How To Choose Among Snowmobile Trailers…

Related: Triton Low Rider Review

There are many considerations for how to buy snowmobile trailers for your snowmobile tours or snowmobile vacation. In recent years, our search for snow has altered the travel patterns of snowmobilers substantially. For many, the days are gone of being able to ride from their backyards. Instead, buying snowmobile trailers and trailering for hours to reach good snow has become familiar to enthusiasts. Some even travel cross country to find some decent snow and have to send their miles with a vehicle shipping company.

That certainly describes me, my Ski-Doo snowmobiles and my Triton trailer. As riders buy a new snowmobile trailer or upgrade to more elaborate ones, there seems to be almost as many choices of snowmobile trailers as there are models of sleds to load on board. And just like with snowmobiles, the market is moving upscale.

I should note upfront that the tips in this article apply to snowmobile trailers in general. But if you’re thinking about a 3 or 4-bed enclosed trailer, be aware that things may become more complicated. For example, dual axles and/or the combined gross weight of tow vehicle + trailer may mean you have to complete an annual safety check.

Snowmobile Trailers Have Changed

many snowmobile trailers load via a back door that drops to become a ramp

Photo © by Craig Nicholson

Most snowmobilers spend a lot more time choosing a sled than a trailer. Most also invest more in their sled than they do in their trailer. But when you stop to consider the value of the sled cargo being towed, isn’t it sensible to make sure your trailer can tow your snowmobile(s) safely, securely and easily while keeping them properly protected?

Back when none of us travelled very far to find snow, any old trailer would do. Typically, most riders’ first trailer was an open flatbed that was mostly used locally, often only to get sleds serviced. But as our machines became more expensive and sophisticated, as winter patterns changed, and as snowmobilers are travelling more frequently to the snow, better trailers are now a necessity. Fortunately, manufacturers like Triton have responded with the highest quality and most reliable trailers on the road today.

Questions To Answer Before Shopping Snowmobile Trailers

So how do know what trailer’s right for you? Start by asking yourself questions like the ones below about how you would use a trailer. Your answers will help determine what model, style and size trailer will work best for you…

  • What’s your budget range for a new trailer?
  • Will you keep the trailer for a long time?
  • How much annual maintenance can you afford to do on the trailer?
  • What’s your best guess about how many times a season the trailer will be used?
  • Will its usage be primarily local, farther away or a mix?
  • How many kilometres will you trailer in a season?
  • How many sleds will you usually need to transport on the trailer?
  • Do any sleds need to be secured on the trailer when not in use or between trips?
  • What size trailer will fit to drive into your access road or driveway?
  • What size trailer will fit in available space at home or cottage when parked?
  • Where do you plan to store the trailer off-season and how large is that space?
  • Do you need a secure trailer to store your sleds in during the off-season?
  • What other transporting uses might you have for the trailer?
  • What’s the maximum weight (including sleds) your tow vehicle is rated for?
  • Does your tow vehicle have an integrated tow package capable of handling the trailer?

Learn Your Specs

snowmobile trailers come in many sizes

Photo © by Craig Nicholson

Next, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with trailer terms such as tongue weight, axle rating, carrying capacity, and maximum trailer weight. Also, don’t overlook tow vehicle terms including Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR), Gross Combination Weight Rating (GCWR) and Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR). Google them for more information, because trying to explain them here would take too much space…and likely put you to sleep. Suffice it to say, they are things you need to know to have a meaningful conversation about trailers and to make the right purchase for you.

Find A Good Dealer

many snowmobile trailers are fully enclosed

Triton Low Boy interior photo © by Craig Nicholson

As with anything, you get what you pay for with trailers. The key is to get as close as possible to what you’ll need most of the time without over spending on functions and accessories you don’t really need or will never use.

My next advice is to find a knowledgeable dealer, one who specializes in selling good quality (read: durable and reliable) snowmobile trailers and who’s able to discuss your needs (as determined from the questions above) intelligently and completely. Shop around, compare and be sure to ask about the advantages or disadvantages of various features to suit your needs, including…

  • Open, enclosed or hybrid trailers or trailers with a cover?
  • Steel frame vs. aluminium frame construction?
  • Larger vs. smaller tires (also check out radials)?
  • Available deck materials?
  • Leaf spring suspension vs. rubber torsion axle?
  • Trailer height, weight and shape for best towability?
  • The quality of the wiring harness and other critical components?

Must-have accessories for me include ski guides, tongue jack, spare tire and carrier, and fuel door (for enclosed trailers).

Open vs. Enclosed Snowmobile Trailers

flatbed snowmobile trailers are open to the elements

Photo by Wayne Davis

More snowmobilers are discovering that the traditional flatbed, open snowmobile trailer doesn’t suit their needs anymore. That’s mainly because many trailers are now being used more often. Their making longer hauls, in more severe driving conditions, and with more weight on board.

Many enclosed snowmobile trailers have front hatch door

Photo © by Craig Nicholson

So an economy unit that was adequate to transport a sled back and forth to your dealer twice a year is unlikely to withstand today’s increased demands for long. Or give your precious sleds much protection either!

In my experience, anyone who tries an enclosed trailer will rarely choose to go back to an open bed model. The sheer pleasure of unloading a clean sled, not covered in an unsightly coating of road yuck will make your day!

Look For Quality Snowmobile Trailers

A properly maintained snowmobile trailer should do yeoman’s service for years. So it’s worthwhile to invest your money in a top quality hauler like Triton to avoid those roadside breakdowns that can make trailering a nightmare. Generally, you should expect to spend between $3,500 and $6,000 for an enclosed, two bed snowmobile trailer. It will render years of reliable service if taken care of properly. I like Triton because their aluminum frame won’t rust and is very light to tow.

Finally, don’t assemble your ideal hauler piecemeal from the after market. It’s likely cheaper to buy as much as possible in one complete package up front. If an item doesn’t come as standard equipment, ask about the cost of upgrading.

Trailer and accessory manufacturers are always coming up with something new. Often this is for use by other kinds of haulers or in other seasons. So occasional browsing in trailer speciality stores and catalogues will sometimes yield a new gadget or gizmo that can be adapted to make your snowmobile trailering even easier!

CLASSIC VIDEO! Learn more about trailering in this classic Snowmobiler Television clip from The Intrepid Snowmobiler.

Check out more riding tips!

The tips and advice in this blog are the opinions of the author, may not work in every situation and are intended only for the convenience and interest of the reader, who has the personal responsibility to confirm the validity, accuracy and relevancy of this information prior to putting it to their own use.

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