5 Tips for Buying a Horse Trailer

iStock_10259053_LARGEBuying a horse trailer is a big decision that impacts the safety of your equine charges, the ease and safety of your travel and, of course your wallet.  With thousands of models to choose from, at all price points, let your needs inform your decision with these 5 tips for buying a horse trailer.

The Right Size for Your Horse

Understand what’s right for your horse or horses. No matter how fancy a trailer looks, or what a great deal it is, if your horses can’t travel safely and comfortably, it’s not the trailer for you. Measure your horse or horses from tip to tail and shoulder to shoulder to make sure any trailer you’re looking at is a good fit. Your horse needs to be able to spread its legs and have room to use its head and neck for balance to travel safely. Measure your prospective trailer purchase to check for head room – remembering that trailers with curved roof may consider the peak of the roof the trailer’s height, while your horses head may be closer to the outside wall.  When checking the floor measurements, take into consideration wheel wells, which may steal some of your horse’s standing room.


The Right Size for You

The right trailer will not only be comfortable for your horse, it can be towed safely behind your vehicle, hold all the gear you need for your equine adventures, and be right for your lifestyle. With choices ranging from small single-horse bumper towed trailers to slant five fifth wheel living quarter models, understand, your needs and towing capabilities.  A bumper towed trailer is the simplest and least expensive horse trailers, but may not be up to the weight of your load and has limited storage. The lightest bumper towed trailers can be towed by a small truck of SUV.  A gooseneck trailer, which uses a ball hitch in a truck bed, offers a more stable tow and distributes the weight of your trailer across the center axle of your truck. Many have tack rooms and feed storage built in.  A truck outfitted with a hitch in the bed is required.  If extended travel is your plan, consider a fifth wheel living quarters trailer, where both you and your horse can travel and comfort and style.  These trailers have the most room for you and your horses, and can be outfitted with enough luxury to match to swankiest motorhome or just have simple living quarters. Fifth wheel living quarter trailers are the most expensive and generally require a heavy duty towing vehicle.


Safety First

Look for features that keep both you and your horse safe. If it’s a used trailer, keep an eye out for exposed sharp edges or protrusions and worn flooring. If it’s new, look for quality workmanship which will add up to safety: Sturdy walls, stout underfloor bracing and quality latches and gates. Look for a trailer with adequate ventilation: Windows that slide open and overhead roof vents are a must.

Choosing the Right Style

Before making a decision, know what style trailer is right for you:  Manger, walk-through or slant-load. While a trailer with a fixed manger may sound convenient (and the storage area beneath the manger appealing), the manger may be problematic for your horse, who may spend the day inhaling the dust and debris from the hay and feed right below him. The manger may also take up valuable space, inhibiting your horse’s ability to spread his legs and move his head.

A straight forward walk-through trailer may be the simplest choice. The horse walks on behind the handler, who keeps going through a full-size door at the front of the trailer. While space for tack and feed may be limited in smaller walk-through trailers, the design gives the horse room to brace himself, while giving the handler a quick escape from an unruly equine.


If you need to haul more than one or two horses, consider a slant-load trailer.  Perhaps not suitable for larger breeds, a slant load trailer makes it possible to haul more horses in a compact trailer.  Slant load trailers do have disadvantages: the wheel wells can take up valuable floor space and horses traveling on an angle may have difficulty absorbing the bumps and twists of the road.

Ramp or Step-Up Trailer

While step-up trailers are far more common, some horse trailers have an added on ramp.  While step-up trailers are industry standard, if safety is your priority, a ramp is safer for you and your horses. Make sure a ramp is easy to lift, spring assisted, and that there is only a tiny gap between the ramp and the trailer.

Explore the many options in new and used horse trailers at Crossroads Trailer Sales, New Jersey’s #1 RV and trailer dealer.



Brand Profile: Forest River

1_862_1914015_41477593.jpg;maxwidth=1024;maxheight=1024;mode=cropWhether it’s weekend getaways with the family in an expandable trailer, cross-country exploring in a cozy trailer, hauling toys for an off-road adventure, “Glamping” in a luxurious fifth wheel, or settling in for the season in home-like comfort, Forest River has an RV model that’s a perfect fit. Continue reading

Pop-Up Campers vs. Expandable Trailers

Pop-up Campers and Expandable trailers are comfortable, lightweight, affordable family options for camping; one is a step up from tent camping, the other a step closer to a full-featured RV.

Pop-Up Campers

Affordable pop-up campers have been a popular camping option since the 1950s because many are light enough to be towed by a large car or mini van and spacious enough when fully opened to sleep a family in high and dry comfort.

Vintage Pop-Up camper: Image provided by Vintage Teardrop Trailer Plans Reprints

Vintage Pop-Up camper: Image provided by Vintage Teardrop Trailer Plans Reprints

Today’s pop-up campers can be outfitted with the bare necessities or loaded with luxuries, but the basics haven’t changed much: Pop-up campers fold down into a box that’s about four feet deep, built on a single axle trailer that ranges from about 8 to 18 feet long. The beds, or bunks, slide in when the pop-up folds down and pull out from either end when it’s time to make camp. The hard top cranks up manually or electrically, carrying the attached tent with it. A simple brace and pole system holds the tent up over the bunks.

The basics for life are loaded into the box dimensions of a pop-up camper. In smaller models that includes a sink and cabinet, dinette that converts to another sleeping area, credenza or sofa that doubles as storage and a place to cook with a camp-style stove. A tiny bathroom, built-in-stove and a slide out for the dinette may be included in larger models. Most pop-up campers will include the option to cook outside and some come equipped with an outdoor shower.

If you love tent-style camping – cooking and relaxing in the outdoors — but not sleeping on the hard ground, a pop-up camper is a great choice. In good weather, the canvas windows unzip all around the camper, inviting cool breezes to flow through screens and around the camper. When the weather turns, zip the camper up to stay dry and squeeze the family in around the dinette for games and conversation.


For those who crave more home-like comfort, think again. Most pop-ups do not feature residential style mattress and home-like appliances. Even the most deluxe pop-up will have a limited bathroom and many won’t have one at all. Because everything, including the kitchen sink, fits into the box, there isn’t room much room left for walking around; more than two people standing at the same time can be a challenge.

While there’s no RV easier to tow than a pop-up camper, few require more labor to prep, set up and take down. Because everything pushes in and folds down, stocking and prepping your camper means cranking it up and pulling out the bunks. Taking down these campers requires you to take down support poles, zip-up and fold down tent tops, bring everything inside down to floor level and push in the bunks — then crank down the tent when it’s time to pack up.

The whole process repeats when it’s time to unpack. If the trailer was folded down in the rain or with the early morning dew still on the tent, fully extend the camper and keep it open until the tent top is completely dry or risk mildew in your camper.

2012 Forest River Surveyor Sport SP-191T

2012 Forest River Surveyor Sport SP-191T

Expandable Trailers

When your camping life expands to longer trips and maybe a couple more bodies, consider an expandable trailer for more of the comforts of an RV, while retaining the joys of sleeping under a tent top.

Expandable travel trailers generally boast aluminum frame construction to keep down weight and can range from 14 to more than 20 feet. The unloaded vehicle weight generally ranges from 2,500 to 5,000 pounds making expandable trailers towable by some SUV and lighter-weight trucks. While not as compact as a pop-up camper, expandable trailers are among the lightest bumper-towed RVs.

2016 Forest River Salem 38RLT

2016 Forest River Salem 38RLT – $22,900.00

An expandable camper is the perfect choice for those who crave more comfort and home-like convenience, but lack the “oomph” of a heavy-duty towing vehicle. Space-efficient and lightweight expandable campers share looks with small, standard hard-sided, bumper-towed trailers, until it’s time to set-up. To expand the camper’s sleeping capacity, all you have to do is park and level and lower tent-covered bunks on one or both ends.

Expandable trailers can come equipped with many of the amenities that RVers expect, including small entertainment centers, complete bathrooms and indoor-style kitchens. For those considering a small hard-sided trailer, but have concerns about the small footprint, expandable trailers are worth a look. With the beds external to the hard-sided body, the entire footprint of the expandable travel trailer is dedicated to living space, creating room for comfortable seating and moving about.

Interior of a Forest River Salem Expandable Trailer

Interior of a Forest River Salem Expandable Trailer

With no beds pushed into the hard-sided trailer or top to crank up, the camper can be prepped before your trip without opening the bunks. Because the bunks fold onto the walls of the camper, rather than pushing in, there’s also no need to open the beds to take shelter. This is known as “turtling” and any camper who has put up or taken down a pop-up in a driving rain storm, understands its value.

Most expandable trailers will include a dinette that converts to a bed, so if bad weather continues into the night, stay warm and dry without the loss of any of the camper’s functionality; a pop-up owner will say it beats sleeping in the tow vehicle or putting up a soggy, drippy tent top.

With its merits of space, weight efficiency and comfort, an expandable trailer still brings with it the wide-open feel of tent camping – and the challenges, including condensation and less protection from weather extremes. While not requiring the physical effort of a pop-up camper, it lacks the pull in and park convenience of other trailers.

The Right Travel Trailer

Pop-up campers and expandable travel trailers pack great camping value into small, lightweight packages. Choose the right travel trailer for your family by understanding your own habits and requirements.

Know how much weight your vehicle can safely tow; pop-up campers will be lighter with a low profile that does not require special mirrors or extensions. Decide how much work you want to do when you get to camp and evaluate your physical abilities. An expandable travel trailer will be easier to set up than a pop-up, but a standard travel trailer with self-contained beds will beat them both for ease of setup.

Pop-up campers are great options for extended weekends and family vacations at a camping resort, but may be the wrong choice for long road trips that require setting up every night, or long-term camping, when the cozy quarters and relative lack of amenities might feel a little too small and spartan.

For those who enjoy the sounds of nature and can sleep through the late-night partiers two campsites down, either travel trailer is the right choice. If things that go bump in the night and rustle in the woods are unnerving, consider a standard hard-side trailer.

Begin your camping journey with the experts at Crossroads Trailers, who will help you assess your camping needs and show you a selection of the right travel trailers for your next adventure.



Is a Fifth Wheel Trailer Right for You?

When it comes to deciding if a fifth wheel trailer is right for you, consider lifestyle just as carefully as trailer style.

For RVers who like to ramble by day in a sturdy, steady vehicle and settle down at night in spacious comfort, a fifth wheel may just be the right fit for you. Fifth wheels are an enticing mix of comfort and practicality, size and stability and the right choice for many RVers.

Start with the journey steady journey. If you crave the comfort and security of traveling in a heavy-duty long-bed truck and have concerns about sway and handling with bumper-tow travel trailer, consider a fifth wheel.

If negotiating tight curves and backing into snug campsites is in your travel plans, the tighter turning radius of a fifth wheel may make it the right choice for you.

Unlike a bumper-towed trailer, the fifth wheel’s weight rests between the rear axle of the truck and the cab, spreading the load and creating additional stability in towing. Because of the fifth wheel’s construction, with the front portion of the trailer over the bed of the truck, the ultimate tow length is shorter than the same length bumper-towed trailer. The hitch position in the bed of the truck also allows for turns of up to 90 degrees.

A fifth wheel provides the size and luxury of many motorized RVs, without the necessity of towing an additional vehicle to use once you reach your destination. While most fifth wheels require a beefy long bed truck for towing, that same truck is your ticket to freedom once you unhitch and settle down in your campsite. Ready to explore? Leave your fifth wheel behind and head out for daily adventure in your truck.

Consider your physical needs and abilities as you decide if a fifth wheel is the right choice for you. Both bumper-towed and motorized RVs offer living on a single level. Fifth wheels feature sleeping quarters above the truck bed, which means climbing a few stairs.

While the unhitching and set up of a fifth wheel is easy to master, it won’t match the park and plug simplicity of a motorized RV. Your fifth wheel will require simple, light physical activity to unhitch, level and set up. Before you decide if a fifth wheel is right for you, determine if you’re able to safely complete these tasks. Great family dealers like Crossroads Trailer Sales will make sure the RV you choose is right for you and will instruct new owners on safe set up and operation methods.

The fifth wheel design that makes for lofted sleeping quarters also adds more headroom in the main living quarters than you will find in a standard travel trailer. If you’re tall or don’t rest easy in more confined spaces, you’ll relish the added headroom of a fifth wheel.

With lengths ranging from 20 feet to more than 40 feet, a fifth wheel is the right choice for weekend jaunts or long stays. Its ease of towing and set up makes it right for short vacations. Its layout and amenities make it ideal for year ‘rounders.

A fifth wheel is a good choice if you plan to entertain guests for just one evening or for an extended stay. Your sleeping quarters are tucked away above the truck’s bed, creating an open entertaining and living space for you and your guests. When the night’s entertaining is done, you and your guests can enjoy a rest in privacy as you retreat to your private hideaway and they settle down in their sleep area. Let the experienced professionals at Crossroads Trailer Sales show you the many options for accommodating large families and guests in a fifth wheel.

Whether you’re stowing a year’s worth of supplies, or sporting goods for a family weekend, a fifth wheel’s bountiful storage makes it a good choice. Beyond the interior cabinetry, additional storage is tucked under the bathroom that can be accessed from inside or outside the trailer.

Whether an RV is your second home or a weekend escape, a fifth wheel with its ease of towing, roominess and flexibility may be your best choice.