How to Load a Trailer in 4 Easy Steps

October 22, 2019

Trailer Loading Tips for Safety & Efficiency

When it comes to loading a utility trailer, just pack up and go, right? Well, not exactly. I mean, sure, it’s essentially a matter of loading cargo and getting on the road. But, to ensure everyone makes it there in one piece (cargo and loader), it’s best to follow a few ground rules…  

1.    PREPARE YOURSELF

Have you stretched lately? We’re not talking about that yawn stretch you do when you get out of bed in the morning. We’re talking real stretching to loosen up the muscles and prepare them for lifting heavy cargo back and forth multiple times. 

We suggest the following steps to get you ready:

Warm up your muscles by engaging in a continuous motion without overextending yourself 

Always work both sides equally to ensure you’re not favoring one are over the other 

Breathe in before the stretch and out as you perform it – just like you would with weightlifting

Work the arms by extending one up and over your head – holding for a five count
Pull one arm across your chest and hold with the opposite arm – hold for five

Work the legs by lifting at the knee and placing against your back – holding for a five count
Lift and hold one leg at an angle across your torso or level with your opposite knee – hold for five

Work the neck by leveling your head above your shoulders, then slowly pulling back – hold for five
Slowly tilt your head to the left and right – holding at the extension for a five count 

These are just a few to get you started, but don’t worry, there’s no shortage of stretching routines you can find online! 

Note: always perform stretches based on your ability or doctor’s orders to prevent further injury

 2.    PREPARE THE TRAILER

There’s no need to stretch the trailer, but a good cleaning never hurts. Plus, it’ll make your life much less difficult if there’s no dirt to deal with. After all, if you use your trailer for moving furniture, the last thing you want is to unload and have to clean everything from top to bottom.  

  • Sweep first to get all loose particles off the trailer bed
  • Hose it down if there’s real grime and debris stuck to the bed, side rails, or ramp
    • Make sure to hose down the hitch and the wheels to avoid buildup of harmful elements
    • If you choose to hose it down, allow it to air dry before loading any fabric on the bed 

Now that it’s clean, it’s time to get your towing equipment ready. 

  • Collect all straps and tie-down equipment so you know what you’re working with
  • Grab blankets that you can use to separate fragile items prone to scratching
    • A tarp is always a good item to have on hand in case of rain or snow
  • Bring a dolly or rolling cart to make your life much easier when loading heavy items

 3.    MAKE A PLAN

Just like moving into a new house, you need to know where the cargo is going to ride. By following the 60/40 rule, this process becomes much clearer. So, what is the 60/40 rule?  

Sixty percent of the cargo should be loaded into the trailer first so it rests closer to the towing vehicle where the weight can be best supported. This also allows the vehicle to stop and turn easier as there’s no weight displacement that can cause fishtailing.  

The other 40 percent should be your lightest cargo– small boxes, lamps, pillows, etc. Not only does this alleviate strain on the towing vehicle’s braking ability, it’s safe to assume the items you need to grab in a hurry are lighter and therefore easier to access from the gate/ramp.  

Thanks to the openness of utility trailers, access from the sides is also very easy. In this blog, we highlight a few ways to customize your trailer with the items you need most. 

4.    SECURE THE GOODS

Here’s where that preparation comes in handy. With the proper straps and tie-downs at the ready, you can make sure your cargo isn’t going anywhere while in transit. Tie off rings and D-rings are essential trailer accessories, as these give you a place to hook down straps and wrap cords through as you work to secure items from shifting on the road. Otherwise, you’re stuck relying solely on the side rails or getting really creative – which doesn’t always work out in the end. 

To protect sensitive items (think antiques or TVs), you’ll want to wrap them in a blanket before securing with straps or bundling together with other things. No matter how tight you strap items in, the road is going to force them to shift a bit, so the blanket helps to reduce scratching or dings. 

Many Everlite trailers feature integrated loop tie off rings. Everlite owners can even opt for an additional tie off ring and/or 5,000-lb. recessed floor D-ring for even the heaviest of items.

For more loading insights, your Everlite Trailers dealer is an incredible resource for tips and tricks. And when the time comes, they’ll help you choose the right open trailer for any cargo loading job. 

We also encourage you to visit and share your own advice on our Facebook page