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What is an Enclosed Trailer?

Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari

The term enclosed trailer may refer to any number of different utility trailers. In general, however, an enclosed trailer is any non-powered vehicle that is towed by a powered vehicle such as a car or truck, and is enclosed to protect the contents within from the elements and theft. The enclosed trailer may include construction trailers, which are large units set up as an office and come with hookups for phone and electricity. Other enclosed trailers are much simpler and can be adapted for a variety of purposes.

Enclosed trailers are flatbed trailers much like open air utility trailers, but with walls and a roof to completely contain the contents inside. A larger enclosed trailer will have a door or gate at the rear of the trailer, as well as a door on one of the sides of the trailer for easier access to items within. Like regular utility trailers, an enclosed trailer must have brake lights and proper license plates in order to be road-worthy in the United States. They are connected to a powered vehicle by a trailer hitch -- most commonly a two inch (5 cm) ball hitch. This allows the trailer to move side to side independently from the towing vehicle.


Like other types of trailers, an enclosed trailer can come in a single-axle variety or a multi-axle variety, depending on the size and weight capacity. Larger enclosed trailers will have more than one axle to support more weight, and these trailers must be attached to vehicles with appropriate towing capacity. A medium or large truck is often required.

The versatility of an enclosed trailer makes it a good choice for a variety of purposes: they can be used for moving from one home to another securely; they can be fitted with cabinets, shelves, and workbenches to serve as a portable construction shop; they can be fitted with cables or straps for securing motorcycles and ATVs; they can even be fitted to serve as a temporary living quarters, though ventilation and electricity can be an issue. Some versions of an enclosed trailer are made specifically to serve as a temporary living quarters, such as pop-up campers.

Because an enclosed trailer adds extra weight to your vehicle, it will affect your car or truck's handling. Braking distance will significantly increase, and the driver must take special care in turns and at high speeds to keep the trailer under control. In addition, some enclosed trailers will restrict the driver's vision and block off rearview mirrors; extra care must be taken when backing up and turning.

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