-nose vs flat Nose? Wheel sizes?(I will buy a unit with a side door.) Inside features?

There are so many brands out there that it gets a little confusing since I don't really know what I should be looking for. A dealer in the area has MTI trailers out of Indiana and I've seen some good reviews online.  I would consider a used trailer if I don't have to drive a long distance to look at/buy it. Nothing used around my area that I like right now.

Bottom line is I need some suggestions as to what details to look for in a trailer.
Thanks in advance.

Dale Yakaites-----Yak

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I've had a couple trailers in my career. A Haulmark 5x8 with barn doors that I bought in 1994, and a Cargo Mate 6x12 with a ramp that I bought in 2003. Both were single axle trailers. So at one point I had 2 trailers in my driveway and I had to get rid of one of them.

Your first consideration is a tow vehicle, and I assume you have one that will tow at least 3500 pounds. 5000 pounds is better because of hills.

Next is how much does everything weigh? Single axle trailers have a weight capacity of 2500 pounds including the weight of the box. So that will leave you with literally a ton of stuff to put in it. Do you have more than 2,000 pounds of product and equipment?

Box size. a 5x8 trailer is usually 5 feet tall. So you have 200 cubic feet of space. a 6x12 is usually 7 feet tall. So you have 500 cubic feet of space. Oh, and they usually come with a side door.

On the road both track nicely, so there's literally no difference. But at the show there was a different story. I would take my trailer with the ramp and it was a royal pain finding a spot where I could pull the ramp down. Especially at an outdoor event.

Your truck is 20 feet long, then the front of the trailer where the hitch and spare tire are is another 4 feet. Then comes a 12 foot box, and another 7 feet for the ramp. It comes to 43 feet plus room for you to unload behind it.

And heaven forbid if you're one of those who wants to pull in front of your space to unload. It's a great way to make enemies. So you find yourself parking away from your booth and dollying everything in.

So I take my 5x8 trailer instead.

The truck again is 20 feet long, another four feet for the hitch section, and an 8 foot box. The doors swing over against the sides. So I have 'only' 32 feet to block my new neighbors.

Again it's off to the side and dolly, but I need less room because of no ramp. And the trailer is only 12 inches off the ground, so I can step up.

So I got rid of the 6x12 and don't miss it.

At indoor venues, the promoters want all trailers off to one area. And that's always the lot farthest away. And it's amazing the number of owners who just cannot back up a trailer in the trailer lot! That's where the 5x8 is nice. You unhook it, and can walk it into a space! The tongue only weighs about 50 pounds when the trailer's empty.

Also, when you're in a regular parking lot with the 5x8, you can just pull through and still have room behind the trailer to unload without being in traffic.

Another thing to consider. Dual axle trailers need brakes. And that means a brake controller in the tow vehicle and yearly state inspections.

And do you really need a trailer capacity of 7,200 pounds?

So for me, the best trailer is a 5x8 with barn doors.

Thanks Chris. Good stuff!

Yak

I am no trailer expert but I did buy a trailer last year. It was a Hallmark 6 x 10 with rear ramp door and side door and if I were to buy another trailer I would 1) buy a little bigger, probably a 6 x 12 or 6 x 14 so go little bigger then you think you need. 2) Look for a trailer with 16" on center floors and sidewalls instead of  24". 3) Electric brakes. 4) Get one with extended height so you can stand up in it, mine is 6.6'. 5) Torsion axles instead of springs. 6) Radial tires instead of bias. 6) Siding and roof aluminum skin of .04" instead of the standard .025". Good Luck

Yeah, the height inside is an issue since I have back issues already. Thanks

Yak

I have a 5x8 V-nose with a ramp. I love having the ramp because it means I no longer have to lift any of my set up anymore. (Big difference when at the end of a show you still have to find the strength to lift that 110lb battery)
I pull my 5x8 with a mid size SUV so my rig is not very long at all. It's so nice at the end of a long weekend to be able to drive home & not have to worry about unloading. Just disconnect and you are ready for the next show. Mine is a single axle and does not have breaks. We were considering having breaks installed but everyone says for small trailers you can't seem to get them lined out right because the trailers are just so lightweight. I thought I would just buy it and try it. After just about hitting a deer I realized my vehicle seems to stop it well. I gear it down on mountains when needed.
Make sure you have a good dolly cause sometimes you can't get as close to your booth as small vehicles can.
I have straps in mine to hold everything in place. This doesn't add any weight as opposed to some people that build 2x4 frames inside of them to hold things. Obviously adding more weight means less gas mileage. My whole rid loaded (w/Propanels, tent, & tons of framed 2D artwork that's heavy because it's all wood) my gas mileage for my trips is 18.5 miles to a gallon. (Also I'm a female and most of us never pack light).
Hope this helps,
Mel

More good points! This thread should be kept as a primer in buying trailers.Thanks Mel!

Yak

I know of someone near Green Bay with a trailer for sale (I purchased his light dome but no place to park a trailer at this time)
If you want his info let me know. Thanks

Hi Tina

Sure I'll take the info if you have it.

Yak

Bob@bobkloes.com. He is in Seymour, no idea if he still has it but worth an email to ask him.

Thanks Tina. I sent an email.

Yak

He got back to me. Trailer is sold.

Ya

Oh well.....hope you find one that works out. I just keep getting better on stuffing everything into our smaller SUV!

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