As a Van Enthusiast Site with some emphasis on Camper and RV vans it's not uncommon for Van Owners to tow small enclosed trailers. I'm not a trailer expert, but I don't have to be in order to know what is good verses what is bad. I know vans, I know quality.
I'm posting this link to a site because one of my Family Members made the mistake of Purchasing a Haulmark Trailer and he is having nothing but trouble with it. And to make matters worse Haulmark doesn't seem to care that they are producing faulty (Perhaps even dangerous) products.
So I'm posting this link if you would like to see for yourself and avoid making the same mistake.
Better Cargo Trailers
Continental Cargo / Cargo Mate
Recently (Fall 2015) I find myself in need of a small Enclosed Trailer and while I live in a large Metropolitan Area it's still hard to find much variety. I had the opportunity to view a selection of Continental Cargo (And it's sister company CargoMate) Trailers which are both divisions of Forrest River. They quality of the product is on par with most middle range Cargo Vans. I found the look of these Trailers from a purely aesthetic point of view to be pleasing (In particular when they have the additional appearance package. Forrest river has plenty of unhappy and happy customers, but how often to happy customers take the time to write reviews? From a quality standpoint I got under the trailers, looked on top of the trailers, and looked closely at seems and screws and alignment. I found them to be acceptable, but nothing special.
The screws were aligned well and did not seem to miss the mark (Which is something I can not say for the Mirage Trailers I looked at a few years back). The paint looks nice and I didn't note any variations in thickness or paint runs. The undercarraige was coated with Z-Tech (In my view not much better than a quality epoxy paint and certainly not any better IMHO than a quality powder coat). There were spots on the undercarriage where the product was sprayed on in blotches where they had a little too much or too little product coverage. I did note small amounts of surface rust on trailers that had been sitting on the lot for about 4 months. I got this information from the paperwork on the trailer itself provided by the dealer. There was also a small amount of rust I noticed on the inside of one of the trailers in the top upper corner.
The fiberglass caps on these trailers seems inconsistant. Some were thick and solid, but on one I noticed pinholes of light shining through. This concerned me from a leakage standpoint. How long before this thin fiberglass cracked? I was also not completely impressed with the seams in the roof (Even though they were sealed with a very thick coating of whatever sealant they used. I just don't like the idea of having seems in the roof with the potential of leakage. However they do offer a 1 piece aluminum option as an upgrade. Overall I'd score these trailers a solid 7/10 vs what I've seen. Definitely a huge step up from Carry On (Which in my vew are very low end) and Haulmark (Which is very disappointing and probably banking on their prior reputation. I would like to note I am pleased they choose to use American Made (At least that is the claim) Dexter Axles.
Mission / EZ Hauler
Billed as an inexpensive Aluminum Alternative to the Steel Trailers on the market and at prices slightly above, but well below the Top End Brands Featherlite (Owned by the same company that builds Haulmark) and Triton, these trailers are impressive from an attention to detail standpoint. I was very impressed with the clean lines and finish work. Afterall these are still just cargo trailers. The aluminum welds were clean and very well done. The screws aligned near perfectly with no misses. The framing of the entire unit is tubular (Instead of open or channel type tubing on some of the steel trailers). But most impressive is the weight reduction allowing you to tow more cargo in an equivalent size trailer. For example some 6x12 Steel Trailers weigh in the 1300 lb range while the Aluminum Trailers are 300 to 400lbs lighter (Depending on Height and options). I like that the EZ Hauler / Mission Trailers are 6'1" interior standard and like the steel trailers are available in extra height.
The units I looked at had both Ramp and Barn door styles. The ramp mechanism on the EZ Hauler / Missions operated smooter and had a lighter "feel" to the operation. I didn't pay close attention to the barn doors, however I did notice on the Cargo Mate / Continental Cargo the bolts did stick through to the other side (With plastic Caps) on the Barn doors. A really nice feature of the Mission / EZ Hauler is the nose area which is standard on their Standard Cargo Trailers and an option on the CargoMate / Continental Cargo. This additional space really has no downside in my view.
I am a little concerned about this company choosing Lippert over Dexter. I prefer the Dexter Axles and this could be a deal breaker for some. Lippert does make good products, but I'm not sure how good they are on Cargo Trailers. I've read many reviews of people unhappy with Lippert products (But it's usually frames) in the past. But lippert (To my knowledge) does not make these frames. In summary I'd give the Mission / EZ Hauler product line an 8/10. The EZ Hauler is the lower end line and the Mission the more expensive line. Mission also offers models in a 7 1/2' variant which to me is the perfect size for van. Why? Because you get a little more visibility with your rearview mirrors when towing and the additional 6" width along with the "V" Nose can really help you get more cargo space in a smaller, lighter, easier to pull trailer.
Cargo Trailer Summary
There are a lot of brands on the market across the USA. However finding a dealer who stocks what you want near where you live can be challenging. The build quality of trailer varies not only by the Manufacturer, but the actual plant in which they are made and the time of year they are made. It's a real crap shoot. I really like the complete Almuminum Trailers (especially in areas where roads are salted or sprayed with whatever ice melting chemicals are being used). But I do have one concern with almuminum and that's it's ability to flex when needed. Will the frame break easier than a steel trailer? I don't know. I'm sure the design is the most important part.
I'm not impressed at all with Haulmark. I would feel find owning a Cargo Mate / Continential Cargo (Even though there are some real horror stories regarding some models). Forrest River did have a big recall in 2015 that had something to do with the wheel hubs coming apart of bolt studs breaking. With any trailer I'd investigate the negative reviews online to see if the problems people are having are related to problems that concern you. Thaks for reading.