Trailer advice

Decked Canoes, Open Canoes, as long as they're canoes!

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zen_ben
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Trailer advice

Post by zen_ben » Fri Jan 03, 2014 3:26 am

Looking ahead to next summer (& beyond) when we'll be back on the water in 3 boats with our 3 boys, I am starting to ponder purchasing/rehabing a boat trailer. For the moment, we can get all 3 boats and gear on/in our Honda Odyssey but that doesn't leave any room for camping gear. What we're ultimately looking for is a boat trailer that can carry up to 5 boats and gear/camping gear underneath. Would appreciate hearing about conversions you've undertaken or manufacturers you recommend. Thanks.
Ben

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Pierre LaPaddelle
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Re: Trailer advice

Post by Pierre LaPaddelle » Fri Jan 03, 2014 7:25 am

zen_ben wrote:. . . Would appreciate hearing about . . . manufacturers you recommend. Thanks.
Prob'ly out of you geographic range, but FWIW --

Western Canoeing and Kayaking, in Abbotsford, BC, custom makes trailers to whatever size and weight you need. You can specify how many boats, how much space between racks, distance between uprights, etc. Racks are padded with strong material to prevent gunn'l damage.

Rick
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ohioboater
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Re: Trailer advice

Post by ohioboater » Fri Jan 03, 2014 4:09 pm

I can tell you what not to do :D

Don't convert/customize a 5x8, steel, 15" wheel landscaping trailer. Way too heavy. A friend did this - extended the tongue, welded up a pair of uprights with integrated stackers, attached one of those diamond plate locking tool boxes, and installed a cedar floor. It was a bombproof boat/gear carrier, but the thing weighed at least 1500 pounds empty. I got worse mileage pulling that trailer than I did pulling a loaded popup camper (10 mpg with a Honda Pilot, which has the same engine as your Odyssey).

Go as light as you can if you care at all about mileage and wear/tear on your van.

It's tough getting the family into gear-intensive outdoor sports - you end up basically having to be an outfitter, and "quick" trips become an exercise in expedition management :).

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sbroam
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Re: Trailer advice

Post by sbroam » Fri Jan 03, 2014 5:28 pm

You ain't kidding, when the kids move out I'm going into business running trips.

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Mikey B
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Re: Trailer advice

Post by Mikey B » Sat Jan 04, 2014 2:27 am

I've seen a couple nice ones built from jet ski trailers....nice and light with storage built in pretty easily

Einar
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Old Tent trailer

Post by Einar » Sat Jan 04, 2014 5:14 am

Scout around for an old tent trailer, considered to be valueless once the 'tent" rots. Should be free.
Strip it down to the frame and axle. It will be light enough that you can lift it one side by yourself and will easily towable by a v6 or even a 4 cyl. The tongue to axle length will be long enough that it will back up easily in a straight line unlike small yard trailers.

The rest you can do yourself. Get a welder to build a bracket of your design, stolen from someone elses design. Angle iron is good enough. Also, have the welder flip the axle, raising it by 3-4 inches for extra ground clearance, standard trick for backroad trailers used by hunters. You can reduce the width if you want with zip cutter, nbdeal.
5 canoes at 50- 70 lbs ea (solo or tandem) = 350 lbs, is nothing. In fact you problem will be it is too light, too lively, so put a gear box on the front over the tongue for forward weight.
You can hand paint it yourself and put waste carpet over the brackets. 4 pin wiring is simple, can bought as a module from an auto store, and a cheaper class 2 hitch on the tow vehicle is strong enough.
If you are loading and towing tandem canoes consider putting them in the trailer centre and higher so they don't "pinch" the vehicle when backing up and turning, put the shorter boats on the outsides and lower.
One caution, tent trailers have smalerl diameter wheels, turn at higher speeds than the car wheels so the bearings, if ignored and not greased, can burn out. Packing the bearings with grease is an easy maintenance item, once a year.
You will have a cheap, easy to tow and maintain, paddle crap carrier.
Paddling is easy, organizing shuttles is hard.
Not misplacing all your crap in somebody else's car seems to be even harder

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madmike
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Re: Trailer advice

Post by madmike » Sat Jan 04, 2014 12:09 pm

These are the best. http://www.motrailers.com/canoe.php" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
I have the "Long Ranger." The length between trees can be a over long for modern short WW OC1s. Maybe Mo can build you one that is shorter?

Bob P
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Re: Trailer advice

Post by Bob P » Sat Jan 04, 2014 2:03 pm

I'm just finishing up a small "general-purpose" trailer based on a cheap Harbor Freight kit. I added the 4' x 6' box on top. (I replaced the basic frame too, but I'm going to push the original capacity limits.) If you're handy with wood, you could do the same thing for about $350 total.

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sbroam
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Re: Trailer advice

Post by sbroam » Sat Jan 04, 2014 2:17 pm

Not the best picture, but here is what we're using at the moment. We've used it for bikes and camping, but my intent is to use it for boats, too. I'd like to lengthen the tongue to make it more easily accommodate canoes and be easier to back. Not sure how well the rear door will work with a traditional canoe or two on top. Found it on Craigslist, wouldn't have really considered one like this at this time if i'd been looking at full retail. But now that we've used it, it's worked so well I would...

Image

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Dave.E
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Re: Old Tent trailer

Post by Dave.E » Sat Jan 04, 2014 7:44 pm

Einar wrote:Scout around for an old tent trailer, considered to be valueless once the 'tent" rots. Should be free.
Strip it down to the frame and axle. It will be light enough that you can lift it one side by yourself and will easily towable by a v6 or even a 4 cyl. The tongue to axle length will be long enough that it will back up easily in a straight line unlike small yard trailers.

The rest you can do yourself. Get a welder to build a bracket of your design, stolen from someone elses design. Angle iron is good enough. Also, have the welder flip the axle, raising it by 3-4 inches for extra ground clearance, standard trick for backroad trailers used by hunters. You can reduce the width if you want with zip cutter, nbdeal.
5 canoes at 50- 70 lbs ea (solo or tandem) = 350 lbs, is nothing. In fact you problem will be it is too light, too lively, so put a gear box on the front over the tongue for forward weight.
You can hand paint it yourself and put waste carpet over the brackets. 4 pin wiring is simple, can bought as a module from an auto store, and a cheaper class 2 hitch on the tow vehicle is strong enough.
If you are loading and towing tandem canoes consider putting them in the trailer centre and higher so they don't "pinch" the vehicle when backing up and turning, put the shorter boats on the outsides and lower.
One caution, tent trailers have smalerl diameter wheels, turn at higher speeds than the car wheels so the bearings, if ignored and not greased, can burn out. Packing the bearings with grease is an easy maintenance item, once a year.
You will have a cheap, easy to tow and maintain, paddle crap carrier.
^
This
https://vimeo.com/user32086287" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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TonyB
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Re: Trailer advice

Post by TonyB » Sun Jan 05, 2014 8:18 pm

I picked up a 3.5 X 5 cRgo trailer at lowes. About $400, threw some cross bars on as a quick fix. Worked great for 3 short boats and gear. Gonna make a raised, wider rack in spring. Raise the axels do see if I can extend the toung.
Proud Yankee

Einar
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Boondocks paddle camp tips

Post by Einar » Sun Jan 05, 2014 10:20 pm

Expanding on your theme of camping with 5 paddlers... a friend of mine "rescued" an old propane fridge of about 3 cubic ft and mounted it on the tongue of his trailer, set on a simple welded Y bracket from the tongue to trailer frame sides. A simple short flex hose connects it to a propane tank.

When travelling the system is disconnected, the tank stored, the fridge stays cold 1 day. A wet blanket provides some evaporative cooling at 70 miles per hour. The hotter it gets the better the "evaporator" works.

When parked in a boondocks camp for 5-10 days he puts the tank on the ground next to the fridge, ignites the flame.
Paddling is easy, organizing shuttles is hard.
Not misplacing all your crap in somebody else's car seems to be even harder

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valhallalongboats
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Re: Trailer advice

Post by valhallalongboats » Mon Jan 06, 2014 8:26 pm

Important question,

Do you yourself do welding, or do you know someone who does? If you do, one of the best trailers to convert into a canoe hauler (in my xp) is a old drift-boat trailer. We built wood/steel locking cargo boxes on the bottom of one, and it worked pretty well for extra storage. 'T' racks can be customized to go as high as you want. You can make them wide enough to carry two canoes on their sides on either side of the trailer per level. (does that make sense?) If it does, then a '4-high' trailer can easily hold sixteen solo canoes...if you want to go that far. They are also very light, I had no issue hauling 10 sixteen-foot tandems behind a 4cyl Ford Ranger with one of these set-ups. Drift boat trailers are also designed with a decent suspension system, as the designers assume you will be taking your drift-boat to places that don't have anything resembling a concrete boat-ramp, so taking them off-road isn't much of an issue. So if you want a really good trailer, look for an old drift-boat trailer, get some large rectangular steel tubes for your center pillars (2x4 works great), get some square steel tubes for your cross-beams (1x1 or bigger), find something to wrap them in so you don't destroy a gunnel, get out the welder and go nuts. 8)

Rob
Canoeing isn't a sport...its an art. Unfortunately, I am not exactly Michelangelo.

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valhallalongboats
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Re: Trailer advice

Post by valhallalongboats » Mon Jan 06, 2014 8:49 pm

I'm a hundred miles from my trailers atm, but this is an example (without being able to see the cargo boxes or suspension due to inconventient paddlers photo-bombing it :) of a canoe trailer converted from a drift boat trailer. This one was built for longer boats, but it would be easy enough to shorten the distance between the racks (8ft in this pic, 6 ft would work better for more modern canoes).
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canoetrailer.png
Canoeing isn't a sport...its an art. Unfortunately, I am not exactly Michelangelo.

Einar
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Rails

Post by Einar » Wed Jan 08, 2014 1:21 am

It's stripped down for highway travel but just having rails on the trailer sides easily allows clamping cross bars for canoe loads on a friends borrowed trailer, leaving it functional for other uses.
Trailers make good co partner ownership on the cold beer instalment plan.
Attachments
IMG_4046-1.jpg
Paddling is easy, organizing shuttles is hard.
Not misplacing all your crap in somebody else's car seems to be even harder

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