I’ve shared several stories and videos about how I put my baby trailer to use. One unsung hero of my setup is my Dutton-Lainson 2000-lb hand winch with 20-ft nylon strap. Calling this a “hand winch” is a bit of a misnomer. Yes, the winch can be operated manually using its included hand crank. But, with a 40:1 gear ratio, moving anything the 11-ft distance from the end of my ramp to the front of the trailer would take a LONG time, not to mention a LOT of cranking. Instead, I use a cordless drill on the winch’s hex drive, which makes the operation MUCH faster. It’s akin to having a light-duty power winch on my trailer, but without the electrical connection or load to the tow vehicle.
Oddly enough, I installed this winch for a single payload: My daughter’s new roller tool cabinet. She had started her first job at a local garage and needed a tool box. The box weighs 349 pounds empty. Adding tools bumps the weight to around 800 lbs. That’s within the capacity of my trailer. However, I wanted to ensure I could load and unload the heavy cabinet slowly and with a lot of control. This winch is perfect for that. I had assumed that the winch is marketed for boat trailers or utility trailers, presumably for loading boats, side-by-sides, or small lawn tractors. However, the eTrailer page lists its purpose as “heavy-duty vertical lifting applications,” just not near people. 😉 I’ll stick with my plan to use it for horizontal loads with wheels. Side-by-sides and riding lawn mowers won’t fit in my baby trailer, but this winch is perfect for those loads when attached to larger trailers. BTW, if this winch will LIFT 2000-lbs, then it should have no problem with PULLING a 4000-lb rolling load.
Just as I was beginning to think the winch was wasting space on my trailer and that I’d never need it again, my daughter quit her job and needed her tool cabinets brought home. Those trips, combined with a few trips to the local dump, taught me that the winch is also very convenient as a primary tiedown strap for bulky loads. This is especially true if I happen to have a large item that can act as a cap, which is then compressed by the winch strap. A single winch strap is not as thorough for securing a load as two or three ratcheting straps, but it is VERY fast and convenient for short trips when used with a cordless drill. Therefore, I’ll keep the winch mounted for the foreseeable future and probably mount one on any trailer I may own. I also added this keel spool to act as a pulley so that the strap won’t drag on the edge of the trailer box.