I was torn between buying a cargo trailer (enclosed) vice a utility trailer (open) when I first shopped over 20 years ago. Since then, I’ve gotten a lot of use out of my baby trailer and its predecessor. Cargo trailers are both heavier and more expensive than utility trailers; so, buying a utility trailer was an easy decision at the time. However, I had found myself limited in what I could haul, especially in foul weather. That had me considering a cargo trailer to give me more hauling options.
I was drawn to a 5×8′ cargo trailer, but most of them weigh 900 lbs or more. A 4×6 is lighter, but lacks the floor space that I’d want for a possible camping trip. My decision was made easy when I saw this used silver 4×6 with a “For Sale” sign during a leisurely Saturday morning highway drive. The trailer was only a year old and very lightly used for a small clothing business. It was substantially less expensive than buying new, so I bought it on the spot and towed it home.
The trailer has LED rear side marker lights that are at driver’s eye level. So, backing at night isn’t too bad. The paint quality was very thin, weak, and blemished easily. So, I had it wrapped in 3M’s Gloss White Aluminum. I added a modest graphics package to make it a little more interesting. I replaced the fenders with Fulton plastic fenders after someone had sat on the original fenders, bent them, and pulled them from the body. The new fenders are stronger, but also have my deterrents mounted (not shown here). My final changes to the exterior include black wheels, rear clearance lights, and a wireless rear view camera that’s powered by the lighting circuit.
I mentioned camping. I consider myself a complete novice. I’d like to explore a little, but not too far from the beaten path and not in places that would require me to sleep on the ground. I’ve had my eyes on a destination for nighttime photography, but I don’t want to tent-camp. This trailer may help resolve that challenge. My “camper” conversion added electrical shore tie, 12-volt power distribution, a pair of 16-Ah LiFePo batteries, a second dome light, ventilation, insulation, E-Tracks, and foam padding. The 12-volt distribution will eventually get its own write-up. Until then, have a look at this video to learn more. The E-Tracks give me cargo/tie-down flexibility and the padding will make working or sleeping inside the trailer a little more comfortable on my hips and knees.
I think this tiny cargo trailer conversion will serve well as a one-person “hard-sided tent” that is very quick to setup and pack. Being six feet tall, a 4×6′ trailer is a little short for me to truly spread out and sleep comfortably. Plus, the lack of a side door presents an egress problem in the event of an emergency. I found a solution: a slide-out. The rear door is 42×38 inches. That’s the perfect wall size to hold a teardrop door. Building that wall at the end of a 24-inch sliding “hall” will increase my available floor space, improve ventilation with the teardrop door (mine has a sliding glass window with screen), and provide an escape hatch in the floor. I’ll share photos of the slide-out when it’s done.
I found a lot of shoddy workmanship during my conversion process, especially on the roof. “Why was I messing with the roof?” you might ask? When I removed the walls to insulate, I found evidence of leaks, which then lead me to reseal the roof, which then lead me to A LOT of corrective repair to the roof. You would be correct to assume that I’ll never buy another Homestead trailer! HAHA! The overhaul was a long, slow, and discouraging process. Most of my efforts are documented in separate articles. My repairs are not of superior quality, but they should last several years. I hope to eventually replace this with a WeeRoll trailer.
I intentionally avoided installing windows on the trailer. My trailer’s primary use is for cargo. Therefore, I want it to look the part. I like that my slider will retract into the trailer and conceal behind the solid rear door. Remember, I like to hide my mods. I’ve shared some photos and specs below. Also, here is a handy guide on how to properly load or balance your trailer.
Keeping Things Dry,
Here’s a small photo album…
Here are the specs, mostly so I don’t have to dig so much to find them when I want to reference them. 😉 Since this trailer has undergone changes, I’ve listed my upgrades in bold with the factory specs lined-out in parentheses:
- Interior Height – 45″ to insulated ceiling (
46″ to the frame)
- Interior Width – 44″
- Interior Length – 75″
- Overall Height – 73/78″ w/ MaxxFan closed/open
- Overall Width – 66″ after replacing fenders
- Overall Length – 108″
- Door Opening Height – 42″
- Door Opening Width – 38″
- Deck Height – 14″
- 2,000-lb Dexter Axle with EZ Lube Hubs
- Modular-Styled Wheels with E-Coat Prime & Powder Finish
- Under Coated Frame (needed refinishing after two years)
- Heavy Duty Steel Structure
- Frame Structure 24″ O.C. (sort of)
- Fulton High-density Polyethylene Fenders
- Tongue Jack
- 2″ Ball Coupler
- Coupler Height – 14″
- LED Taillights and Clearance Lights
- Aluminum Exterior with 3M Wrap (
Baked Enamel Finish)
- Seamless Galvalume Roof System
- 3/4″ Exterior Grade Plywood Floor
- 1/2″ Plywood Side Walls; 1/4″ Front Wall (
3/8″ Plywood Wall Liner)
- E-Track Tiedown System
- 14-inch (
13″) Trailer Rated wheels, with P195/60R14 ( 175/80D13) Tires
- Interior Lighting
- 115VAC Power via External Input
- 12VDC Power via Dedicated LiFePo Batteries