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Trailers???

Discussion in 'Tips and Tricks' started by Howard Caplan, Jul 3, 2008.

  1. Howard Caplan

    Howard Caplan Wooden Canoe Maniac

    Can anybody give me some tips about what to look for in a trailer to haul canoes and gear? Two canoes at the most would be carried.
    My idea is to find a basic cart type trailer that I could build a box onto and have inside, locked storage and flat top for the two canoes.
    I know I need an extended tongue to allow the length of the canoes. How long of a tongue?
    Where does one find these trailers without breaking the bank?
    Do they need to be licensed separately from the car? or the car plate on the trailer when in use. Lights, I think are obviously required.
    Anything else I should know about before jumping in would be great.
    I don't know where all that weight came from on the Prospector but, I cannot safely lift it alone and getting it to the truck roof is daunting.
    Howard
     
  2. Michael Grace

    Michael Grace Lifetime Member

    Howard,

    My favorite trailer is one I custom built because many of the commercially-available trailers seem so flimsy. This one is based upon a welded steel utility trailer, which are readily available, but not cheap. On the other hand, if you live in an area where there is a lot of lawn service work, you can probably find a used one fairly easily. My trailer holds 6 canoes on a welded steel framework, and as you can imagine, it is much easier to load and unload than the top of the truck. I didn't yet build in a box, but will at some point. Will post a photo or two ASAP, and will also measure the tongue.

    You are correct that the trailer must have lights, signals, and it must be licensed. Bummer about that, but the cost- at least in my state- is very low.

    Michael
     
  3. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    Mine is an old snowmobile trailer with some modifications. These are readily available in Maine so the price was right. This also doubles as a temporary dock if the edge of the pond is marshy and a real dock is not available. I did need to get the tongue extended from five to ten feet for eighteen foot canoes. It also has several two by four inch stake pockets and I have built various wooden racks to carry up to four canoes at a time. I am also building a bunk and roller unit for it so I can carry my heaviest canoe upright and launch it alone at a ramp like a motor boat. You will need to get a separate license plate but these are usually not expensive. Signal lights may not be required by the state in daylight but they are a very good idea. Mine has them on the sides as well. Good luck,

    Benson
     

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    Last edited: Jul 8, 2008
  4. OP
    OP
    Howard Caplan

    Howard Caplan Wooden Canoe Maniac

    I found a 4'X8" trailer with wooden slat sides and a steel base. I'm going to look at it tomorrow morning and if the wheels don't squeak and the lights work, I will probably buy it.
    I will probably plywood the sides and put in a hinged lid, a little wider then the 4' to allow to canoes to be carried on the top.
    Then I will figure out how much extension I will need. I hope I don't have to do a 5' extension. 17' canoe will probably be the longest.
    Thanks for the comments,
    Howard
     
  5. Max Peterson

    Max Peterson LOVES Wooden Canoes

    I'm sure that the trailer title and registration process is different in each state. Pennsylvania is a royal pain if you have a trailer that was not manufactured or has no current title. Transferring the title is relatively easy, but getting a new one for an old trailer is a complicated and expensive project. Check out your state's requirements before you spend any money on a used one that doesn't have a title and plate.
     
  6. Robert P. Ross

    Robert P. Ross Ross Bros

    You can build your own. But wouldn’t you rather go canoeing, isn’t that the point here? There is no need to reinvent the wheel. Go with the proven leader, MO Trailer. They sell a personal four place trailer that is great. Be a sport take your friends along, or have extra room to buy more canoes. Who can resist that? I’m on my second in 25 years I sold the last one after 16 years of service. I only sold it because it needed a new paint job. It was such a good trailer I only lost $400. in the trade out. They have done the research their trailers don’t break or twist boats. In twenty five year I have not lost or damaged a boat. (Knock on Wood)

    Robert P. Ross
    Ross Bros.
    PO Box 60277
    Florence, MA 01062
    413.320.2306




    http://www.motrailers.com/canoe.php
     

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  7. mark wismer

    mark wismer WCHA Member

    I remember you mentioning 'dock' features as we have an old two sled trailer w/ pressure treated deckboards for light utility use. My plan is to build a box W/ extendable cross rails & paddle storage. It will strap onto the trailer & double as a garage storage unit.
     
  8. OP
    OP
    Howard Caplan

    Howard Caplan Wooden Canoe Maniac

    Robert,
    Thanks for the link. Yes, that is exactly what I want and you are correct, I should be out canoeing and not trying to modify an existing trailer. Plus, this will make a good place for winter storage for 4 of the canoes, maybe 5.
    Went to the site and they don't list prices and their contact is not working so I'll call them after the holiday.
    You wouldn't know what they charge for the Family Four model, would you?
    Howard
     
  9. Robert P. Ross

    Robert P. Ross Ross Bros

    Dear Howard,

    I tried to look up a price for you. I have an old price sheet that I'm sure it is out of date. The last 8-10 model I bought about five years ago for a friend was about $2500. the four place use to be about half. I recommend the 8-10 model to another friend about a year ago. He didn't tell me the price but it had gone up. Long story short: He had one fabricated didn’t save much money and got less than he paid for.

    I should add I made some modifications to mine to make it more wooden canoe friendly. I dropped the tie down hooks to the side and had the tubes welded shut on the ends, added a dolly wheel, stronger chains, and hooks.

    Strangely enough this same conversation went on another blog about a month ago.

    http://www.woodenboat.com/forum/showthread.php?t=80270

    The steel trailer is good if you can store it indoors when not in use. It will rust, If not I would look into their galvanized model just introduced.

    Stay away fro the Featherlite canoe trailer it is too light and whippy.


    Sincerely,

    Robert P. Ross
    Ross Bros.
    PO Box 60277
    Florence, MA 01062
    413.320.2306
     
  10. Canerodz

    Canerodz Trout Bum

    Genesis Trailer

    http://genesistrailers.com/canoekayak.htm#Canoe / Kayak 4 Tree Trailer

    These guys are great. They'll custom build anything and their prices are outstanding. They made a custom trailer for my old Peterborough freight canoe, and I just walked into the shop cold. They didn't know me from Adam, but they were really interested in doing something new and we drew it out on a sheet of scrap paper, they fiddled with it some, and voila!

    They send the trailers out to be hot dip galvanized after they are built, so they are protected from rust inside and out.

    Brian
     
  11. JClearwater

    JClearwater Wooden Canoe Maniac

    My solution

    I attached a photo of my trailer. It is an old single axle boat trailer that I bought second hand. I had a welder fabricate the 'trees' to carry four canoes. I wanted a flat bed trailer to help prevent road debris from hitting the boats - a problem you don't have when the canoes or on top of the car. I designed the trees with a horizontal brace at the top between them to prevent the trailer flex from affecting the boats. I also installed cable guys to prevent side movement. I felt it was important that the trees stay rigid to prevent the trailer flex from stressing the canoes. Another problem you don't have when the boats are on top of the car. The trailer still flexes but does it forward and behind the 'trees'. The photo shows a pickup truck cross box for storing PFD's, tie down straps etc. I have since moved the box to the rear to reduce the tongue weight. I want to make another plywood box long enough to store the paddles so they are not all in the car.

    Just my $0.02 worth. Good luck with your project.

    Jim C.
     

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  12. JClearwater

    JClearwater Wooden Canoe Maniac

    I should have added

    that I wanted an old boat trailer because of the length. I did not want the canoes sticking out the back beyond the rear of the trailer. The problem is that as cars approach you from the rear they don't see that the canoes extend beyond the tail lights and could bump the boats with the front of the car. This is especially true at night at stop signs and traffic lights. I shutter to think what would happen to my nice canoes even by a 5 mph hit.

    That's it, I'll shut up now.

    Jim C.

    PS: 7/22/08, I added a more recent photo of the trailer. Six canoes, 1904 Old Town Charles River, 1935 Old Town Otca, 1938 Old Town HW and a kevlar Swift Kipawa on the trailer. A fiberglass Curtis Nomad and a Ladybug on the Subaru.

    JCC
     

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    Last edited: Jul 22, 2008
  13. Andre Cloutier

    Andre Cloutier Firestarter. Wicked Firestarter.

    extend that tongue, and not much sticks out the back. No troubles with anyone changing lanes yet (touch wood)
    total investment here is under $400, starting with free junk box trailer, including steel, new wheels/tires, bearings and 2 rattle cans of silver. will carry two no problem, but could be made to take 4 easily enuf.
     

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