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We just purchased a 5x8 enclosed trailer. Yay!! How do you all organize your trailers?

Did you install any special racking system to corral your bins? Or do you just use a bungee cable and attach them to the wall?

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Good questions ... I can't be much help on this, Sherry, but I did a podcast last year with Michael Zavison all about what to drive and how he loads and chooses a vehicle. It has a lot of helpful, smart info:

There are some photos too.

We have a 6x8 trailer and John (dh) did all the installation inside.  Ours has a v at the front end.  He installed some wood shelves there to hold smaller stuff left enough room under the bottom shelf for a spare tire and jack.  We can easily get to it from the curbside door.

He also installed d-rings with adjustable straps on one side to hold shelving fixtures (curb side of the trailer).  He did straps on the other side as well to hold totes that are filled with smalls.   On this side he also installed a shelf from back to front to hold smalls.  We usually have some reclaimed wood pieces up there and dh holds them in place with a strap on d-rings.

The most recent addition is a "shelf" at the back 1/2 to create a 2nd level to hold stuff when we need it.  It is removable in case we need to put something taller there.

We usually use the center section for furniture that has been refinished and/or upcycled.

That is all I can remember for now.

I bought a 5x8 cargo trailer this winter and converted it to carry my entire set up. I built dividers and shelves to hold my nine panels (38.5 x 7 ft) and complete 10x10 Trimline Canopy with three awnings and all associated frames. All my lighting, carpet, art work (in boxes), weights, desk, bin, and two wheel cart fit perfectly. I designed it to unload as you set up. Frame work first, canopy next, lighting, panels and then artwork. All without having to move anything out of the way. It loads back the same way.


I hope the images work. This is my first post with photos!


Tim, I really like your trailer setup. we share the same medium, Photography. May I pick your brain? I'm looking to invest in a trailer also. However the 5x8 seemed way too small. In looking at yours, I assume it is not packed complete, yet. Where are the weights, chair, tent fabrics, ladder, print bins, spare tire, etc. etc? are they hidden up front - out of sight in the pictures? Or are they going in the back, just not loaded yet?

I was thinking I would need a 6x10 or 6x12. My desire is to get the smallest I can, for maneuverability, ease of use at shows etc. However large enough to not need an upgrade too quickly. I've decided Tandem axle, Torsion axle, V nose, minimum 6' interior height, Steel belted Radial 15" tires, 16" O.C., brakes (not purge), No roof vent but flow through venting, Rear ramp gate, side 32" door, seamless wrap over roof. (Anyone got one for sale cheap, I'm buying).

Your's seems packed very nicely.

What are the sizes of your artwork that you have in cases? 

Do you find the roof gets so hot that insulation is recommended?

Do you recommend E Track?

Floor D rings?

Do you leave the artwork in it all the time, between shows?

Extra room for on site framing? - Good or bad idea?

The concept of last in / first out then reverse is ideal. Not practical in my current setup, however it should work once I get my trailer. I'd love to cut down on the 5 hour setup.  :-(


I know you asked Tim, but for what it's worth ...

I thought the 5x8 was too small and the price difference isn't that much more. Seriously, a few hundred dollars. Bigger isn't always better, but you always (I always) need more room than it seems. The heat doesn't seem to bother my work. I have side vents.

I actually wish I had a tandem axle so I had brakes on it. I pack my art cart pretty high - in insulated bags - but you could pack it lower and save the room above for a shelf for your framing material. 

E-track is the way to go for me. I just bought some additional brackets to hold 2x4s to brace my carts because it's so hard to get them tightened up. 

My set-up is usually three hours and I'm back down in no more than 75 minutes. On the trailer, pulling out.


I'm not very concerned abut the price difference. As you mentioned, it is minimal. 

I do want to go as small as possible. However, I'm a pack rat. Always bringing everything possible. Perhaps it goes back to my Boy Scout days - "Be Prepared". I'd rather have 2 foot extra than 1" too little, if it means not being able to bring something needed. I like the idea of a 10' interior so I can keep my 10' Trimline poles assembled. Makes setup and breakdown a little faster. "75 minute" breakdown!!!!! Now I'm jealous.

When I grow up, I want to be just like you :-)

I couldn't dream of getting out that quick.

I am alone, so setup and breakdown is arduous. I sleeve each hanging piece, separately. 

I sleeve my pieces separately, too. And I usually work alone. Going to a hand-made insulated bag with velcro closures saved me a ton of time. I actually break my Trimline apart so it fits on the cart better. So it means two extra steps for the top and the sta-bars on either side. But the biggest helper was not having to re-touch everything. Once it comes down, it goes on a cart. It still takes 3 hours to set up. But breakdown has gotten a lot easier.

I make my own sleeves:

I get LARGE rolls of Poly (styrofoam) from Uline. Then use a heat press to seam them. When done they are the exact size I want. Seamed on three sides. They are cheap, extremely light. Protect well. Do not damage the artwork if slid across. Very thin so they take up little space.  The only problem is, I use nielson metal frames. The sharp corners can cut the bags, if not put in carefully. So I do replace bags, more often than I desire. however with such a cheap cost, I live with it. 

Breaking apart my poles, adds the steps of removing the fittings / connectors ie, roof truss, lightpole, center EZ riser lifters. I have 9) 10' poles to be broken then. 

If the trailer and other changes would make my setup and breakdown shorter, to a reasonable time, I could return to doing some one day shows. I even avoid same day setups due to the time constraints.

haven't used my trailer yet for anything other than moving to my house down here but it has the e tracks and curious to see how others use them....also you can get brake kit if you are handy tools :-) - my Kaufman 6 x 10 enclosed trailer didn't come with brakes but the spousal unit, who can turn a wrench got a kit and outfitted it with brakes.  Just a thought.

Are the "user installed brakes" the same as the "factory installed" systems? What about the Brake controller?

Yes.  I got mine at Northern Tool.  If you can repack a wheel bearing, you can install the brake kit.  If your tow vehicle does not include an integrated brake controller, you will have to buy one and build it in yourself.  That is probably more difficult (or at least more time consuming) than installing the brakes, although I think that some pickups have a connector under their dash just for that purpose, which should make it easier.  Alternatively you can also get hydraulically driven surge brakes that do not require a controller, but you almost never see anyone using those except boat trailers (where the wheels get dunked under water) and rentals (so that they can be rented by vehicles without a brake controller) .

there are two types or brands of axles,..and my husband, who is mechanically inclined, knew which one we had and went to a place that specialized in a ll sorts of trailers and accessories and bought the kit and installed. thinking that most trucks do come with brake controllers (if you are using a truckand we do and use it to tow) . What he said was the bigger PITA [pain in the a**] than the physical brake install was the wiring install on the trailer. sorry if i am being repetitive or perhaps just reinforcing..and would not suggest the surge brakes. good luck and my thanks to everyone for the ideas and photos...lots of great hard learned info and ideas


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