Scouts-L Mail Archive for August of 1999: Trailers
Wed, 11 Aug 1999 14:54:29 -0600
>While at summer camp, I had the opportunity to look at several trailers
>that are owned by troops and out troop is considering this purchase.
I have to stick my nose in everything. We did this last year and here is a few
things we learned.
1. Determine what vehicles are going to pull the trailer. We found that we had
one Suburban and a bunch of many vans. So we decided to find a trailer to fit
the many vans. With our size Troop, we decided to buy two smaller trailers in
fact. Right now we only have one but there is a savings account for the other.
2. Since we were thinking minivan, weight was a factor. So steel or aluminum?
After a long study, you can save about $400 on a trailer by going steel but we
found them a couple of hundred pounds heavier and they rust a lot quicker than
the aluminum's. Also we found most manufacturers included plywood lining in the
inside of aluminum's to protect the sides but not the steel trailers. When we
looked at local Troop's trailers, we noticed bump and dings in the trailers
without plywood and the steel trailers without plywood were still heavier than
aluminum trailers with the plywood. Our trailer weighed in around 900 lbs.
3. Covered or not. Most Troops tend to load a uncovered trailer up to about the
top of the sides. We found we can load our covered trailer up to the ceiling (if
needed). A covered trailer with the same floor size of an uncovered trailer will
carry almost twice the cargo. But that cover adds a couple hundred pounds.
4. Doors. We got a good deal on a 98 model trailer that had a door on the front
for easier loading. But after using the trailer for almost a year, I'll bet our
Quartermasters haven't used that door more than a half a dozen times. I would
save the money (about $400) and forget the extra door.
5. Size is important. The bigger the wheel size, the better your axial and tire
will wear for travel with heavy loads. We looked for a 15 inch tire instead of
14 inch. 14 should be the minimum. Most trailers with 15 tires where 12 feet
long (we wanted 10). Most all 12 foot trailers where a minimum of 5 feet wide
but many where six. Trailers are like backpacks, what ever size you buy, you
will fill it. So don't go buy a big trailer thinking you will never fill it, you
will. We wanted ours 5.5ft. to 6ft. high because most adults and older boys
needed the high to prevent us from stooping and banging our heads. We know of
another Troop that got a 14 ft long, 4 ft. wide trailer with a 4.5 ft. height
and you can imagine the pain in the back carrying heavy patrol boxes to the
front of that trailer.
6. Lights. It wasn't on our list but came with the trailer. It can be a great
feature when you have to rummage through everyone's gear in the dark Minnesota
night to find your own personal bag that your son just threw in not thinking
that you need your fresh underwear after a long canoe trip in the Canadian
wilds. Did I say to much? I love that light.
There are plenty of really cool Troop trailers that have neat coveys and doors
all over the thing for easy loading of equipment. Many need a diesel tractor rig
to pull them. This may sound silly but Scouts usually don't care about those
trailers, only the adults. Scouts only want something that will get their gear
to camp. Let their needs guide your shopping. We have a simple trailer (with a
cool light) that gets the job done very very well for a Troop of 50 Scouts. We
may need another trailer because it is rather small for a Troop of 80 but that
is alot easier than buying a big decked out trailer that will hold your 20 foot
tee pee poles. I am not knocking those trailers, just warning you that they
carry a price. Ask your Scouts what their needs are, sit down figure out who is
pulling that beast and then shop around your figures. It's easy to go crazy.
Hey, have a great summer and I hope you had as much fun as we did canoeing on
the Boundary Waters/Quetico Park area. Thanks Minnesota and Canada for your warm
hospitality. I love this Scouting Stuff.