All the camping gear

Sizing it up – what’s the formula for a perfect trailer?

We're on the lookout for a trailer. This is the most practical solution to owing a large amount of camping gear and having acquired a smaller car than we previously had. But what's the formula for working out the right size?

I guess we need an idea of how much stuff we have, but short of retrieving it all from the garage rafters, we need to figure out how much space we need.

So, how exactly do we calculate the volume of our camping gear? Is it tent x cooker + airbeds + table & chairs = volume?

Or maybe tent / approx percentage of full space when pitched?

Or do we draw out the shape of the gear on the garage floor? (We once did this when planning a new kitchen in an extension. I bought chalk and Husband got boxes from the supermarket and we built a scale replica. Yes, we are a bit mental.)

So exactly how do we know what size is the right one? And is bigger better? With two young children we need to think long-term and envisage what things might be like in a few years with the addition of bikes and other camping gear we might choose to add to our kit.

Husband has a plan to get a trailer on which we can mount either the roof box or a bike rack. But can we do that with any of them? And exactly what size should we buy?

Here's all of our camping gear (can you tell this was taken in the summer?)

So the right size of trailer is...?

So the right size of trailer is...?

To give you an idea of scale, Buddy was three at the time.

Husband is thinking a three foot by five foot trailer will do the job. It won't be too big to tow, nor so small that it bounces around when we're travelling.

It also needs to stand on its end as our garage is occupied by Husband's classic car (I know that might make us sound posh. We're very normal, honestly).

We don't want to pay full price for a brand new trailer so are utilising the many second-hand websites, but we're not really sure that we're making the right decision.

I guess try before we buy would be the ideal situation. We've arranged to have the tow bar fitted, so borrowing a trailer and doing a trial run of packing all the gear in would probably also give us a realistic handle on it.

Anyone got any better ideas?



4 thoughts on “Sizing it up – what’s the formula for a perfect trailer?

  1. Phil Daniels

    The key factor is the maximum towing weight of the car. This weight will be in the user handbook. This means that your trailer, when loaded, should be lower than the maximum weight allowed to enable safe towing. With caravans, it is usually recommended that the maximium trailer weight should be no more than 85% of the maximum, but you should take the manufacturers advice on the limit for your car. So you need to know the weight of everything you want to put in the trailer! I am currently going through the same process as I will need a trailer for when we start taking our grandchildren camping in May.

    Hope this helps.

    1. admin Post author

      Thanks Phil. We have looked at the towing weight, but haven’t added up all the equipment, only the weight of the trailer so far.

      We now have a beautiful swan neck tow bar, so we’re one step closer.

  2. Rob Baker

    You also have to consider what storage space you have at home. Trailers are very steal-able so you need to be sure its small enough to be easily stored away securely and preferably out of sight because if you have a trailer outside for most of the year, its a pretty obvious giveaway that the house is empty if it disappears for a few days.

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