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Old 01-21-13, 07:33 AM   #1
dpicare26
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Touring bike trailer? Burley Nomad vs. Croozer Cargo? Other?

So I'm considering planning a MTB tour of the Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) which spans from Pittsburgh, PA to Cumberland, MD. Roughly 140 miles each way on rail to trail type road (crushed limestone/gravel), max grade of 1.5% (average <1%).

They have a catered tour for this ride, but they only ride one direction over 5 days, so roughly 30-40 miles a day.

I would rather plan it out on my own and be responsible for my own camping gear etc and do the entire ride over a long 3-day-weekend (roughly 90 miles a day). So herein lies my question: Which touring trailer is would you best recommend?

I would love to get away with the Croozer Cargo @ ~$160 vs. the Burley Nomad @~$260.

Any advice/experience with similar terrain?
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Old 01-21-13, 08:12 AM   #2
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Since you're only talking about a 3 day trip, I'd be thinking about down the road. I'm assuming you're going to be taking more trips? Or looking for a trailer for other purposes, such as utility? Seems like any old trailer would work for a 3 day-er.

I'm partial to the Nomad because I have one and I love it. The Croozer is a little heavier trailer, probably because of the solid plastic floor. I don't know how well the cover would hold up on the Croozer, but the cover on the Nomad has held up very well for me.
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Old 01-21-13, 08:24 AM   #3
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I would certain base my investment on future trips, but would likely only be about 2-3 a year, terrain varying from road (with a road bike of course) to trails with MTB. So basically ~600-1,000 miles a year.

i have heard only good things about the Nomad and not much about the Croozer.
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Old 01-21-13, 11:14 AM   #4
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We pulled our Burley Nomad 300 miles up the state of Michigan on a mix of roads and rails to trails and it worked flawlessly. We're looking forward to using it for more tours as well as grocery and beach runs. We considered the Croozer because it's a lot less expensive but chose the Burley with long term, hassle free use in mind. Which ever you choose.... enjoy!
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Old 01-21-13, 11:28 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by dpicare26 View Post
So I'm considering planning a MTB tour of the Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) which spans from Pittsburgh, PA to Cumberland, MD. Roughly 140 miles each way on rail to trail type road (crushed limestone/gravel), max grade of 1.5% (average <1%).

They have a catered tour for this ride, but they only ride one direction over 5 days, so roughly 30-40 miles a day.

I would rather plan it out on my own and be responsible for my own camping gear etc and do the entire ride over a long 3-day-weekend (roughly 90 miles a day). So herein lies my question: Which touring trailer is would you best recommend?

I would love to get away with the Croozer Cargo @ ~$160 vs. the Burley Nomad @~$260.

Any advice/experience with similar terrain?
Since you are considering off-road trails in the future, you shouldn't even look at 2 wheel trailers. A two wheel trailer will work for rail trails and for on-road use but if you get into anything more rugged than a dirt road, the wider track of a two wheel trailer is an impediment. BikeTrailerShop has a good primer on single wheel trailers.
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Old 01-21-13, 12:05 PM   #6
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a Burly Flatbed is what I own, open load area.. you buy a Dry bag like Ortlieb's Rack pack.
or any end loading river runner's bag
then everything stays Dry inside the bag.. carried in the load space..

Nomad , because its a sewn nylon fabric compartment, you still need to pack stuff in another bag to keep it dry..

I have a Cascades designs Canoeist's Portage Pack, the dry bag has shoulder straps..
should you have a need you put the pack on and carry it and wear the trailer on your back ,

put the bike in your hands to ford streams, and trail washouts.
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Old 01-21-13, 12:17 PM   #7
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Get the BOB Yak, then sell it when you're done.
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Old 01-21-13, 01:12 PM   #8
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a Burly Flatbed is what I own, open load area.. you buy a Dry bag like Ortlieb's Rack pack.
or any end loading river runner's bag
then everything stays Dry inside the bag.. carried in the load space..

Nomad , because its a sewn nylon fabric compartment, you still need to pack stuff in another bag to keep it dry..

I have a Cascades designs Canoeist's Portage Pack, the dry bag has shoulder straps..
should you have a need you put the pack on and carry it and wear the trailer on your back ,

put the bike in your hands to ford streams, and trail washouts.
In my experience, the only leaks come around the bottom/front, where there are small gaps where the fabric meets the trailer frame. I put my sleeping bag there and I have it in a drybag. But everything else in the trailer stays dry just from the cover. I believe that it is dense enough to be waterproof.
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Old 01-21-13, 01:34 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by dpicare26 View Post
So I'm considering planning a MTB tour of the Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) which spans from Pittsburgh, PA to Cumberland, MD. Roughly 140 miles each way on rail to trail type road (crushed limestone/gravel), max grade of 1.5% (average <1%).

They have a catered tour for this ride, but they only ride one direction over 5 days, so roughly 30-40 miles a day.

I would rather plan it out on my own and be responsible for my own camping gear etc and do the entire ride over a long 3-day-weekend (roughly 90 miles a day). So herein lies my question: Which touring trailer is would you best recommend?

I would love to get away with the Croozer Cargo @ ~$160 vs. the Burley Nomad @~$260.

Any advice/experience with similar terrain?
When you are riding on crushed limestone/gravel and on MTB, your mileage will be much less than you are riding on the road. Typically if you are able to do 90miles/day on the road, 40 to 45 miles would be reasonable on trails with crushed gravel. There's a lot more resistance when you're riding on trails plus towing a trailer will be even more work when you loaded the trailer up with camping gear. So if you are planning to cover 90 miles/day on crushed gravel, plan to train yourself on the road to cover at the most 180 miles/day instead.

In regards to 2 wheel trailers. I have both a single wheel and a 2 wheel trailer, and on the trails, the single wheel provides less rolling resistance than the 2 wheel, though you pay in terms of slight instability. I have a Burley Travoy and it works fine on rail trails, but with tighter switchbacks, my single wheel Maya Cycle trailer is more suitable and easier to ride with compared to my previous Bob Yak trailer which is a handful when it is fully loaded.

But why are you towing a trailer when you can put on Old Man Mountain racks and use them to carry camping gear. A lot easier on the trails.
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Old 01-21-13, 02:25 PM   #10
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But why are you towing a trailer when you can put on Old Man Mountain racks and use them to carry camping gear. A lot easier on the trails.
I don't agree...and I hate trailers. Off-road, panniers make the bike more difficult to handle because of the increase in unsprung weight. A loaded bike in an off-road situation feels very 'dead'. With a trailer it isn't all that much better but you can lift the bike up and over obstacles and the trailer will follow. I've done it both ways and would prefer panniers but they just don't work as well off-road as a trailer does.
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Old 01-21-13, 02:42 PM   #11
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In my experience, the only leaks come around the bottom/front, where there are small gaps where the fabric meets the trailer frame. I put my sleeping bag there and I have it in a drybag. But everything else in the trailer stays dry just from the cover. I believe that it is dense enough to be waterproof.
How many Days did it rain, All Day long?
All Sewn bags leak at the seams, and after a while Squeege, Mill applied on the roll,
waterproof coating wears, and Peels off ..

but if optimism works for you, fine ..

just a longer view


Zip loc bags fortunately are cheap, to individually bag and label everything.

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Old 01-21-13, 03:16 PM   #12
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How many Days did it rain, All Day long?
All Sewn bags leak at the seams, and after a while Squeege, Mill applied on the roll,
waterproof coating wears, and Peels off ..

but if optimism works for you, fine ..
sigh...
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Old 01-21-13, 05:43 PM   #13
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Wouldn't hurt to check craigslist periodically. I often see trailers for sale on there, at least in my area. Many are kid trailers, but I recently saw 2 Burley Flatbeds for sale. One was asking $125 and the other was $150. Also saw a Nomad with rack for $200, and a Yak for $100. At those prices, I toyed with the idea of picking one up, even though I didn't have an immediate need for one.

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Old 01-21-13, 06:19 PM   #14
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Skip the Trailer

Skip the trailer altogether. We did Pittsburgh to DC and the GAP in 3 days last year like you are planning to do. We rented a camping cabin in Connellsville the first night for $99 so $25 a piece. On day 2 we rode to Rockwood where we stayed at the Hostel on Main for like $11 a person. Get the guide book there are lots of options. By doing this we only had to carry minimal gear on a rear rack. I used one that suspends off of the seat post. The trail is in awesome shape and if I did it again I'd use my road bike and ride it in 2 days. I put narrow Panaracer Urban Max 1.25" tires on my mountain bike and had no issues. It rained one of the days but the trail is so well built it wasn't an issue. It's a awesome ride. The C&O is a whole different story, lots of mud and rough trail conditions but I didn't have any issues on the smooth narrow tires. This video is Rockwood, PA to Cumberland, MD: http://www.beselfpropelled.com/video...orite-section/ The first 2 days are under the "view videos" tab on the navigation bar. Enjoy the ride!
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Old 01-21-13, 11:33 PM   #15
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I don't agree...and I hate trailers. Off-road, panniers make the bike more difficult to handle because of the increase in unsprung weight. A loaded bike in an off-road situation feels very 'dead'. With a trailer it isn't all that much better but you can lift the bike up and over obstacles and the trailer will follow. I've done it both ways and would prefer panniers but they just don't work as well off-road as a trailer does.
Hard to control loaded with panniers on rail to trails? I am not sure I agree with you on this. I have done and led a number of rail to trails on the Kettle Valley and Transcanada trails no problem. Jannick Lemieux and Pierre Bouchard who toured the Pacific Ring Of Fire did it with panniers. In single track and challenging trails however, I agree it is better with a trailer. But I don't think the OP will be doing any technical single track riding.
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Old 01-22-13, 09:23 AM   #16
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Hard to control loaded with panniers on rail to trails? I am not sure I agree with you on this. I have done and led a number of rail to trails on the Kettle Valley and Transcanada trails no problem. Jannick Lemieux and Pierre Bouchard who toured the Pacific Ring Of Fire did it with panniers. In single track and challenging trails however, I agree it is better with a trailer. But I don't think the OP will be doing any technical single track riding.
I'd agree if he were only doing railtrails. But from dpicare26's post (#3)

Quote:
terrain varying from road (with a road bike of course) to trails with MTB
If dpicare26 is even considering trails, he should look at single wheel trailers. I hate my trailer. The thing is a boat anchor and a pain to pull but it beats panniers off-road. Probably the best way to go is with Relevate Design bags but only if you can do so in the most minimalist manner possible.
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Old 01-22-13, 04:36 PM   #17
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When you are riding on crushed limestone/gravel and on MTB, your mileage will be much less than you are riding on the road. Typically if you are able to do 90miles/day on the road, 40 to 45 miles would be reasonable on trails with crushed gravel. There's a lot more resistance when you're riding on trails plus towing a trailer will be even more work when you loaded the trailer up with camping gear. So if you are planning to cover 90 miles/day on crushed gravel, plan to train yourself on the road to cover at the most 180 miles/day instead.

In regards to 2 wheel trailers. I have both a single wheel and a 2 wheel trailer, and on the trails, the single wheel provides less rolling resistance than the 2 wheel, though you pay in terms of slight instability. I have a Burley Travoy and it works fine on rail trails, but with tighter switchbacks, my single wheel Maya Cycle trailer is more suitable and easier to ride with compared to my previous Bob Yak trailer which is a handful when it is fully loaded.

But why are you towing a trailer when you can put on Old Man Mountain racks and use them to carry camping gear. A lot easier on the trails.
following comment not meant to start a pissing contest, but I could easily do 45 miles on rails to trails in about 2-3 hrs. Sure, maybe longer with a fully stocked trailer, but not enough to limit me to 40-45 miles the entire day. Also planning on sharing the workload with my buddy, i.e. taking turns lugging the thing around. as stated before, the average grade is <1%.

thanks to those of you offering good advice. Totally convinced the Nomad will be perfect for the trip, just was hoping to spend as little as possible on trailer (still convinced this is what I would like to do). Anyone own the Croozer Cargo with input?

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Old 01-23-13, 12:03 PM   #18
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I don't have a Nomad, but have pulled a Burley Solo child trailer for lots of miles and have been really pleased with it. From what I've seen, the Nomad is basically the Solo trailer but with a cargo setup. The Burley is very high-quality and pulls really nicely. I do agree that a two-wheel trailer is not a good choice for anything but roads and well-maintained paths. It would be fine for the GAP, but miserable on the C&O. I say this from experience, having done a short tour with our Burley behind our loaded tandem on the C&O. Since the C&O is usually a double-track, one wheel was always dragging in the middle of the trail.

As an aside, I rode the GAP one-way over a three-day Columbus-day weekend without much problem. Actually, it really only took about 2.5 days, and I had plenty of time to stop and smell the roses and take photos. I'm not a big mileage guy, but it was perfectly doable. My longest day was 63 miles, with two other 48 mile days. My trip journal is at http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/BrianGAPtour

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Old 01-23-13, 03:15 PM   #19
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I have a Croozer that I use for utility stuff like groceries, etc. I find a lot of uses for it and it's fun. I got it fairly cheaply on amazon and I like it for what I use it for. It is plenty sturdy and it would work adequately for what you propose. That said, I wish I would have spent the extra money on the Burley which is lighter and has a higher carrying weight capacity. When you are on the trail with the better quality Burley you will have forgotten about the extra money you spent.
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Old 01-26-13, 09:59 PM   #20
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The Nomad is decent, but my favorite trailer is now the Quik-Pak:
http://www.quik-pak.com/
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Old 01-28-13, 02:39 PM   #21
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I own both panniers and a trailer but won't offer an opinion as I've never toured off road.

I will offer an opinion on 90 miles a day. Why? The GAP, so i've heard, is one of the prettiest tours you can take along the east coast. At 90 miles a day you aren't going to see much of it. You are going to speed thru it.

We all have schedules to keep, but if you can't take the time to enjoy an area, what's the point?

I will tell you i spent years riding motorcycles to all four corners of this country. But I did it as a member of the Ironbutt Association. I would ride 2000 miles to a National Park just to get my National Park Passport book stamped. And then as fast as i could i was gone to get to the next park. I rode to a lot of National parks, over 300 in fact, but i saw none of them. The challange was to get the stamps, not enjoy the parks.

I rode a lot of miles and squared off a lot of tires, but didn't see much of anything past the superslab. I made a big effort to change up that mentality with Bicycle touring. It's one of the reasons I went to bike touring. It's the opposite end of the spectrum.

There is a reason the tour company offers a 5 day tour. Think about it.

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