Choosing The Right Sized Cargo Trailer

An enclosed cargo trailer.

If you are looking for an enclosed cargo trailer, you have a big decision to make. What size trailer should you get? They come in all sizes from small 4×6 units to huge 20 plus foot triple axle beasts. Pick the wrong size and you could end up with an expensive piece of gear that just doesn’t suit your needs.

Once you are absolutely sure what size you need, let us help you with a quote for enclosed trailer financing. Until then, here are some things to think about.

Box Size

Your first consideration should be what size box you need. You want a size that fits both your current needs and potential future needs.


In general, it is best to go a little bigger than you think you will need. If you currently need a 10 foot long trailer, go with a 12 foot. The extra cost will be minimal but the added flexibility will be priceless. There is nothing worse than running out of space.

You can go too far with length though. The longer the trailer, the harder it will be to store and tow. True, longer trailers are generally easier to back up, but they can be difficult to drive through tight neighborhoods.


A taller trailer can be very convenient. Simply having the ability to stand up inside it will make loading and working with the trailer a much more pleasurable event. The downside to a tall trailer is that it will increase wind resistance and that will put more of a strain on your tow vehicle and decrease your mileage.

Short enclosed cargo trailers also have their place. If you can deal without the height, they will be easier to tow and may even allow you to park them in a garage.

Trailer Door Style

Once you nail down the box size, you need to figure out which style of door that you need.

Ramp Doors

This is the most common type of trailer door, and for good reason. A ramp door makes it easier to load your trailer because, well, it has a built in ramp.

Barn Doors

If you do not need a ramp, barn doors have some advantages. For starters, they are generally cheaper than ramp doors and that could shave several hundred dollars off of your purchase price. In addition, they take up less room when open, so if space is a priority, barn doors are a good choice.

Side Doors

Side doors are standard on most larger trailers, but are often an option on those under 12 foot. They can make your life a lot easier if you work out of your trailer. Reach things in the front while the rest of the trailer is loaded down.

Number Of Axles

Okay you are making progress. You know what size trailer that you need and you know what kind of doors you want. Now, for the axles.

Single Axle

A single axle will be the cheapest option to both buy and to maintain. The most common axle size will be the 3500 pound variety, but some smaller trailers may have even lower capacity axles.

Keep in mind that the weight capacity is the rating of the axle minus the trailer weight. A typical 10 foot enclosed cargo trailer will weight around 1000 pounds. This gives you 2500 pounds in storage capacity if your axles is rated at 3500 pounds.

Tandem Axle

If you haul more weight, a tandem axle will be the better choice. With most axles being rated at 3500 pounds, this will give you nearly 6000 pounds of cargo capacity, after you consider the trailer weight.

Bigger is not always better though. More axles means more maintenance and more tires to replace. Additionally, trailers will ride better when you load them down closer to their capacity. A trailer that can haul 6000 pounds will ride and handle horribly only loaded down with 500 pounds.

Triple Axle

If you are considering a triple axle trailer, you already know you need it, so get it.

Trailer Features

Last but not least, take a look at some extras that you might want to consider.

Tie Downs

If you hail heavy, you want to secure that gear and you will need some sturdy tie downs. While you can add these later, the best time to install them is during trailer assembly.

Factory tie downs will often be welded or at least bolted directly to the frame. It is a lot easier to do this before the wood decking and sides go in.


If you do not ventilate your trailer, things can get hot and smelly in a hurry. Consider adding a roof vent or at least a couple of side vents to keep air moving.

Spare Tires

Typically not included with a trailer, but this is an absolute necessity. You don’t want to have to leave your trailer on the side of the highway while you go replace a flat. Don’t forget the tire carrier to keep your spare out of your cargo area.

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