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Trailer or Truck-bed Cap? Your Thoughts?


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  • Trailer or Truck-bed Cap? Your Thoughts?

    This would be for the sound system and my guitar rig only, all other musicians will be transporting their own gear with their own vehicles. I have a 2013 Dodge Ram 1500 and when I bought my sound gear I originally thought I would just buy a cap for the bed. But after thinking about it and talking with a few buddies that have trailers, now I wonder if that would be the better option.


    I do have a locked garage to store the trailer in. It is not climate controlled so the equipment would be exposed to the Ohio humidity in the summer months, and cold temps in the winter. If I had to unload the truck bed then I would store the equipment in a climate controlled basement (but would have to carry it up and down stairs .png" alt=":smileysad:" title="Smiley Sad" />).


    Cost for the cap or a decent 5x8 trailer is roughly the same. Added bonus for the cap would be we could use it for other things (like vacation travel). Bonus for the trailer would be the ability to leave it loaded in a locked garage. But the sound system is relatively small (2 PRX612m, 2 PRX618-XLF, RCF 312A monitors, Mixwizard, 2 bags of mics and cables) and only scheduled to be used twice a month for now, hopefully will increase in the future. Truck currently gets 21 mpg unloaded, about 19 with under 1000 pounds in the bed (I have a very light foot), I know a trailer would lower that by about 30-40% when towing and increase wear on the brakes, but would only be used twice a month.


    I did a search for old threads about this, but I was also wondering what the current thoughts are as well.

    Good deals with: CRANK, Julius Caesar, nxheo, smd24fan, basshub, and Lonnie99

  • #2
    I honestly don't see the difference in gas milage when I'm towing my trailer. But I'm towing with a mini-van that 's taller and wider than my small trailer. (I also don't use it very often.) I like the trailer, but I only use mine when carrying the bigger guns to a gig. Smaller stuff, I just pull the seats and use the van. (My usual situation.)


    • nchangin
      nchangin commented
      Editing a comment

      Sounds like you made up your decision. When I first started I had a partner with a topper. The only issue is he wouldnt allow us to store the equip in the truck, so always had to go over at the end of the night move everything out of truck back into garage for storage. Hence the investment of a trailer, and it also acts as a storage area for the equip. I am in same boat have to store trailer outside - seems to be fine and speakers seem to be unaffected by the climate changes. The trailer is more of a pain to store, maneuvering around etc, but I like coming home at the end of a night and going to bed vs having to unload all the equipment and lock it up in the garagestorage. If you get a trailer don't forget to lock up the hitch and the gates as well.

  • #3

    If you can swing the trailer, do it. I too live in Ohio and have a 5x8 trailer stored in the garage. No issues in 6 yrs. 

    PA: JBL PRX712, PRX718XLF, RCF 745-A, 522-A, 310A, A&H Qu-16
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    • sibyrnes
      sibyrnes commented
      Editing a comment

      Get the trailer with a door ramp.  Loading/unloading from a pick up truck is the worst!  With a trailer you can have everything on wheels, roll it in - roll it out.

  • #4

    After the first gig where you load the truck, load in to the venue, load out to the truck, and then unload the truck, you'll realize the trailer is a no-brainer.

    "If you don't know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else" - Yogi Berra, 1925-2015


    • jamesewells
      jamesewells commented
      Editing a comment
      Also, YMMV but the best thing I did when I bought my trailer was to order the extra height interior. No hitting your head and bending over...

  • #5
    I started out with nothing. I'd throw everything in the back of my truck and tarp it. One small jaunt to the next town convinced me to get a topper, which worked out great. Everything I had fit into the truck and back seat, leaving the passenger side free. M

    I needed the passenger side free because whenever I did a gig, I needed help loading and unloading my LS800p's onto my truck at home, and down at the venue.

    I hated that it took 45 minutes to load up my truck and that I needed to rely on help. On more than one occasion, I was stuck waiting over an hour for the 10 minutes of help I needed.

    My trailer is so nice that I can park it in the garage, and leave it loaded for the next gig. Hook on and go, back it in and drop it at the end of the night. That alone saves me almost 2 hours per gig.

    Since I needed a lower trailer I ordered mine new. That let me choose options like ramp door, threshold plate, no roof vent, 2 rows of E-Track at the heights that would work for me. So it's exactly what I need.

    Plus, I'm no longer a guy with a bunch if stuff in the back of a truck. I'm a guy who rolls in with a clearly packed trailer, ready to go. It just ups the perception of the whole operation.
    PA Unity15's over LS800p's. YX15's, YX12's IPR power, RM32AI

    LightsMartin Minimac Profiles, Chauvet Intimidator Spot Duos, Blizzard 3NX, Fab5, Hotbox


    • #6

      I used to use a small pickup with a cap - but never really liked it.   It was hard to load - not only because of the initial lift to get onto the tailgate - but also because it was "hands and knees" to get the load up to the front of the pickup bed.   Then, once it was in there - the little toy lock never left me feeling it was secure enough to leave out of my sight for more than couple of minutes.  Now, on the other hand a trailor .... gets a thumbs up for the ease of loading - as well as for security. 

      Personally, I use a Ford E150 cargo van.  Plenty of space, zero issues with parking at the gig, relatively secure.  Mine is a true cargo van - complete with the steel bulkhead separating the cargo bay from the cab compartment - which is a huge factor in terms of safety. 

      I recent added an inexpensive ramp from Harbor Freight that addressed the issue of having to lift rolling racks in and out of the van.    Best $150 bucks I've spent in awhile!  

      The SpaceNorman


      Keyboards and Tone Generators: Yamaha CP300, Kronos 88, Roland AX Synth, Motif ES Rack
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      • Guitarman63
        Guitarman63 commented
        Editing a comment

        Hey Spacenorman, Thanks for the heads up on the ramp, I've been lookin for one for awhile! Can't believe I did'nt think of Harbor Frieght. gonna get one tomorrow!.png" alt=":smileywink:" title="Smiley Wink" />

    • #7
      I'd be worried about the weight shift under hard breaking. Lots of people use them in this area for skiis etc. my dad has one, and they just seem pretty light in the strength dept.
      PA Unity15's over LS800p's. YX15's, YX12's IPR power, RM32AI

      LightsMartin Minimac Profiles, Chauvet Intimidator Spot Duos, Blizzard 3NX, Fab5, Hotbox


      • ChiroVette
        ChiroVette commented
        Editing a comment

        StratGuy22 wrote:
        I'd be worried about the weight shift under hard breaking. Lots of people use them in this area for skiis etc. my dad has one, and they just seem pretty light in the strength dept.

        Well if this one is light and built crappy, I am going to send it back fast. I am not paying over $500.00 for a unit like this for some lightweight piece of garbage that will break under any kind of weight and hard breaking or turning. The truth is, though, I have read a ton of consumer reviews on this unit, in particular, and none of them reported breaking or sheer forces causing any problems. People are using the higher end units like this to drive cross country with luggage and tons of stuff, so I hope you're wrong, but acknowledge that you may, in fact, be right. The thing I was thinking of doing, is using it for the lighter stuff like cases of cables, light and speaker stand bags, mic stand bags, and maybe a few heavier but not too heavy items. The good news is that all the speakers and my guitar amp fit into the truck, and I can put a few other odds and ends in it without using the front seat since I drive the female vocalist after gigs.

        All I can do at this point is try it out and see how it looks and feels on the roof of the car without actually using it. Like I said, though, people are going cross country with these things loaded up. I am only driving about 40 miles each way to gigs.

        Let's just hope this is a solution or I have some serious transportation problems.

    • #8
      Acklands sells grip tape that works well on a ramp door. I went with a 4" wide 60' roll that I bought for around $35.
      PA Unity15's over LS800p's. YX15's, YX12's IPR power, RM32AI

      LightsMartin Minimac Profiles, Chauvet Intimidator Spot Duos, Blizzard 3NX, Fab5, Hotbox


      • #9

        I have used a pickup truck with a cap for many years, I don't have any issues loading/unloading anything....I must be doing something wrong.

        Don't like towing a trailor and many of the venues I end up working in finding a spot to park a truck/trailor combo just is not going to happen.

        My suggestion if you go with a cap, get a utility version (double lined inside), and get the tallest one you can as you will fill it. Plus you are not bent over when you are loading etc. It also has a much better lock setup.

        Also, if you didn't already, buy a real bed liner for the truck. The Dodge spray on bed liner sucks trying to roll equipment around on it, plus the wheels get stuck in the ribs. With the bed liner the ribs are closer together and everything slides/rolls much easier.

        You will find that the utility caps cost right in the same ball park as the fiberglass caps do, but they are much more durable....but you have to order them double lined on the inside or every little dent will show on the outside!




        I have the 4.7(?) V8 engine, I also had custom rear coil springs made to hold the weight (this truck stays loaded with approx. 1500lb's) it still gets 15mpg which isn't bad considering how big the cap is and how much weight is in it.



        • #10
          The biggest disadvantage to a trailer is that all of your friends will suddenly have a need for it! Around here if you need a new refridgerator the delivery cost is about $40 and you may have to wait. Secondary uses for the trailer made the decision very easy for me. But then again I have a scooter I haul on occasion

          Mine stays loaded. I have a $300 unload fee if someone wants to use it. No one has taken me up on it yet.

          PA Unity15's over LS800p's. YX15's, YX12's IPR power, RM32AI

          LightsMartin Minimac Profiles, Chauvet Intimidator Spot Duos, Blizzard 3NX, Fab5, Hotbox