Trailer to carry kit

Discussion in 'Touring and Adventure Cycling' started by sadjack, 3 Jan 2008.

  1. sadjack

    sadjack Senior Member

    I am starting to get into touring, in the process of buying my first tourer, a Dawes Galaxy.

    I've been looking at various options for carry my stuff. I intend to be self sufficient as possible and camp whenever I can.

    It seems you can load up the bike with front and rear panniers. But I've also seen things like the Bob Yak trailer to pull behind you.

    Not sure about these. Anyone any experience with pulling a trailer? Any views on the best way of lugging all that kit?

    Looking to plug into all that experience here before I commit myself and> Dont want to make an expensive mistake!

    Thanks in advance.
  2. Tim Bennet.

    Tim Bennet. Entirely Average Member

    S of Kendal
    That's easy ! - don't buy a trailer.

    In Europe you can be self sufficient with panniers. If it doesn't fit in a set of panniers, you're carrying too much stuff. Simple.

    Trailers are only necessary if you are crossing remote areas where you have to carry a lot of water (gallons) or perhaps if you are camping touring on a tandem where two people's kit has to fit in one set of panniers.

    A trailers converts an easily handled / parked / manoeuvred / train transported means of transport into a behemoth. They even weigh a lot before you even put a pair of clean socks in them. There will be trailer advocates along soon telling you they are the best thing since sliced bread, but they are simply wrong.
  3. OP

    sadjack Senior Member


    A lot of what you say makes sense.

    I've noticed a lot of people on this forum are called Wrong, must be a popular nickname for cyclists. But how do you recognise each other? I mean two Wrongs, do they make a Right? Or is everyone a Wrong and there is no Right? Or should that be everyone a Right and no Wrong.....

    Ah Debate.....what was her first name?

    Any way, like I said, I like your reasoning!

  4. OP

    sadjack Senior Member

    Thanks Creamcrackered

    I can see how people have differing views on this. But something Tim mentioned that I had not thought of, is quite simply the ability to man handle things without a trailer is so much easier.

    That one fact makes me think again. So unless Right can prove me wrong i'm siding with that at the mo.

    Or is that wrong can make me right? I'm confused now....:becool:
  5. andygates

    andygates New Member

    Trailers are an arse on the train.

    They're great for hauling bulky loads. One person doesn't tour with much bulk, certainly not twice :becool: But if you're riding in a group and want to tow, for example, the wifey's sleep mats and sleeping bags and fluffy towels because you're big and strong and grr, then they're very useful.

    Great for shopping, taking junk to the recyclers, sound systems, rolling barbecues (okay, I made that one up) -- I love my trailer. But I probably wouldn't take it on ordinary touring. The one exception is offroad: a single-wheeler is good on singletrack and panniers make an MTB handle like cold sick.
  6. ufkacbln

    ufkacbln Guest

    Trailers are more versatile than panniers and do not need racks in the same way which can make a trailer cheaper!

    For camping, the bulk of the tent is the critical factor for me.

    If you have a nice lightweight and compact then then fine, but in the early stages we had a fairly bulky one that was better suited to a trailer than panniers.

    I still prefer a trailer in some ways as it leaves the bike less encumbered.

    Also as I have got older the tendency is to B&B or hotel, especially when I tour early in the year, I find a trailer easier. I use a Radical Cyclone which is a "holdall with wheels"and is ideal for this use.
  7. Bigtallfatbloke

    Bigtallfatbloke New Member

    Hi Jack! is my humble opinion FWIW.

    Forget the trailer idea if it's just your own gear you are hauling around....unless you are planning on crossing the sahara, or something equally dumb , I can see no need when your galaxy will be more than capable of carrying everything you need in the panniers.

    For your guide I have just been through the same / similar learning curve since deciding I wanted to ride and tour in May last year. I bought a Daws galaxy and four carradice panniers, a tent, sleep bag, matt, cookset...the works and did my first tour last summer. This year i am going to cross France north to south with the same gear. I find I have plenty of room in the four panniers for all my gear.
    I cant see the need for a trailer at all if it is just your own gear you need to carry.
  8. OP

    sadjack Senior Member

    Thanks for the comments.

    I've just bought me bike!!!!!!! A Dawes Super Galaxy.

    Over the coming months I'll be adding panniers, I've gone off the idea of a trailer.

    Any comments on decent bags at decent prices?
  9. I bought Edinburgh Bike Co-op's copy of a Bob Yak for a tour last year.
    Went with wifey and a couple of friends, all fairly fit but me the only regular cyclist. I pulled all our gear round in the trailer, the others just with bumbags for their immediate stuff.

    One of our friends bike's has a rack, wifey's and our other friend's bikes don't, I have a rack on my commuter which I could have transferred onto the MTB I was riding. I have a set of panniers.
    So I guess for us all to be carrying our own stuff in one set of panniers each would have required two racks and three sets of panniers
    - the trailer was £125 but I had a 20% discount voucher i.e. £100 so I reckon it was cheaper.

    Being the only regular cyclist, it also meant I could drag the thing about, restricting my speed to the sort of speeds they were happy doing (unladen).
    I got a good workout/training effort every day (plus the pleasure of feeling "big and strong and grr" like andy says above:biggrin:), they had the pleasure of riding an unladen bike rather than having to cope with it heavy and unstable.
    Overall I think we all got something out of it and enjoyed our tour.
  10. Cathryn

    Cathryn California Correspondant

    The husband's just bought a super galaxy from spa cycles in Harrogate. He loves it. Is yours (bike) brown and shiny too???

    Pannier wise, we've just used Halford's bog standard ones for years and (LINED WITH A BIN LINER) they've done us proud so I'd firmly recommend them at least for your first trip or so.

    I'm currently saving up for Ortliebs as they're generally consider to be the dog's doo dahs, but that's primarily because they're yellow and yellow will look beautiful on Liesl, my bike. Girl? Me? Never!!
  11. OP

    sadjack Senior Member

    Hi Cathryn

    Snap...I just got back from Spa Cycles myself. And yes its brown and shiny too. Have they got all the Galaxy's?? It was the only place I could find that had one in stock for me to sit on and I was pleasantly surprised they let me ride up and down the road as well!

    With the price being so keen it was well worth the trip out there. To get the bike at that price elsewhere, it was internet orders only. Having ridden the one I bought, I ended up with a size a lot different to what the site advisors would have you believe, a 49 instead of a 54.

    I'm well pleased.
  12. Cathryn

    Cathryn California Correspondant

    I agree - I thought the husband would need a 64 but the 55 was excellent. Hurrah- you have matching bikes. He's only done 20 miles so far but was very pleased with it!!

    What a great shop as an Aladdin's Cave of bike stuff. I'm going back to buy my yellow Ortliebs as I think it's the kind of shop we should support.

    Are you far from Harrogate?
  13. OP

    sadjack Senior Member

    I live in North Wales.

    However I think the 200 mile round trip, probably costing 40 quid was well worth the outlay to get a bike that's right size!! With the price so discounted as well I'm still saving money. OK I could have got the same bike for the same price on the Internet, but more than likely it would have been the wrong size and I would have paid with discomfort for the time I had the bike.

    Your right about he shop, like stepping back 30 years, friendly people, know their stuff, happy to let you not only sit on but RIDE THE BIKE before you buy.

    Perhaps there's a bike shop like them nearer me, just have not found it yet!
  14. Cathryn

    Cathryn California Correspondant

    That's a good trip!!! Commitment. Glad you got a bike which made it worthwhile.

    Here's to us both (and the husband) exploring the world on our brown, shiny super galaxies!
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