For most new ideas, technology is borne from a demand to improve on existing designs. In the case of enclosed snowmobile trailers, an emerging trend toward “inline” designs solves the trouble of poor visibility caused by gargantuan trailers that fill a tow vehicle’s mirrors.
We tested a 24-foot Featherlite 1610V inline trailer last winter and enjoyed its easy towability, quality construction and premium features. With narrower, longer dimensions than a traditional trailer, the 1610V — in our case, a four-place — allows full rearward visibility and makes it tow easily.
Wheels are outside the walls for a low ride height, and the trailer is a few feet longer; rather than haul two pairs of sleds side by side, machines are staggered. At 7 feet wide, the whole trailer follows the path cut by the truck to reduce drag and improve the truck’s fuel mileage.
Our 1610V was a nicely appointed hauler outfitted with quality running gear. Doors were held shut with sturdy, lockable latches that made a positive “clunk” to prove they were latched. The mechanism operated smoothly no matter how cold the weather, but a couple of the rubber caps that cover the keyholes fell off, leaving the intricate part exposed to road spray. The trailer’s interior was lined with smooth, white aluminum sheathing with a roughly 12-inch tall kick plate along the floor to protect walls from damage caused by errant skis.
Recessed, rubber-wrapped toggle switches at the front and rear of the trailer’s exterior provided easy access to operate the halogen loading lights without having to step over sleds or luggage inside. A 36-inch long cabinet was handy to store oil jugs and tools and two large fuel doors — 11.5 by 24 inches — made it easy to fuel sleds when they were inside the trailer, though other trailers we’ve demo’d had cool magnetic catches to hold the door open.
Towing And Unloading
The trailer went down the road without swaying or bouncing, and the number of snowmobiles inside didn’t seem to affect how it tracked. (We always centered the weight over the pair of 3,500-pound, torsion-spring axles.) The ability to look at a side mirror and see along the side of the trailer rather than the front wall gives a less-claustrophobic feeling for the driver, and backing the trailer is easier, too.
The only significant quirk of the 1610V is its front door and 50-inch opening; we found it too narrow to easily unload sleds. Rather than simply steer the sled out the door, we had to approach the opening, drive about half-way down the ramp, jump off the sled and slide the rear end toward the opposite wall and then drive out. If we didn’t do this, the left side of the sled would rub on the door opening and the right ski almost fell off the ramp.
Other enclosed trailers we’ve tested allowed us to drive out the door in a fluid motion. If a wider opening isn’t an option for Featherlite to improve this, a not-as-pointy V-shaped nose would reduce the angle and make it easier to unload snowmobiles.
A Big Investment
The strike against older haulers is that they impose on the tow vehicle driver’s rearward field of vision, but the Featherlite 1610V is part of a growing trend toward enclosed sled haulers that are easier for the driver and truck to tow.
Our Featherlite demo billed out at $19,937. That’s a big investment, but for a customer who wants a high-end trailer, this is a good-looking, well-built option.
— Andy Swanson