The Great Trailer Manifesto II – Why We Do What We Do

Our entire company is built around the fact that we use our products as hard as any of our hard core angler, hunter, professional guide or government agency customers. We’re hard on equipment and we are especially opinionated when it comes to trailers. Our owner alone has put no less than ten thousand miles on his trailer each year for the past 15 years with that number topping twenty thousand miles some years. Before founding Towee, we’d worn out dozens of trailers built by companies that many anglers think of as “quality brands” and we’ve spent more than a few nights stuck beside the road after a hub, axle. spring hanger or frame let go.

It quickly became apparent that all of the popular “boat dealer” brands of trailers just weren’t up to the job. Sure they’re priced low and they do look all shiny and new on the lot but it doesn’t take very long at all for those same trailers to start falling apart. First it’s the rollers and then the frame corners start to crack. The flimsy plastic fenders go next and then the wiring. Keep this in mind; do you think you see a certain brand trailer at most of the dealers because it’s the best trailer or because it’s the cheapest thing they can put under the boat with the most profit? There are few exceptions.

When it came time to design the Towee trailer, we started from a clean sheet of paper using design parameters based on the needs of the traveling adventure angler, guide and government agency who puts in lots of miles, uses unpaved roads and often unimproved or no launch at all.  From these parameters, we needed to produce 2 models – the standard for budget conscious customers who usually stayed closer to home but still needed an above average quality trailer and the Towee Pro that was ready for anywhere and anything. Here are the items that were at the forefront of our minds during this process:

FRAMES

The majority of all modern boat trailer manufacturers have switched to the lightest, thinnest, rectangular tube frames that they can source and still get the trailer to hold the weight of the boat.  It doesn’t matter how you outfit a trailer if it is sitting on a cheap frame. Towee specified the heaviest C channel frames available on the market – nothing else even comes close. Sure, we could offer a much cheaper trailer by going with a thin tube frame but they would not deliver the kind of performance that our customers demand.

FENDERS

This one is easy. Plastic fenders are a useless joke – end of discussion. We only use steel walk on fenders on all of our trailers. Next…

FINISH

In the past we have offered a choice of a high quality painted finish or a galvanized finish on our trailers. Most choose galvanizing as they use their skiffs in both salt and fresh water but some customers do specify a painted finish. There is a huge difference in the performance of a cheap paint versus a high quality paint however, if you travel down gravel roads (..and who doesn’t ?) it is just a matter of time before all of those small stone strikes begin to set up surface rust. This is why as of March 3, 2015 we have discontinued offering a painted finish trailer and only offer a galvanized finish.  A galvanized finish is much tougher, stands up to unpaved roads and will last for decades in salt or fresh water environments with just a little regular maintenance. It also costs much more – we are sure to loose a few sales over this but we are committed to putting out the best small skiff trailer on the market – period.

ROLLERS AND BUNKS

Nothing kills a trailer’s utility quicker than cheap rollers that fail at the most inopportune moments. We started out with a better roller than anyone else and have continued to work with our trailer manufacturing partner to constantly upgrade and improve as our customers routinely launch and recover from banks, beaches, gravel bars and unimproved ramps. Our current roller is an almost obscenely wide yellow poly roller with end caps in every position along the roller system. This allows for greater protection and easier launches and recoveries.  We also have a new optional bunk covering on the way soon. Stay tuned for more about this in a later blog.

WIRING AND LIGHTING

After making more than a few Sunday night trips home from the coast in other companies’ skiff trailers with flashlights duct taped to the frames because the lights died, we are especially sensitive to wiring and lights. On the standard trailer we offer the best quality standard “bolt on” LED light sets. For the Towee Pro trailer, we ditch bolt on light sets all together in favor of fabricated steel light box and heavy duty tractor trailer style LED lights that ride in thick grommets – perfect for long life and the occasional light “miscalculation”.

HUBS

The trailer world is awash in ultra cheap Chinese hubs. We use high quality conventional grease type hubs on our standard trailer and the VORTEX no maintenance sealed hubs on on Towee Pro trailers. We’re huge fans of the Vortex hubs and have already put tens of thousands of care free miles on them from on our own trailers, regularly venturing from our shop in Tennessee to Montana, up to Northern Wisconsin and South to the Keys with no thought about hub maintenance. The conventional hubs will also deliver thousands of miles of service with proper care and maintenance.

TIRE SIZE

Much like conventional hubs versus the VORTEX hubs, the 12X4.80 tires used on our standard trailer will stand up to thousands of care free miles if you take care of them. Maintaining proper air pressure throughout your journey is vital for these smaller tires.  The Towee Pro trailer utilizes full width 13″ trailer tires and are ready for most anything anywhere. The wider tires last much longer and withstand a bit more abuse. Along with the larger tires, the Towee Pro trailer features wider fenders with non skid steps in front of and behind the fender.

We took these design parameters to our trailer manufacturing partner, Tennessee Trailers, not because they were close but because they are the oldest, most respected, quality boat trailer manufacturer in the business ( building boat trailers since 1946) and the manufacturer behind some of the best names in the business.  The result is several hundred Towee Standard and Towee Pro Trailers at work this very morning on the road, in the backcountry and maybe even sliding down some steep bank on a remote stretch of river where wild fish lurk. Thats why we do what we do.