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Types of snowmobile trailers: Pros and Cons of each

Posted by Christopher Weiland on

If you want to get the most out of your snowmobile experience, chances are you will need to go where the snow is. Using a trailer is the best way to transport a snowmobile, and come wintertime, you’ll find all sorts of varieties on the highway.


At the core, there are two types of snowmobile trailers, open and enclosed. The open trailers are all very similar, whereas the enclosed trailers can differ quite a bit!


Open trailers: An open snowmobile trailer is a flat trailer elevated over the axles for the width of two snowmobiles. Style-wise, they only differ in the number of axels, length, and loading method. These range from 2-place up to 6-place capacity lengths. There are two types of loading methods, ramp, and tilt. The ramp is easier and more flexible than the two, and tilt refers to the whole trailer bed unhinging at the front and going down to the ground. This type is only found on 2 place trailers.


Pros: Lightweight, minimal vehicle investment to tow, easy to load and unload, minimal wind resistance, easiest to pull, highest visibility in mirrors, accessible to gas sleds on the trailer, better gas mileage 


Cons: Exposes your snowmobiles to the elements. Even the best covers tend to let road salt get in. Single axle trailers are harder to change flat tires. No place to store oil, gas, and tools. No theft prevention, 


Enclosed trailers: Since there are many styles of enclosed trailers, we cannot just lump general pros and cons, so we will review each style.


Clamshell style: This style trailer takes the open trailer and adds a sheltered enclosure on top. You can even add it to an open trailer later on.  


Pros: This style encloses the snowmobile with a minimal amount of weight. It’s still a relatively easy trailer to tow with a light-duty vehicle. It keeps all of the elements out and eliminates the need to cover your snowmobile. They also make for decent summer storage if you don’t have any inside options. You can also store your oil, gas, tools, and other things you do not want in the tow vehicle.  


Cons: Loading these trailers are not the easiest and can be intimidating at first. The clamshells have low ceilings, so you have to watch your head when driving the snowmobile in. Since it is enclosed, you have more wind resistance and can be more of a handful on windy days. Also, working on enclosed clamshell trailers is less than ideal with the low ceilings and blocked off access on the walled sides. The width of the trailer makes it difficult to see around unless you have trailer mirrors.


Inline V-Nose: The following trailers to take a look at are the inline trailers. These are skinnier than the open and clamshell counterparts allowing the floor to be lower to the ground and with a lower center of gravity. These trailers are usually longer because you have to stagger them when you load instead of placing them side by side.


Pros: Lowest center of gravity of the trailers and allows for a higher ceiling to work on. Easy to load and unload as all snowmobiles drive in the back and drive out the front. These trailers can provide a much better work environment with taller ceilings. Excellent security for your snowmobiles and belongings. Easy loading and unloading make it an ideal option for overnight storage on trips. Aluminum versions are usually in the half-ton vehicles towing capacity. The skinnier width makes the trailer easy to see around with standard and trailer mirrors.  


Cons: Extra length adds some maneuvering difficulty and can be tough to tow on windy days. These trailers like to be loaded with specific weight distribution, or else they can sway. Longer and steel versions are best with 3/4 ton tow vehicles. These trailers are also much more expensive than the clamshell trailer. The extra weight reduces gas mileage.


Widebody V-Nose: Like the inline trailers, these have a V-nose, but the deck extends the entire width of the axel. Some are above the axel, and some sit lower and have the top of the wheel wells on the deck. These trailers are often the heaviest and require towing experience.


Pros: These trailers are often large enough for multiple uses in addition to snowmobiles like ATVs and UTVs. They also have options for heaters, so they make a great place to work and hang out. The width of the trailer allows you to load snowmobiles side by side and have plenty of space for tools, oil, gas, etc. Many trailers even have cabinets built-in on the side for storage.  


Cons: Since these trailers sit above the axel, they have a higher center of gravity, making them more prone to roll in an accident. They are the heaviest, so you’ll need a 3/4 ton or higher vehicle to tow. The large sides make it susceptible to sway in windy conditions as well. These are some of the most expensive trailers as well, if the price is a factor. Wide body’s that are only partially over the axel require a specific load order to fit all the snowmobiles. Some positions can require reverse, which can be challenging to gain traction on the ramp.  


Well, that covers 90% of the snowmobile trailers you’ll see on the road. Each snowmobiler has different needs for a trailer, and you are now educated on what will work best for you. Don’t let anybody besides yourself influence your decision. Tow what you are comfortable with that fits your needs and vehicle. 

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