Traveling with a tiny trailer doesn’t mean you have to give up your adventure gear. If you have a kayak, bike, or other outdoor equipment that you love, you can still bring it with you on your travels. The trick is figuring out what to bring and where to store it. Here’s how I get it done and how you can, too!
Packing tips & considerations
If you’re like most outdoorsy people, you spend way too much time looking at everything from snowboards to paddleboards. It seems so much easier to buy the extra kayak and that new mountain bike and figure out where to store it later. When you’ve got a tiny trailer, though, you need to be more intentional about what you buy.
- Weight: Smaller trailers tend to have lower cargo capacities, so plan accordingly. Weight is also worth considering if you plan to lift the item onto a roof. When I can’t choose between two items, I buy the lighter one.
- Size: Needless to say, tiny trailers also have less room to fit all your travel gear. Whenever possible, choose the smaller items — be sure to measure the space you have inside your trailer and plan accordingly.
- Design: Since being on the road, I have owned a folding bike, inflatable kayak, and inflatable paddleboard. These items weigh less and take up less space. In my opinion, they also work just as well as the regular alternatives.
- Limitations: Some adventure gear must be stored indoors. For example, I have an electric unicycle that can tackle some pretty gnarly roads, but the manual explicitly says it shouldn’t be left outside to weather the elements.
- Durability: The last thing you want is running around with broken gear that you either need to fix or dump. Buy something durable and choose a brand you can find parts for easily (I learned this the hard way with my first mountain bike).
Not everything has to come in the trailer
When going off on your adventure, you might feel tempted to bring everything you can. After all, who knows what opportunities you might run into along the way? This rationale sounds like a great idea on paper, but it creates a big hassle when traveling.
Instead, only bring the gear you can use on the way there and at camp. If you travel full-time and feel you need to bring everything with you, I’m here to tell you that’s not true. Get a storage unit. I paid $37 per month for mine in Vegas.
I used my storage unit to organize my things, so I only travel with my in-season items. When you remove sweaters and winter jackets in the summer, for example, you have more room for inflatable kayaks.
Storage tips & ideas
After two years of loyal service, I broke the safety latch on my foldable mountain bike. I donated it and bought a cheap burner bike to ride around Mexico. The joke’s on me because I’m now in Arizona and the Mongoose bike is with me. It can’t fit inside my FJ, and my trailer occupies my tow hitch, so where do I put it?
Easy. When I’m moving from one location to the next, it rides inside the trailer, on the living room floor. This is an excellent option if you have anything from a TigerMoth to a Mantis. For those with smaller trailers like Woolly Bear, make full use of external bike, kayak, or paddleboard racks to save interior space. Here are some additional options for carrying your adventure gear:
- Store what you can inside your tow vehicle, but be mindful of your payload
- Add a bumper hitch to your travel trailer and store your adventure gear there
- Use roof racks on your tow vehicle or TAXA habitat, but be mindful of weight limits (and how much you can lift to get it there)
- Install a hitch-free bike rack to carry your bikes or other adventure gear
- Secure smaller items on the tongue or in the front storage box of your TAXA Habitat
NOTE: Some people attach a second utility trailer to their travel trailer for extra storage, but this is dangerous and can be illegal in many states.
Where to store your gear at camp
My electric unicycle takes up very little space. So, when I arrive at camp, it’s easy to leave it in the RV or the truck. I cannot, however, share the living room with my full-sized mountain bike. I have a bike lock, so I either secure it to the bumper hitch or the tongue of the trailer. When I had a foldable bike, I left it in the trunk of the FJ Cruiser.
So, where will you store the adventure gear that traveled inside your tow vehicle or trailer? Consider this carefully before taking it with you on the road. Otherwise, you could risk theft or permanent damage to your gear. Leaving an e-bike unlocked and uncovered outdoors is a pricey example.
Make sure your outdoor gear is secure
On the note of security, most people enjoying the great outdoors either have the means to do so or are not materialistic. The chances of losing your adventure gear to your neighbors are slim. Nevertheless, people sometimes venture into campgrounds and make themselves the new owners of your belongings. So, never take security for granted.
Here are some options for securing your gear:
- Install a pin lock if you use a bumper hitch to carry items on the back of your trailer
- Invest in a sturdy bicycle lock that you feel confident will protect your adventure gear
- Reconsider purchasing items with flashy colors and designs; they tend to offer thieves the greatest temptation
- Cover the things you leave outside to reduce the temptation for browsing thieves in the area; avoid covers that give away the brand or item underneath
- Install an alarm on your expensive gear, such as your e-Bike
- When purchasing expensive items, choose something with a built-in locking feature
Use the heck out of your adventure gear
Since being on the road, I have met many people who have not ridden the bikes they left home with. Not even once. I’ve also seen people with kayaks that haven’t been on a lake or river in months.
If you took the trouble of bringing your adventure gear with you, get the best possible use out of it! Otherwise, it’s just wasting the limited space you have. If you take your gear on a few trips and never use it, it might be time to ditch it.
Bringing kayaks, paddleboards, ATVs, and other cool gear is a great way to enrich your outdoor experience. While you will face some limitations with a smaller trailer, you’ll find that there are many easy ways to make room for your big boy (or big girl!) toys.
Explore TAXA’s lineup of adventure vehicles, ranging from the compact, 11’ Woolly Bear to the more spacious, 19’ Mantis. Despite the range in sizes, all of their trailers fit in a standard garage when not in use, and are built with extreme functionality and adaptability in mind. Learn more from a TAXA specialist today!