What Can You Haul on an Open Deck Trailer?


Written by Trusted Dispatch

March 10, 2023

What Can You Haul on an Open Deck Trailer?

Open deck trailers are known for their versatility and practicality. With so many different types, dimensions, and capabilities, an open deck trailer is often your best choice when doing a heavy haul. But what exactly is an open deck trailer, and what can you haul on it? In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about shipping on an open deck trailer.

What to Haul On an Open Deck Trailer

There are various reasons you might want to haul with an open deck trailer, but usually, it’s because the shipment you’re transporting wouldn’t fit inside an enclosed trailer. Open-deck trailers are perfect for hauling materials, heavy equipment, and large machinery. This includes construction materials such as piping, steel bars, lumber or heavy equipment such as bulldozers, combines, skidders, and rock trucks

The phrase ‘open deck trailer’ actually encompasses several different types of trailers. Depending on the shipment you’re hauling, the exact kind of open deck trailer you need will change. For example, a tall load such as a crane will require a double drop or RGN trailer, while a backhoe will likely need a step deck for easy loading and offloading.

Different Types of Open Deck Trailers

Flatbed Trailers

Flatbed trailers, also known as highboys, are what you imagine when you hear the phrase ‘open deck trailer.’ Flatbeds are exactly what they sound like a completely flat deck for loading materials or equipment. This design makes them perfect for transporting loads of materials, such as lumber or steel. 

Most flatbed trailers have very similar dimensions and weight capacities. Flatbeds are typically 48 feet long, but some can be as long as 53 feet. The deck is 5 feet tall and has a weight capacity of approximately 48 000 pounds.

Double Drop Trailers

Double drop trailers, also known as lowboys, are trailers that feature a lower ramp between two higher ramps. These trailers are typically used for transporting very tall loads like cranes because their lower ramps are so close to the ground. 

The lower ramp of a double drop trailer can be as low as 18 inches. These trailers are usually about 48 feet long, with the lower deck itself being 30-32 feet. Their weight capacity is dependent on the number of axles and can range from 43 000 to 58 000 pounds.

Removable Gooseneck Trailers

Removable gooseneck trailers, or RGNs, are an ideal trailer type for hauling heavy loads. As the name suggests, these are trailers that feature a removable gooseneck, thus allowing the trailer to detach from the truck. This is beneficial because it allows the trailer to double as a ramp, lowering to the ground so that heavy equipment can be easily driven onto it. 

Many removable gooseneck trailers are actually double drops, meaning that they can typically carry taller loads. However, this isn’t true for every RGN–the dimensions of each trailer can vary quite a bit. They can be anywhere from 20 to 40 feet long and, depending on the number of axles, have weight capacities between 43 000 and 58 000 pounds.

Step Deck Trailers

Step decks, or single drop trailers, feature two deck levels, with the lower, longer level at the back. These trailers are ideal when you need to haul a load taller than a flatbed trailer would allow, but you still need more length than a double drop or RGN trailer provides.

These trailers can vary greatly in length. While most are 48-53 feet long, they can be as short as 35 feet or as long as 63 feet. The lower deck is typically 42 inches off the ground, and it can have weight capacities ranging from 43 000 to 62 000 pounds.

Expert Large Load Trucking in Canada

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