Let’s peek inside 5 great troop trailers

Even the best-looking troop trailer designs can’t hide ugly insides. You know the ones I mean: cavernous, unorganized spaces into which gear is deposited and never seen again.

That’s why many troops add the Scouting touch to their trailers, installing shelving and other improvements to make storing and finding gear a breeze — even if it’s after dark on Friday night when you pull into camp.

So last month, I asked for troops to send me photos of the insides of their trailers. I wanted to know: How do troops keep things organized and avoid the all-too-familiar sight of 20 boys rummaging through a pile of backpacks, bags, and patrol boxes to find what’s theirs?

Here are five great examples: 

Troop 33, Chittenango, N.Y.

Assistant Scoutmaster Jeff says:

We did a low-cost makeover of our trailer. Our finished product isn’t immaculate, but it is much more useable, and everything has its place. It is now much easier to find things, and we don’t have to rely on the scout quartermaster to get everything back where it went.

Heavy goes on the bottom (our large canopy in our “coffin” container, dutch ovens), or patrol boxes or folding and cooking tables on the next level, flags and pioneering poles at the top. We have cabinets up front to hold lanterns, cooking stoves and water jugs.

Troop 33's trailer before the overhaul.

Troop 33’s trailer before the overhaul.

Troop 33's trailer during the overhaul.

Troop 33’s trailer during the overhaul.

Troop 33's trailer after the overhaul.

Troop 33’s trailer after the overhaul.

Troop 382

Assistant Scoutmaster Rhonda says:

We, as many, used wood inside….but it makes the trailer after being loaded with gear, WAY too heavy for a regular truck to pull.

I do like that each patrol has their own colored crate. Inside the grate are items like, lantern (with mesh globe), chimney charcoal starter, gloves, charcoal tongs, lid lifter, propane hose. (ALL marked with same-color electrical tape or spray painted to match crate). All items for each patrol, Propane tank, tree, table,…etc. are all marked with patrol color. Even the chuck boxes have now been color coded. They patrols were able to paint them themselves!

Troop 382 trailer Troop 382 trailer Troop 382 trailer Troop 382 trailer

Troop 159, Judsonia, Ark.

Scoutmaster Steven sent in these photos:

Troop 159's trailer. Troop 159's trailer.

Troop 159's trailer.

Troop 208, Cary, N.C.

Chartered Organization Representative Jeff says:

Here are some pictures of our troop trailer. I took on this project when I became Scoutmaster because I was tired of unpacking everything from our smaller trailer to get to the items I needed when we arrived at camp on Friday night. We had the larger trailer but rarely used it because the troop had shrunk in size over the years.

I’m happy to report that we reversed that trend and we’re at 30 scouts now up from 20 and shrinking.  And now we use the larger trailer exclusively, though the smaller red trailer is handy for going to summer camp.  It can hold all the gear we need at summer camp.  Usually the boys use foot lockers at summer camp and we can carry all of the ones for 20+ boys and adults in the smaller trailer.

The trailer is arranged so we can open up the back doors and get propane, propane trees and lanterns set up right away so we’re not doing everything in the dark.  The lantern box even includes matches so we don’t have to dig for those.  I standardized on the yellow and black boxes from a variety of boxes.  The boxes hold a 2 burner propane stove, a patrol cook kit, some basic cooking utensils , wash up supplies, a mixing bowl, colander and plates for a patrol.

The rack at the front has gone through several iterations to hold our plywood tables.   I’ve thought about getting a rack for the propane tanks on the tongue of the trailer, but since we don’t live in the trailer I don’t see a huge safety risk of keeping the tanks in the trailer.  I’ve had more problems with disposable tanks leaking than bulk propane tanks.

I got the shelving at Lowe’s.  The wider set came as a complete kit, we bought an extra shelf.  The narrow set was bought piece by piece.  I think if I were doing it again I would have gone with narrow shelves on both sides.  As it is we can fit a garden wagon in the aisle that will carry eight of the 7 gallon blue water jugs.  This comes in handy on sites where we have to carry gear in from the trailer to a site within a half mile.  We have a couple of group sites we’ve used that this becomes the case.  The cart also allows two boys to restock the camp with water if the tap isn’t near the site.

The dinning fly poles are stored under the rack and are easily accessible from the back door of the trailer.  This was a lesson learned in trailer design 2.0 when I added the second narrower rack.   The wider rack was moved from the left side of the trailer where it was further front, to the right side where it goes from the back door to about 18” short of the door.  Now we don’t need to unload anything to get the poles out on Friday night.  Good thing since setting up the dinning flies is job one when we arrive at camp.

We make periodic tweaks to the design, it definitely has evolved since I did the initial shelving three years ago.  As we use it we tweak it to make it easier and more efficient to store gear.  I’d say we use this trailer on three quarters of our outings a year.  It stays home for summer camp, backpacking trips and certain kind of canoe trips. We have a canoe trip that we camp on platforms in a hardwood swamp and everything is done backpack style, no campfires and small backpacking stoves instead of larger 2 burner stoves.

Troop 208's trailer.

Troop 208's trailer.

“Door rack for shovels, steel rakes.”

Troop 208's trailer.

“A discovery in Trailer 2.0, this second shelving unit was added and pulled all the way to the back. The dining fly poles are stowed below the bottom shelf.”

Troop 208's trailer.

“Rack for our tables.”

Troop 208's trailer.

“Propane tanks at the back end of the trailer along with the lanterns and propane trees allow us to get lights up right away when we hit camp. The Igloo water jugs are not carried here when we travel. Normally we have them full of ice and water and they are standing up on the floor or in the back end of the pickup towing the trailer.”

Troop 208's trailer.

“Garden wagon with water jugs. This is only carried when we need it.”

Troop 208's trailer.

“Propane poles and a steel leaf rake.”

Troop 208's trailer.

“Inside the front door, the first aid kit and axes, saws, shovels and knife and axe sharpening supplies. This was made from reclaimed plywood and is mounted to the end of the rack.”

Troop 200

Scouter Ian sent in these photos:

Troop 200's trailer. Troop 200's trailer. Troop 200's trailer. Troop 200's trailer. Troop 200's trailer. Troop 200's trailer. 5-7

What do you think?

What details have you spotted that you’ll incorporate in your troop’s trailer? Anything you’d do differently? Share your thoughts below.

62 thoughts on “Let’s peek inside 5 great troop trailers

  1. Our single axle Troop trailer doesn’t have any shelves; its completely open inside. Sometimes this is ok and other times we wish it did have some shelving. (It does have dual opening doors on the back and a single side door.)

    However, we are very fortunate to have two places to store our gear, equipment and so on. An inside storage room holds our American, Troop and patrol flags, a large file cabinet, manuals and books, a computer, along with a bunch of other things that we can utilize on a weekly basis. Our outside storage unit houses our tents, stoves, lanterns, coolers, Dutch ovens, propane tanks, three patrol boxes, extra pots and pans, cooking supplies — well, you get the idea.

    Typically, we store a large dining fly, a large camp fire grate, some large signs, our Klondike Derby sled, a hose and reel, two plastic tables and various other items inside the trailer. When we want to use it, we have to go and get it from a piece of property that is 10 minutes away. We were paying to store it, but couldn’t afford to do that anymore. The secure property belongs to a Troop Committee member; he doesn’t charge us to leave it there.

    As far as insurance goes, our Chartered Organization, St. Pat’s Church, holds the title and pays the insurance on the trailer. We pay to renew the yearly license tag, however.

    In short, when we want to use the trailer, we unload what we don’t want, and load up what we do want. Once our campout or activity is over, we have to unload and restock everything.

    While I don’t necessarily think that this is the best system, we do strive to get the boys involved with the loading and unloading as well as knowing where things are typically stored both inside and out. For now, we’ve grown acustom to doing things this way.
    — Scoutmaster, Troop 252

    • Today, I installed a very small 12-volt battery inside our Troop trailer to power a pre-installed ceiling light. I’ve noticed that once it gets dark out, unless I have a flashlight handy, I have a hard time finding what I’m looking for at night. For the most part, I attached two brackets to the upper right corner of the trailer, purchased a small plastic tray to set the battery into and then secured the tray to the brackets and wall. I’ve also added a strap for added stability and to keep the battery from falling out of the tray when the trailer is moving. Ultimately, I’d like to add a small solar panel somewhere so that the battery can charge during daylight hours.

  2. Where did those troops purchase their huge logo artwork for their trailers? Our Troop 171 of Harrisburg, SD purchased a new (to us) larger trailer last year, but it is still plain white. Inside has powder-coated shelving designed/built/installed by several scouts and adults. We would like some design on the outside now. Don’t the logos have to be from “officially authorized” dealers?

    • Check out your local graphics/sign maker. They print it out on full sheets then apply it to the trailer. Just took delivery on our new 7×14 aluminum frame this month. Estimated quote to fully “wrap” is $2,000 but we may have an inside contact.
      While you can apply smaller localized decals a full body wrap allows you do do all sorts of marketing on that trailer. Just google to find great ideas.

      -Eagle honor list
      -charter info
      -troop info
      -excitement/action graphics to say we have fun
      -Think of it as a marketing billboard for your troop and scouting

  3. We are looking for a new trailer. What are these trailers called so I can look some up? Anyone know of a good resource in the ATL area?

  4. Our troop is considering getting a trailer, but we are short on funds. I have heard of “grant money” available, but not sure where to look. We also thought about “selling” advertising to our community businesses to create money for the trailer, but we are curious about BSA rules against this. Can any of you help answer these questions?

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