Small/light off road trailers.

ghcoe

Adventurer
Hello,

I am currently building a new design concept trailer to tow behind my car (see picture). I am liking the build so much that I am now thinking that the build concept could be used for off road use too. I would be interested in a possible build for sale. These trailers are super light and simple over the traditional small trailer build and I believe I could easily get a small sleeper unit under 400 pounds. Been looking at some off road trailer builds and to me it seems that the frames are way overbuild. Is there a good reason for this. To me I cannot see why you would need so much steel for a vehicle that has only 3 axis points. Anyway, I would be interested in some opinions on this. Thanks for looking. George.
 

Attachments

PhulesAU

Explorer
I haven't seen it come up in a long time, but somebody estimated the 1 mile off road was equal to 4 highway miles. This might contribute to the Over engineering of frames.
 

Martyn

Supporting Sponsor, Overland Certified OC0018
George, the simple answer to your questions is vehicles and trailers start to fall apart when you take them off-road, the biggest offender is wash board roads, they will vibrate almost anything to death. Add to that the occasional obstacle that happens to be in the way, and the drop off you weren't expecting and can't avoid, and you have an idea of what the terrain is going to do to the trailer.

The owner will also love the trailer to death, fill the trailer up to the maximum weight limit, sometimes a little more, drive too fast for the conditions, take a bad line, forget to inflate the tires or deflate the tires. Oh, and then there is the airborne trailer crowd (I've presented a number of wings over the years :)).

The manufacturers can use inferior designs, parts, and fabrication skills, and they can underestimate what it takes to build an off road trailer. We have a small side line for rebuilding competitors trailers that have either failed in the field or just don't perform well, most are the result of bad design and fabrication.

If you off-road yourself, and you are like me, taking your time, choosing the best line, preparing ahead of time for any eventuality, you have to build your trailers for what you would personally expect and then multiply that experience by your shoe size to take into account how other people are going to treat your product.

I like your build, just don't want to see any of them coming to my shop to be rebuilt. Best of luck with your endeavor.
 

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Kmrtnsn

Explorer
George, the simple answer to your questions is vehicles and trailers start to fall apart when you take them off-road, the biggest offender is wash board roads, they will vibrate almost anything to death. Add to that the occasional obstacle that happens to be in the way, and the drop off you weren't expecting and can't avoid, and you have an idea of what the terrain is going to do to the trailer.

The owner will also love the trailer to death, fill the trailer up to the maximum weight limit, sometimes a little more, drive too fast for the conditions, take a bad line, forget to inflate the tires or deflate the tires. Oh, and then there is the airborne trailer crowd (I've presented a number of wings over the years :)).

The manufacturers can use inferior designs, parts, and fabrication skills, and they can underestimate what it takes to build an off road trailer. We have a small side line for rebuilding competitors trailers that have either failed in the field or just don't perform well, most are the result of bad design and fabrication.

If you off-road yourself, and you are like me, taking your time, choosing the best line, preparing ahead of time for any eventuality, you have to build your trailers for what you would personally expect and then multiply that experience by your shoe size to take into account how other people are going to treat your product.

I like your build, just don't want to see any of them coming to my shop to be rebuilt. Best of luck with your endeavor.
That post needs a "Like" button.
 

ghcoe

Adventurer
Some good points to ponder. Thanks.

The picture above is what I am working on now to tow behind my car. I would be simplifying things for a off road trailer and making it even smaller. The current body is 5' wide 8' long. For a off road version I would shorten it down to 6 six feet and be a bit narrower. Also, wheels would be outboard of the body. Only a half hatch on back and no rounded rooflines.
 

grogie

Like to Camp
George, when you say tow the trailer behind a car (or crossover/suv), I take it your not going up (or down) a "Jeep" trail but roads that you'd drive a car on. My brother has a older popup that sees basic dirt roads and it's held up well as in no way is it "off-road" built.

I have an off-road trailer that was fabricated by a guy that builds KOH buggies and the trailer has similar build qualities to it as you've mentioned (it's a box trailer with a RTT on top). As a result, I can tow this trailer on any trail behind my two-door Jeep, so long as I don't feel it's a safety issue, too much work, or just dumb to take a trailer there. It tows like a dream, as besides leaf springs, it also has shocks and a 3500# for a trailer that when loaded is about 1100#s. The trailer's suspension does it's job which is what counts so that it's not jerking on my Jeep or flips over. My build is here btw.

Good luck with the project. :)
 

ghcoe

Adventurer
George, when you say tow the trailer behind a car (or crossover/suv), I take it your not going up (or down) a "Jeep" trail but roads that you'd drive a car on. My brother has a older popup that sees basic dirt roads and it's held up well as in no way is it "off-road" built.Good luck with the project. :)
No Jeep trails for this trailer. I have a Jeep and up till this year I was using a modified '84 starcraft pop up for the back country. It held up well considering that it was half dead when I got it. Sold it before it got to a point of no return. But, I do miss a comfy bed in the back country. When I am done with the current build I will make a back country model and then see how it holds up. Thanks guys for the info.
 

Attachments

PhulesAU

Explorer
George, the simple answer to your questions is vehicles and trailers start to fall apart when you take them off-road, the biggest offender is wash board roads, they will vibrate almost anything to death. Add to that the occasional obstacle that happens to be in the way, and the drop off you weren't expecting and can't avoid, and you have an idea of what the terrain is going to do to the trailer.

The owner will also love the trailer to death, fill the trailer up to the maximum weight limit, sometimes a little more, drive too fast for the conditions, take a bad line, forget to inflate the tires or deflate the tires. Oh, and then there is the airborne trailer crowd (I've presented a number of wings over the years :)).

The manufacturers can use inferior designs, parts, and fabrication skills, and they can underestimate what it takes to build an off road trailer. We have a small side line for rebuilding competitors trailers that have either failed in the field or just don't perform well, most are the result of bad design and fabrication.

If you off-road yourself, and you are like me, taking your time, choosing the best line, preparing ahead of time for any eventuality, you have to build your trailers for what you would personally expect and then multiply that experience by your shoe size to take into account how other people are going to treat your product.

I like your build, just don't want to see any of them coming to my shop to be rebuilt. Best of luck with your endeavor.
Maybe this should be a Stickey????
 

Albatross

Member
you should also take into consideration where you want to go with the trailer:
- bad dirty roads --> move the entry to the back to avoid a lot of dirt/mud on the doors
- rainy areas --> you should have the possibility to cook coffee or tee inside in the morning and have breakfast under roof
- enough height inside to sit upright is also not wrong
- for wash board roads and real offroad you should also have a long thought about a stable storage
... and a lot more
 

ArkansasDon

Observer
when I built my trailer which the project was ground up, I done everything: fabrication for the chassis to electrical to the last drop of automotive clear coat sprayed. I done 6 months of research & penciling my figures what I wanted to spend, what gear used for our adventures which came to weight was another factor to consider before I actually started my build which took almost the better part of 10 months to complete. I like what Martyn said "The manufacturers can use inferior designs, parts, and fabrication skills, and they can underestimate what it takes to build an off road trailer" that statement I agree with. IMO I wanted the chassis & suspension to be the foundation of the trailer build. I built my trailer for the purpose of what me & the wife like to do with our free time: dispersed camping in rugged back country, we hunt (deer, bear, hogs & coyote hunt), fly fish & at the ages of 60 plus & 59 yrs we want to be as far a way from the public when we have our free time. My wife is in the medical field for over 46 yrs & me in the firearm industry (custom shop) for 20 yrs we both deal with the public & on our off time together is valued.

I am not saying my trailer is the best or the ultimate, what I am saying is I built this trailer for "our" actual offroad capabilities & needs. We are not rock crawlers but we take my truck & trailer into the deep wilderness that the average Joe wouldn't. My trailer suspension is 2000lb rated axle, with 1,500lb rated leaf springs & shocks. My trailer empty is 748lbs (no gear in the bed) with gear ready for an adventure (water included) is 360lbs added to the trailer that comes to a total of 1,108lbs. I feel many D I Y trailer builds being built weight capacity isn't taking into a serious consideration, this includes those M416, M100 trailers in builds were their offroad weight capacity is 500lbs, pavement 750lbs weight capacity. Every time you add something to the trailer your taking away from the weight capacity. I'm talking stock spec's.

But this doesn't count is the other gear, "our" gear in the back of our tow vehicle truck bed, my 40lb plus 40qt Engel fridg freez, firewood, pantry tote, dry goods box tote, 30 qt. Pelican cooler w\ice & drinks, change of clothing. Inside my truck cab under the rear seat: recovery gear bag, first aid\trauma kit, 12v. compressor, tool kit & fire extinguisher.






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ghcoe

Adventurer
you should also take into consideration where you want to go with the trailer:
- bad dirty roads --> move the entry to the back to avoid a lot of dirt/mud on the doors
- rainy areas --> you should have the possibility to cook coffee or tee inside in the morning and have breakfast under roof
- enough height inside to sit upright is also not wrong
- for wash board roads and real offroad you should also have a long thought about a stable storage
... and a lot more

Yup! Still a work in progress, but I know where you are coming from.
 

ghcoe

Adventurer
when I built my trailer which the project was ground up, I done everything: fabrication for the chassis to electrical to the last drop of automotive clear coat sprayed. I done 6 months of research & penciling my figures what I wanted to spend, what gear used for our adventures which came to weight was another factor to consider before I actually started my build which took almost the better part of 10 months to complete. I like what Martyn said "The manufacturers can use inferior designs, parts, and fabrication skills, and they can underestimate what it takes to build an off road trailer" that statement I agree with. IMO I wanted the chassis & suspension to be the foundation of the trailer build. I built my trailer for the purpose of what me & the wife like to do with our free time: dispersed camping in rugged back country, we hunt (deer, bear, hogs & coyote hunt), fly fish & at the ages of 60 plus & 59 yrs we want to be as far a way from the public when we have our free time. My wife is in the medical field for over 46 yrs & me in the firearm industry (custom shop) for 20 yrs we both deal with the public & on our off time together is valued.

I am not saying my trailer is the best or the ultimate, what I am saying is I built this trailer for "our" actual offroad capabilities & needs. We are not rock crawlers but we take my truck & trailer into the deep wilderness that the average Joe wouldn't. My trailer suspension is 2000lb rated axle, with 1,500lb rated leaf springs & shocks. My trailer empty is 748lbs (no gear in the bed) with gear ready for an adventure (water included) is 360lbs added to the trailer that comes to a total of 1,108lbs. I feel many D I Y trailer builds being built weight capacity isn't taking into a serious consideration, this includes those M416, M100 trailers in builds were their offroad weight capacity is 500lbs, pavement 750lbs weight capacity. Every time you add something to the trailer your taking away from the weight capacity. I'm talking stock spec's.

But this doesn't count is the other gear, "our" gear in the back of our tow vehicle truck bed, my 40lb plus 40qt Engel fridg freez, firewood, pantry tote, dry goods box tote, 30 qt. Pelican cooler w\ice & drinks, change of clothing. Inside my truck cab under the rear seat: recovery gear bag, first aid\trauma kit, 12v. compressor, tool kit & fire extinguisher.
Thanks for the info.
Good looking trailer!
 

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SoCal Tom

Explorer
George, I tend to agree, the home built off-road trailers are generally over built. It is important that the frame is well constructed and capable of carrying the required weight and then some for the reasons stated above. Where home builders go wrong IMO is that they continue to add weight to the cabin area where it probably isn't needed. Most commercially built off road trailers are a well built wooden cabin riding on a stout frame. A similar design goes into trucks and 4x4s. A lighter weight cab mounted to a stout frame. Properly mounted the cab is somewhat isolated from the twisting that can be seen when off road. The issue of vibration is still present, but with proper fasteners, good glue and bracing this can be addressed. Many home builders will use a steel frame for the whole thing, which makes for a very stout trailer, but the vibration and twisting can still impact the shell material and it adds a lot of weight.
 

opp

Observer
A small trailer is like taking a 4 year old to the dentists. No power, but lots of flex .Have seen a bonded fiberglass trailer flex and have no problem. They will float , there so light can be pulled over anything
 
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