When someone asked “What is a Specialty Trailer?”, I had to really think about it. Words are important in descriptions. Certainly it does not mean “Special”, as in “Unique” because almost all DIY or handmade or homemade trailers are “Special” in that way. So, how would you describe it?
I want your thoughts. Please comment on how you would answer: What is a Specialty Trailer?
Mechanical Elements & DIY Trailers
Perhaps it’s just wordsmithing or a waste of time thinking about definitions. Some people put a lot of focus on words and meanings, while others don’t care so much. Just as long as communication happens. I tend to be in the latter group, but I certainly understand the importance of communicating ideas with well chosen words.
At Mechanical Elements, we like the DIY concept of creating the things you need. It’s bringing a part of you into the project, and there’s nothing quite like the way finishing a great project makes you feel. Trailers, of course, and Shop Tools happen to be our favorites, so that’s what we’re about. Yet, it’s more than that. We love to see people successful. Whether you get plans from us or not . . . If you find something in an article that’s helpful, then it’s worth it.
And, anything you choose to put your heart into, becomes unique and special.
So, if all these DIY trailers are unique and special in their own way, what is “Specialty”?
What is a “Specialty Trailer” Anyway?
For us, we define trailers based on function. For example, some of our Trailer categories are: Utility, Deck-Over, and Specialty Trailers. (We should probably add some, but those seem to group pretty well.) Utility Trailers are useful for dozens of purposes (non specific), hence the word “Utility”. These are the Jack-of-all-Projects. It’s similar for the Deck-Over Trailers except these are larger and taller with the deck spanning over the wheels. Then there are the Specialty Trailers with specific purpose designs. (Accessories fall partly in the specialty category, but are not full trailers.)
Our “Utility Trailer” plans come with lots of options, and you choose what you like. You can choose several, or none. Or, you can mutate the ideas to best fit your application. That will make your trailer unique and therefore special, but not necessarily “specialty”.
Our “Specialty Trailer” plans include design with options that enhance a specific purpose. Again, there are options to support variations of the purpose.
For example, our ATV trailers have ramp options and tie-down options that help with ATV’s. You can make one of our “Utility Trailers” and use it for ATV’s, of course. But, if hauling ATV’s is the primary purpose for the trailer, why not get a design specifically for that. And, you can use it for the Utility chores too. It’s kind of looking at it from the other end.
Another example is “Tiny House” trailers. These are stiffer than you’d normally build for a Utility Trailer of the same length. For utility functions a little trailer flex doesn’t matter that much, but you don’t want the foundation of your tiny house to flex. The design is specifically to hold a tiny house – with all the needs of a tiny house – so we call it a specialty trailer.
The Super Extra Special Category
Then, there’s a whole class of “Super Specialty Trailer” or maybe it’s the “Unique” or “Rare” side. For example, for those experiencing the Tiny House Size Quandary, may want something wider than traditional — like a 10′ width rolling foundation or even a 12′ width. They require special permits on the road, and they don’t fit most towing situations. Yet they are specialty trailers, so they’re worth mentioning. Also, if you want them, we have the plans for you. We have both the 10′ Wide Tiny House Trailer, and the extra size 12′ Wide Tiny House Trailer. Please Contact Us for details.
Another style in this category are trailers with axles at both ends — like this Old Time Herder’s House. As flat bed trailers, they are popular for farms because of stability at low speeds and the spread of the weight. The Deck-Over configuration makes them nice for hauling a lot, but they aren’t on the highway much.
What About “Handmade” or “Homemade” Trailer?
Here is another set of words that sometimes come up.
These definitions are harder to distinguish. And, actually they are often interchangeable. Technically a “Handmade” trailer is one built without a lot of automation. For instance, just one or a few built. Contrast that to a factory trailer where they build them in batches with an assembly line. It doesn’t mean hands are not in the building, it’s just a wordsmithing difference. The “Handmade” designation implies it has a craftsman flair where the trailer is setup and made by hand.
The term “Homemade” usually means one of us building the trailer in your garage — at home. But, it could just as well be made at the shop after hours or something. It implies something less on the craftsmanship level. (Yet, we know that’s not really the case.) It also implies, legally, that there is no warranty or manufacturing company. You see this “Homemade” designation on trailer titles frequently.
With these definitions, most every “Homemade” trailer is also “Handmade”, but not necessarily the other way around. Anyway, it’s kind of splitting hairs. Either way, it’s a great thing to do while escaping from COVID.
Specialty Trailer Plans Available
So, now you know how we define “Specialty Trailer” and how we distinguish it from our “Utility Trailers” and the “Deck-Over Trailers“. It’s not that big of a deal, but it’s fun to knit-pick the words, and it’s a way of categorizing the plans.
Our latest specialty trailer is a Lightweight Mini-Camper Chassis for building your next teardrop or square drop camper. If you’re into camping, but want a little more, try this article about converting a non-offroad trailer to use offroad.
If you think there’s a better way for categorization, we want to hear your ideas. Sometimes we’re a little over analytical, so pitch us your thoughts. Also, if you have something specific that you want, let us know about that too. We’re always trying to serve you better. Thank you.
Have a Wonderful Day!