The 10 Best Bicycle Cargo Trailers
This wiki has been updated 24 times since it was first published in October of 2016. Cycling is an environmentally-friendly way to get some exercise while commuting to work or school. But if you don't want to have to use the car when you need to haul a few things along the way, check out these cargo trailers. They enable your bike to be used for shopping and other errands, and can also carry a tent, clothing, and other gear for a bicycling vacation or camping trip. When users buy our independently chosen editorial selections, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
September 25, 2020:
For this update we removed the Apex BCT-8002 added the sleek Bob Yak Plus. While the Apex is more budget-friendly than the Bob, this is a case where you will get what you paid for. The tried and true Bob Yak can easily last a decade, and engineering details, like its quick-attach system make it a favorite for bikers.
While models like the Bob and the Topeak Journey have a low center of gravity and aerodynamic profile, essential for long haul adventures, many bikers looking for a cargo trailer probably intend to use it for moving larger or heavier loads around shorter distances, even if that just means a lot of groceries.
July 09, 2019:
One of the primary factors to consider before making your purchase is whether you want your trailer to be covered or not. A cover offers protection from the elements, but limits the amount of stuff you can pile on. Most open trailers can be secured using bungee cord or ratchet straps, which can allow you to haul everything but the kitchen sink without worrying about it falling out along the way. Of course, that also puts your stuff on display for thieves.
One possible compromise is a model with a removable cover, like the Aosom Elite II. Taking the lid off allows you to stack things vertically, but you'll still be constrained by the trailer's sides. For longer pieces, the Aosom Wanderer is a better choice, as you can remove the front and back gates or fold down the side walls.
The Burley Travoy is the biggest outlier in the group; it's not suitable for any sort of long-distance trip, but it's fantastic for everyday use. If you spend a lot of time on your bike, you'll be amazed by how much use you can get out of it — just expect to buy another trailer if you decide to go camping.
Thule Chariot Cross 2 You can take your kids for a ride without forcing them to share space with the groceries with this model. It has a separate cargo area in the back, and its VersaWing system makes it easy to transition between cargo trailer and jogging stroller. thule.com
Burley Coho XC With just one wheel, this unit is streamlined for single-track riding, yet has enough room to make your next camping trip a breeze. The adjustable kickstand allows you to set it up next to your tent without having to leave the bike attached. burley.com
Bikes At Work The heavy-duty trailers from Bikes at Work allow you to haul just about anything across town without a vehicle. You wouldn't want to take it on a cross-country trip, but it's ideal for city living, especially for a small business. It's offered in multiple lengths and two widths, plus there are accessories for securing large items like plywood and mattresses. bikesatwork.com
The Usefulness Of A Bike Cargo Trailer
A bicycle cargo trailer attaches securely to your bike with a simple clamp, either installing on the rear wheel bracket or on the seat post.
If you run any kind of errands on your bicycle, you know that your space is often rather limited. Even if you have a nice, big backpack and a bike bag to boot, you’ll still only be able to tote so much around town. And with both of those containers full, you may find that your balance isn’t quite as reliable as it is when it’s just you on the bike. That can make a simple trip to the grocery store suddenly become rather treacherous.
For many people, the answer is to hop in the car, but for anyone keeping an eye on their budget or on the environment, that might not be the most viable option. Gas regularly hits new highs for consistent pricing, even as the price of a barrel of crude oil drops, and using all that fossil fuel is positively obliterating the quality of our ecosystems. To save both a little of your money and a lot of the planet, it’s smarter to hop on the bike. The only problem is storage.
Fortunately, there’s a very simple solution to that problem: the bicycle cargo trailer. These devices add a tremendous amount of storage to your ride, while also having little to no effect on your ability to balance the bike itself.
A bicycle cargo trailer attaches securely to your bike with a simple clamp, either installing on the rear wheel bracket or on the seat post. A swiveling arm allows the trailer to have a little bit of movement, which will keep it from tipping over in the event of a tight turn. The actual cargo carrier itself will be designed to accommodate a variety of items — or even small people — depending on your needs.
How To Choose The Right Bike Cargo Trailer For You
Choosing a cargo trailer for your bicycle will likely have more to do with what you intend to carry along in it than anything else. As you look at the models on our list, some of the differences among them will be immediately obvious to you, and if you know what you want to be able to haul, you can narrow down this selection to a few viable options at little more than a glance.
It’s easier to take a model that breaks down easily into the store with you where it’ll be safe.
For example, if you know that you’re going to put human beings in the trailer, make sure that it can accommodate them safely. Seats with backs, seatbelts, and even sun shades should be among the features you look for in a given model. Also, take a good look at the wheels. If they seem cheaply made, there’s a good chance they’ll make for an uncomfortable ride. Pneumatic tires on wheels with some kind of suspension system to absorb the shocks of the road would be ideal for carrying cargo as precious as youngsters. These considerations are also important if you intend to pack your pets back there.
If you intend to carry more inanimate cargo, then it’s time to start to consider your environment. If you live in a desert climate that gets little rain, or you just never take your bike out in inclement weather, then you can opt for a cargo carrier that has an open design. Riders who may head out in a downpour would do better to look for a carrier with some kind of upper closure, and to keep an eye out for materials that are water-resistant. This level of consideration can make sure that your groceries or library books stay nice and dry.
Something that will require a little more than a fleeting glance to ascertain is the ease with which a given trailer breaks down. If you consistently tote large objects or small people around, you may not need to disassemble your trailer very often, but if you know that you’ll only need it part of the time, you’ll want something you can break down easily for immediate storage. This is also important if you ride around in a city where theft is a problem, and you aren’t able to loop your carrier in with your bike lock. It’s easier to take a model that breaks down easily into the store with you where it’ll be safe.
Once you’ve taken all these practical considerations into account, you can start to think about style. You bike is an extension of your personality, after all, and your cargo trailer is an extension of your bike, so it should reflect you in some way, as well.
Other Essential Bike Accessories
Once you’ve outfitted your bicycle with an effective cargo trailer, you’ll want to make sure that the rest of your gear is up to snuff before hitting the road. You probably aren’t headed out into the mountains with a cargo trailer in tow, as that would likely spell disaster, but there’s still a whole host of useful materials you can invest in to make your biking trip safer and more efficient.
If you can quickly patch it up on the side of the street, you won’t have to worry about your milk spoiling in the summer heat.
For starters, just because you have a nice cargo trailer, that doesn’t mean you should ignore the benefits of a good bike pouch. With a little storage up front by your handlebars, you can quickly access your phone, keys, or a map by simply pulling over, no need to dismount or go rummaging through the contents of your trailer. And if something should happen to your trailer — say it suddenly comes detached and sends your groceries careening down an alley — you’ll still have your most important items on you.
Next, make sure you’ve got a patch kit with you. Now that you have two wheels on your trailer added to the two on your bike, you’re twice as likely to suffer a flat from road debris. If you can quickly patch it up on the side of the street, you won’t have to worry about your milk spoiling in the summer heat.
Finally, do everything you can to increase your safety and visibility. A good helmet, a reflective vest, and both head and tail lights are vital when on riding on the road, especially when pulling a trailer behind you, and even more so when riding after dark.