PRODUCT EVALUATION: AA OFFROAD TRAIL HEAD TRAILER
The most unique UTV trailer ever By the staff of Dirt Wheels
In the early days of four-wheeled dune play, before there were three-wheelers, quads or UTVs, there were lightweight Volkswagen dune buggies. It didn’t take much to haul them, and many folks just used a T-trailer. It was a glorified tow bar that lifted the wheels off the ground.
Our sport is much more advanced now. Off-roaders travel in giant motorhomes, massive toy haulers and so forth. We have embraced camping luxury to the point that our rigs may not be able to reach a trail head. Or, we may be committed to a campground with hook-ups, and there is no trail access from camp.
AA Offroad has many customers faced with no trail access from where they camp. Their answer was a high-tech, modular version of the T-trailer. The trailer may be pulled apart in seconds using the same sort of pins that hold the draw bar in your tow hitch. The wheels (attached to hubs and stub axles) come out, and the “T” rear section comes off the main bar of the trailer. All of the parts fit inside of a toy hauler with your UTV. When you pull out the UTV, you assemble the Trail Head trailer. You have a camping trailer and a way to get your machine to the trail head.
Naturally, the same is true for people who don’t have room or permission to park a UTV trailer at home due to space limitations or community or HOA restrictions. Simply pull the trailer apart to fit out of sight on a side yard or in the garage. The Trail Head trailer is also extremely light. Our long-wheelbase Trail Head trailer arrived in a massive crate, and the crate and the trailer combined weighed 550 pounds. We’d guess that close to half of that weight was the crate!
The rear axle portion of the trailer is not simply a straight bar but a triangle shape with ladder-type support bars. Mounted just inboard of the wheels are open square sections where the UTV’s rear wheels rest. All of the lighting is in the middle of the axle, and it has the trailer wiring as well. The main beam of the trailer inserts into the rear section, and it, too, is pinned in place. It is not a straight bar, but has a reinforced slide area for the front of the car to slide up on slippery, hard plastic. A 2-inch ball and a hitch bar with a ball position 20 inches high are required. We had to buy a draw bar with a big drop and install it upside down to get the correct height.
All of the parts are black powder coated for longevity, but you can order other colors for an added $100. Trail Head has three trailer lengths that fit wheelbases between 77 to 140 inches with a maximum width of 70 inches from outside to outside of the tires. Prices range between $1,650 and $1900. An additional $100 will get other colors, an 80-inch width for wider machines adds $100 and aluminum wheels add $200. Tie-down straps are included. We went with the standard steel wheels, but selected a bright red color.
HOW IT WORKS
Our trailer went together in minutes with nothing but side-cutters to clip zip-ties. None of the trailers have suspension. AA Offroad explained that tying the rear wheels to the trailer allows the UTV rear suspension to do the work. We were skeptical, but the trailer tracked perfectly on dirt roads or on rough paved roads.
The first time that you load the trailer can be intimidating. You drive the UTV over the rear axle openings, line the front of the car with the main frame member and continue to drive forward. You must have a little momentum to get the rear wheels up onto the trailer while sliding the undercarriage up the main frame slide. After loading it a few times, we are taking plastic oil change ramps with us to let the rear tires get up on the trailer easier.
Once the UTV is in place, use tie-down straps to tie the rear wheels down. The trailer comes with light duty ratchet straps, but we chose to use our usual heavy duty Mac’s two-inch ratchet straps to really crank the rear wheels down. The front straps are to locate and center the front of the UTV, and we used the supplied straps there.
Our driving took us on rocky dirt roads, bumpy rural highways and even twisty canyon roads. We loaded a Polaris RZR Turbo S four-seater on our long wheelbase Trail Head trailer. It is 76 inches wide with our tires and wheels, and it weighs around 2,200 pounds ready for the trail. The trailer is so light we could barely feel the UTV and trailer behind the truck.
With a few caveats, the Trail Head trailer makes sense for those with toy haulers like it was designed for, those with parking limitations at home, and especially those who may have limited tow capacity on their tow vehicle. Keep in mind that it would be very difficult to load a broken car on this trailer unless it is equipped with a winch. You must check local laws to see if you can use a trailer without fenders or side marker lights in your state. The trailer certainly tows easily and tracks well. It does all that it claims. The price includes freight to the nearest terminal. Due to size, lift gate deliveries are not available. Check out www.aaoffroad.com for more information or videos that clearly show the loading and unloading process.