Travel Trailer Tail-End Platform

Q. I have a 2002 24-foot travel trailer. I’d like to add a platform to the back end to carry an ATV, or use it for storage purposes. The ATV weighs 360 pounds. What are your thoughts? — R.B., Escondido, California

A. My first thought is, that’s one heck of a scary setup, R.B., and is not a good idea for many reasons. You didn’t state your trailer’s weight or gross vehicle weight rating (gvwr), so we can’t address specific weight-related matters. However, it’s a safe bet that adding all that weight to a 24-foot trailer can easily overload it and exceed your gvwr or gross axle weight rating (gawr). Placing the weight out back will shift a possibly dangerous amount of weight off the trailer hitch, which can cause sway and instability problems.

All that weight back there also places a lot of leverage effect on the aft end of the trailer frame, which probably wasn’t designed to handle that kind of load in the first place. Fabricating a platform to handle the payload will further exacerbate the weight problem, due to the simple empty weight of the platform structure.

You’re probably catching the drift here. If you really want to haul along an ATV, you would be better off to sell your trailer and buy an SUV-style trailer.

It’s one thing to add a narrow bumper-installed, cargo-carrying device to handle some lawn chairs or a little bit of firewood. A big platform for an ATV and/or cargo? No.

— J.J.


Jeff Johnston, TL consulting editor, started RVing at age 6. During his more than 20 years as a writer/photographer, he has worked for Truckin’ and Four Wheeler magazines before joining TL’s technical staff in 1985. Johnston also has produced an award-winning travel video and TV commercials.

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