DIY: how to build an enclosed trailer

Building your own enclosed trailer can be a very rewarding DIY project, but it shouldn’t be attempted by anyone who doesn’t have a bit of experience when it comes to construction. A badly constructed trailer can become a danger to both yourself and other road users. And of course there are all sorts of regulations you need to adhere to.

You can check out our overview of enclosed trailer parts to get an idea of which parts you’ll need to build your own trailer. The trailer plans listed below should also list any and all materials you will need to start construction.

Laws and regulation

Ah… Uncle Sam…. Honestly the amount of laws and rules you have to deal with can be mind boggling. You’ll have to make sure your home made trailer complies with federal, state and local regulations.You’ll also need to license your trailer with the local license bureau to receive the proper title for your trailer.

Again, laws will vary from state to state. So if you plan on taking your trailer on long distance trips, even if there’s only a small chance you will, make sure you check laws for every state you may be driving through. It may take a bit of time now, but it’ll be far more expensive when you get pulled over and fined by a grumpy highway cop.

Enclosed trailer plans

Having some drawn up plans will help you get a specific idea on what you need to build your trailer and how to get to a final product that’s road worthy. has two different plans on how to build a cargo trailer. You can choose between a 12’x6′ model and a 16’x8′ trailer. also has a plan for a 12’x6′ trailer and it seems to be quite elaborate. has plans for a 12’x6′ trailer and a 16’x8′ trailer. In addition, they have plans for a horse trailer that can transport two horses. Plans on these three sites are available for $30 to $40. has four different plans. You can choose between having a ramp or barn doors at the back of the trailer. Oddly, they don’t seem to list any sizes. And their plans are a bit pricier at around $75.

A few other tips when building your own trailer

Keep in mind that trailer measurements tend to be for the outside of the trailer. The inside will be slightly smaller after deducting space for the trailer walls. You also might want to think ahead. Is it likely that the size of your cargo will increase in the future? Why not build a slightly bigger trailer now, instead of having to either build or buy a new one in a few years time.

Make sure your Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) is higher than the cargo your expect to haul. It’s always good to have some wiggle room. The GVWR is the weight of the trailer combined with the cargo capacity. If you deduct the trailer’s weight from the GVWR, you get the maximum load you can carry. You might want to use your trailer to move household items for yourself or a friend that’s moving. You never know. Again, build for the future if you plan on enjoying your trailer and getting the most out of it for years to come.

Is your car, truck or van up to the job? Your vehicle owner’s manual will list the maximum toweing weight of the vehicle. I recommend you make sure that it can handle the weight of either two or four adults depending on the number of seats, any luggage or cargo in the vehicle, the weight of the trailer and your cargo. In addition you also want to make sure that the ball on your vehicle matches up with the coupler you will be using on your trailer.