Last Call for Questions For Bug Out Trailers Part Two — 27 Comments

  1. When designing your bug out trailer, how important is  managing the tongue weight, and is there a device you would recommend to monitor for that during the build process so as to move storage areas forward or backward in the trailer.

    Would you have any concerns with mounting a 100 pound propane tank inside the trailer during travel, to be moved outside of the trailer when stationary?

    If I don’t want to use spray foam insulation, what would be the best alternative?


  2. Custom built 6×10 with a 4′ v nose,   clam cargo doors and a ramp for loading and extra off ground floor space when parked.

    Single axle or tandem?

    Tandem more tire ware harder to maneuver twice as many tire to replace.

    Tandem adjacent tire overload if you get a flat, you need two spare tires.

    My thought would be a single axle with a 5000 pound load rating .

    My question would be spring or torsion?

  3. when it comes to toilet / hygiene:

    –What are your thoughts on a composting toilet like a Nature’s Head? i have heard of boondockers that use this to eliminate the hassle of black tanks and with a couple u can go for a couple weeks before emptying due how it separates and breaks down solids.

    –If water conservation is a big concern, what do u think of the two spray-bottle minimalist method for keeping clean that Bob Wells talks about on CheapRVLiving? Especially if its paired with a 3rd spray bottle of rubbing alcohol for a extra wipe down and some dry-shampoo, I would think you could go for a long while on like a cup/day and be quite clean.

    Also when it comes to heat, thoughts on a catalytic one like an Olympian Wave or one of those small wood stoves made out of repurposed large ammo cans?

  4. Considerations about the electric connections… I always use a 7Flat system because it is the most popular for RVs but I make sure that my vehicle also has a 4-round for when I haul someone else’s trailer.  Even my light 4×8 foldable trailer uses this system so that I can recharge the marine battery simply by plugging my charger into the trailer. Also, my trailer electrical harness is stored inside a weatherproof box on the wedge to keep from corroding.

  5. What if you’re not a DIYer, how can a person adapt or purchase a tent for a van?  Also, this is a bit of an aside, but can you think of a fast and reliable way to move a person’s pantry into the vehicle?  We talk about a ladder type contraption with rolling tubes, so the boxes ride it into the vehicle.  Any thoughts of how to fill the car / truck bed quickly after a disaster and you need to bug out.

  6. What are some possibilities for smaller cars? I drive a Prius and Toyota says not to tow with one.  But I’ve seen some pop up trailers attached to aftermarket hitches.  What kind of weight can a Prius tow for a long distance?  Will towing a trailer with a Prius get a driver in legal trouble?  Not asking for legal advice, just things to consider.

  7. What about towing with a Prius?  I have seen some pop up trailers hooked up to aftermarket hitches.  What kind of weight can a Prius tow?

  8. Is there a good way to charge the battery on a camping/expedition/bug out trailer through the 7 pin connector?  I’ve read of folks doing it but it seems like the wire running to those 7 pin connectors in vehicles might not be a heavy enough gauge.

  9. If you’re pulling your bug out trailer with a pickup truck, what should go in the bed of the truck instead of the trailer and why?

  10. I’d be interested in hearing a few things discussed on part two:
    1.  How can the newer superduty diesel trucks that have 2 heavy duty alternators be leveraged to best provide power?
    2. Increased cost notwithstanding what are the merits of upgrading to lithium or newer type batteries over lead acid?
    3.  For those of us already with traditional travel trailers what things should be considered to make it more bugout resilient/useful
    4. For those of us that travel extensively for extended work assignments, say 6+ months out of year, and essentially live out of a travel trailer or 5th wheel (In my case as a Insurance Catastrophe Adjuster), what things should we consider or do to enhance the resilience/usefulness of trailer and/or tow vehicle? If I were to start with a blank slate what vehicles/trailers should i consider for long term usage?

  11. What considerations should be taken into account to maximize off road capabilities for a 5,000 lb payload trailer: suspension, tires, hitch, tongue, ground clearance, brakes, type of cargo container, and accessories?

  12. I am planning to use a cargo trailer. My plan is to use the trailer for camping and yet be able to load it with cargo in an emergency.

    I am considering the following bed options:

    1) a folding couch/bed that folds up against a wall allowing for more cargo room,

    2) a plywood fold down with foam mattress which folds up for more cargo room,

    3) folding bunk beds available from Cabelas, etc. whichfold up and stow for more cargo room.

    Any thoughts on the subject are most welcome.

  13. I’ve seen some cargo trailers that have a rail system built into the sidewalls where they can attach cargo hooks and move them around depending on loads.  I’m wondering if there is a way to use those rails to perhaps mount fold down bunk beds to the side walls of the trailer.  How much weight do you think sidewalls of your typical cargo trailer can support?

    Also, I’ve seen some roof racks mounted on cargo trailers that allow it to carry more.  Where can you buy those?

  14. How should batteries & other heavy equipment that makes it into the trailer be mounted, so that when the truck stops or accellerates they don’t go flying?

    If the trailer doesn’t have windows, and you want to be able to cook inside it, what can you do to get some airflow?

    Can you collect at least some of the rainwater that falls on most trailers and store it inside the trailer, or is that more trouble than it’s worth?

    I’ve seen pictures of bears getting in cars that have food in them. What do we need to do to make sure that’s not a concern for our trailers?

    What time of year can you find the best prices on new or used trailers?

    Thanks for the awesome content.

  15. I really like the idea of rocket stoves for cooking but they are so bulky to carry around. Utilizing a BOT makes it more do-able because you have more space to carry things, but still it takes up a little of room. Perhaps if the rocket stove could be used for more than one purpose such as converting it to heating your BOT. Is this possible?  I know about rocket mass heaters but that’s not very light nor portable, is there another way to use the rocket stove for heat?

  16. I personally like to carry foam board, tap, OSB, and cots to build a hexa yurt to sleep comfortably and toilet facility. It packs up small and expands to make a proper camp ground. Family comfort is very important in times of stress. Also, Don’t forget the multi vitamin.

  17. 1) Best way to heat a trailer

    2) Trailer wiring (example 4 plug vs 7 plug)

    3) Innovative ideas for charging your trailer.

    4) Portable power bank (that you can carry by hand)  to put in the trailer and move about.  How feasible to use   a atv Lithium ion battery?  They weigh between 1 and 2 lbs each.

  18. Do you recommend a practical way of keeping the temperature of a battery bank in the happy zone of temperatures if it is left permanently in the trailer in Midwest summer heat and winter cold?

  19. Suggestions for securing the trailer when unhitched from vehicle to prevent others from absconding with all our efforts.

  20. For those of us lucky enough to bug out to a location with shore power are there recommendations or codes we can wire our trailers to for 120 or 240 VAC?

    I too would like more info in the rocket stove use with a BOT.

  21. Should a 5gal propane tank be used inside?  My Camp Chef 2 burner stove and Big Buddy heater say to not use indoor with a 5gal tank and to use the small 1 pound tanks instead.  Is this just the company protecting them selves or is there a reason that a 5 gal propane tank shouldn’t be used inside?

    What kind of lighting do you recommend for trailers? Both 12v or battery operated and 120V.

    Is there a good way to store Gas or Diesel outside attached to the trailer?

    What kind of foam insulation do you recommend? Is it the stuff you can buy in a can at Home Depot or something that is professionally installed?

    Do you insulated the floor?  Or just the walls and ceiling?

    Most cargo trailers I’ve seen have 2 small vents installed from the factory.  One usually in the front left of the trailer about head height and one in the back right about a foot off the ground. What are these for?

    Do you have a recommendation on roof vents? Preferably one with a fan to help cool and to remove smell from taking care of business or cooking.

    Do you have a brand of tire that you would recommend?  All the tires I’ve bought for trailers seem to be low quality and wear out in a year or 2 (5000-8000mi).

    If stealth isn’t a priority, I would highly recommend putting RV style windows on a converted cargo trailer.  Just one on each side.  That way you can see whats outside before opening the door or if for some reason the door gets jammed or blocked you have an exit.  I converted a 7×14 cargo trailer to camper/bugout trailer and I really like having the windows on it. You can find used and new RV windows on ebay.  The Windows also give me a place to vent my portable AC unit.




  22. * Setting up the HBB (Harris Battery Bank) in the trailer and hooking it to your vehicle.

    * Features to look for in a pre-built trailer (and perhaps suggestions for makes/models).

    Thanks, for everything you guys do.

  23. How much impact will doing lift on the trailer impact load capacity?

    I have several trailers that I have done the Axle under spring mod to gain some clearance.  It works great to align with the truck and get across creeks with out dragging.   I did modify the bump stops.  The ~3 inch lift didn’t seem to have much of an impact on stability and greatly improved the usability of the trailer.