4 Types of Heavy Haul Trailers for Safe Transport

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Heavy hauling is an important aspect of the trucking industry and requires very specific equipment, like heavy haul trailers, to safely transport large freight.

Freight that is oversized, overweight, too tall, too wide, or considered a super load is ideal for heavy haul trailers. Permitted load sizes vary by state in addition to other legal considerations that drivers have to think about, which is why it’s important to make sure you have the right trailer for the job.

With this guide below, you’ll learn everything you need to know about heavy haul trailers, types, and general guidelines to follow when looking for your next new or used trailer for sale.

What is a Heavy Haul Trailer?

Heavy haul trailers are necessary for legally transporting oversized and/or heavy loads and typically have a multi-axle trailer to accommodate large loads. The trailers generally are separated into axle categories to identify how many wheel sets are on the trailer. The more axles a trailer has, the more capacity it has. Some common heavy haul trailer axle splits are as follows:

  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 10
  • 13
  • 19
  • Specialty axle configurations can be made for custom equipment

Equipment hauling trailers often carry the following types of loads:

  • Turbines
  • Homes
  • Agricultural equipment
  • Cranes
  • Timber
  • Boilers
  • Excavators
  • Piping
  • Planes
  • Wind energy equipment
  • Boats
  • Mining Equipment

Legal Considerations for Heavy Hauling

To successfully transport oversized freight requires a number of legal considerations, which vary by state and other local jurisdictions. Oversize permits are necessary and route planning is essential to prevent space and technical challenges that may limit transport.

Some states require additional safety precautions in the form of a pilot/escort vehicle operator (P/EVO), which travels with the oversize load to protect other drivers, vehicles, surroundings, and the load itself. When you partner with a logistics company for heavy hauling, they will likely arrange the shipment, obtain necessary permits, P/EVOs, and additional equipment that may be needed for a safe journey.

Other considerations include:

4 Types of Equipment Hauling Trailers

When looking for the right oversized load hauler for your fleet, there are four general types that can be further broken down and/or customized for specific freight:

  • Extendable flatbed trailers
  • Extendable double drop deck trailers
  • Removable gooseneck (RGN) trailers
  • Step deck trailers
  • Perimeter style
  • Flat level deck, dropside, or rail deck

1. Extendable Flatbed Trailers for Extra Long Loads

Flatbed trailers are some of the most common trailers found on the highways because they can carry all kinds of freight. When it comes to larger loads, there are stretch flatbeds that can accommodate longer loads like pipe or lumber. Below is a table that shows a comparison between a standard flatbed and extendable flatbed trailer (be sure to check state guidelines for height and weight limits as they can vary):

 LengthWidthHeightWeight
Standard Flatbed48’ to 53’8’6”8’6”14,000 lbs.
2-Axle Stretch Flatbed48’ to 80’8’6”8’6”18,000 lbs.

*Measurements are maximum commodity dimensions

2. Extendable Double Drop Deck Trailers

Drop and double drop deck trailers (sometimes known as lowboy trailers) are commonly used to haul tall freight that would exceed the legal 8’6” height maximum. The trailer is designed with a well in the center and two decks that sit higher on either end of the trailer. With the drop deck, freight as high as 12 feet can be legally hauled.

Extendable drop deck trailers have a well that can be elongated to accommodate a longer and taller piece of freight. The axle category that these trailers are in will gauge how much weight they can carry.

3. RGN Trailers

Removable gooseneck trailers are ideal for loading and unloading large equipment due to the detachable front end, which allows the bottom of trailer to drop down to create a ramp for driving equipment directly on the trailer. There are standard RGNs and extendable RGNs for extra-long and heavy loads. RGN trailers typically have a high number of axles to accommodate the larger freight and can come as a drop deck or double drop deck trailer.

4. Step Deck Trailers

Similar to a double drop deck trailer, step deck trailers (also known as drop deck trailers) can haul tall, heavy freight that would otherwise surpass state height regulations. Step decks have one higher deck and a lower deck where large freight sits. Smaller items can be placed on the upper deck and ramps can be added to help with loading and unloading.

 Lower Deck LengthWidthHeight of LoadsEmpty Weight
Standard Step Deck37’ to 43’8’6”10’14,000-16,000 lbs.
3-Axle Extendable Step Deck37’ to 65’8’6”10’20,000 lbs.
6-Axle Extendable Step Deck37’ to 65’8’6”10’36,000 lbs.

Choose Hale Trailer for Your Heavy Haul Needs

When you have oversized loads that need to be hauled, it’s important to have the right heavy haul trailer for the job, and Hale is your source for finding the right equipment. From extendable lowboy trailers for sale to standard flatbeds, Hale Trailer carries an extensive inventory of used and new trailers for sale, parts, and service. We have 12 convenient locations that are ready to help you with all your commercial trailer needs. Contact us or give us a call at 800-232-6535 to learn more about how Hale Trailer can help your fleet!

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