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What’s inside counts: Send me interior photos or plans of your troop trailer

There’s more to a Scout trailer than meets the eye.

Sure, a troop trailer with an eye-catching paint job or wrap — like the ones I featured in this post — can help recruit new Scouts and show onlookers that “Troop 123 is here.”

But these things aren’t just rolling billboards; their real purpose, of course, is storing and hauling gear. But the best troop trailers go one step further — they help the boys organize that gear so it’s easy to find everything after dark on a Friday night. Sure beats watching 20 boys dig through a pile of backpacks, bags, and patrol boxes.

A desire to organize his troop’s trailer prompted Ken, a former district executive and now “just a Dad” (his words) to send me this note: 

Hi Bryan,

Great blog on the photos of troop trailers! I have a follow-up idea for you: We’ve seen some great trailer EXTERIORS . . . How ’bout we see some INTERIOR photos? This would help determine some best practices for those like us here in Troop 1332 who are planning trailer build-outs!!

Great idea, Ken. So how about it? Send me photos, sketches, or blueprints of the inside of your troop’s trailer to scoutingmag@gmail.com, subject line “Troop trailer insides.”

For example …

At the top of this post is a photo of Hewitt, Texas, Troop 377′s trailer empty. Here it is full:

trailer-inside-2

Related post

Nine tips to prevent troop trailer theft


Photos from Flickr:  Some rights reserved by cmiked

26 Comments on What’s inside counts: Send me interior photos or plans of your troop trailer

  1. Would love to show you the interior of our trailer, all decked out with storage spaces for everything from TP to stoves, flags to propane bottles, first aid kits to pop-up shade tents. However, someone decided they needed our Scout trailer more than us and stole it from behind the church where it was parked. It had a tongue lock on it, but it was taken none-the-less. There is a lot of money and time invested in a good Scout trailer. KEEP THEM SAFE!

    • Oh, I’m sorry to hear that. Just terrible.

    • Kelly Horton // April 13, 2013 at 1:22 am // Reply

      Giffy,
      Sorry to hear about the trailer getting stolen. They must have cut the lock off. The trailer has a VIN on it and it has to get registered at some point. Perhaps it will get recovered some day. I guess you may have to slip a pipe through the wheels of your next trailer to keep it from getting stolen.

    • Wondering how they stole it with a tongue lock?! I know that’s how we keep ours secure, too. Luckily, Fr. Ray keeps his Harley trailer right next to ours, so I’m betting ours would be left behind…

  2. I’ll have to take some better pictures of ours and send them over. We used modular shelving from a home improvement center along with some custom made racks. A place for everything and everything in its place sure helps get out on the road on Friday night.

  3. We are looking for a trailer right now….so I am very excited to see what great ideas you get from this article!

  4. Kelly Horton // April 12, 2013 at 3:53 pm // Reply

    I know that having a trailer is nice at times, but a troop ends up with a trailer full of stuff they don’t need. It is better to limit equipment and keep it simple. One sleeping bag/pad, one backpack and contents, poncho, and etc. Enough gear that a scout can carry. Personal gear gets taken care of more often than common equipment. Especially when you get new members that did not work for the equipment at fundraising. But that is a Quartermaster issue.
    You run into issues of licencing, inspections, who is going to haul, the money to pay some one to haul it and most of the time, the gear can be transported by a few people with trucks or SUV’s. Also parents need to help out with the troop and it is too easy for them to just drop/pickup of the boys at the meeting place. But then again, a trailer can free up seats in a vehicle for scouts.
    Don’t get me wrong, I have a utlity trailer to haul troop gear and it helps out a lot. I use this trailer instead of the troop trailer because I can haul it with my 4 cylinder Nissan truck. The boys load the troop gear and I park it in my garage. When camp out comes Friday afternoon, I hook up and GO! I am going camping anyways, so I would not think of charging for fuel and would probably not accpet any money if offered.
    I have seen some nice looking trailers and camp kitchens through the years. I would like to see what other people have for storage on trailers. I seem to see a lot of totes being used. A shelf can be made so they don’t shift during transport. When things are unloaded the contents can stay dry incase they are caught in a rain shower.
    I saw one Royal Ranger Outpost that used a carnival food trailer as the Outpost trailer. They used it as their Outpost Mess Hall. When not used for Powwows, the church and Outpost would use it for fundraising. More bang for their buck. It actually pays for itself. Keep that in mind as well.

  5. Kelly Horton // April 12, 2013 at 3:59 pm // Reply

    I got thinking that it may be better to show what is actually in the trailers and not just how they are organized. Please provide a list of trailer contents.

  6. Marty Kvitky // April 12, 2013 at 4:12 pm // Reply

    Giffy, sorry that your trailer was stolen. Someone told me a long time ago not to advertise your Troop, etc. on the trailer because it immediately became a target for theft. Might want to consider the magnetic advertisements that can be removed while the trailer is not in use. Also I would definitely like to see more photos with equipment stored in the trailer. Our Troop has a 6′ x 10′ trailer that is bulging at the seams and could use a storage makeover.

  7. Hab Butler // April 12, 2013 at 5:20 pm // Reply

    These emails are fall into…the “I read these first”…always filled with good information to help more kids have fun, while learning, in safe environments with well-trained youth and adult leaders..

    Thanks.

    hab Butler

  8. charles lenington // April 12, 2013 at 10:40 pm // Reply

    I know of one unit that had a lose that created a 2 foot tall fence with gate around theirs. So far no more loses.

  9. charles lenington // April 12, 2013 at 10:41 pm // Reply

    left out “pipe” fence

  10. Just got a trailer. Looking for some great ideas for storage of items in it. Looking for light weight shelves.
    Doug
    Troop 89 Cumberland, MD.

    • Kelly Horton // April 14, 2013 at 7:53 pm // Reply

      I saw one unit use PVC pipe for shelving. I am not sure if it was better than a 2X4′s though.

  11. I saw this article and we happened to be out this weekend cleaning the chuckboxes, so I took some empty and full shots of our trailer. You can see the trailer shots here: http://troop451.smugmug.com/Other/Trailer-Design/28919055_KXCfXL

    The interior pieces are welded and are 3 distinct pieces that are bolted to the floor. We have hooks and use rubberized straps to hold items in. Each patrol chuckbox has a dutch oven, cooler and dry goods box paired with it. We also added racks for propane, lanterns, propane trees, etc. Our design leaves a walkway down the middle where the boys can run through and load/unload and get to other items. We did wood on the top to allow some flexibility in getting coolers and water containers up there. Two of the most useful things – we drilled holes in the wood for the dutch ovens to fit in so they don’t move and a fishing pole rack mounted on the roof holds the propane tees.

    Credit goes to our previous Scoutmaster for designing and welding it all.

  12. Great idea: Last weekend, a Master Leave No Trace Trainer suggested that troops post a sheet of LNT principles on the inside of the door of their troop trailers and/or equipment storage sheds.

  13. Bob Basement // April 15, 2013 at 1:19 pm // Reply

    Troop trailers….shakin my head.

    On another forum, had a group installed a shower in one….Another added generators and a Flat screen so the adults wouldn’t miss the game. Tragic is what I call it.

    So explain to me why you need to spend $10K or lots more on a trailer……Then you license it and have to insure it………..It is ok to live in Maryland and license your trailer in Maine because it is cheaper according to a scoutmaster in Maryland.

    We camp every month out of the bed of two pickup trucks. if it doesn’t fit it doesn’t need to go.

    Another reason scouting is pricing out of the market…..Most folks can’t afford it anymore.

    • Our new trailer came from donations from 3 Scout leaders (one had received some money from family and one got a matching donation from work if I remember correctly). We did not ask the Troop to shoulder the burden of buying or outfitting the trailer – just regular maintenance. We were very lucky in that respect. We do lightweight camping but most of the time we do travel heavy. Our Troop is large though – ~120 registered Scouts. The logistics of a larger Troop camping necessitate more gear. We carry 8 chuckboxes, 16 dutch ovens, 8 small coolers, 2 large coolers, 8 propane bottles, etc.. I agree that a Troop of 20 boys could get by with much less.

      • Bob Basement // April 18, 2013 at 8:27 am // Reply

        troop 120 scouts……Short of having 2 buses to haul the boys you have probably 30-40 vehicles going to an outing if everyone attends. You just need to divide up the gear and have it hauled by the drivers.

        I am going to guess that half of those vehicles are either mini vans or pickup trucks. so one or two chuck boxes per pickup or mini van….One or two dutch oven per car trunk….no problem.

        And tell me you list the names of your Eagle scouts on it……That would just make my day.

        Our local Eagle factory, Troop that is advancement only and troop meetings are merit badge classes, Does that, average 10 or so eagles a year……so they have them listed on the trailer by year class.

        Misguided adults…….

        • texasaggie94 // April 19, 2013 at 9:15 am //

          We do list names of Eagles on the trailer. As an Eagle Scout, I see that as a way to honor the boys – nothing more. I’m not sure where the cynicism comes from in that. We average less than 10 Eagles a year – some years 1, some 5 and one year 12. We don’t push the boys through but we provide an environment where the boys can pursue their goals and get assistance where needed from adults who volunteer. But getting back to trailers…

          If you don’t want to take a trailer because you can split gear up in vehicles, that’s fine. Nothing in the Scouting methods seems to indicate that trailers are bad or somehow diminish the Scouting program in any way. We have a lot of parents with cars that are full of boys and personal gear, so your option of just loading up chuckboxes in vehicles just doesn’t work for us. There is nothing misguided about it.

  14. I agree with you @Bob Basement. Trailers (no matter what the cost) allow us to carry so much stuff we never us, or don’t need to use, it is incredible. I am with you, throw your pack and chuckbox in the back of a truck. If it doesn’t fit, it doesn’t go. I am not a fan of trailers, there really is no reason to have one.

  15. We just purchased a trailer to be jointly used by our Chartered Organization’s Pack and Troop and while for the past 6 years we have crammed kids and gear in personal vehicles…the boys are getting bigger…the stuff they are carrying is getting bigger and the parental involvement is diminishing (as it should)…and quite honestly the closets in my house could use some relief. I store so much of our gear at my house that it will be nice to reclaim my house for my family. Plus, I won’t have boys sitting on top of gear and each other in my over packed minivan (aka, the Scout Bus).

  16. trailers in their attempt to just bringing anything without considering whether its truly necessary completely destroy actually having to learn the scout skills to survive in the outdoors. think of all those troop trailers, the vast majority of them will eventually just be car camping – meaning just setting up their tents less than a mile from the trailer or often much less. once you reach the point where you are bringing those large propane tanks, tv’s, showers etc you really dont get to truly experience the outdoors as bp intended. there is absolutely no reason why a scout couldn’t last several days with only what they carry in their backpack.

  17. I agree, they should be able to survive with their packs when they reach an age that back trails camping is an option. At this point out of about 30 boys, we only have 2 or 3 that could manage enough gear to do this, so we are still at the car camping phase in our pack and troop. We are also trying to steady add to their back packing gear with mess kits, framed backs, etc…so that when they are ready their gear will be too. Fortunately, we are accommodating boys from 1st to 8th grade from the CO’s pack and troop.

  18. new but not green // September 24, 2013 at 12:50 pm // Reply

    Trailers have their place. Do they need flat screens? No, but I’d make an argument for generators, so that you’re prepared for emergency situations (ham radios, emergency lighting, refrigeration). Not everyone (or even every troop) has pickup trucks, big vans, etc. And even if you fill only 2 or 3 minivans with scouts, that leaves very little room for packs, tents, stoves, etc., which means another vehicle must go (requiring possibly another adult volunteer, and definitely more gasoline and vehicle wear and tear). That’s just wasteful. Pulling a trailer may cost the tow vehicle some gas and wear and tear, but a lot less than adding another vehicle to the convoy. Don’t get me started on using the roof for cargo over long distances — higher center of gravity, more noise, VERY non-secure, etc. Also, not every troop has their own storage space within a building. So if they don’t have a trailer, that means someone’s garage is getting stacked high, or gear is spread out among several homes. Also inefficient, and a real pain in the backside when it comes time to get gear together for a trip. As for security, here’s a suggestion: hit up the local “u store it” facility for a free unit (or at least a parking space) to park the trailer in, or some donations to cover the cost of one. Secure, easy to access for those authorized, keeps the trailer and gear out of the weather. We won’t be going this route due to being in a rural area without such a facility, but we do have plenty of barns that are secure, so that’s what we’ll do.

  19. Wrote two grants for our 7×14 TA that will be on order soon. One reason we got one of the grants is because we will be partnering with the local EMA to utilize the troop and trailer as emergency mobilization during a disaster (See Emergency Preparedness MB). Our current troop trailer 6×12 SA was over the legal weight as the trailer also stores equipment we use once a year like summer camp. That is some of the same equipment we would use in case of a disaster (canopy, etc.)

    I am excited to see where this new mobilization plan takes the troop and how our young adults will apply their experiences in their lives.

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