Advice on renting a trailer

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Advice on renting a trailer

Postby gussa » Mon Mar 26, 2012 5:56 pm

Hi all!

Like someone further down on this forum, I've been wanting to come to Burning Man for close to a decade now. I remember reading about it in some obscure corner of the internet back in the early 2000s, and promised myself I'd get there as soon as was humanly possible. Easier said than done though - I've been living in Cape Town, London and now Melbourne since then, and it's just never seemed to be the right time. Anyway, lo and behold, this year the stars have aligned, the ticket gods have shone their benevolent light on me, my girlfriend and two other friends, and we're on our way. Exciting times!

I wanted to ask some advice here about renting trailers. I am planning on being in San Francisco from around the 13th August, and the rest of us arrive on the 24th/25th. We're going to rent an SUV. One of us is bringing a 10 foot puppet from Cape Town (we're all veterans of our regional there, Afrika Burn, check out the front page of the Afrika Burn website http://www.afrikaburn.com, you'll see one of his puppets there). Anyway, he's bringing a new one, a dragon or a yeti, not sure yet. We're also hoping to set up a small mini bar to serve Bloody Marys, mojitos and probably a fair bit of tequila. To do all of this we are going to need a TRAILER. For Afrika Burn we usually rent a simple flat bed trailer, but we'll take whatever we can get.

Does anyone have any advice on where to get a trailer, names of any companies, potential contacts, etc etc.? As I said, we have a bit of time in San Francisco before hand.

Any help would be much, much appreciated :mrgreen:
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Re: Advice on renting a trailer

Postby theCryptofishist » Mon Mar 26, 2012 7:43 pm

Okay, you (or someone in your group) have towed before, I hope. I think you're best off renting trailer and car from the same place. And quiz the guy that the truck is capable of pulling the weight of the trailer, plus.

That exhausts my knowledge, and while I'm typically ready to spout out opinions without knowledge never on a first date post.
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Re: Advice on renting a trailer

Postby mshaman » Sat Mar 31, 2012 7:24 am

Uhaul rents small enclosed trailers. This starts to get complicated, though: The SUV you rent probably won't be equipped with a hitch. You need to make sure it has a hitch receiver or a bumper hitch ball to hook it up. Then there's getting the lights to work (Uhaul uses a 4-pin flat wiring connector, the tow vehicle needs one too so that you have brake lights and turn signals). If it only has the receiver, you need to buy a hitch insert with the right size ball at a store before you can pick the trailer up.

Rental companies don't want you to to tow a trailer with their vehicles as a general rule... it increases their liability and the likelihood of a loss. Getting a company to rent you an SUV equipped to tow will probably be difficult. I would shift my thinking to a full size passenger van with the rears seats removed: http://www.budget.com/budgetWeb/html/re ... ental.html

This way you can fit your stuff and avoid a trailer.

If you must get a trailer, get the smallest one you can fit your stuff in... trust me, bigger the trailer is, the more stressful it is to manage on the road.

http://www.uhaul.com/Reservations/Equip ... x?model=uv

Note that you can look at many different sizes of trailer by using the selection box at the upper left of the page.
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Re: Advice on renting a trailer

Postby gussa » Sat Mar 31, 2012 4:14 pm

@mshaman... thanks so much, that's pretty helpful. Not too sure about those enclosed trailers - in the past we've used something that looks a little more like this:

Image

This usually allows us to stack everything up, and when all the awkward bits kinda stick over the sides etc. we just cover it all with mesh cloth and tie it down. But perhaps it's illegal in the US to tow a trailer like this? Any idea?

Otherwise, that's good advice about looking into a big van, which I think would probably be second prize. Will check into it, although from the looks of things reservations in San Francisco over that period are difficult to find. Not surprisingly they seem to all be booked out. Will continue searching...

In the meantime though, perhaps anyone has advice on car rental companies that are Burner Friendly or would be happy for us to tow a trailer? Perhaps someone out here has actually tried this before (i.e. rent an SUV + trailer from a rental company)?

Thanks again @mshaman. So nice to be able to have this forum, and really appreciate the advice of people like yourself. You too @theCryptofishist, it's the thought that counts!
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Re: Advice on renting a trailer

Postby theCryptofishist » Sat Mar 31, 2012 4:20 pm

gussa wrote:@mshaman... thanks so much, that's pretty helpful. Not too sure about those enclosed trailers - in the past we've used something that looks a little more like this:

Image

This usually allows us to stack everything up, and when all the awkward bits kinda stick over the sides etc. we just cover it all with mesh cloth and tie it down. But perhaps it's illegal in the US to tow a trailer like this? Any idea?

No, that is legal. AntiM and MyLarry (that is to say, her Larry) use one of those every year. It holds gear for three, plus theHome for Wayward Art.
For some reason I was thinking about one of those car trailers.
I would advice you to leave as much packaging behind you as possible, but that's bulk, not weight. I guess it's good advice for a van though...
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Re: Advice on renting a trailer

Postby AntiM » Mon Apr 02, 2012 7:10 am

A van or box truck might be easier, because yeah, rental vehicles don't like towing.

And yes, the trailer is legal. If you do go that route, tarp it and tie it down well, and check your load tie-downs at every stop. First stop should be within 50 miles, to catch any initial mistakes before they turn dangerous to other folks on the road.

Our old single axle trailer:
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Re: Advice on renting a trailer

Postby elKay » Mon Apr 02, 2012 9:52 am

A few years ago I had to rent a truck to tow a trailer home. (a drive from Chicago to south Florida and back) The ONLY company who would rent a truck to be used for towing was Enterprise, and only after presenting them with business insurance. If you have business insurance, the rental price was really very good. I don't know if they rent trailers though.
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Re: Advice on renting a trailer

Postby junglesmacks » Mon Apr 02, 2012 10:15 am

Instead of worrying about both renting a car and a trailer and making sure that it all fits together and that you won't have any issues with the rental companies.. I would highly recommend just looking into a box truck instead of a cargo van. You'll have all the room you need, plus be able to transport yourself. Budget is proven burner friendly.. ALL other companies run the risk of cancellation at the last minute. Rent online and say that you're a "business" instead of residential. You'll get much reduced per mile fees and don't need to actually have a business.

There are many on here that use box trucks for complete camping and transportation. Here's one thread on it from a while back.. viewtopic.php?t=35289
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Re: Advice on renting a trailer

Postby gussa » Tue Apr 03, 2012 5:08 pm

Thanks to everyone for the various bits of advice. The box van sounds like a great idea - Budget seems to have some pretty good ones available, so that looks like an excellent option. Not sure about actually setting up inside the van though, I think it's actually pretty nice to be exposed to the elements :) We're probably going to go with a monkey hut of some kind, plus tents etc. That said, if there is a really bad dust storm at least we'll have the box van as an option for shelter.

Only problem with box vans unfortunately is that they are two seaters... and since there are four of us it looks like that might mean having to rent an additional car, which sucks (both environmentally as well as budget wise). What would you guys say to putting two of our members in the back of the van in the cargo area? I am assuming this would definitely be illegal in the States?
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Re: Advice on renting a trailer

Postby theCryptofishist » Tue Apr 03, 2012 7:28 pm

Yeah, it's illegal. You could try and find rides for two. If you took extra cargo, freeing up space in the passenger car, they could take your friends.
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Re: Advice on renting a trailer

Postby mshaman » Tue Apr 10, 2012 11:13 am

Some box vans have bench seats for 3 up front... I've seen people pack 4 in but it's going to get pretty uncomfortable in the 300km to the playa. Also, there are only seat-belts for 3. Don't wreck. :-)
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Re: Advice on renting a trailer

Postby alice559 » Wed May 30, 2012 3:40 am

Trailers are storage containers which are used by people who need to store and transport items. Trailer rentals are affordable as well as great way to save money.
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Re: Advice on renting a trailer

Postby Captain Goddammit » Wed May 30, 2012 6:05 am

I agree with what's been said - you will have a hard time finding a rental SUV that is set up for trailer towing, and an even harder time finding a place that allows it in the contract. The box truck is a better way to go, if you can still get your hands on one.

Small economy cars rent pretty cheap. If I were in your shoes I'd look at getting a box truck and the smallest cheapest car to ferry the extra people.
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