Truck vs trailer

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JA600L

Minister of Fire
Nov 30, 2013
1,280
Lancaster Pennsylvania
Hi guys,
I've been cutting and burning wood for about 12 years. I've always gotten wood for free scrounging with my 2000 F-150 extended cab 6.5' bed.

I now have a 2 year old and another baby on the way. I've also changed jobs and gave up my company vehicle. So I bought a 13' Hyundai Tucson to commute with. I also have an 11' Mazda Cx-9 for the family vehicle.

I feel like it might be time to let the truck go but I wanted to get some perspective. How do you guys feel about having a truck vs a trailer? It would cost me about $500 a year to keep my truck on the road. I would replace it with a 5x8' trailer.

Most of my scrounges are local and I don't do more than 2-3 cords a year. I have considered that I won't be able to pull the splitter and load wood on the same trip. Thanks
 

gzecc

Minister of Fire
Sep 24, 2008
4,968
NNJ
Trailers are more versatile than trucks. Much cheaper too.
 

tlc1976

Minister of Fire
Oct 7, 2012
1,097
Northwest Lower Michigan
I have a 5x8 enclosed Haulmark trailer. Had it since Christmas Eve 2000. I’ve towed it with a station wagon, minivan, and my Jeep. So I don’t need a truck. Things I’ve hauled with it are all my firewood, pellets, moved myself and others several times, building supplies, trash, car parts, things I’ve found on Craigslist, resales, yard sales, music gear back in my band days…. So handy to have. I can fit about 1.5 face cord in it before it’s a bit too much weight. I have brakes on it. And a ton of pellets on the pallet is a perfect fit. Actual floor is 4’-10” x 8’-4” so perfect for building materials. The low deck height is great too.

At least in Michigan, for a trailer it’s a 1 time fee ($75 last I knew) then the plate is permanent as long as you keep that particular trailer. It’s worked well for me.
 

Dataman

Minister of Fire
Sep 10, 2018
1,111
Newport, Wa
We went the 5x8 trailer route. Switch back to PU Truck. We have about 5 cans to get to Transfer Station (Dump) about every 6 weeks. Lots easier with our Jeep Gladiator. Vs Trailer. Sure glad we did too. Got 4ft of snow

IMG_20211202_080837734.jpg IMG_20220108_093117169.jpg IMG_20220108_093435953_HDR.jpg
 

EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
3,039
SE North Carolina
New home power backup truck! Better than a Tesla wall.



Trailer parked and ready to go is the best. Leave it full of stuff like mine and it’s useless.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
94,654
South Puget Sound, WA

xman23

Minister of Fire
Oct 7, 2008
2,447
Lackawaxen PA
I'm a trailer guy. It's the pickup truck I don't have. It's 30 years old, 1200 LBS. Just did the 30 year maintenance. New tires and greased the wheel bearings. I see no reason to beat up a expanse vehicle to move wood.
 

Jags

Moderate Moderator
Staff member
Aug 2, 2006
18,381
Northern IL
I have a truck, but for wood gathering I prefer my trailer. Low deck height, folding ramp, 3500 pound capacity, etc makes it easier to load and unload.
 

hedge wood

Feeling the Heat
Mar 1, 2009
308
Eastern NE
I am a trailer guy all the way. Don't like to beat up my pickups. I did haul a small load of firewood last winter in my 2011 farm truck to a buddy that was laid up. All my trailers were in use.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
29,227
central pa
For me lots of the places I get wood would be a real pain to get a trailer into. And I have multiple trucks anyway one a dump. They are all work trucks so they get best on every day getting wood isn't a big deal
 
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wishlist

Minister of Fire
Mar 28, 2011
618
Corunna, Michigan
Good discussion . I like both for various reasons . Trucks are nice to get into tight spots , trailers are cheaper .
I’m researching right now on dump trailers and maybe sell both trailers I have . ( 20 ft 10k equipment trailer and 6x12 aluminum trailer).
Rented this 14k 14ft dump the other day and I was impressed . Works well dumping logs .
501B4DE3-F78A-428C-8560-EAC5A74F85A2.jpeg
 

wishlist

Minister of Fire
Mar 28, 2011
618
Corunna, Michigan
Should have added those are all oak and hickory logs . Can’t quite tell from my pic but I have another 30 or so more trips to make . All oak , hickory and a little sugar maple .
I’ll be set on firewood for a few years !
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
29,227
central pa
Good discussion . I like both for various reasons . Trucks are nice to get into tight spots , trailers are cheaper .
I’m researching right now on dump trailers and maybe sell both trailers I have . ( 20 ft 10k equipment trailer and 6x12 aluminum trailer).
Rented this 14k 14ft dump the other day and I was impressed . Works well dumping logs .
View attachment 290880
Loading equipment in a dump trailer isn't nearly as nice as on most flat beds though.
 
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johneh

Minister of Fire
Dec 19, 2009
4,191
Eastern Ontario
I used a truck for years. When I retired sold the truck and bought a 5x8 trailer to hall around behind my wife's Tucson and now behind my Kia Sportage Easier on fule and my back not so high to lift wood into.
The trailer is also easier to get my 4 wheeler or snowmobile in and out of
 

wishlist

Minister of Fire
Mar 28, 2011
618
Corunna, Michigan
Loading equipment in a dump trailer isn't nearly as nice as on most flat beds though.
My L4701 kubota with a grapple and a ballast box loaded fine for a short trip on backroads . I don’t haul the tractor very often . I had the grapple over the front of the trailer and was able to close the gates on the dump trailer . If I had to travel longer distance I would put the grapple in the bed of the truck .
They do have 16ft dumps but 14 seems a good size . Decisions !
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
29,227
central pa
My L4701 kubota with a grapple and a ballast box loaded fine for a short trip on backroads . I don’t haul the tractor very often . I had the grapple over the front of the trailer and was able to close the gates on the dump trailer . If I had to travel longer distance I would put the grapple in the bed of the truck .
They do have 16ft dumps but 14 seems a good size . Decisions !
Tractors aren't bad. I don't like driving skid steers up into dump trailers.
 

salecker

Minister of Fire
Aug 22, 2010
1,834
Northern Canada
Good discussion . I like both for various reasons . Trucks are nice to get into tight spots , trailers are cheaper .
I’m researching right now on dump trailers and maybe sell both trailers I have . ( 20 ft 10k equipment trailer and 6x12 aluminum trailer).
Rented this 14k 14ft dump the other day and I was impressed . Works well dumping logs .
View attachment 290880
That's not really true
A dump trailer will cost thousands of dollars,i know because i am hoping on finding a used one cheaper than a new one that i can't afford
A wood truck can be picked up cheap,a wood truck just need basic insurance.
I have a 2002 GMC that i got for free,needed a power steering pump and hose,battery and tires if you were going in mud
It's a work truck and shows it's dents with pride.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
29,227
central pa
That's not really true
A dump trailer will cost thousands of dollars,i know because i am hoping on finding a used one cheaper than a new one that i can't afford
A wood truck can be picked up cheap,a wood truck just need basic insurance.
I have a 2002 GMC that i got for free,needed a power steering pump and hose,battery and tires if you were going in mud
It's a work truck and shows it's dents with pride.
Yeah all said and done I have roughly $1500 in my dump truck not including the snowplow.
 
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Gearhead660

Minister of Fire
Dec 20, 2018
826
Southern WI
Good discussion . I like both for various reasons . Trucks are nice to get into tight spots , trailers are cheaper .
I’m researching right now on dump trailers and maybe sell both trailers I have . ( 20 ft 10k equipment trailer and 6x12 aluminum trailer).
Rented this 14k 14ft dump the other day and I was impressed . Works well dumping logs .
View attachment 290880
Love my dump trailer. Worth the $ if you can utilize it enough to justify the cost .
 

Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
17,076
Philadelphia
Love my dump trailer. Worth the $ if you can utilize it enough to justify the cost .
Dump trailers are a beautiful thing, but you need a pretty serious tow vehicle, to make a dump trailer the most practical move. Their payload to GTWR is so low, by comparison to less complex trailers, that it's a tough sell as a firewood hauler or general purpose wagon. Also, the load-in height is high, so their advantage there falls short for anyone who doesn't also have a front end loader on site while loading. Add to that that it's no fun getting tractors in and out of of them, the high COG, and they really become a better "second trailer" option for someone who already has a landscape or utility trailer.

But, to the OP, I was going to say "trailer", before even reading his post. Bholler and wishlist bring up a good point, if you're getting wood out of "extreme" locations, but for me that wouldn't outweigh the other advantages. Also, I'd bet I could get the little 5x8 utility trailer in the OP's question in and out of almost anywhere most folks could get a truck, with likely too few exceptions to really kill the deal for me.

I have both, but almost always take the trailer when fetching wood. I can list some reasons, to help you decide which is for you:

1. Wood is heavy. Wood hauling vehicles nearly always run out of payload capacity, long before they run out of space. My truck is only 1/2 ton, and squats pretty hard with 1000 lb. of wood in the bed. But my trailer has a payload around 5500 lb. You're talking about a smaller vehicle and trailer, so the numbers are different, but I'd be willing to bet the ratio is similar.

2. I put a winch on the front of the trailer, so I don't have to buck and lift rounds. Now I just drag full 15' logs right onto the trailer (16.2' box), drive home, and drag them off with the tractor. This is a heck of a lot easier than lifting rounds into a pickup, and then tossing them back out at home. You could do the same with 6' logs, or some other even multiple of your preferred split length, that's slightly shorter than your trailer box.

3. My trailer gets pretty banged up, but my truck stays (relatively) pretty. The truck I had owned prior to buying the trailer got real banged up, I bowed the tailgate out dragging a 48" diameter log out of the bed, and dropped at least one or two rounds on a rear fender in the course of moving several dozen cords of rounds over the years. I don't need a real pretty truck, but I do drive it for business and family, and don't want it to look like complete hell.

4. When you make one too many scrounging runs in a day, and run out of daylight on your last trip home, I don't mind letting 5000 lb. of wood sit in the trailer until I get home from work the following afternoon. I simply block the rear and crank up the tongue jack to take most of the weight off the suspension. I don't like leaving my truck squatting under a heavy load for a day or three, especially if I might need that truck to drive to work!

5. I put my saws and tools in the bed of the truck, and the wood in the trailer. No more accidentally crushing a saw, or trying to secure them on top of a load of firewood, and hope they're still there when you get home. Saws, chains, cant hook, my lunch and water, and other gear stays in the bed of the truck.

6. You'll find a million other uses for the trailer, if you choose one well-suited to your needs. I have tractors and mowers that I can haul with me to grounds work days at church, or if one needs to go to the dealer for service (thanks, John Deere electronics). When I needed to haul a boat trailer home from the sandblaster, and didn't want to drive it on hubs potentially full of sand, I simply put that trailer on my wood-haulin' trailer to bring it home. You could end your days of frustration, trying to blindly tow or back up a too-small log splitter, by simply putting it onto your utility trailer when you take it somewhere.

I guess there's one other, less quantifiable bonus:

7. Your neighbors, friends, coworkers will see you hauling loads of wood around town, and you'll become known as "the wood guy". Soon you will have so many offers for free wood, that you'll be turning down anything less than the most prime. Well, that happened with me, anyway.

IMG_0149.JPG
 
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Gearhead660

Minister of Fire
Dec 20, 2018
826
Southern WI
If I had to choose, I would choose both!
But seriously, if I did have to choose it would be a trailer. So many uses, and less upkeep $ wise.

I will always have both a truck and trailer(or 2 or 3) at all times as they are needed for my hobbies and part time job.
 

ABMax24

Minister of Fire
Sep 18, 2019
1,618
Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada
I use both. We usually drive an hour each way to get firewood on crown land, loading just a truck or trailer seems like a waste of time and fuel. With my one ton and sled trailer I can at least get a good load, 1 cord is easy, 1.5 is pretty normal, but if its dry standing wood 2 cords is possible.

I also like the idea of a dump trailer, and have also been looking at them but the cost isn't justifiable. I've thought about building one as I have piles of leftover steel at work that I could get for free, but not sure when I'd find the time.
 

wishlist

Minister of Fire
Mar 28, 2011
618
Corunna, Michigan
I like to work smart if it all possible . So for me having a tractor with a grapple is a huge back and time savor . I can really move some logs quick . As Ashful mentioned a trucks payload is considerably less than a decent trailer . I bought my 10k 20 ft equipment trailer new in 2019 and paid $3400 . I can load that up with a lot of logs . I use the tractor to pull the trailer to one of my woods about 3 miles away . Works great but a dump trailer would allow me to make numerous trips in a day and not have to spend much time unloading at home plus the dump has tons of other uses .

The dump I rented had 26” sides I believe . No issue at all for the tractor loading logs .
The tractor loaded real easy in the dump with the ramps that were tucked under the bed . Very cool design .

I’ve had my share of truck wood haulers . Seems like they can nickle and dime you to the poor house quick . Plates and insurance here in Mich would run close to $1000 a year .
 

wishlist

Minister of Fire
Mar 28, 2011
618
Corunna, Michigan
Here’s the 20ft equipment trailer loaded with ash .

7C9E42B0-1BE1-4287-B6C5-072EEB41B7FA.jpeg 921BEC38-1A5B-4075-BD6B-B8F7F31D859A.jpeg
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
29,227
central pa
I like to work smart if it all possible . So for me having a tractor with a grapple is a huge back and time savor . I can really move some logs quick . As Ashful mentioned a trucks payload is considerably less than a decent trailer . I bought my 10k 20 ft equipment trailer new in 2019 and paid $3400 . I can load that up with a lot of logs . I use the tractor to pull the trailer to one of my woods about 3 miles away . Works great but a dump trailer would allow me to make numerous trips in a day and not have to spend much time unloading at home plus the dump has tons of other uses .

The dump I rented had 26” sides I believe . No issue at all for the tractor loading logs .
The tractor loaded real easy in the dump with the ramps that were tucked under the bed . Very cool design .

I’ve had my share of truck wood haulers . Seems like they can nickle and dime you to the poor house quick . Plates and insurance here in Mich would run close to $1000 a year .
Plates and insurance for my dump/plow truck are really pretty cheap. It is the 4th truck on the policy and gets very little mileage. I need a plow truck and dump truck anyway so it really isn't an extra expense. I attach a topside tool box on each side ontop of the bed rails up from when getting wood. That holds my equipment
 
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