I need a trailer for a multitude of uses. For several months, I have been running an ad, seeking a good, secure, storage space for my tools. I have found nothing that is in my area and price range. Those who have called on my ad, tend to live a long way from the downtown.
So, now I'm looking for a trailer to become my mobile garage. I don't need a huge amount of space, but it needs to be quite secure, since I have several thousand dollars worth of cordless electric landscaping and carpentry tools.
Horse trailers are built exceptionally strong, both in weight carrying capacity and strength of outside walls and floor, as compared to those lightly built aluminum trailers that many contractors use. They are heavy for their size, but this doesn't matter to me, since most of the time it will be sitting in one spot. My average job is only about five kilometres from home. All of the stuff used on horses is expensive, from bridals to saddles to other fancy equipment. Some trailers have very good lock boxes to store these things in.
When I look at the regular cargo trailers for sale, they are often in the $2,000 range for a used one the size I need. They go for about $4500 when new. Looking at older, but good quality horse trailers, I see many in the $2,000 range that once cost $15,000 or $20,000. Horse people sling money around. That has been my experience and the experience of my brother who has dated several horse people. New models of equipment come and go and those with deep pockets, often spring for another expensive unit, while the old one still has lots of life left in it...This has not been my experience with junk hauling trailers. I have looked at several of them, with an eye to converting them, but most of those that I looked at were at least a decade past their best-before date.
Along with storing my tools, I would like to be able to live in the trailer occasionally and possibly full-time. The tools will only take up about 15% of the available space. I have large numbers of garbage cans and other totes which will fill much of the space, when it's being used for landscaping and tree work.
There will be times when I need to haul something heavy, like firewood or lumber.
I intend to accommodate sleeping and other home type activities, by building an upper bunk that sits well above the area used for the tools. The bed will rest on a sheet of plywood that is easily removable. Personal items will be stored in Rubbermaid tubs which are set up on this bed.
These trailers often have a center dividing wall. For some types of hauling, this would be a major disadvantage. I expect that it will work well for me, since half width is perfect for a bunk. The half that is full height could then be used to store tools and other things where I need to walk into the space. The side with the bunk will have less head room. This would make a suitable spot to rest lumber on the floor or to toss firewood.
So far, I have found four different horse trailers advertised that would be suitable to my purpose. None of them have gotten back to me, but the ads are still running, so I assume that they are still for sale.
Pitfalls. The only major problem I can see with a horse trailer is the possibility that it may smell like horse piss and that the framing members of the floor could be rotted out. I'll check.
I may pull this vehicle with an electric car or truck. Only a few can haul a trailer. This solves one of the biggest problems with houses on wheels. I am not the sort who would look for a permanent parking spot where I have to pay just so I can have electricity. The tools that ride with me need electricity. I usually charge them at my customers homes, but home charging would be handy. An electric pickup truck would be ideal for me but I don't see any of those on the market.
I have read many terrible things about electric vehicles on the internet. I like to consider the source. To me the entirety of what I've read so far is approximately equivalent to one fart in one wind storm.
If I do this soon, I won't be looking for an electric vehicle to pull it. I still may get an electric car and would simply commute back and forth to the trailer and plug it in regularly. There is almost always a free charging station within two kilometers of the places where I work and where I would park for the night.
My situation is unique in that I'm quite comfortable and practiced at finding places to park and sleep . I never ask permission and this never becomes an issue. Until now, I have always done this in a truck or van. A truck that is attached to a converted horse trailer is bound to attract more attention than my other vehicles have.
When I'm on a job where they're simply isn't a spot for the trailer, it will have to remain attached to the truck all of the time. Trailers are not insured and they are considered abandoned if disconnected from the tow vehicle on the side of a public road.
When I work at demolition projects, the whole site is generally mine, and I could simply disconnect the trailer and leave it behind when I only want to use the truck. There are times when I go for weeks or months without a demolition project. Most of my work at these times involves tree service and other property maintenance stuff. Most of these jobs are completed in one day. The owners would not go for the idea of me setting up camp in their yards. During periods when I have done this sort of work and lived in vehicles, I have always found quiet locations on the side of the road for sleeping.
The main thing that I've learned in this regard is to not park in front of single-family residential housing. The folks in those houses will notice a livable vehicle that is out of place.
I have spent hundreds of nights sleeping in front of businesses that are closed or in rows of cars that belong to tenants of large complexes. There are usually so many vehicles coming and going from this type of accommodation, that my presence does not become a problem. I mix it up and don't stay in one spot for a long time. Time will tell if the world is willing to ignore a full size pickup, towing a horse trailer. I think the main trick will be to not advertise that I am in there. I like to park under a bright streetlight. This gives some degree of security but more important, it masks the small amount of light that I may produce while using a computer or doing other things inside the trailer.
I'm considering a two-horse trailer which is not a very big platform for a house. I have always said that my various sleeping abodes are just my bedroom. The wide world outside, is my living room and urinal.
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
posted 3 years ago
Here are some more pictures of conversions. Everyone so far has made one much more elaborate and time-consuming than what I envision. For me, it's just a cargo trailer with a sleeper.
Some large and fancy horse trailers come with a sleeper for the human caregiver of expensive horses. I doubt that I will find one of those for next to nothing, but if I do, I will use the sleeper and keep the rest of it open for storage and transport of lumber etc.
Horse trailers are heavy for their size when compared to home depot light duty trailers.
The rich folks like to replace their trailers when something small goes wrong and they sell for a lot. People like me tend to run a horse trailer until it is unsafe and not worth repairing. There certainly are good deals out there but you will really want to take a careful look at the underside before you buy anything. The sheetmetal up top always looks nice and the frame under is always a mess.
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