Harbor Freight Trailers
by Chuck Leinweber
I recently bought a trailer from Harbor
Freight, and I thought I should review it since
a lot of boat builders need a trailer for their projects when
they are a bit too heavy to cartop but are not quite big enough
to justify a custom job.
The model I got is the #90154
which I paid $260 for. I feel this was a bargain price, but
HF now has this same trailer on sale for $199. There is a bit
of confusion, though, as the capacity seems to change. Click
the link above and you will be told that the "Heavy Duty"
trailer has a capacity of 1175 pounds, however the tag (see
photo below) that came on the unit I got says it is 1440. Different
trailer? Check the item numbers. I was under the impression
that I was getting the 1175 model.
The point is that this is a very robust trailer.
I was impressed with how much it had improved since I bought
a similar 'made in China' unit about fifteen years ago. Nothing
was tinny or flimsy this time. The steel was all heavy with
good paint or galvanizing, and the nuts were of the nylon locking
type. I got the version with 12" rims, but there are a
number of different models to choose from. Just go to Harbor
Freight and search for "trailer".
Here is my trailer. It took me about two or three
hours to assemble it from the pile of parts. I will use it for
but to do so, I will have to extend the tongue and add bolsters
and perhaps some rollers. It will also need a winch and post
to mount that on, and a jack or wheel to keep it level. My inclination
is to use a fold down wheel like in the illustration below:
I saw one of these used at our last messabout,
and I was impressed with it. The boat was a John's Sharpie from
CLC and the trailer could be run all over the place after it
was disconnected from the towing vehicle and the wheel was folded
down. The boat was even launched and retrieved by simply rolling
the thing down the beach to the water. Of course it was a light
boat, but it wasn't that light.
This unit is advertised as "folding"
and I suppose it does fold (see arrow in photo above), but I
won't use that function as I will keep a boat on it. If you
need a utility trailer that will carry your boat too, this would
be a good choice. It does fold up in a clever manner with casters
to move it around in the upright position. The footprint is
about 2' x 5' and it's about five feet high. There are bolts
that hold it in the open configuration, so there is no danger
of inadvertent folding.
Trailers are a pain, not to mention expensive,
but this little number should last a long time (the last one
I bought is still going) and at the current $199 (shipping is
free!) won't break the bank. You could do a lot worse than invest
in one of these little trailers.