5' x 8' Utility Trailer vs 2,400 mile Road Trip, what could go wrong?

5' x 8' Utility Trailer vs 2,400 mile Road Trip, what could go wrong?

2,400 mile shakedown/torture test of a new utility trailer from Tractor Supply (Carry On). After looking at used trailers I determined that it was more cost effective to buy new. Not because new trailers are so much better but because people selling used trailers have confused the terms “Old and Busted” with “Vintage Collectible”.

TSC had their 5’x8′ model on sale for $100 off and I was able to get another 10% off of that. That brought this trailer down to $13.48 per sq ft. Almost half the cost of their other trailers and well below the price of any comparable used trailers in our area.

We pulled the trailer with a 2013 Dodge Grand Caravan, base model, that we had added an after market trailer hitch to. The hitch is Curt with 2″ receiver and was purchased online at eTrailer.com. It bolts on with not welding or drilling and takes about an hour to install.

What I liked about the trailer:
1. The cost! $540 for a new trailer? It’s hard to complain about that.
2. Overall construction. This thing got pulled day and night, up and down mountains, through dirt trials and 80MPH highways. And had not one problem with the trailer itself.
3. Size. It’s just right to pull behind a minvan, car or small truck. Even fully loaded I as able to move the trailer around by myself. Ok, not super easy, but I was able to do it. It head everything we needed and has room to spare.
4. Stability! I was pretty hesitant at first, never having towed anything like this, much less with a mini van. The turning radius was great. It never “walked” away from me on the highway or even on the dirt roads. By the end of the trip I was confident enough with it that I could ALMOST drive like it wasn’t even there.

What we didn’t like or went wrong:
1. We lost a tie down strap in Yellowstone Park when the loose end of a strap came loose and went under the wheel of the trailer. It stripped the ratcheting side of the strap clean off and sent it off the side of a ravine. I pulled over, tied the lose end directly to the frame and it stayed put for the rest of the trip.
2. The hitch was too low. I bought a ball mount (the part that the ball is attached to and connects with the square hole in the receiver), and it has a 2″ drop. That was low enough that the chains and wires from the trailer would drag on the ground. Also it made it very easy for the bottom of the ball to bottom out when going through any kind of dip.
3. The wires are not “guided” in any way, just hanging loose once they leave the body of the trailer. As some point the wires for the right side of the trailer got cut and had to be spliced back together. I eventually bought a wire sleeve and zip tied the wires to the neck of the trailer.
4. The mesh bottom of the trailer is a joke. I can’t hold up to any significant amount of weight. Like say an oven on an appliance dolly. Just from rolling that down the length of the trailer it now looks like there are waves of mesh instead of a flat floor.

Of these 1-3 were entirely my fault and lessons were learned. #4 however is a serious design flaw. You just can’t have mesh like this without a lot more support from underneath. I plan to put down a wood floor and I will post another video of how that turns out.