My Off The Grid Project – Utility Trailer Modifications

As those who are trying to live a simpler more remote lifestyle know, the work on your property never ends. You are always trying to come up with ways to make things easier and more cost effective when possible. A good utility trailer is a must for people living out in the sticks, but they can be pretty expensive for a good one, even used. I found a new utility trailer for close to the price of beat up used one some years back. The problem was the side rails were pretty low as it was primarily made for hauling small all terrain vehicles.

I looked at the utility trailers with higher solid walls, but they were double or more the price of the one I bought. So the solution was to build my own removable walls for the trailer. Much cheaper, and I think it is more versatile than ones with the permanent higher rails or walls. I was also able to use some of my left over materials from the construction of my house, that would have probably ended up in the scrap pile.

Being that I’m at the top of a mountain, and have to haul all my materials for the building of the house I made sure I could take off the rails as needed. The very front panel is held on with wing nuts through the frame so I can loosen and then slide the panel out when necessary. My trailer is 12 feet long, but with the front panel it shortens it by about 4-5 inches. This doesn’t sound like a big deal, but considering most boards I use are in the 12 foot long range this causes a problem. By making that front panel slide out when needed I can still get the 12 foot long materials in. I could put the 12 foot materials in sideways with the front panel still installed, but it would limit what I could haul by a fairly large amount.

Off the grid utility trailer

The eye bolts I put in at the top and bottom of the front and side rails came in handy when I had to get my appliances from Home Depot. Being that they needed to stand upright meant they needed to be secured with ratchet straps so they wouldn’t fall over when going up my steep hills in four wheel drive. Without the eye bolts it would have been an interesting adventure and I’m pretty confident the manufacturer warranty doesn’t cover stupidity 🙂

Speaking of stupidity, I previously installed a metal storage box on the front A frame of the trailer. Well, it didn’t quit fit as far back as it should have, and during some confined turn around and backing up maneuvers met both sides of my truck bumper before finally being dislodged with a loud crash. Not only did I crunch both sides of my rear quarter panels and bumper, but also destroyed the storage box. An expensive lesson learned. I wasn’t able to find a plastic storage box that would work, so I decided to install a plywood mounting shelf as far back as I could get it, and put a small plastic water tight tool box mounted on top of it. Hopefully it is far enough back now where it should be pretty hard to hit it with the bumper, and since it is made of plastic shouldn’t do any or very little damage if the same thing happens that I did with the first metal storage box.

off grid trailer storage box

So far so good, the trailer with the removable rails has been doing the job it was intended for. I have taken the front panel off a couple of times to haul materials that are 12 foot long, and it works like a charm.


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