Bumper Pull Trailers vs. Gooseneck Trailers: The Great Enclosed Trailer Showdown

orange gooseneck trailer with side door

As you browse Renown’s new trailer offerings and dream over the hundreds of different options available, it can be easy to gloss over a really key distinction in the trailer world – where the trailer connects to your vehicle. Whether a trailer connects to your vehicle’s bumper or within the bed of your truck, as with a gooseneck, it can dramatically change the way the trailer pulls, handles, and what it’s truly capable of.

In today’s spotlight series, we’ll do a side-by-side comparison of gooseneck trailers vs. bumper pull trailers so that you can weigh the pros and cons of each route and better understand which trailer would be better for the cargo you need to safely transport. 

Why You See So Many Bumper Pull Trailers on the Road

These come in an incredible variety of lengths and widths and are so-named for the obvious – they attach to the rear of the tow vehicle. This can be a little misleading, however, as we’ll explain. While some tow vehicles do have hitch’s attached directly to their bumper, most bumper pull trailers will actually attach to the tow hitch located beneath the bumper via a ball. 

The advantage of a hitch mount over a bumper mount is that the hitch mount allows for a far greater weight to be towed because the hitch is attached to the vehicle’s frame rather than just the bumper. Bumper pull enclosed trailers are a great choice for someone who is new to trailer towing as the hitching mechanisms with a bumper pull are far more common than a gooseneck. As well, the handling can be a little easier with a bumper pull trailer because of its smaller size. We’ll cover some of these key differences in greater detail in the next section.

Main Differences Between Gooseneck Trailers and Bumper Pulls 

Gooseneck trailers and bumper pull trailers each have their own advantages and disadvantages over one another which we’ll examine later. Here, let’s cover exactly what makes these two trailer types unique.

  1. Shape of the Trailer: this is obvious but worth mentioning. A gooseneck trailer has a long tongue that somewhat resembles a goose’s neck. This shape allows for additional storage at the front of a gooseneck trailer. A bumper pull trailer can have a rounded front or a v-nose but other than that is the same general rectangular shape of an enclosed cargo trailer.
  2. Location of the Hitch: Gooseneck trailers attach to the tow vehicle via a ball hitch that is attached to the vehicle’s frame and located in the bed of the truck. The gooseneck’s unique shape allows the tongue of the trailer to go up and over the tow vehicle’s tailgate to make a secure attachment within the bed. By being located over the rear axle, a gooseneck trailer offers far more stability than a bumper pull.
  3. Payload Capacity: because of the placement of the hitch within the bed of the tow vehicle, a gooseneck trailer can also safely carry more weight than a bumper pull typically can.
  4. Size of the Trailer: Gooseneck enclosed trailers start at 22’ in length and go all the way up to the big-daddy, Gooseneck 5200 triple axle, which can be up to 52’ long. These bigger trailers need the stability of the hitch in order to safely carry larger, heavier loads. Conversely, you can get a bumper pull trailer as small as the ever-popular 6×12 single axle. As well, because of their size, Gooseneck trailers tend to run at a heavier empty weight than a bumper pull enclosed cargo trailer.
  5. Type of Tow Vehicle: with a bumper pull trailer, you can tow the trailer with whatever vehicle has the towing capacity and hitch installed to handle the trailer. This can be a truck, SUV, RV, or even some cars. However, with a gooseneck trailer, you will need a truck in order to connect the trailer to the ball hitch affixed in the bed.

The inherent differences of these trailers are where their strengths and weaknesses play out. Our trailer gurus help match each individual client’s needs with the perfect trailer to meet their requirements for the long haul.

Comparing the Advantages for Bumper Pulls and Goosenecks

Both the gooseneck trailer and the bumper pull trailer have their own unique advantages. These advantages can help you decide which trailer is the right cargo hauler for the job you have in mind.

  • Advantages of a Bumper Pull Trailer: bumper pull trailers are generally smaller than a gooseneck trailer which translates into a lot of advantages, especially for a novice trailer owner. Because it’s usually smaller, it is also generally cheaper than a gooseneck. As well, as we’ve stated it’s a lot easier to maneuver with a smaller trailer than a larger one. A bumper pull will have a little wider turn radius compared to a gooseneck. This is because the trailer follows the tow vehicle’s tracks so you don’t have to compensate much when turning. With a gooseneck’s hitch position, the turning radius is tighter so the driver will need to “swing wide” to make a turn. 

The hitching process for a bumper pull trailer can also be a little simpler because of the accessibility of the rear hitch versus having to get the trailer hitch inside the bed of the tow truck to connect it to the affixed ball hitch. Since it is smaller in size, it also usually will weigh less meaning you can tow it with a wider range of vehicles. 

  • Advantages of a Gooseneck Trailer: as with a bumper pull enclosed trailer, a gooseneck’s main advantages lie in its size. With a bigger trailer, you’ll be able to haul bigger loads more safely. Because of the mounting location, you’ll also avoid the sway problems that can happen with an improperly loaded bumper pull trailer. As well, the gooseneck trailer has a tighter turn radius, which might be harder for someone who is new to trailering but, for experienced users, can actually make the trailer easier to maneuver, especially when backing the trailer up.

After looking over the advantages of each trailer, think of what you’ll be towing and how you envision using your trailer to help narrow down which is right for you. If you need any advice, our trailer experts are standing by to help cover all the bases to get you into the trailer that’s best for your unique towing situation.

Pros and Cons Snapshot for Gooseneck Trailers vs. Bumper Pull Trailers

Pros

Bumper Pull Trailers

  • Smaller size
  • Usually cost less
  • Easier to attach
  • More vehicles can tow it

Gooseneck Trailers

  • Larger than bumper pulls
  • Can handle heavier loads
  • Tight turn radius
  • Less sway/easier to handle

Cons

Bumper Pull Trailers

  • Can’t tow as much weight
  • Not as stable

Gooseneck Trailers

  • Costs more
  • Tight turning radius can make turns harder
  • Certain weights may require special license

How to Get the Perfect Trailer for Your Towing Needs

Getting a trailer that is going to serve your needs the best, for the longest amount of time is all about being honest with yourself as to how you see yourself using this trailer and where. This can sometimes be difficult so here’s a few considerations to ponder as you steer yourself towards the perfect trailer set-up:

  • How do you plan on using the trailer? This seems basic but seriously consider what all you need this trailer to haul. If you’re looking for a toy hauler with space for all your tools and gear, you may need to consider a larger trailer like a gooseneck. If you are looking for the best trailer for a small lawn care business, you probably should look at a bumper pull trailer set up.
  • Where do you want to take the trailer? If you are looking at a long-haul enclosed cargo trailer, the gooseneck is a far more stabler option for moving heavy gear, longer distances. However, if you need your trailer to get in and out of a construction site, you probably don’t want the size and weight of a gooseneck trailer. Think about the places you need your trailer to go to help steer you to the right trailer package.
  • What’s your budget? You may have found the absolute perfect trailer but if it’s outside your price range, the exercise is moot. Talk to Renown’s financing experts to see how much you can realistically afford and then narrow your search based on the results.

Driving Away with a New Gooseneck Trailer Today

We hope you’ve found this article helpful for deciding which trailer is right for you but we want to make absolutely certain you’re in the perfect trailer to meet your needs. When you contact Renown, we won’t ever push you into a sale, we’ll work to understand your needs and then can recommend the best trailer to meet those needs. If we can’t do that, we’ll gladly send you to another dealer that can. Contact our team now for a completely different trailer buying experience.

Everything You Need to Know to Tow: Gooseneck Trailer Edition

Gooseneck trailers are undeniably the beasts of the enclosed trailer scene. These behemoths are for the biggest loads, whatever heavy cargo needs to get transported from A to B safely and securely. Our gooseneck trailers offer a lot of advantages for the heavy load haulers but there’s some important considerations to remember as you tackle gooseneck towing for the first time. 

In today’s spotlight series, we’ll cover everything you need to know to tow a gooseneck on the open road.

What Makes a Gooseneck Trailer Different from Other Enclosed Trailers

Most trailers are attached to a tow vehicle’s receiver hitch or via a bumper hitch. A gooseneck is different from traditional enclosed trailers both in its namesake shape and because of the gooseneck hitch attachment within the vehicle’s bed. This allows a gooseneck trailer to be attached to the tow vehicle over the rear axle which is different from a hitch receiver, located at the rear of the vehicle. This provides far greater stability for the tow operation and in turn allows for larger loads to be safely carried. Also, because of the closer proximity of the trailer to the tow vehicle, a gooseneck trailer will typically have a tighter turn radius over other enclosed trailers.

Before You Drive With Your Gooseneck Trailer

With a big trailer, comes big responsibility to make sure you stay safe on the road. Checking over just a few simple details before you ever put your vehicle in drive can easily mean a safe trip from A to B over having an incident on the road.

Know Your Numbers

Since goosenecks are rated for really heavy loads, first things first is to make sure your tow vehicle has the towing capacity to handle the load. There is no “best truck for pulling a gooseneck trailer” but your tow vehicle should obviously have the capability to safely tow the combined weight of the vehicle and the trailer. But how do you go about finding these figures? Manufacturers will specify the exact numbers for each of the four weight limits every gooseneck trailer driver should know:

  • Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR): this is the max weight of your vehicle’s empty weight and all of the passengers, cargo, fuel, etc. that the vehicle can safely carry.
  • Gross Combined Weight Rating (GCWR): this is the maximum weight that the fully-loaded tow vehicle and trailer can be. It can also just be referred to as GVW and refers to the weight of the empty gooseneck plus the cargo inside. For example, a Gooseneck 5200 Triple Axle that is 38’ has an empty weight of 6,820 pounds and a max cargo weight of 8,780 pounds for a total GVW of 15,600 pounds.
  • Payload/Cargo Capacity: this is the maximum weight of cargo that your enclosed cargo trailer can carry.
  • Towing Capacity: this is the maximum weight that your tow vehicle can safely tow.

If you have any questions on these, don’t risk it. Check out our trailer measurements page or talk to one of our trailer experts to get you in the know on safe towing weights before hitting the road.

orange gooseneck trailer with side door

Run Over Your Gooseneck Trailer Checklist

Doing a quick once over on your gooseneck trailer and tow vehicle before getting on the road can save a lot of time and aggravation over having a component fail mid-drive. Here’s a few things to check over:

  • Tire Pressure: make sure all the tires on the trailer and on the tow vehicle fall in line with the manufacturers’ specifications. Overinflated and underinflated tires can cause uneven tread wear, a reduction in gas mileage, increased engine wear, and can even result in a blowout. While looking over your trailer’s tires, go ahead and make sure lugs are tight. These can become looser over time and with a lot of strain from towing. Bearings will also require grease from time to time. If you happen to jackknife your trailer, such as when reversing, you can put a lot of pressure on the sides of the tire which can also add to premature wear. 
  • Secure Connection: always, always make sure you have the correct ball size and the connection is secure before departure. While gooseneck trailers like other enclosed trailers have safety chains attached (make sure this is true prior to departure), you don’t want to put these to the test and can still end up damaging your trailer and vehicle if a disconnect occurs. We’ll cover how to hitch a gooseneck trailer a little later.
  • Make Sure all Lights are Working: check your connectors for wear and tear and test out the connection. Make sure your signals, brake lights and running lights are all functioning both for safety and because it’s illegal to drive without working lights. 
  • Secure Cargo Inside the Trailer: any kind of big and/or heavy cargo should be tied and secured in place before towing. Within Renown’s Goosenecks, you’ll have at least four (4) 5,000-lb rated D-rings. The straps should also be rated highly enough for the job you’re asking them to do. If you have a sudden swerve or braking event, the cargo could shift making the trailer a lot more difficult to handle. Also, always do your best to balance the load over the axles.

This list is not entirely exhaustive and can vary depending on your tow vehicle, the gooseneck, and the cargo being hauled. Our trailer experts can help you find the perfect gooseneck, based on your needs. Talk to a trailer specialist now.

How to Hook Up a Gooseneck Trailer 

  1. Before you back your truck up, raise the coupler above the ball/truck bed.
  2. We use a 2 5/16” adjustable coupler. 
  3. Back up the truck and align the coupler above the ball. 
  4. Make sure the coupler is unlatched and in the “open” position.
  5. Lower the gooseneck trailer onto the ball. 
  6. Secure jack handle. 
  7. Raise jack feet by releasing the pins. 
  8. Climb into the truck bed to connect the breakaway cable on the hitch system.
  9. Connect safety chains to u-bolt or d-rings on the gooseneck hitch. 
  10. Close the coupler and latch the safety pin.
  11. Find your receptacle and connect to your 7-way plug. 
  12. Perform “preflight” checklist outlined above and, once complete, drive safe!

Bottom line, when you’re looking at how to hitch a gooseneck trailer, make sure you absolutely know the trailer is firmly attached to the gooseneck hitch attachment. If you need any help, don’t hesitate to ask and our helpful staff will walk you through the whole process until you feel comfortable doing it yourself. 

white gooseneck trailer with window

Gooseneck Trailer Hauling on the Open Road

Now that your trailer is all ready for the open road, how do you go about driving with a gooseneck trailer? The same principles for safe towing goes into this larger package, you just need to remember it is indeed larger so take extra precautions. Staples for towing like adequate sight lines in your mirrors, avoiding excessive speeds, and giving other vehicles a wide berth when passing and changing lanes should all be incorporated into your overall safe driving behavior. 

Some other things to remember when towing a gooseneck trailer include:

  • Try and speed up and slow down gradually. This will make your trailer components like the brakes and tires last longer but will also help keep the cargo secure.
  • Be aware of the speed limit for large trailers in your state of travel. Some states have lower limits for vehicles with trailers.
  • Give yourself more room to stop. With a heavy trailer that’s fully loaded, it will take more distance to slow a trailer traveling at speed. 
  • If going down a hill, try to downshift. This helps reduce your speed in a less stressful manner to the tow vehicle’s and gooseneck’s braking systems.

One consideration you may not have thought of is the fairly tight turn radius of a gooseneck. While helpful in maneuvering, you may not be used to the gooseneck’s tight turn radius. With a gooseneck’s shorter distance from the trailer to the tow vehicle, the turn is all the tighter and can cause your trailer to go onto the curb if the turn is too tight so always swing it wide but be aware of vehicle’s around you and any other obstacles or hindrances near the corner.

Ready to Check out Renown’s Gooseneck Trailer Line?

If you are ready for a totally new trailer buying experience, our team stands ready to exceed your expectations. No pushy sales people, no high pressure sales tactics, just trailer pros working with integrity towards getting you in the trailer that meets your needs. If we can’t do that, we won’t try and sell you something that isn’t right and would gladly send you to a competitor that better met your needs. Service that’s focused on being kind, the kind of service we’d want someone to give our family, is what sets apart the experience. 

Check out our gooseneck trailers online and if you spot one you like, you can complete the entire process online and have it shipped right to your door. If you’d rather meet your new trailer in person, we’d love to see you at our dealership location.