Let’s peek inside 5 great troop trailers

Even the best-looking troop trailer designs can’t hide ugly insides. You know the ones I mean: cavernous, unorganized spaces into which gear is deposited and never seen again.

That’s why many troops add the Scouting touch to their trailers, installing shelving and other improvements to make storing and finding gear a breeze — even if it’s after dark on Friday night when you pull into camp.

So last month, I asked for troops to send me photos of the insides of their trailers. I wanted to know: How do troops keep things organized and avoid the all-too-familiar sight of 20 boys rummaging through a pile of backpacks, bags, and patrol boxes to find what’s theirs?

Here are five great examples: 

Troop 33, Chittenango, N.Y.

Assistant Scoutmaster Jeff says:

We did a low-cost makeover of our trailer. Our finished product isn’t immaculate, but it is much more useable, and everything has its place. It is now much easier to find things, and we don’t have to rely on the scout quartermaster to get everything back where it went.

Heavy goes on the bottom (our large canopy in our “coffin” container, dutch ovens), or patrol boxes or folding and cooking tables on the next level, flags and pioneering poles at the top. We have cabinets up front to hold lanterns, cooking stoves and water jugs.

Troop 33's trailer before the overhaul.
Troop 33’s trailer before the overhaul.
Troop 33's trailer during the overhaul.
Troop 33’s trailer during the overhaul.
Troop 33's trailer after the overhaul.
Troop 33’s trailer after the overhaul.

Troop 382

Assistant Scoutmaster Rhonda says:

We, as many, used wood inside….but it makes the trailer after being loaded with gear, WAY too heavy for a regular truck to pull.

I do like that each patrol has their own colored crate. Inside the grate are items like, lantern (with mesh globe), chimney charcoal starter, gloves, charcoal tongs, lid lifter, propane hose. (ALL marked with same-color electrical tape or spray painted to match crate). All items for each patrol, Propane tank, tree, table,…etc. are all marked with patrol color. Even the chuck boxes have now been color coded. They patrols were able to paint them themselves!

Troop 382 trailer Troop 382 trailer Troop 382 trailer Troop 382 trailer

Troop 159, Judsonia, Ark.

Scoutmaster Steven sent in these photos:

Troop 159's trailer. Troop 159's trailer.

Troop 159's trailer.

Troop 208, Cary, N.C.

Chartered Organization Representative Jeff says:

Here are some pictures of our troop trailer. I took on this project when I became Scoutmaster because I was tired of unpacking everything from our smaller trailer to get to the items I needed when we arrived at camp on Friday night. We had the larger trailer but rarely used it because the troop had shrunk in size over the years.

I’m happy to report that we reversed that trend and we’re at 30 scouts now up from 20 and shrinking.  And now we use the larger trailer exclusively, though the smaller red trailer is handy for going to summer camp.  It can hold all the gear we need at summer camp.  Usually the boys use foot lockers at summer camp and we can carry all of the ones for 20+ boys and adults in the smaller trailer.

The trailer is arranged so we can open up the back doors and get propane, propane trees and lanterns set up right away so we’re not doing everything in the dark.  The lantern box even includes matches so we don’t have to dig for those.  I standardized on the yellow and black boxes from a variety of boxes.  The boxes hold a 2 burner propane stove, a patrol cook kit, some basic cooking utensils , wash up supplies, a mixing bowl, colander and plates for a patrol.

The rack at the front has gone through several iterations to hold our plywood tables.   I’ve thought about getting a rack for the propane tanks on the tongue of the trailer, but since we don’t live in the trailer I don’t see a huge safety risk of keeping the tanks in the trailer.  I’ve had more problems with disposable tanks leaking than bulk propane tanks.

I got the shelving at Lowe’s.  The wider set came as a complete kit, we bought an extra shelf.  The narrow set was bought piece by piece.  I think if I were doing it again I would have gone with narrow shelves on both sides.  As it is we can fit a garden wagon in the aisle that will carry eight of the 7 gallon blue water jugs.  This comes in handy on sites where we have to carry gear in from the trailer to a site within a half mile.  We have a couple of group sites we’ve used that this becomes the case.  The cart also allows two boys to restock the camp with water if the tap isn’t near the site.

The dinning fly poles are stored under the rack and are easily accessible from the back door of the trailer.  This was a lesson learned in trailer design 2.0 when I added the second narrower rack.   The wider rack was moved from the left side of the trailer where it was further front, to the right side where it goes from the back door to about 18” short of the door.  Now we don’t need to unload anything to get the poles out on Friday night.  Good thing since setting up the dinning flies is job one when we arrive at camp.

We make periodic tweaks to the design, it definitely has evolved since I did the initial shelving three years ago.  As we use it we tweak it to make it easier and more efficient to store gear.  I’d say we use this trailer on three quarters of our outings a year.  It stays home for summer camp, backpacking trips and certain kind of canoe trips. We have a canoe trip that we camp on platforms in a hardwood swamp and everything is done backpack style, no campfires and small backpacking stoves instead of larger 2 burner stoves.

Troop 208's trailer.

Troop 208's trailer.
“Door rack for shovels, steel rakes.”
Troop 208's trailer.
“A discovery in Trailer 2.0, this second shelving unit was added and pulled all the way to the back. The dining fly poles are stowed below the bottom shelf.”
Troop 208's trailer.
“Rack for our tables.”
Troop 208's trailer.
“Propane tanks at the back end of the trailer along with the lanterns and propane trees allow us to get lights up right away when we hit camp. The Igloo water jugs are not carried here when we travel. Normally we have them full of ice and water and they are standing up on the floor or in the back end of the pickup towing the trailer.”
Troop 208's trailer.
“Garden wagon with water jugs. This is only carried when we need it.”
Troop 208's trailer.
“Propane poles and a steel leaf rake.”
Troop 208's trailer.
“Inside the front door, the first aid kit and axes, saws, shovels and knife and axe sharpening supplies. This was made from reclaimed plywood and is mounted to the end of the rack.”

Troop 200

Scouter Ian sent in these photos:

Troop 200's trailer. Troop 200's trailer. Troop 200's trailer. Troop 200's trailer. Troop 200's trailer. Troop 200's trailer. 5-7

What do you think?

What details have you spotted that you’ll incorporate in your troop’s trailer? Anything you’d do differently? Share your thoughts below.


  1. This is probably a whole different conversation but, my troop trailer seems to be on par with these shown above. I would like suggestions on what items are essential to being in a trailer. Stoves, Tents, Coolers, Dining Flys, but what items that may not be considered standard have troops made sure are in their trailers?

    • Flag poles and troop flags. Contests at camp and camporees favor those with specific flags displayed. Shovels, rakes, wood cutting tools, plates and utensils , patrol boxes, lanterns, plastic hangers to hang up uniforms, camp chairs, we have a tug o war rope and leather gloves which we have used to great success at camporees. Don’t forget foldable tables and disinfectant cleaners, tent waterproofing sprays, Dutch ovens and newspaper to start charcoal in charcoal starters

  2. I started making a list and then realized that one one group considers a necessity another group may see as standard and another group would never consider taking.

    From what I’ve seen one of the most common items that Adults seem to take care of rather than providing a tool for the boys to do it is water. We currently have a Dolly and Water Carrier/Dispensers. I’d rather have a wagon maybe from Harbor Freight or something like the one shown 10 pictures up from Troop 108. We primarily use the water carriers for Dry Camps or when water is available, but, more than 100 yards away.

  3. I like some of these interior designs. One thought came to mind was leaving space for the boys back packs. Some times parents cars can’t handle all the boys they are taking on the outing or more yet to week long summer camp.
    On a different note. I belong to the Order of the Arrow and we too have a trailer, though it it is for storing and hauling our tepee and poles. The question came up, from another scoute, who is responsible for registration of a unit trailer and does BSA insurance cover any accidents involving the trailer?

    • Insurance companies will frequently only cover up to $500.00 for the trailer. However, the trailer and it’s contents may or may not be covered under your chartered organizations policy, based upon the language in the policy. It is best to check with their agent and get it in writing.

  4. Frank,
    We carry insurance on our two trailers through our Charter Org. For our older and smaller trailer we just carry liability for the larger trailer pictured above we carry full coverage. Contents are actually covered with a deductible on our Charter Org’s property insurance. The tow vehicle’s insurance generally covers liability on a towed vehicle. We use our original smaller trailer for summer camp. It is just an empty trailer and footlockers can be easily stacked in this trailer.

    We can pull the water cart out of the trailer and carry backpacks in the trailer if needed. The water cart and water can go in the back of the towing pickup truck since those items can get wet if it rains to or from camp. A larger Troop nearby uses two trailers, one for patrol gear and one for personal gear. We’ve never needed that, though we have used our smaller trailer for bike outings to carry bikes and to provide a secure place to store them overnight.

    We have a handle we can use for two scouts to carry one jug at a time. It works well, even two 11 year olds can carry 7 gallons with it. We got the garden cart at Northern Tools about 2 years ago.

    The one thing with our current set-up is we probably travel heavier than needed. We normally have 6 Dutch Ovens on board, a Dutch Oven table, some spare tents and sleeping bags. In my time as Scoutmaster I tried to get the PLC to schedule more backpacking trips with limited success. I’m still pushing for them to get the boys interested in going to Philmont. I have several 14-15 year olds that absolutely hate backpacking, a totally foreign concept to me growing up near the AT. My troop as a Scout did mainly backpacking because we could be at the trailhead within 30 minutes.

  5. Nice trailers. I noticed that some images had totes, but no side rails to keep them falling off the shelving. Depending on the contents, a load shift may cause an accident.

    I noticed a Royal Ranger Outpost placing PVC pipes in the ceiling area to hold flag poles, tent poles and other long items. One outpost uses the trailer to attach tarps on each side of the trailer. They also had 12 inch rebar and orange painted 1/2 PVC pipe that they used for the tool yard. They would pound the rebar into the ground and use the PCV pipe and fittings to make their 10X10 tool area.

    A few years ago, the town next to us had a major flood that took out 3/4 of the town. The troop had most of their gear in the trailer, so they just hooked up and took it to high ground. The basement contents got trashed though. Most of the gear lost wasn’t in the best shape anyways and had sewage contact. So it was best that it was cleaned out and replaced.

    The cooking gear was removed from the trailer and utilized for flood victoms and helpers. So it pays to Be Prepared!

  6. It’s important to take something from this. My three top ideas from the pictures above are:

    1. Build to fit what you need.
    2. Design the load to be accessible – First Aid + Tools first, Lanterns second, the rest third.
    3. Tie Downs are crucial, design with them in mind.

  7. Contrarian point of view. I’m not saying it is better or worse.

    Getting out and camping is the goal. at least 10 times a year and hopefully much more. Providing the proper safety and preparation obviously is key.

    but after that…

    Camping itself is about simplicity, minimal logistics, Boy Lead Boy Run and saving your energy for the experience. Also keeping the Scouters & volunteers focused mainly on supporting scout activities/patrol methods.

    We have only 4 major Patrol items: Patrol Chuck Box (2’x2’x4′), Stove, Water jug, Tarp. Those are the major 4 items and the scouts must manage them. On their own in between campouts and during the campout. (not Fuel). If they bring the 4 great. If they don’t we do help with our Gray Hare scouter items but overall we look at this as another item for Scouts to Run and Lead.

    We also do not buy troop tents and have the scouts bring their own. Personal equipment is always treated better by families and scouts alike.

    Patrols manage their equipment, families manage their personal equipment, Scouters will back the patrols up if need be. Thus No big logistics, no trailer management/insurance, much less distractions/$s, less adult leadership.

    We hope this also means more Scout Fun. Oh we have 6 patrol scout troop and ~2200 boy nights of camping over the last 24 months. so this way can & does work too.

    • this works if you don’t have local troop competition. we have a troop down the street that provides everything.Where do you thing the crossovers will go if the parents have a choice between no investment and investment. That is why we provided tents.

      • Our troop provides the tents as well. Like the uniform, tents look much better if they are all the same. Go to a camporee and you will see 20 Timberline Eureka 4 tents lined up. Scouting uniforms an gear is expense enough that you add a tent on top of it. Another issue would be the scouts buying tents not made for the type of camping we do.

        • JL is building a responsible lifestyle deep into the core of his scouts, one that will last a lifetime, one whose scouts will remember how to camp in 15 years when they have children of their own and won’t need to rely on someone else to provide the gear. Looking sharp is nice, being prepared is essential. Are scouts whose gear is provided for them really prepared, or do they just look prepared? Provide a shopping list along with approved vendors from which to purchase the gear – you can get the same results of looking sharp with a bit more effort on the adult leadership… through the boys. Boy lead, boy run… otherwise it’s just a camping club.

        • Scouts are being built in either method for preparing equipment. To say providing the equipment, or making the parents buy it for them is a decision thats difficult. We expect the scouts to take care of the provided equipment, they are mentors of the scouting tradition. Or do we say, were teaching you responsibility, figure out a way to get a tent, and have it here at the next camping trip..They are responsible kids, and yes Scouts too, but still are kids…we will show them which tent to buy, we will encourage fundraising to keep the process going. And we take into consideration the needs of everyone, the Adults, the Scouts and the older retired leaders who have done it al before. Adding a bit more leadership will not make a tent show up, but preparing the boys for whats next in scouting will.

      • We provide the tents as well. i would rather have each Scout focus on keeping a camping pack (backpack) with all of their essentials. I have always been a fan of telling the boys back like you are going to be living out of your pack for a week, including sleeping gear. We’ll take care of the rest. It teaches them responsibility and accountability. Nothing like showing up to camp and realizing that you didn’t check your pack and forgot your mess kit/Frisbee.

  8. Kelly and Charles,
    Troop 208’s is my design, we use straps to keep things from shifting off the shelves. You can see some of the straps on the left side of the trailer going across the shelves about midway on each one. This works well for the totes. We also use bungies to hold things down to the wire mesh of the one side. Things will definitely shift while moving and if it isn’t strapped in it will be on the floor. The items hung from the door all have bungies to keep them against the doors.

    I went with the modular metal shelving because it is lighter than wood, it is flexible we can change the spacing if something changes and it is completely removable. The shelves have a built in cleat on the bottom of each leg, it is bolted to the floor with captive bolts from the outside bottom of the floor, a wrench is all I need to take them out without having to crawl under the trailer. The tops are held in place with metal straps bolted to the steel chassis of the trailer. Once unloaded I can have the shelves out in 10 minutes.

    The shelving allows us to put stuff away as it comes down on Sunday morning. We don’t have to wait to get the stuff in the right order to load the trailer. As much as I like this trailer, I’m really glad when we can leave it at home and just go out with backpacks. But, alas, I don’t get to pick the outings, I can only try to influence what PLC wants to do. We try to work in a variety every year to hit two or three of the camping MB types of outings a year (cycling, float, hike gaining 1000′, backpacking) are the ones we try to work into the calendar. Snow camping in this part of NC is pure dumb luck, it hasn’t happened in 8 years I’ve been with the troop.

  9. All the pics and articles were very interesting. Our trailer is set up differently and the world seems to be packed in it. When my son joined, all the scouts stuff would go into the trailer with the equipment. No more! Now very little fits into the trailer and we sometimes use a 2nd (and 3rd) utility trailer to haul luggage.

    I didn’t see where the tents are stored in the photo’s and would be curious as to how the setup works with how many scouts in the troop. We currently have 36 and have been as his as 61 and as low as 24. When we went to Gettysburg a few yeas ago, we had 33 scouts attending. Storage was a huge issue then but is more modest now with 19-25 scouts attending any trip.

    Thanks for the info and conversations. Larry, Troop 32, Springfield, MA

  10. Larry
    We currently have 30 scouts and typically camp with15 boys and 5-6 adults. A really popular outing will have 20 boys and 10 adults. Tents are for the most part personal gear. We do have troop tents and packs we loan new scouts so they don’t need to spend several hundred dollars to go on their first couple of outings. They can use the loaner gear as long as they want.

    COR Troop 208
    Former SM

  11. There are some pretty amazing trailer rigs out there – I’m surprised that they didn’t all send in here. But to add to the discussion…

    My brother’s Crew/Troop split from one large trailer to 2 smaller ones because very few vehicles could pull a braked dually. In the end this left them with a more traditional 5×8 enclosed for the Troop, and a very interesting 5×8 “chuckwagon” style trailer for the Crew. They can pull either or both trailers depending on the outing. The chuckwagon features a lower profile and has many small exterior doors and pop-up features. One side opens to kitchen cabinets, the other to store gear. In the tunnel down the middle the dining fly is slid in to quickly come out and set up against the kitchen side of the trailer.

    When I built the 5×8 our Troop uses I picked Rubbermade lightweight wire type heavy duty garage shelves. They’re hundreds of pounds less than lumber, reposition quickly and are easy to bungee to almost anywhere. I flipped the shelves upside down to create a small lip that helps keep things from sliding. Gear generally stays on shelves in my garage, not in our trailer, so we only pack what is needed and stay light. I welded in a second 2in receiver to the back of the trailer to carry a hitch haul (I’m modifying into a garden cart) or bike rack, maximizing what we carry while still remaining lightweight.

    I also have a flatbed 5×8 trailer I’m building attachments for that will be able to carry 6 canoes, or 24 bikes (4 x 6 bike “tree” style racks) depending on which upper portion we bolt on for the trip.

    The key isn’t to be minimalistic, but to help reduce the gas we use, the load and strain we put on the vehicles that pull our gear, and especially the footprint we leave when we take the trailers off the pavement and to the campsite.

    In regards to loading – more campouts are ruined because gear gets wet sitting on the ground trying to get the Troop gear out from behind it. No matter what system is used, the dining fly, area lighting, and first aid kids must always be easy to remove and deploy in minutes to provide a place that is dry and well lit to avoid injuries and unhappiness while the tents are put up. Everyone works together on getting camp set up – rather than quibbling over their personal gear or how different tents work.

    Cool discussion, and I love Troop 200’s flip down lightweight ramp. It wouldn’t work for us, but if we traveled heavy I would totally do that.

    • Just throwing this out there but we have a dining fly we use 1-2 times a year because it is such a pain to set up. we already have 1 easy up but plan on having 2 easy ups to replace the dining fly in most campouts. they are quicker to set up if rain moves in and easier to tear down if winds approach. Plus easier to store.

      We are expanding from a 6×12 SA to a 7×14 DA trailer which is on order. Yes it requires a brake module but they make one that mounts on the trailer and it syncs to a controller in the cig lighter of the tow vehicle. After having too many close calls due to issues with bringing a trailer to stop we believe breaks are a must for safety reasons.

      We plan to keep it under 5,000 tow weight so a smaller vehicles like Jeep liberties, and crossovers with 5K tow capacity can still tow the trailer.

  12. Our trailer is similar, except for the shelving. We used 2×3 frames, and instead of solid shelves, we used wire closet shelving. It has the benefit of being lighter weight, while offering plenty of spots to use bungies to hold down bins and etc. It’s held everything we’ve put on it for almost ten years now.

    We also some space under the shelves for stowing the dining fly poles. To keep them from rolling, we took ten-foot lengths of 8″ PVC pipe and split it lengthwise. One section was cut off at 6 feet for short lengths of PVC, and the end was blocked with scrap wood. Two other sections were blocked at 8 feet. One was left at full length. This way, the boys know which pipes are in which section.

  13. We’re in the process of purchasing our first trailer so this article is very timely for us. On a somewhat (barely) related note… our Chartering Org is hesitating to put the trailer in their name due to liability concerns – we have too many lawyers in the group. It’s a community service organization that doesn’t have a physical presence (unlike a church or school). I’m trying to find examples of how other troops purchased their trailers. Does your CO have the trailer in their name? Do they carry any additional insurance on the trailers, beyond the vehicle insurance for the person towing it? Example would be additional liability insurance. We’re already planning on having theft/loss insurance.

    I keep trying to point to the thousands of other Troops out there that have a trailer and if there was really a liability concern word would spread around the CO’s. Thanks for the help.

    • One troop had a similar issue. They just left all of their troop equipment in the way for several weeks. The CO got sick of going around and looking at it. So the troop bought the insurance rider for the trailer and the gear was stored in the trailer out of the way. Sometimes you have to be creative on how you present things to the CO.

  14. Looking at those trailers I am mystified by all of the must have gear??????????

    So why in the world do you take so much stuff???

    we take a patrol box and dining fly per patrol. One duffle bag per scout. Generally everything fits in the bed and cap of one pickup truck.

    • No lanterns, tents, rope for training, troop first aid kit, coolers with food, dry goods, dutch ovens, charcoal, charcoal chimneys, LP tank/s, LP trees, a couple extra sleeping bags if a scouts gets wet, water jugs, (a fold up table/ patrol) & perhaps lack of troop storage elsewhere….

      Yes you can leave the trailer for those light camping ventures but one reason we have a new trailer on order is because the grant we wrote indicated we planned to use it in disaster aid situations as described in the Emergency Preparedness MB. they liked it and said as much as they awarded the grant to us.

      Nothing wrong with your method, just the reason we pack what we pack.

  15. Dave,
    Our Troop carries insurance on our trailers via our Charter Org’s policy. It runs us $100 per year for two trailers. The larger trailer pictured above has full coverage, our original smaller trailer is older so we only carry liability insurance on it. The trailers are actually covered from a liability perspective by the towing vehicle but not generally for comprehensive coverage. As property they are covered while parked at our CO’s property as well.

    We respect to the gear, we probably carry more than we need. We store our gear in here and it is just easier to leave it than shifting gear all the time. Several years ago we went to bulk propane tanks instead of throw away tanks. These take more room but are cheaper in the long run and more environmentally friendly, they also work better in cold weather. Wood and charcoal are great but about half the time we can’t use open fires, sometimes even charcoal due to burn bans. We carry 4 patrol boxes for the boys, the adults could and should pare down our cook boxes a bit. We typically have at least 3 Dutch ovens along, a Dutch oven table (nice on the old back). The other spacehog are the tables. Do we need them? No you can do everything on the ground, but unless I’m backpacking I’d just as soon not do it all on the ground. Very few of the campsites we travel to have tables available. If the site does they stay in the trailer.

    The garden cart only comes when we have to haul water or gear a distance from the parking area. The rakes and shovels allow us to do impromptu service projects if we see a need. The axe and saw rack replaced the axe box and takes up less space than before. We typically also carry a cooler and food box for each patrol. We like to expand our camp cooking horizons and to do that we have Dutch ovens and wooden box oven heated by a pan of charcoal. We’ve done minimalist cooking with nothing more than tin foil and a tin can for tin can cobbler.

    We don’t use this all the time, and I try to get them to go backpacking more often. On those outings the trailer and all its contents stay home.

    • Hey Jeff, if you are not already doing it, visit your local bulk LP provider. I asked and they fill our tanks each year for free.

      • We haven’t found someone to do it for free but we have a found a place that will top them off and only charge us for what he puts into the tank. Very handy so we don’t need to empty the tank to get it filled. We do carry a few disposables if we get caught short on an outing.

  16. The weight of Troop 382’s trailer above is not so much the wood used for the insides (as most everyone uses) it’s all of the unused and unnecessary stuff that is left inside the trailer and hauled around. Those of us who actually did all of the work (2 engineers and an architect) considered aluminum but the Troop could not afford the cost.

  17. This is Troop 112 Jacobstown Third Troop Trailer bought Dec 2009 a work in progress

    Ronald Y Dresslove Troop 112 Jacobstown Quakesen District NJ Advancement Chairman Pack 112 Jacobstown Quakesen DistrictNJ  Committee Chairman   Hunnikick Lodge 76 Order of the Arrow Culinary Adviser Garden State Council BSA Dean of Merit Badges Garden State Council BSAQuakesen District Advancement Board Member Tel # Home 609 894-9604 Cell 609 230-1223 E Mail Address rondress@verizon.net 37 Kennedy Lane Pemberton NJ 08068 1310  


  18. This is excellent! I love to see this type of organization and what is in your scout trailers — Thank you for sharing! Erik in Utah

  19. Thanks, This story was helpful. I would love to see one on Patrol Boxes i.e. what is stored, how much they weigh and must have items. I am trying to design a new box and I am looking to make it as light as possible.

    Thanks Troop 155 C. Falls, Oh

  20. These are great pictures and will help us with conversations we are having in our troop now. However, I question the idea of storing the propane tanks inside the trailer. We are in the process of acquiring a propane rack that will be mounted on the tongue of the trailer where we can place our tanks when we are on the move.

    Daniel Hall, Troop 307 Catonsville, MD

    • Depends on the trailer design. Our old one has a cargo box with tarps in it. Also holds the jack blocks and wheel chucks. Our new on on order is a v nose and none of that will fit. We have never had an issue with LP tanks leaking and they are very secure in the trailer where we place them. I would be worried if we jackknifed that that location would be more dangerous.

    • I share your concern. I don’t think in my state we are allowed to store them inside the trailer. I believe it has to be an outside ventilated area indendant of the interior. Probably should call the propane shop to find our your state’s laws on this.

  21. This is a great topic. I especially like the before and after photo’s. An organized trailer is so important and well worth the time. I hope that someday my troops trailer looks like some of the after photo’s. Thanks to all for sharing.

  22. We are in the process of shopping for a new trailer. The one bit of information I did not see was how long is your trailer. We currently have a 10′ trailer which is over 20 years old. A few years ago we did a renovation and even had to weld a plate onto the frame to help secure it. We knew the remainin life was short. Our adults have F150 or Dodge 1500 pickups so I don’t want the trailer too heavy. We however have 47 scouts with another 10 coming. The old trailer is just too small. If you could post the trailer sizes so I have a reference that would be great.

    • We have a 6x12SA. We have a 7×14 TA on order that will have brakes.We had too many issues with hard slow downs that we feel the brakes are a must. Our troop has varied from 35/40scouts to currently 12. the other troop in town went from 12 to 40 in 2 yrs lol! they just purchased a car hauler that is 16′ or more. That is crazy size in my opinion.

      My Jeep Liberty has 5,000 tow weight. My 1500 Z71 handles more. A single axle is usually rated at 3,000# w/brakes, 2,880# w/o brakes. Anything over 3,000# must have brakes (at least in our state). Our trailer weighed in at 3,080 last summer with nothing much in it 😮 It is an older 1990’s trailer and quite heavy empty. 600# tongue weight and the only thing in the front was sleeping bags and lp tanks. we moved them to the back until the new trailer arrives.

      Our new trailer on order is all aluminum so we won’t get the electrolysis that was the demise of our current trailer.

  23. Counter viewpoint. We’re talking about weekend camping here, not an Antarctic expedition.

    The best troop trailer consists of individual Scouts backpacks thrown in the trunk of the car. Once a troop has learned how to backpack instead of “car camp”, they have a lot more flexibility in where they can go camping and how they can get there.

    Once our troop learned how to do that, they experienced great pride in showing up at summer camp, telling the staff that they didn’t need a truck to carry their equipment to the campsite, shouldering their backpacks and marching past the amazed staff to their campsite.

    • When I was in scouts as a youth a few years ago, my troop did a mix of backpacking and car camping. We were definitely seasoned backpackers including semi annual trips to philmont, but enjoyed car camping just as much. When we go car camping, we might have 10-15 dutch ovens for instance, plus canopies, tables, pioneering equipment, sports and athletic equipment, and much more. It was all about what we as the scout wanted to get out of it, and sometimes you may have just wanted a lot of gear, or needed a safe, dry place to store it, trucks didn’t seems to have covers or camper tops as often during the late 90’s early 2000’s.

  24. Wow. All I can say is we are jealous. We are a Manhattan (NY, not Kansas) Troop and we can only dream of having a trailer. Even if we found a place to park it, just maneuvering it in the City would be a drag. Plus it would mean we would always need one Scouter with a tow-capable vehicle — even that could be a tall order. Most of the families don’t even have vehicles. Yet, somehow we manage to camp 9-10 times a year plus summer camp. While we see trailers at camps, I never really looked inside any of them. Now that I got a chance to see these pics I’m dreaming just a bit about the ‘burbs. If your trailer is older or messy, just think of us and count your lucky stars. Try loading all the gear into rented vans and buses for every trip. For events like a Klondike Derby it gets real old real fast (shoving sleds onto a bus is not easy). At some point Scouting should do something about how us urbanites make it happen.

  25. I continue to be surprised at the lack of concern for weight, especially with the cost of gasoline continuing to rise. We teach hikers at Philmont to strip their packs repeatedly to lighten the load for essentials and the lightest versions of those essentials. Doing so in a trailer would seem to carry the same value. Aluminum shelving in place of wood would be an easy place to start.

    • We live in trailer manufacturing country, While we were lucky to have a new aluminum trailer on order it weighs just as much due to the extra reinforcing required. We considered aluminum shelving but the cost was too much. We are planning to do the Lowe’s shelving listed above vs. wood so save a little weight. Also we are switching to TA so we can better disperse weight over the axles to hopefully have a better ride.

  26. I was talking to another scouter and she mentioned that her charter organization does not have room for the troop gear. They also got flooded and lost everything in the past. So they purchased a trailer to store all of their gear. It does not get in the way of the chart org room and they were more than glad to give them the parking spot. I believe that they also went in halves with a storage shed to store troop equipment and the charter org yard main equipment.

    Funny story at Royal Ranger Camp. An Outpost had a trailer hauled by a nice sized truck. The drove to the end of a field to turn around and got the trailer stuck. in mud. They then got the truck stuck in the mud. Another Outpost was behind them with a school bus. The tried to get the pulled out and got stuck themselves. The camp had a tractor and a combination of the tractor and 30 rangers, they one by one go pulled out of the mud. Major ruts after that. The people running the show decided to put signs up warning about the mud. Too late – another truck and trailer got stuck. At least the tractor was close by.

    Trailers can get quite heavy and a unit need access to a decent truck to haul them. I like the use of trailers, but keeping it simple and light weight is always better.

  27. Reasons to have a trailer you may have not thought of:
    1.Marketing (nice trailer wrap). How visual is your troop in town?
    2. Disaster Preparedness (See emergency Preparedness MB)
    3. Storage: My old cub pack got a trailer paid by the CO when the CO needed the storage in the church. Bad thing is when they camp twice a year the pinewood derby track goes with them.

  28. Having built out a trailer for Troop 52 in Hinsdale, IL, these all have some very familiar features. The WEBELOS from Pack 52 build the P-Boxes for their Craftsman Pin. Each Patrol had a Cooler with wheels that fit in the center aisle. Luggage was piled on top in a Pack Line formation. I got to learn how to hitch, pull, back-up, turn 90 degrees, and unhitch very quickly. That trailer was built in 1994 and is still going strong.

  29. Our single axle Troop trailer doesn’t have any shelves; its completely open inside. Sometimes this is ok and other times we wish it did have some shelving. (It does have dual opening doors on the back and a single side door.)

    However, we are very fortunate to have two places to store our gear, equipment and so on. An inside storage room holds our American, Troop and patrol flags, a large file cabinet, manuals and books, a computer, along with a bunch of other things that we can utilize on a weekly basis. Our outside storage unit houses our tents, stoves, lanterns, coolers, Dutch ovens, propane tanks, three patrol boxes, extra pots and pans, cooking supplies — well, you get the idea.

    Typically, we store a large dining fly, a large camp fire grate, some large signs, our Klondike Derby sled, a hose and reel, two plastic tables and various other items inside the trailer. When we want to use it, we have to go and get it from a piece of property that is 10 minutes away. We were paying to store it, but couldn’t afford to do that anymore. The secure property belongs to a Troop Committee member; he doesn’t charge us to leave it there.

    As far as insurance goes, our Chartered Organization, St. Pat’s Church, holds the title and pays the insurance on the trailer. We pay to renew the yearly license tag, however.

    In short, when we want to use the trailer, we unload what we don’t want, and load up what we do want. Once our campout or activity is over, we have to unload and restock everything.

    While I don’t necessarily think that this is the best system, we do strive to get the boys involved with the loading and unloading as well as knowing where things are typically stored both inside and out. For now, we’ve grown acustom to doing things this way.
    — Scoutmaster, Troop 252

    • Today, I installed a very small 12-volt battery inside our Troop trailer to power a pre-installed ceiling light. I’ve noticed that once it gets dark out, unless I have a flashlight handy, I have a hard time finding what I’m looking for at night. For the most part, I attached two brackets to the upper right corner of the trailer, purchased a small plastic tray to set the battery into and then secured the tray to the brackets and wall. I’ve also added a strap for added stability and to keep the battery from falling out of the tray when the trailer is moving. Ultimately, I’d like to add a small solar panel somewhere so that the battery can charge during daylight hours.

  30. Where did those troops purchase their huge logo artwork for their trailers? Our Troop 171 of Harrisburg, SD purchased a new (to us) larger trailer last year, but it is still plain white. Inside has powder-coated shelving designed/built/installed by several scouts and adults. We would like some design on the outside now. Don’t the logos have to be from “officially authorized” dealers?

    • Check out your local graphics/sign maker. They print it out on full sheets then apply it to the trailer. Just took delivery on our new 7×14 aluminum frame this month. Estimated quote to fully “wrap” is $2,000 but we may have an inside contact.
      While you can apply smaller localized decals a full body wrap allows you do do all sorts of marketing on that trailer. Just google to find great ideas.

      -Eagle honor list
      -charter info
      -troop info
      -excitement/action graphics to say we have fun
      -Think of it as a marketing billboard for your troop and scouting

  31. We are looking for a new trailer. What are these trailers called so I can look some up? Anyone know of a good resource in the ATL area?

  32. Our troop is considering getting a trailer, but we are short on funds. I have heard of “grant money” available, but not sure where to look. We also thought about “selling” advertising to our community businesses to create money for the trailer, but we are curious about BSA rules against this. Can any of you help answer these questions?

  33. Our Troop use “80/20” extruded aluminum for the shelving configurations. It was about $1200 but saved us a ton of weight making the trailer easier for towing with regular vehicles. I gave the dimensions and a sketch to the engineers at 80/20 and they calculated all the pieces, cut lengths and hardware we needed.

  34. I’d like to solicit opinions about whether or not the interior fixtures should be custom-built out of wood, or, if Gorilla Rack-type shelving is a better option? Is there a weight-to-strength trade-off? Does metal shelving wiggle loose in twisting terrain? We are purchasing a 7×14 trailer and we will be getting ready to equip the interior. We already know a lot of things we shouldn’t do from our use of the existing trailer. 🙂

  35. We added a commercial First Aid kit to the trailer. Mounted to wall near the side door for easy access and out of the way.

  36. How about safety or maintenance gear. We carry a basic tool box. I’m thinking of adding a bottle jack, lug bolt wrench and safety triangles.

  37. We have a relatively new troop and we purchased a 6 x 12 SA, we’ve since grown upwards of 20 boys and space it’s premium. Best advice I can give is watch your axle weight capacities, our GVWR IS ONLY 2200 lbs witch is reached rather quickly once ladiened with wood and gear. My newest acquisition is old file Drawer Cabinets , at 5′ tall and approximately 2 feet deep 15″ wide , they offer covered, clean and securable storage. Once something is placed inside the drawer closes and is locked automatically . No more Suprises upon arrival.
    I have several cabinets on board that I keep kitchen items; aluminum foil ,paper towel , cake mixes for dutch oven deserts, leaders coffee stash with all the essentials, zip lock bags, garbage bags , duct tape , electrical tape, various tools , zip ties, bug spray , ropes, extra tent spikes, air horn for Bear Camps, extra mantels, milk crate with 1 lb propane cylinders , couple wool blankets etc. We carry shovel , rake ,broom, axe yard set up in a milk crate has all the necessary items , splitting wedges , caution tape , lump hammer , bow saws and an axe. We carry 2 fire extinguishers 1 large one small, 4 dutch ovens , 4 lanterns & 2 large Army duffle with old style tarp canopy set ups , each bag has poles , large tent spikes and a 12 x 20 Tarp.
    I’d like to post pics if I can please let me know how.

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