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Enclosed vs Open Trailers

Enclosed vs Open Trailers

While your truck can help you get a lot of stuff from one place to another, there are times when you just need more or a different capacity for your cargo.

It’s the kind of situation that calls for a trailer, but you’re immediately led to the question of whether enclosed or open trailers are better. Both can haul cargo, tools, and even vehicles, offer lots of storage flexibility and size variety and serve business needs well. An open version is lightweight and doesn’t cost you fuel efficiency, but an  enclosed one gives you added utility and security.

Every situation is different, so you need to weigh the questions about how you plan to use your trailer carefully as you shop around. How much can your truck tow, how far do you need to haul cargo, and what kind of cargo you will carry become key factors in your choice.

Let’s take a look at how open utility trailers and enclosed cargo trailers differ to help you with making your trailer choice.

Towing Capacity

If you plan to tow your trailer with your current truck, you need to have a clear idea of your truck’s  maximum towing capacity to help you limit your search to viable options.

Open trailers are lighter than enclosed because they don’t have the extra weight of the sides and roof to carry. This makes them easier to tow even when you’re carrying the same load, and you can carry a  heavier load and stay within your towing limits.

Do take the time to check different brands of enclosed trailers though, as some will be lighter depending on the material they’re made of. You might find one that fits your towing criteria.

Trip Distances

If your towing needs center around short trips around town, an  open trailer might be your best option. They’re easier to maneuver, which makes handling tight turns easier and parking less of a hassle. You’ll also get the advantage of the lighter weight not hurting your fuel efficiency as much with the multiple short trips.

When you’re moving things over longer distances, security becomes more of an issue as well as potential weather changes along your route. Enclosed trailers offer more storage space and flexible storage since you can use the sides of the trailer for items. On longer trips, you’ll also have more cause to leave your cargo for a time as you make rest stops for food and fuel.

While enclosed  trailers are heavier, that becomes less of a concern in a highway situation. Many are streamlined or have a v-nose, so the improved aerodynamics begin to balance out weight as a factor for fuel efficiency.

Cargo Considerations

How precious is the cargo you plan to carry?

Open trailers can get it there without an issue, but they do leave your cargo exposed to the elements and sticky fingers. Even with a tarp, you can’t be 100 percent certain everything is protected. But when you’re carrying items like landscaping materials or dirt bikes, exposure to the weather becomes less of an issue.

Precious cargo like a classic car calls for an enclosed trailer where the cargo can be protected from everything outside the trailer. Enclosed is also the best option if you’re using the trailer for a  food business as it helps you maintain food quality standards.

You will be limited by the size and shape of your enclosed trailer, so make sure you get one that meets your needs based on your particular cargo.

When Enclosed Trailers Win

The times to choose an  enclosed trailer include when you’re traveling long distances, especially if your schedule isn’t flexible and you have to go no matter what the weather.

If you need to be able to lock everything up to be more secure, you should go with an enclosed option. This is great for a job site or anywhere you might have to leave the trailer for a bit while it’s loaded. You also get the added security of not having to worry about items falling off the trailer and being lost in transit.

Enclosed trailers can be customized inside with shelves, sinks, beds – anything you need to help you organize your cargo or suit it to your specific needs. You can turn the trailer into an office or vending area with ease.

Customizing can happen on the outside as well where you can add your company logo, name, or other design to the sides of the trailer.

When Open Trailers Win

Open trailers are often  less expensive, so if budget is a consideration, open is the way to go. The lighter weight makes them easier to maneuver and tow, along with being more fuel-efficient. You can also carry a heavier payload because the trailer doesn’t take up all your towing capacity.

With an open trailer, you don’t have to worry about whether your cargo will fit, even when you have to take care of  how you load it due to weight. It can be taller or wider than expected and still fit. This is useful if you’re hauling furniture or other items of unpredictable size.

While driving, open trailers can be a safer option, especially for anyone new to trailer hauling. Unless your cargo is piled high, it’s easier to see behind you. This is helpful when you’re backing up or need to judge space to make a lane change.

You can also keep an eye on your cargo as you’re driving in case things come loose or shift.

Open trailers can be loaded and accessed from all sides, which is great for debris because it can be thrown over the side. On the whole, they’re easier to load, empty, and clean, which is great for outdoor activities like landscaping or ATV riding.

Choose Your Trailer

Choosing between enclosed and open trailers has a lot to do with your intended use of the trailer, how you plan to haul it, and what your budget is for a trailer. Enclosed trailers offer security while hauling or parked, as well as lots of extra storage space. Open trailers can be less expensive and allow for more flexibility in what you can load in them.

Looking for a trailer for cargo hauling or a concessions business? Check out our  current inventory and  contact us to talk about what options might best fit your needs.

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