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Making A Cargo Trailer From A Kid Carrier


We’ve wanted to try a trailer for some time now, but buying a new one is too big an investment for something we might not end up using that much.

We also didn’t want to spend time salvaging parts from other bikes, or do anything complicated like welding.

For us, the solution to this dilemma was to look for a kids trailer that someone was throwing out. This is easier than you might think. Many people get rid of trailers because after a while the fabric becomes sun-bleached and ripped. We put our request on a local mailing list for expats. A day later, we were offered this trailer.

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The wheels aren’t very high quality, but the trailer is rated to carry up to 100 pounds and was not damaged in any way. Best of all, it didn’t cost us a cent! The people we bought it from were going to take it to the dump because they recently won a cargo bike. We got straight to work, stripping off all the fabric and removing the frame that holds the fabric in place.

That left just the bare, bottom frame of the trailer. We debated about what to put on it as a base. From looking at other cargo trailers, plywood seems like a popular choice. We wanted something lighter though. After some debate, we found metal grating in the garden section of our local hardware store. It was exactly the same width as the trailer, but a little long.

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As we fit the grate over the top, we realized the extra grating could be bent right around the trailer. This saved us the trouble of finding a way to cut through the stiff wire, and added more strength to our design. Before trying to bend the wire, we zip-tied the corners of the grate into place on top of the trailer.

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With the grate held tightly on the trailer, we flipped the trailer on its side and started to bend.

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Soon the grate was wrapped right around the trailer. At this point, we realised we could take a cross-bar off the frame, and put it on top of the grate to help hold the wire in place.

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The last thing we did was add a few more zip ties all around the trailer, to make sure the grate wouldn’t shift from its place on the frame. Then, we gave our new trailer a test run. It worked perfectly!

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Of course, we wanted to see how it would perform with weight, so we went to the supermarket and bought a lot of stuff – including 48 bottles of beer. We estimate the total load was about 75 pounds. We used cargo straps to keep things attached to the trailer, as well as an old plastic basin that we found in a garbage skip on our way to the supermarket (the plastic basin has small slits in the bottom, so we could strap it firmly to the grating).

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The trailer pulsed a bit when we went over speedbumps too quickly, but otherwise it worked amazingly well. The grate didn’t bend at all, despite the heavy load. We will definitely use our new trailer around town, and we’ll try it out for touring too. Total cost: just €12.

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9 Responses to “Making A Cargo Trailer From A Kid Carrier”

  1. Hans says:

    Great solution. Like it a lot. I will definitely try this solution on my trike: Scorpion by HPVelotechnik.
    The challenge will be to find out, how the attachment will work. Both as the wheels are only 20″, plus the frame is not standard.

    I’ll inform you when ready. :)
    Greetings, Hans

  2. gerardo says:

    Great idea ,but looks like will be a little noise it

    • friedel says:

      It’s not too bad actually – okay, it’s not totally silent but the grate doesn’t make any noise or rattle when the trailer is moving.

  3. steven says:

    What a fantastic idea, ingenius, thanks for the tip and for posting it.

  4. Eric B says:

    Nice hack! I’ve often wondered about those trailers and the possibility of modding them for cargo use – very cool!

  5. Jenny says:

    We went on our first mini cycle tour in November 2011. Devon Coast to Coast. Cycled just over 100 miles spent 3 nights and 4 days on the road. We only had one set of panniers so hubby decideds to make a trailer from an old baby’s pram. I thought “oh here we go :(” but was so impressed with his end result. Fell in love with him all over again <3. The trailer worked a charm. I want one now for my brand new Dawes. We are scouring freecycle for the next pram victim. Total cost will be £0!

  6. Shane says:

    I did a similar conversion with two of my kid carriers. For one I used the aluminim frames for the tentage, straigthend them and bolted them longitudinally to the frame. The carrier holds plastic bins/basins well, and bungee cords provide the holding power. The second one used old garden tool handles cut to lenght and used in the same manner. Either was saves the weight of plywood. But I like your use of the garden mesh (I had a hard time finding it in my area at the time).

  7. Ted Burrell says:

    Mine works the same way, except it has a radio, lights and a license plate. Mine is 26 years old, has open highway experience, has carried camping gear, tools, auto parts, recyclables and groceries, and weighs in at 85 pounds/ 38 kilograms. The base frame is aluminum, the box frame is 1×2 lumber and panels with a plexiglass top. It is intended to be a cardiac workout, and the ultimate way to prove one can pull their weight around here!

  8. David Harriman says:

    At the moment, I am converting a similar trailer, but am keeping the fabric-covered sides, and have a small tarpaulin to keep the rain out.
    I’m thinking of using 3mm ply for the floor, which would be light, and not so loud as metal-sheet over the bumps.

    I love the way your good lady (wife?) seems to be flying in the last picture – She must be fast!(Ha!)

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