Bikepacking with a Trailer, List of Bicycle Trailers

Bikepacking with a Trailer, List of Bicycle Trailers


Okay, we know the core tenet of bikepacking is minimalism. We’ve waxed lyrical about the benefits of paring down possessions to the bare necessities, so our bikes are light and lively enough to explore a variety of backcountry terrain and enjoy the process of doing so… without busting a gut. So, what’s all this about trailers?

  • Bikepacking with a trailer, bicycle trailers for touring
  • Bikepacking with a trailer, bicycle trailers for touring

It’s true, trailers can be fantastic tools that transform our existing bikes into something completely new, transcending what we thought we can do with them. Just to be clear: we’re not talking about using trailers as a way of carrying a standard-issue bikepacking load, because the temptation to pack ‘too much’ is simply too great. And we’re also not suggesting them as an alternative for bikes that aren’t designed especially for touring, without provision for racks and panniers. After all, lightweight bikepacking gear can be easily made to work with your existing bike too, which is partly why we love it so much. But, as a means of taking on some extra payload to sharing experiences with our families (and our pets!) or weaving other activities into our trips, then yes, we’re all about trailers.

Plus, when we’re not bikepacking, trailers offer a way of facilitating a car-lite lifestyle, helping us spend more time on our bikes in the process. In fact, there’s little to beat the adaptability of trailers and their power to turn an everyday bike into so much more… and back again, in the minute it takes to unhitch them.

Bikepacking trailer family

Bikepacking with a Trailer?

Here are three reasons why bikepacking with a trailer can be a good idea:

Lend a helping hand

If you’re initiating a cycling newbie into the magic of bikepacking, then taking on the heavy lifting can make all the difference to their enjoyment. A trailer lets you carry more food and water, for instance. Or, perhaps your friend is canine and too big to fit in a wire basket? As much as your pooch may enjoy it, running all day may be detrimental to lil’ hearts and paws, or perhaps your route has some busy roads to content with. Whether biped or four-legged, trailers can help your friends!

Mix and Match

Trailers are great for hauling extra gear for specific trips. Perhaps you’re scheming an adventure that requires specialist gear that’s hard to pack – incorporating climbing as part of your tour, or packing a surfboard for a dream trip down the Baja coastline, or maybe you can’t leave home without your skies. If you’re a diehard mountain biker, setting up basecamp for a few days to go ride some trails unladen is another way trailers can come into their own, especially in places where food and water are in short supply. For those who don’t have the ability to mount rack and panniers to their bikes, trailers turn your existing rig into a pack mule.

Family Fun

Not only do child trailers allow napping and keep precious cargo protected from the elements if the weather turns sour (or the sun is especially strong), but family trips often require extra gear. A football, snorkel, frisbee, and Legos are all things we’ve brought with us to make off-bike activities more fun. Perhaps it’s extra space to pack a bigger, bulkier tent, or your seven-year-old is up for riding, but it’s too much for them to carry their own gear too. Trailers make packing much easier; there’s enough going on during a family trip that anything that helps streamline the start and end to the day will be welcome.

Types of Trailers for Touring

Broadly speaking, there are two kinds of trailers that are suited to bikepacking: two-wheel models and single-wheel models. There are also ‘trailer bikes’, or tag-alongs, which are great for when your child has outgrown their enclosed trailer, but isn’t ready to go it alone just yet – which is often around the 4-8 age range.

Within these types, some attach to the dropout or chainstay of your bike, others to the seatpost, or even a rack. Bear in mind that we’ll be following this post up with a guide to bikepacking with your family, in which we’ll explore other ways of lending a helping hand to your child, be it with a tow rope like a TowWhee or a FollowMe Tandem that couples your child’s bike to your own. But for now, we’re just talking trailers.

For this Gear Index, we’ve also chosen lighter weight models that are built with touring in mind rather than pure cargo-hauling, like Surly’s Bill and Ted or Burley’s Flatbed. We’ve honed in trailers that are designed specifically for regular off-road use or more involved trails, rather than the more road-orientated options on the market, which are less likely to be able to handle the rigours of roughstuff.

Two-Wheel Trailers

Two-wheel trailers have the least impact on the handling of your bike, no matter how much load you carry, as they are rotationally decoupled. They handle especially well at slow speeds. However, they can be prone to flipping over if the wheel catches an errant rock or a curb. If you’re towing a baby or infant, we recommend packing heavy gear as low as possible to help improve stability. Two-wheel trailers are also very easy to pack and unpack, being inherently stable when at the standstill! They typically offer a greater payload, too. When it comes to multi-modal travel, many two-wheel kid trailers can double up as stroller (pushchair), which can be really useful for exploring towns. On buses, planes, and trains, they can often be folded down and transported for free.

In my limited experience of cycling with dogs, it seems many prefer the stability of a two-wheel trailer, mainly because it doesn’t tilt from side to side. But if introduced early enough, then your pooch is more likely to be happier to adapt. Search the internet, and you’ll see all kinds of contraptions that owners have made to convert BOB Yaks.  

Single-Wheel Trailers

Believe it or not, single-wheel trailers have been around since the 1950s! Their slim profile makes them inherently better suited to both narrow trails and wiggling through traffic. They tuck away out of headwinds and have minimal rolling resistance. Some are hitched to your bike’s dropouts with a proprietary axle, whilst others attach to the seatpost.

In our opinion, trailers that hitch to the seatpost impact the handling of your bike far less than those that mount to the axle, and they have a tighter turning circle too. However, they do ‘cut’ corners as the steering axis is further forward, so you’ll need to take this into account when you ride. Models that hitch to the dropout track well really through trails but when they’re heavily loaded, they can really wrestle with your bike. If you have a full-suspension rig, this creates wear on the bushings and bearings. In our experience, such trailers – like the BOB Yak – tend to be more suited to bikes with stiff rear ends when used off road. In fact, the key to single-wheel trailers is not to carry too much, despite the manufacturer’s rating, especially if you are a light rider yourself. Pack the heaviest items low in the trailer. Placing a little weight towards the front of your bike can also help tame handling and if you experience speed-wobbles, try experimenting with spreading load across your bike, such as in a framebag.

For demanding terrain, we prefer singlewheel trailers that use 20″ wheels, as they roll better off road, with less tendency to kangaroo behind you. It’s also easier to find high quality replacement tyres. However, 16″ wheels work too, especially with suspension.

Trailer bikes or tag-alongs

Effectively a cross between a trailer, a bicycle, and a tandem, tag-alongs can be a great option for children who have outgrown the need to be in a fully enclosed trailer. They’re especially useful during that in-between age when your sprogs can ride their own bike but struggle to cover longer distances. Just like a tandem, they are a great way of chit-chatting as you ride. A trailer bike also allows you to do the brunt of the work when your kid is running low on steam.

On the whole, they don’t handle as confidently as a well-designed tandem but they’re much easier to transport, and of course, you can attach them to an existing bike. We’re big fans of tag-alongs for mixed terrain bikepacking trips, as they allow a parent and child to ride confidently on dirt roads, tackle occasionally highways, navigate through busy cities, and cover a reasonable difference, all without worrying unduly about safety. If making the jump from a trailer to a trailer-bike, bear in mind that your child will now be fully exposed to the elements, and whilst they can coast, they won’t be able to take those afternoon naps!

List of Bikepacking Trailers

With all of the above in mind, here’s our list of trailers, covering both single-wheel and two-wheel models, designed for cargo and family use, and even pets. Note that all the trailers listed are models we consider burly enough for regular off-road use. Whilst the dog trailers are more barebones, all the enclosed child trailers feature suspension. If you’re planning to keep to mellow forest roads and bike paths, you can likely get away with more economical options, from the same manufacturers, even. Either way, there’s no reason why almost all these trailers can’t double up for general duties back at home, be it commuting, the school run, or trips to the grocery store.

  • $359


    Burley Piccolo

    Burley Piccolo

    • Type: Single-Wheel Trailer
    • Use : Family
    • Cargo capacity: 4 to 10 years old, or up to 38.5kg (85lb)
    • Wheel size: 20″

    Burley’s Piccolo – the geared version of the Kazoo – is a well-priced trailer bike that we’ve reviewed previously on the site. Whilst there’s no suspension to smooth out the ride, judging by my son’s whoops and hollers in Sedona, AZ, it won’t stop you from having a tonne of fun on trails. Pro tip? Fit some wide tyres and lower the air pressure.

    The bike itself has seven speeds, enough for your child to learn the intricacies of gear changes and to help on climbs! The bike attaches quickly and simply to a proprietary rack (easy enough that my son could do it), but this does mean your frame will need the necessary eyelets. Luckily, it cleared 29 x 3″ tyres just fine, though this may depend on the eyelet positioning. I was initially skeptical about the rack as it was somewhat heavy – but it proved very useful for packing a couple of small panniers on our overnighters. Given that the trailer bike attaches further back than a seat post, it actually tracks a little better than the Streamliner in tight singletrack.

    Read our full review, linked above, for more.

    • Burley Piccolo Trailer Bike Review
    • Burley Piccolo Trailer Bike Review

    Burley Piccolo Trailer Bike Review

    • Weight: 8 kg (17.64 lbs)
    • Price: $359 (Burley Piccolo)
    • Place of Manufacture: China
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  • €520


    Tout Terrain Mule

    Tout Terrain Mule

    • Type: Single-Wheel Trailer
    • Use: Cargo
    • Cargo Capacity: 38kg (84lb)
    • Wheel Size: 20″

    Like all Tout Terrain products, the Mule is an extremely well-made and refined trailer, which is reflected in its high price. Its constructed from chromo and includes a level of detailing that sets it apart from many other trailers on the market. Most useful, perhaps, is a very stable ‘kickstand’ that makes parking your bike and packing this trailer a breeze.

    Additionally, there’s an extremely well-machined hitch with high quality sealed bearings that should last a lifetime. A 20″ wheel and a 160-180mm air shock, complete with two settings to adjust ground clearance – high for off-road riding, low for stability – means this trailer handles extremely well off-road. Unlike models such as the BOB Yak and Ibex, it barely bounces around behind you.

    All components are branded and the overall weight of 6kg is extremely reasonable. We love seat post designed single-wheel trailers as they reduce the impact on handling – but note that you’ll need to spec the right hitch to your seatpost and take into account how the trailer cuts corners through tight singletrack. This trailer is compatible with dropper seat posts and 29+ wheels too.

    Jones Plus Review

    • Weight: 6.7 kg (14.77 lbs)
    • Price: €520
    • Place of Manufacture: Taiwan
    • Manufacturer’s Details: Link

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  • €1390


    Tout Terrain Singletrailer

    Tout Terrain Singletrailer

    • Type: Single-Wheel Trailer
    • Use: Family
    • Cargo capacity: up to 5 years old
    • Wheel size: 20″

    Tout Terrain’s Singletrailer is a one-of-a-kind, single-wheel child trailer with a whole 160mm-200mm of adjustable travel! In terms of riding technical terrain with your little ‘un, the Singletrailer is unmatched by anything else on the market. Like the Mule, it couples to the seatpost (a number of ‘stems’ are available for differing seatpost diameters) using a beautifully machined hitch with massive sealed bearings. This does mean, however, that the Singletrailer will shortcut turns, so be sure to ride accordingly.

    Still, even if you’re keeping to dirt roads, the Singletrailer’s plush ride is extraordinary, thanks to an active air shock. We foundd this great for peace of mind, as the last thing you want is your precious cargo jostling around. In fact, Tout Terrain claim its lightweight CrMo steel frame, complete with an integrated roll cage, is suitable for children as young as three months (and up to five years of age). Of course, you’ll want to take it extremely easy to begin with if your child is at the lower end of age spectrum – think bike paths rather than trails. Depending on how steep of terrain you find yourself riding, there’s room for most wheel sizes, though you may find the beam occasionally rubbing on 29 x 3″ tyres. It’s also dropper post compatible.

    On the downside, the Singletrailer isn’t as practical as a two-wheel trailer for day-to-day use. It’s more awkward to access and even though it features the same excellent kickstand as the Mule – so it’s secure enough for your child to clamber in and out of – it can’t double up as a stroller. Capacity for extra gear is also more limited. Additionally, your little ‘un will have to content themselves with looking out to either side, as visibility to the front is obscured.

    Still, if your family aspirations align with what the Streamliner is capable of and you can stomach the price tag, there’s nothing else like it. And as for that high price, it’s doubtlessly the result of an extremely niche product, a gorgeous frame, and a no-holds-barred finishing kit. One gripe though – we did find the quick-release that runs through the hitch needs to be clamped down really tight to stop the trailer from leaning a touch to one side. As a result, this can sometimes make removing the trailer tricky.

    Bikepacking trailer family

    • Weight: 9.5 kg (20.94 lbs)
    • Price: €1390
    • Place of Manufacture: Taiwan
    • Manufacturer’s Details: Link

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  • €1190


    Tout Terrain Streamliner

    Tout Terrain Streamliner

    • Type: Single-Wheel Trailer
    • Use: Family
    • Cargo capacity: 4-7 years old
    • Wheel size: 20″

    The Steamliner tops Tout Terrain’s line of trailers and borrows much of the same components and design. Like the Mule and the Singletrailer, it sports 160-200mm of travel, via a high-quality air shock that has yet to leak or have any issues after a few years of use. It’s this air shock that really sets it apart, as it results in an extremely plush ride for your human cargo.

    Like its siblings, it’s built to exacting details, which is why it’s also the most expensive trailer bike on the market. In fact, a lack of demand during these challenging times means that’s just been discontinued, though it’s possible it will be brought back in the future. We’ve kept it in our listing, however, as there are still a few for sale and there are plenty of second-hand options in circulation. You can read an in-depth review, after riding a portion of the Baja Divide and a number of trails in Arizona, by clicking on the link above. We also pressed it into service recently for an overnighter, which you can read about here.

    • Tout Terrain Streamliner tag along
    • Tout Terrain Streamliner tag along
    • Weight: 8.9 kg (19.62 lbs)
    • Price: €1190
    • Place of Manufacture: Taiwan
    • Manufacturer’s Details: Link

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  • €799


    Aevon KIT L80

    Aevon KIT L80

    • Type: Single-Wheel Trailer
    • Use: Cargo
    • Cargo Capacity: 35kg (77lb)
    • Wheel size: 16″

    The Aevon KIT L80 is one in a number of single-wheel trailers in the Aevon familu. It’s made from burly, oversized aluminum tubing in France and sports a full complement of branded components – all of which is reflected in its price tag.

    Like the Tout Terrain Mule, the Aevon attaches to the seatpost, which impacts handling far less than trailers that couple to the dropouts. Featured here, the L80 is the smallest and lightest in their range and of particular interest to overseas travellers, as it takes just a few minutes to disassemble, without the need for tools. With the right size box, you can likely slot it in alongside your bike. Like other Aevon trailers, it uses a 16″ wheel. Whilst these are typically less capable than 20in wheels for off road use, the air shock helps smooth things out.

    If you need to carry more cargo in a frame that offers a larger cradle, the STD 100 (€759) has a capacity of 100L and also includes an air shock. There’s a fully rigid version for €439 – but it’s only recommended for road use.

    • Weight: 5.5 kg (12.13 lbs)
    • Price: €799 (Aevon KIT L80)
    • Place of Manufacture: France
    • Manufacturer’s Details: Link

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  • $339


    BOB Yak 28

    BOB Yak 28

    • Type: Single-Wheel Trailer
    • Use : Cargo
    • Cargo capacity: 31kg (70lb)
    • Wheel size: 16″

    The BOB Yak is considered by many to be the ‘original’ single-wheel trailer, as it’s been on the market the longest. But it’s interesting to note that a single-wheel trailer of a similar design was first produced in the 1950s in England! Still, the BOB Yak is certainly venerated by generations of bike tourers for both road and off-road tours. The bike attaches to a proprietary hub axle and is compatible with bikes that sport rear suspension, but note that the way a rotationally coupled trailer twists can create some wear and tear on bearings if the trailer is loaded up to the brim. Load capacity is 70lbs, or 31kg, but from experience, it’s best to pack much lighter for off-road use. The latest version is specced with a yoke that clears a 29er mountain bike tyre – older ones were designed around 26″ hoops. See them in use here.

    • The Fifty, The Mountain Why, Cody Townsend, Michelle Parker
    • The Fifty, The Mountain Why, Cody Townsend, Michelle Parker
    • Weight: 8.6 kg (18.96 lbs)
    • Price: $339 (BOB Yak 28)
    • Place of Manufacture: Taiwan
    • Manufacturer’s Details: Link

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  • $419


    Burley Coho XC Trailer

    Burley Coho XC Trailer

    • Type: Single-Wheel Trailer
    • Use: Cargo
    • Cargo capacity: 32kg (70lb)
    • Wheel size: 16″ (to up 3″ tire)

    Burley’s Coho is anew addition to the trailer party and is packed with details. Ease of packing can be a gripe with single-wheel trailers, so it’s great to see an integrated kickstand that can support a bicycle too. It comes with a 9mm QR, but there’s an adaptor for a multitude of axle sizes, both TA and QR, right up to 197TA for fat bikes. Although it comes specced with a standard 16in wheel – which isn’t a favourite trailer wheel size for suspensionless, off road use – it will also fit a 3in tyre, which could open it up to sand and snow duties. Thankfully, the Coho XC is more user-friendly off the bike than some trailers in that it has a carry handle, a quick release to remove it, and tool-less fold, making it easier to store and travel with. You can read more about it in our Dispatch, here.

    • Burley Coho XC Single Wheel Trailer
    • Burley Coho XC Single Wheel Trailer
    • Weight: 9.7 kg (21.38 lbs)
    • Price: $419
    • Place of Manufacture: Taiwan
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  • $750


    Burley D’Lite X

    Burley D’Lite X

    • Type: Two-Wheel Trailer
    • Use: Family
    • Cargo capacity: 45kg (100lb)
    • Wheel size: 20″

    Burley’s D’Lite X is one in a range of high-end kid’s trailers that vie for Thule’s crown, undertaking the longstanding favourite by a couple of hundred dollars. It’s $750 price tag gets you suspension, premium seat pads, headrests, and adjustable suspension optimized for a smooth ride, while its reclining seat allows you to fine-tune the angle for added comfort. The D’Lite is also available in a two-child version and it folds flat. Like Thule, ski conversion kits mean you can get the most out of it come winter, too.

    If that’s outside your budget, consider the $280 Burley Bee. Bear in mind that without suspension, you’ll likely want to keep to mellow forest roads and bike paths.

    • thule-trailer-3/li>
    • thule-trailer-3
    • Weight: 13.8 kg (30.42 lbs)
    • Price: $750 (Burley D’Lite X )
    • Place of Manufacture: China
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    • Manufacturer’s Details: Link

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  • $350


    Burley Nomad

    Burley Nomad

    • Type: Two-Wheel Trailer
    • Use: Cargo
    • Cargo capacity: 48kg (105lb)
    • Wheel size: 16″

    Unlike its Coho sibling, the Burly Nomad sports a two-wheel design, inherently making it very stable at slow speeds. With a capacity of 105L, its squat profile should help it from rolling over, which is often an issue with two-wheel trailers. Made from aluminium tubing, the Burley weighs in at a reasonable 7.7kg (17lb) yet can haul a colossal 45kg (100lb) of gear… if you have the legs. It features a weatherproof cover that keeps your gear protected from the elements, a top rack for attaching items like skis, and it packs flat too, making storage and transportation that much easier.

    • bikepacking cargo trailer
    • bikepacking cargo trailer
    • Weight: 7.7 kg (16.98 lbs)
    • Price: $350
    • Place of Manufacture: China
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       helpWe highly encourage you to buy from a local shop when possible, but if you’re going to buy online, you can use our affiliate links. We’ll get a very small kickback that will help support this site.
    • Manufacturer’s Details: Link

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  • $400


    Burley Tailwagon

    Burley Tailwagon

    • Trailer type : Two wheel
    • Use: Pets
    • Cargo capacity: 34kg
    • Wheel size: 16″

    Burley’s appropriately named Tail Wagon is kind of like a utility vehicle – compared to child trailers at least – in that it features a flip-down tailgate for quick loading and a suspended, removable floor for easy cleaning.

    There’s a roll-up cover with zippers and mesh windows for maximum airflow and cargo pockets for storing leashes and other pet gear. The 6061-T6 aluminum frame folds flat for transportation, too. Don’t expect anything as refined as suspension, so hopefully your pet is fine with being jostled around a bit.

    Carrying capacity for your pooch is 34kg, or 75lb. Size, wise, they’ll need to be able to fit their furry bodies into a space that’s 23x19x32.5cm (58x48x82.5in).

    • Weight: 11 kg (24.25 lbs)
    • Price: $400
    • Place of Manufacture: China
    • Manufacturer’s Details: Link

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  • €950


    Croozer Kid Vaaya

    Croozer Kid Vaaya

    • Type: Two-Wheel Trailer
    • Use: Family
    • Cargo capacity: 35kg (77lb)
    • Wheel size: 20″

    Croozer is another trailer specialist with a number of models to their name – of which the Croozer Kid Vaaya looks the best suited to off-road use. On paper at least, it appears to be a very capable piece of gear.

    The spec is impressive: ergonomically designed seat with breathable Climatex® material, Croozer AirPad®, a sensor-activated handlebar light (rechargeable), plastic windows, and rain cover with UPF of 80+. All materials are tested for harmful substances and there’s a padded, easy-pull five-point harness system, along with a very generous rear cargo compartment (43L). The Vaaya also folds down for transportation.

    There’s a simpler, €750 version that also features suspension – the Kid Keeke – which is due out soon, according to their website.

    • Weight: 15.9 kg (35.05 lbs)
    • Price: €950 (Croozer Kid Vaaya)
    • Place of Manufacture: China
    • Manufacturer’s Details: Link

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  • $790


    Extrawheel Mate with Drifter bags

    Extrawheel Mate with Drifter bags

    • Type: Single-Wheel Trailer
    • Use: Cargo
    • Cargo capacity: 35kg (77lb)
    • Wheel size: 26 x 4″

    The Extrawheel has been around for some time and effectively offers two panniers’ worth of additional space on your bike via an easy to remove, sprung mounting system.

    You can spec the ‘frame’ with different sized wheels – from 26″ to 29″ and there’s even a fatbike-friendly model, as seen here. There are three models on offer, each with different bag configurations that add 60-100L to your payload. The Voyager is the most simple and economical version (€370), the Brave the most versatile (26-29 x 2.6″), and the Mate is designed for snow and sand, as it can accommodate 29 x 3″ and 26 x 5″ tyres. It’s quite the beast!

    The Extrawheel concept means that in a pinch, you’re carrying spare parts too. In fact, I once had to make use of this feature when my rear rim split in my 29er, at a time when rims were impossible to source in Asia. I was able to rebuild the wheel using a ‘donor’ rim from the Extrawheel, which I’d built up specifically to be compatible, and then source a cheap wheel in the market for the Extrawheel. Being such big wheels, the Extrawheel rolls really well, with less of a tendency to jump around behind you like a BOB Yak. It’s also short, so the turning circle is very good.

    The Mate weighs 5.7kg with a fat-tyred wheel, plus 3.4kg for Extraccycle’s 100l Drifter panniers. But weight will vary depending on the model, axle choice, as well as wheel, tyre and bag configurations.

    • bikepacking cargo trailer
    • bikepacking cargo trailer
    • Weight: 7.3 kg (16.09 lbs)
    • Price: $790 (Extracycle Mate with Drifter 100L bags)
    • Place of Manufacture: Poland
    • Manufacturer’s Details: Link

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  • $550


    Frances Farfarer Trailer

    Frances Farfarer Trailer

    • Type: Single-Wheel Trailer
    • Use: Cargo
    • Cargo capacity: N/A
    • Wheel size: 20″

    The Farfarer is a single-wheel trailer that attaches to the seatpost via a custom made ‘stem’ and bushing system. The trailer sports a simple but extremely robust design that’s been in production for over 10 years, during which time it’s seen a number of refinements. This includes the addition of midpoint couplers that allow it to flat pack. In fact, with a large enough bike box, you can slip it in alongside your bike.

    The Farfarer’s hammock-style loading area helps to self stabilise the trailer and is great for all kinds of gear – we’ve seen them hauling surfboards, pets, and even kids (though note that it’s not certified for the latter). In fact, there’s a surf rack accessory ($175), along with a number of other accessories available, like a rainfly and spare hitch. I tried an early version of this trailer on a Surly Krampus and was really impressed how little it affected the steering of the bike.

    At around 4.5kg (10lb) the Farfarer is extremely light. Given that it’s handmade in the US and the finish is top-notch, the price is very reasonable too. For more on Frances Cycles and the Farfarer, be sure to visit our Field Trip to their shop.

    • bikepacking cargo trailer
    • bikepacking cargo trailer
    • Weight: 4.5 kg (9.92 lbs)
    • Price: $550
    • Place of Manufacture: USA
    • Manufacturer’s Details: Link

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  • $550


    Radical Cyclone IV Trekking Bicycle Trailer

    Radical Cyclone IV Trekking Bicycle Trailer

    • Type: Two-Wheel Trailer
    • Use: Cargo
    • Cargo capacity: 40kg (88lb)
    • Wheel size: 16″

    The Radical Cyclone is another two-wheel trailer that’s been around for many years, and is now available in various options, including a bare-bones cargo version (€519.95) which looks like it would be a great option for lashing on all manner of gear, and even the alloy subframe (€369.95) for home customisation.

    The big trick up the Cyclone’s sleeve is that it converts quickly to an inconspicuous duffle bag. What’s more, when the wheels are inserted in the rear axle bushings, the Cyclone IV can be used as a walking trailer. Meanwhile, the tow-bar and wheels can be detached with a twist of the hand for travel by train. It’s no wonder it’s made in the Netherlands! Long popular with tourers on folding bikes, the Cyclone available in two versions: one for bikes with 16-20″ rear wheel and one for bikes with 26-29″ rear wheel.

    When in use, the duffle bag is good for 100L of space and 40kg of payload. It’s a very usable design. The bag opens up all around for maximum accessibility – the 10mm YKK zipper has two lockable sliders. Build quality is excellent, with industrial closed bearings and great attention to detail, as is reflected in the price. The Cordura bag isn’t waterproof, but comes with a waterproof cover. The total weight of 5.5kg is especially good, considering this includes the bag.

    • Weight: 5.54 kg (12.21 lbs)
    • Price: $550 (Radical Cyclone IV Trekking Bicycle Trailer)
    • Place of Manufacture: Netherlands
    • Manufacturer’s Details: Link

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  • $899


    Thule Chariot Lite

    Thule Chariot Lite

    • Type: Two-Wheel Trailer
    • Use: Family
    • Cargo capacity: 34kg (75lb)
    • Wheel size: 20″

    Thule is considered the gold standard of trailers. Well, the brand they acquired, Chariot, long had a stellar reputation. There are a number of models at different price points, but all are high-end compared to most other brands. One tier from the top, the Chariot Lite is their multi-sport trailer that rings in at $899, just below the Chariot Cross ($1,100). The latter can be seen with RJ and his family in this post and in the pictures below.

    Useful for bikepacking in mixed climates, the Lite includes easily adjustable ventilation vents that optimize airflow, and removable clips increase ventilation when used with rain cover. The standard package includes the stroller kit too, which can be very handy when you reach your destination.

    An adjustable wishbone suspension makes this trailer very comfortable across all the roughest dirt roads. As you’d expect from a Swedish company, there’s a five-point harness too. Plus, the Chariot line of trailers boast a wide range of accessories, depending on the age of your child and your favoured activities, including an infant sling when they’re young and a cross country ski kit if snowsports are your winter passion. Although it’s not especially light, the trailer folds too, making it easy to travel with. Build quality is excellent, so it’s well worth hunting them down second hand.

    • Weight: 11.66 kg (25.71 lbs)
    • Price: $899 (Thule Chariot Lite)
    • Place of Manufacture: China
    • Manufacturer’s Details: Link

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  • $470


    Topeak Journey Trailer TX

    Topeak Journey Trailer TX

    • Type: Single-Wheel Trailer
    • Use: Cargo
    • Cargo capacity: 32kg (70lb)
    • Wheel size: 16″

    The Journey Trailer TX is Topeak’s take on the BOB Yak, with a modern twist. There’s a standard version available for QR hubs, but the TX is the one to go for if you have a mountain bike with a thru-axle, as it will accept most of the modern standards – 142, 148, 157, 177mm widths – without the need for additional accessories. This means some fat bikes are catered for too. Plus, it will fit internal gear hubs with 26”, 27.5”, 29” or 700c wheels. The Journey TX has what looks like an easy to remove quick-release system, but there’s no kickstand or ability to fold. The frame is made from AL 6061A, so the weight is reasonable. A 65L waterproof drybag can double as standalone luggage, and weighs in at an additional 1.60kg/3.53lb.

    • Weight: 5.35 kg (11.79 lbs)
    • Price: $470 (Journey TX)
    • Place of Manufacture: Taiwan
    • Manufacturer’s Details: Link

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  • $429


    Weehoo Turbo Bike Trailer

    Weehoo Turbo Bike Trailer

    • Type: Single-Wheel Trailer
    • Use: Family
    • Cargo capacity: 36kg (80lb), age range 2-9
    • Wheel size: 20″

    The Weehoo is a recumbent-style trailer bike, or tag-along, which makes it ideal for kids who are ready to spend time out of an enclosed trailer, but perhaps don’t quite have the strength to support themselves on an upright trailer bike.

    The Weehoo doesn’t have any gears, but that won’t stop your child from pedalling away like fury, even if it’s in reverse! Build quality is on the barebones side – we felt the need to spruce up the cushion, as the trailer does bounce around off-road, and the seatpost-mounted hitch is also much simpler than the one found on the Tout Terrain Streamliner. In fact, the overall quality of the finish is much lower, as is reflected in the price. Amongst the many accessories, those expecting inclement weather can buy an all-weather cover, keeping your child out of the wind and rain.

    All in all, the Turbo is definitely on the basic side, but it’s still a lot of fun and my son Sage enjoyed his time with one.

    • Weight: 12 kg (26.46 lbs)
    • Price: $429 (Weehoo Turbo)
    • Place of Manufacture: China
    • Manufacturer’s Details: Link

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Downsides to trailers

Whilst trailers can open up a whole new world of possibilities on tour and at home, they have their downsides. They’re big brutes and take up room, be it on public transport, planes, or in cars. Transport policies aren’t always trailer-friendly, which is where models that can be easily dissembled or folded come into play, though you’ll still need to account for around 5kg of weight. Trailers are especially awkward on hike-a-bikes and can be tricky through tight singletrack, too. You may need to carry different spares and there’s the sheer weight that has to be taken into account, particularly if you’re flying. If you’re using a trailer, be sure to give extra thought into planning the logistics of your trip, both getting there and the terrain itself.

Buying Second-Hand Trailers and DIY options

Child trailers are a great investment and will likely last you several years. However, sturdier options are invariably more expensive, so it’s always worth checking the local second-hand market too. There tends to be a regular trailer turnaround, as families outgrow them all the time.

Bear in mind that some trailers are now discontinued but still worth hunting down. Chariot is the brand that now lives under the Thule umbrella. They’re long been favoured by expeditionist families – you’ll see them in many of the pictures in this post. Weber Monoporter is another interesting take on a single-wheel cargo trailer. One of my favourites – which we’ve included in this roundup as it was only recently discontinued but is still available – is the Tout Terrain Streamliner trailer bike. The BOB Ibex is another longtime favourite – effectively, it’s a Yak with a coil spring. It doesn’t behave nearly as well as the Tout Terrain mule and its air shock, but if you can pick one up at a good price, it may well suit your needs.

If you are opting for a second-hand trailer, just bear in mind that for regular, off-pavement adventures, we’d always recommend choosing one of the more reputable trailers on the market. A trailer designed for riding mellow rail trails and bike paths will be different from one intended for more rugged terrain, and this will always be reflected in the price, and in the case of child trailers, the use of suspension.

Also, be aware that many trailers use proprietary hitches, so make sure anything you buy second hand is compatible with your bike’s wheel size, its dropout system, or its seatpost diameter. The Robert Axle Project is a great resource for teaming bikes with modern thru-axles with trailers that were designed for older style QR hubs.

And lastly, we’d argue that everyone should have a cargo trailer of some kind in their quiver! We haven’t included them here but there are many cargo trailers on the market – and a variety of DIY schematics to be found online for those handy with a welding torch. Our friends at Campfire Cycling in Tucson have compiled a great roundup, which you can find here. For this Gear Index, we’re focusing on models that are designed with off-road use in mind and are certified for human transportation, but dig around online and you’ll find plenty of more affordable alternatives.

As with all of our other Gear Index lists, there may have been one or two options we missed. We welcome additional recommendations in the comments below.



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