7 Things you need to know about – folding boat trailers

1 – Do I need a folding trailer? Most caravan parks around Australia do not have boat ramps so the short answer is yes, unless you are going to caravan park where you know you have direct access to the water you will need a registrable folding trailer otherwise you will not get the best use out of your boat.

2 – When caravanning around Australia most experienced people with car toppers will pull up in the caravan park, drop the boat off the vehicle roof, assemble the folding trailer, set your boat up with motor, safety and fishing gear then you are ready to go. Remember you are on holidays so you don’t want to spend hours setting up your fishing rig, you want to look out the window in the morning, decide to go fishing and just hook the boat onto your car and hit the water.

3 – I don’t need a trailer. I am going to unload the boat directly into the water!

Yes sometimes this works but the reality is most times it is not practical. Think about it. You have to pack all your fishing gear, motor, fuel tank, etc into the car, drive to the water, unload your boat, drag it to the water, carry all your gear down, set the boat up then go fishing. And it gets worst when you come back because you are now standing in the midday sun, the tide has gone out and you have to drag your wet, muddy gear up the bank to your car then load your boat, dripping salt water and old bait, onto the roof before you can go home. It is much easier to back the trailer down, winch the boat on and drive back to your caravan.

4 – Aluminum or Steel?

It is all about the weight. At typical folding steel trailer will weigh 60kg to 80kg and often these trailers are made in one piece that collapses down into a travel pack. This means you still have to lift and carry a very heavy piece of gear. By comparison folding aluminum trailers are half the weight and are generally designed with several pieces that bolt together. This means that the heaviest piece you have to lift can be reduced, depending on the design, to under 10kg.

5 – The speed rating that you can tow your folding trailer does not depend on the tyre size. Most folding boat trailers are fitted with 8” integral wheels that are rated to 130km/h and run standard Holden wheel bearings. The reason some manufactures limit the tow speed of their trailers is because the poor trailer design results in the trailer getting the wobbles and becoming unsafe at speeds above 70 km/h. A quality folding boat trailer will tow safely at 100km/h so ask the question before you buy, if the trailer you are looking at has a speed restriction, don’t buy it.

6 – Most Folding Trailers do not have suspension. There are two reasons for this. The first is the extra weight a suspension system adds to the trailer, depending on the design, suspension can add an extra 20% of the total weight. The second reason is that Folding Trailers are designed as light weight trailers and generally rated to carry about 250kg. There is not enough weight in the boat to make a standard spring or leaf suspension work anyway. On normal tar roads most folding trailers will tow safely but if you are traveling a rough or dirt road it will pay to slow down and drop the tyre pressures to soften the ride.

7 – All Folding Trailers must be built in accordance with the following Australian Standard. National Code of Practice: Vehicle Standards Bulletin 1, Revision 5 June 2009. For more information you can contact the department below.

Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government – Vehicle Safety Standards GPO Box 594 Canberra ACT 2601 Telephone (02) 6274 6838 Fax (02) 6274 7477