Trailers unlock possibilities. Want to haul an ATV somewhere? Drive on up. Need a yard of gravel for your driveway? Don't wait to schedule a delivery. Dump runs, moving, landscaping—it's like owning a pickup, except better, because you only use it when you need it. And pickup beds aren't 12 feet long by six feet wide. The caveat, however, is that trailers present unique possibilities for mayhem. Latch one on and your vehicle becomes long, heavy, and hinged. It'll take longer to stop and require more room to turn. When you're backing up, the trailer moves opposite of the car. Things can fall off. Or the trailer can decide to part ways with your tow vehicle. But most of it is preventable. You just need to buy wisely and prepare accordingly. Then, adventure and capability are yours.
Whatever type of trailer you get, go bigger than you think you need. My boat trailer can handle a 25-foot vessel at 7,000 pounds, so it's comfortable (and so am I) with my 3,000-pound 21-footer. It'd work even if an axle fell off.
Speaking of which, when in doubt, get tandem axles, a trailer with four wheels. A single-axle trailer is stable only when hitched to a car. Add any weight and it swings like a seesaw. Tandems track straighter down the highway, too. And if you get a flat? You've got another tire on that side.
Still, bring at least one spare trailer tire on every trip. And a decent jack, and a big four-way lug wrench. A portable air compressor is handy, too. Maybe a grease gun for the hubs. Inexplicably, wheel bearings on cars last 100,000 miles, but trailer bearings are as delicate as panda romance
Go to the far reaches of the Merch-Co parking lot and practice. Spend an hour backing around a few cones until you're confident. You don't want to be learning your trailer's idiosyncrasies at the boat ramp while getting stink-eye from fishermen.
When choosing a tow vehicle, think about maneuverability, not power. Tow ratings tend to be understated, so your Toyota Highlander is often more than enough. And if you've got a tight corner, it'll be more nimble than the 3500 Mega-Mega Towmonster Poundfooter
Here's the sweet spot: 10- to 12-foot with mesh sides, a solid steel floor, and a hinged gate. The sides and solid floor mean you can carry loose material like mulch, and the gate swings down to become a ramp when you need to tote home that shiny new lawn tractor
Two questions: bunk or roller, aluminum or galvanized? Go aluminum (lighter and won't rust) if you can afford it, and always bunk (long wooden supports covered in carpet). Rollers create pressure points on the hull and make it easier for the boat to slide around in transit
Open car trailers have low or no sides, which means room for car doors to open and more surface area, ideal for things like ATVs or snowmobiles. Enclosed car trailers are secure and dry, but you're working with limited space. Know the dimensions of what you intend to tow before buying