Cargo Trailers as poor man's 5th wheel- Cold Weather non res hunting ideas.

Gatorgrizz27

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Dec 11, 2016
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Tallahassee, FL
I have a better idea that I have been throwing around. Rent a trailer from uHaul when you go on your hunt. You can throw all your gear in there and set up cots at night. Then when you are finished with the hunt take it to a car wash and take it back. You wont have to store it, maintenance it or license it.
The Uhaul trailers are really heavy, low ground clearance, and you can’t stand up in them. Never mind insulate, have a side door, etc.

I paid $2,150 new for my cargo trailer, registration is $25/year. I use mine daily for my carpentry business so it’s a no-brainer, but it’s also handy for moving, storing stuff, etc. You could park the ATV and dirt bike in there and get some garage space back.

I’d never keep one at a storage lot and pay every month just to use for hunting though.
 

NJDiverDan

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Apr 3, 2014
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Rigby, Idaho
I just picked up a 16 footer this fall for this very purpose. Mine is a Mirage trailer, SxS edition, rear ramp and drivers side RV door. I used it to haul my Ranger SxS or my 4 wheeler (or both can fit). I set up a cabelas cot and I have dry sleeping quarters between pack trips. Mine is not insulated, and I have not really used it in the cold yet. One addition I really liked was the RV roof vent.

I am now deciding what I want to do for a floor covering, either 2 part epoxy paint or the rubber garage car mats.
 

Mike7

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Feb 28, 2012
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Northern Idaho
Cargo trailers are usually cheap to license.

Best upgrades for me that I would not go without = roof vent, lockable rv door on the side up front, tracks on walls to secure things along with plenty of floor tiedowns, and a full rubber mat so snow melting off the ATV just drains out the back.

I prefer the swing out back doors instead of the ramp door for easier daily access to your items when tent camping with a bigger group, and it makes it easier to load the trailer as well. ATV ramps can slide right under the atv and are only used at the beginning and end of the trip, so aren't a big deal to use in my opinion.
 

Calcoyote

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Apr 9, 2018
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Oregon
I’ve done that type of thing with a variety of trailers over many years. Including cargo, travel trailer, pop-up, and “overland” (aka Jeep Bantam) trailers. If you want to get anywhere even remotely remote, back country, two track, etc., I don’t recommend a cargo. Too heavy, not enough ground clearance. You’ll tear up the bottom, get stuck, difficult to turn around, etc. The best is a heated wall tent camp and no trailer. Next would be a high ground clearance overland. Final option a pop up modified with taller suspension and bigger tires. The lighter higher trailers are much more back road friendly.
That is my thinking too. I live in Oregon and hunt in Colorado some years. The idea of pulling a trailer over several hundred miles of icy roads for a late season hunt does not appeal to me. The extra weight of the wall tent in the back of my truck gives better traction for the rear end anyway.

I just hate drying the canvas after I get back. I love canvas tents but mold is your biggest enemy.
 

264win

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Apr 3, 2017
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282
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Western Washington ( Whidbey Island )
I have have hunted with a buddy several times who has a converted 7x14. It is comfortable and works well.
IMHO it doesn’t make sense for most people to go this route.
Even used, a good 7x14 dual axle will run 4-6k plus another 1-3k getting it set up. Now your are getting close to the cost of an actual toy hauler, But with half the features and worse resale.
For me, going with a Kodiak Canvas and mr buddy heater is 👌
 

Team4LongGun

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Aug 4, 2019
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I am looking at a 7x14 for this purpose and we are seeing prices brand new with good options around $4k. Our "guestimate" is another $1500 to customize, but we are pretty handy and would be doing it ourselves.
 

Blockcaver

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Sep 9, 2012
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BC
I am looking at a 7x14 for this purpose and we are seeing prices brand new with good options around $4k. Our "guestimate" is another $1500 to customize, but we are pretty handy and would be doing it ourselves.
Get quotes from the trailer dealer for RV doors, insulation, windows etc. I was surprised how reasonable those options were on a custom ordered trailer. Obviously some stuff you’ll want to do yourself. Good luck!
 
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coop22250

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Dec 19, 2016
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Palmer AK
If you look up Cargomate, they already come with camper style man doors and window on the passenger side. I think it was $5500 new in 2012, with 110 plugs, 4’ long utility lights zip tied in for rough roads, under sprayed floor, ramp on the back. Zero leaks through Oregon rain, Montana/Alaska winters. Still solid after almost 8 years.

The only thing I have considered is a cargo door on the back instead of ramp. I’ve seen a couple where the kitchen is outside, open the cargo doors, and it’s all right there. Cover attached to the top of the doors for a roof if needed.


I have yet to be begin to procrastinate.
 

Blockcaver

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BC
The advantages of the double cargo doors on the back are that you need a lot less room to open them up, you can open one, etc. Loading is very nice at about an 18" height on mine with the taller spring shackles. The doors swing open open very easily without lowering a ramp. We were always planning to get a big piece of mosquito/bug netting for very warm weather use, but have settled on opening the man-door with the screen door closed, opening the screened roof hatch and the two sliding screened windows. Reasonably comfortable, especially if parked in the shade on a sunny day in the summer.

I do pul it behind my F350 with a Northernlite cab-over camper. Doesn't affect the mileage much since the camper has such a large cross-section for wind resistance. The Cargomate makes a nice storage shed when you are hunting and I even hung Coues deer quarters in it for a few days in AZ in January. No bugs and no varmints are going to get at it.
 

137buck

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Feb 24, 2012
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Western Montana
IMG-6063.jpgIMG-6088.jpgIMG-6090.jpgIMG-6089.jpg

So this is my 7'x14', with the 6'6" inside height. I bought it in 2015 for our last move. Then I got the idea to transform it into a "redneck" camper, I pulled all the plywood down and put 1.5" foam on the walls and 2.5" in the ceiling for insulation. Then built the cabinet and the lower bunk, bought a WFCO power converter for 12 volt and 110 volt power and ran both sets of wires. I put in three 110 volt outlets and multiple power ports for charging cell phones and whatnot. Put a upper shelf in for the microwave and food storage, then installed vertical E tracks for the queen sized bed and twin bunk, I went that way so I can move that around to be able to haul the atv still, then installed the window in the door. I then installed all LED lights inside and one outside and they hardly have any draw on the battery, I also use my generator to run the microwave or to heat it with an electric heater and or heat it with a Mr. Heater Big Buddy, that dang thing will roast my out, so I have to run it on low. I do crack the window just to be on the safe side. This spring I am installing a spring over axle kit to gain some more ground clearance, but as it is, I can drag this thing into a lot of places my truck can fit. Have slept in it here in western Montana with below zero temps and blowing snow and slept like a baby, now I tow it with a 2500 Ram with the Cummins, and don't really feel it behind me, but when I towed it with my F150, I could tell it was back there and my mileage was about 8 mpg.
 

Carr5vols

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Apr 12, 2019
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Georgia
Get a 2 horse bumper trailer with living quarters off craigslist. Cheap and call haul ATV, bike, sidexside, or gear.
 

Mike7

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Feb 28, 2012
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Northern Idaho
I have a smaller, lighter trailer than 137buck, but also without a raised trailer deck, and I can drag that thing about anywhere without any problems. If I had a bigger, heavier trailer and planned regular use in deep snow or mud, then a raised deck might be handy, but 99% of my use is on decent paved, gravel, or dirt roads.

I just got back from Eastern Montana and pulled my trailer through 10" ruts in gummy mud where the only other people getting through had full sized 4 wheel drives, and the drove home on highways with 25 mph winds blowing snow across the highway. I had zero problems. The trailers have brakes that you adjust in seconds commensurate with the conditions, and the trailer hitch puts weight on your back wheels just as if you had weight in your truck bed.
 

Mike7

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Northern Idaho
The great thing about a cargo trailer is the comparably light weight, cheap cost, and multi-use ability. You can add as little or as much as you want to them.

I chose a small 6x10 V-nose trailer, which I use in two ways.

First for family trips, it is fully loaded with family camping stuff +/- an ATV or raft.
Once on location the trailer becomes the secure gear storage, protected from mice and thieves, and which also opens up tent living space.

Secondly for quick weekend trips, I have all of my camping gear already in the trailer, so I can take off soon after work, and then just climb into the back to sleep when I get there.
 
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dtrkyman

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Oct 2, 2014
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I love the concept of a trailer, but do not love the idea of towing it all over the place!
 

JC Steel

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Dec 7, 2019
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Cheney WA
I really like the idea. I have a couple cargo trailers, one is a high clearance which makes it so you can really pull it anywhere!
 

rayporter

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Jul 3, 2014
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arkansas or ohio
carefully weigh the difference between the 8 ft wide and 7 ft wide models. lots more room in and 8 footer, but will it fit down a rutted trail?

also if you convert it to a camper be sure to to check the regs. some years ago my dad converted a truck into a camper and the cost of license plates went waaay down. like ten bucks for the camper compared to 80 bucks for the truck. if i remember correctly [ and it has been many years] all he needed was a bed a stove and an icebox to qualify as a camper.
 

Bowhunting WI

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Oct 13, 2016
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WI
For the last three years, we've used a 24' enclosed trailer my dad bought used for $2K on our annual ID elk trip. We pull it out from WI to ID (22 hours) with 2 four-wheelers and all our gear; and it works great.

My dad uses it for other things throughout the year, so we haven't done much to the interior:
-We sleep on cheap cots
-My dad wired in LED lights and a few outlets. We have a Honda generator to run the lights and charge stuff at night. (My dad also has a TV in there, which drives me crazy, but it's his trailer and we're only in it a few hours at night anyway)
-Since it's a V-nose trailer, on one side my dad cut a hole in the floor and put in a cheap shower tub that drains out the bottom. We got a cheap shower head off Amazon ($30) that runs off a portable jump starter and use a small stove to heat the water. A tarp makes a nice shower curtain.
-On the other side of the V-Nose, we have a small freezer. We freeze milk jugs filled with water before the trip and keep our food in there until we kill an elk. Once we have an elk down, the elk goes in the freezer and we then plug it in and run the generator all night to keep the quarters cool/cold and our food goes into cooler. We don't run the generator all day since we're out hunting...and someone would probably steal it since we're not there.
-My dad did add some Styrofoam insulation on the walls and roof, but it still gets cold in there at night. We run a small propane furnace that mounts to the wall and is safe for use inside the trailer.

The only thing that sucks about it is that when it's hot out, it's HOT in the trailer. Since it's black, it's like an oven in there.
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backstraps01

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Jan 16, 2018
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37
Location
Tennessee
My b-i-l done a cargo trailer this year. The week he spent out of state in it went a long ways paying for it!! A few week long trips and money saved from lodging etc adds up fast! Neat idea, especially with small trucks like our Tacomas
 

Dirtscoots

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Oct 1, 2019
Messages
10
Go double axle regardless what you want to tow. Highly recommend enough headroom and space to fit a utv if nothing else really helps your resale. I’ve had 4 different enclosed. A window is really nice. My younger days of careless or just dumb I would use my buddy heater and crack a vent call it good. I’m alive however now I would instal some alarms. They are very cheap for piece of mind. Highly recommend a ramp door. It really sucks to haul a ramp to unload your bike or quad. Etrex is pretty awesome you can’t have enough of it. I used my trailer as a cooler with quarters hanging across the etrex.
 
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