Hunting with a trailer can mean hauling ATVs or just having a place to store extra gear and food. How do you prepare for hauling a trailer into the backcountry while hunting, or taking your ATV off-road? What are the types of trailers you can bring, and what function does each serve? Let’s go over how to haul a trailer to go hunting.
Choosing a Trailer
The first question to answer is what kind of trailer you will be towing. Are you going to be camping in a trailer in the backcountry? You can find recommendations for camping trailers, especially for off-roading, here. More specialized RVs, meant for both camping and hunting, can be found here. You’ll want to make sure your propane tank is filled up and, if you have one, that your generator is in working order, regardless of which trailer you choose. If you just want a place to sleep, a pop-up trailer will work perfectly.
Next are trailers meant to simply hold equipment and/or meat. Rather than buying a specialized trailer, considering following in Bernie Barringer’s footsteps and convert a cargo trailer to a hunting trailer. Barringer, who makes multi-state hunting trips, wanted a place to butcher deer, and store the head, meat, and hide, while also having room for his hunting gear. He also added a cot for a place to sleep. Paired with a battery and heater, he can sleep, clean his kills, and store the meat for a few days before needing to offload.
With a toy hauler or ATV trailer, you can bring extra off-road transportation with you. An ATV helps immensely when packing an animal out of the woods, and may be the sole reason you bought an ATV in the first place. If you are not intending to stay out overnight, this could be your best option.
Pro tip: In order to make sure the meat won’t overload the ATV, gut and quarter the animal first, and then haul it out. Make multiple trips if necessary.
Preparing and Maintaining
Proper preparation and maintenance is essential for bringing any kind of trailer camping. When it comes to hunting and camping out of a trailer, weather is one of the biggest concerns. Make sure you have a safe, dry camping area. If this is your first time towing a trailer, be sure to check out our handy trailer towing guide.
As an aside, be sure your truck can handle both off-roading and the trailer itself. If the weight or torque tolerances are too much, consider another trailer, or you could face major damage to either the truck or the trailer. Bigger trailers, while more spacious and comfortable, means you will need a bigger truck. A pop-up or ATV trailer won’t need a large truck, while a fifth wheel might need a dually. For off-roading, we suggest using Kanati Mud Hogs on your truck.
First, make sure your trailer’s tires are properly inflated according to the vehicle manufacturer recommendation or gross axle weight if you are heavily loaded with equipment and a large trailer. We recommend Velocity WR078 tires for your trailer due to high carry capacity, good traction and durability.
- Check the exterior of the camper.
- Check the caulking and weather stripping.
- Top off the propane tank or bring a generator, especially if you are going to a colder climate.
- You should also check for loose bearings and inspect wiring and lights.
- Inspect axles, and grease if necessary.
- Check the entire towing assembly.
- Ensure all brake pads are still in working condition.
- If you are bringing ATVs, ensure you have fuel, and check the tires.
- Keep the ATV tuned and muffled as sound and the smell of exhaust could scare deer away.
Protip: Bring more paracord/bungees than you think you will need to secure your meat to the ATV. Invariably, you will need more than you think.
Bringing a trailer or ATV hunting can greatly enhance the experience. With cold storage and a simple bed or cot, you can stay in the field longer without fear of meat spoiling, while still having a comfortable place to sleep. ATVs allow you to pack out much easier than just carrying the load on your back. With proper preparation and maintenance, you will limit problems with your trailer, making sure your hunt goes smoothly from a mechanical standpoint. Overall, you will improve the quality of your hunts.