To produce the best review of bike cargo trailers that we could, we coupled our inherent love of cycling, camping, and the outdoors with every online resource we could find regarding cargo trailers. After rounding up the highest-rated trailers and purchasing them from online retailers, we hitched them up and took them to the limit. Think Rocky IV training montage where he's chopping wood, jumping rope, and carrying logs.
Every trailer we tested was unique. While some of the two-wheel models could haul massive rounds of firewood, others were designed to easily load up groceries or a week's worth of camping supplies. We tested every trailer with its intended use in mind. We also pushed them beyond what they were made to do to figure out their real-world capacity.
Ease of Use
To determine the overall ease of use, we considered several aspects, from how easy or difficult it is to put the trailer together to how it performs in the real world. Trailers such as the Burley Coho XC are incredibly easy to use. It has features such as an ergonomic hitch release and a kickstand to prop up the trailer as you are loading it or preparing to hitch. We also broke down and assembled every trailer we tested to get an idea of how much time is needed when they finally show up on your doorstep!
Ease of Towing
We found the one-wheel trailers to be significantly easier to tow than two-wheel trailers, and one-wheel trailers with suspension are the easiest of all. That being said, if you're hauling significant weight, two-wheel trailers handle the weight much better than one. We loaded up each trailer and took off down dirt roads and trails to see how easy or difficult each was to tow over different terrain.
Smoothness of Ride
We utilized a huge variety of trails and surfaces to understand how each trailer would perform in various environments. We slithered down single-track paths and cruised along city paths going out of our way to get into the rough stuff.
To test versatility, we went overnight camping, grocery shopping, and hauled our pets around with each trailer. While some situations — such as singletrack trail with a two-wheel trailer — didn't work well, some trailers offered a pleasantly versatile set of characteristics.