Bicycle Trailers

Burley Nomad trailerBOByaktrailer

Bicycle Trailers Or Panniers?

Bicycle trailers have become quite popular in the recent years. You will see them on city streets filled with groceries, on country roads with a cooler strapped in, and in your own neighborhood with children enjoying the ride. But many cyclists new to touring don’t really understand all the benefits that a properly equipped trailer may offer.

Pros    Cons    Reviews

The primary purpose of a bicycle trailer is to carry a heavy or bulky load without adding excessive weight to your rear bicycle wheel. Taking the load off of your rear wheel can help reduce spoke breakage, increase the carry capacity of your bicycle, and enable a bicycle not suited for panniers to be used for touring.


  • You can load all your gear (and your riding partner’s) on the trailer and keep extra bags and the extra weight off the bicycle.
  • With a trailer attached, instability of the bicycle is fairly minimal compared to weight in panniers mounted on a rack. The center of gravity is kept low.
  • If you need to alternate between riders pulling the weight, then a trailer is easy to switch to other bicycles if they have the proper hitch attachment.
  • A single-wheeled trailer tracks with your bicycle’s wheels, thus eliminating turning instability at high speeds. Double-wheeled trailers may lift a wheel off the roadway, so you may have to limit your speed through turns.
  • A trailer can be used with front and/or rear suspension bicycles.
  • A single-wheeled trailer works well on single track off-road trails.
  • A variety of bed shapes and sizes are available to fit about any load.
  • You can use about any common bag to carry your gear instead of expensive panniers.
  • Most trailers attach and detach quickly for rolling into a hotel and for having a unloaded bicycle to ride.
  • Pulling a trailer is ideal for carrying heavy loads on recumbent and tandem bicycles.

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  • When pulling a loaded trailer up a hill, you may feel like it is pulling you back down.
  • The trailer wheels may be a different size than your bicycle. You may have to carry an extra wheel and tubes just for the trailer.
  • If you are traveling on trains, ferries, airplanes, cars, or buses you will have to deal with carrying both the trailer and your bicycle.
  • You will need a strong rear triangle on your bicycle to counteract the side motion of a trailer with extra heavy load.

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About John Stultz

John Stultz is the owner of Bear Paw Tents. He's been bicycle touring for over 30 years and is excited for sharing his insight on cycling. He considers himself an ultralight backpacker and ultralight bicycle tourer. John is the original founder of He started the website to share his passion for touring and to help people plan for their own bicycle tour.


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  1. […] You carry everything you need on your bike in panniers or a trailer. See my packing list […]

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