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9 Utility Trailer Tailgate Ideas

Utility trailers are useful and versatile vehicles, the tailgate of which can be easily modified to best suit your needs in landscaping, construction, and transportation. The tailgate is one of the key components of the trailer that affects its utility (in addition to the hitch and the trailer suspension).

There are plenty of ideas for improvements, from tailgate safety to cargo management — the first of which being a reliable and affordable backup camera from Camera Source — and we’ll go through them in this post.

Utility Trailer Tailgate Ideas

The ideas for ways to improve a utility trailer tailgate should be inspired by the type of utility trailer you have and what you plan to use it for. 

Types of Utility Trailers

As versatile as utility trailers are, there are a number of configurations and styles to accommodate a number of different uses:

  • Open-Air Trailers - Open-air trailers are what they sound like, open to the fresh air. These trailers feature durable and premium paint on all metal surfaces. Most open-air trailers have a heavy duty mesh ramp door and 2x8 plank floors. While these trailers are affordable, they often offer little protection from the weather and natural elements. 
  • Flatbed Trailers - Flatbed trailers are a type of open-air trailer with a flat deck, designed for easy loading and durability. They’re often used for transporting vehicles and other large items, and they’re available in multiple sizes and widths to meet the needs of a variety of tasks. 
  • Landscape Trailers - Landscape trailer designs are open-air trailers that are specifically designed to carry landscaping materials. These are the right types of trailers for items like shovels, lawnmowers and sod, for example. They usually feature tailgates that can double as ramps for easy loading of equipment onto the trailer. Tool racks and cabinets are also usually built into the frame for hauling small items like hand tools, along with larger equipment.
  • Enclosed Trailers - Enclosed trailers, like open-air trailers, are pretty self-explanatory. They’re secure, watertight, and have durable cargo box design. On top of that, they have a prefinished aluminum exterior. Many will also include a painted plywood floor. These trailers are designed to endure harsh weather and offer maximum protection. Because of this, they’re often expensive. 

Utility Trailer Tailgate Idea # 1: Backup Camera

No matter the kind of trailer you have and what you use it for, it can benefit from a backup camera. The backup camera is one of the most useful upgrades you can make to not only your utility trailer, but every vehicle. A backup camera for your utility trailer will help you back in and out of parking spots, navigate corners and obstacles, and set your mind at ease when reversing;

A backup camera for your car or truck can help you quickly and easily hitch your trailer to your vehicle with confidence; And a trailer side camera can help you when parking in a tight space or towing a long trailer through awkward job sites. For safety and convenience, there’s no better idea than a 360 degree view of your surroundings.

Utility Trailer Tailgate Idea # 2: New Tailgate Style 

There are several tailgate styles, many of which are useful for a number of different tasks. An upgrade to your utility trailer could be as simple as replacing the tailgate with one that is a different style to better fit your needs.

  • Drop-down tailgate - The most common design for truck tailgates features a drop-down mechanism that unlocks the panel and lays it flat, extending access to the flatbed or trunk. You see this on most pickup trucks. 
  • Swing tailgate - Another tailgate mechanism uses side hinges to provide access to the back compartment. This design requires adequate clearance at the back of the vehicle in order to swing the door open completely.
  • Split tailgate - This type has two separate door panels hinged on each side of the vehicle, allowing the doors to be opened barn-style. A split or double-hinged mechanism can be useful for operating in a tighter space where you can’t open a traditional drop-down tailgate.
  • Multi-way tailgate - Latest truck models feature gates that fold up and down, convert into a load stop, turn into a step, and double as workbenches to add functionality to the rear of the vehicle. A similar design can be adapted and used for a utility trailer. 

Utility Trailer Tailgate Idea # 3: Hinges & Latches

One possibility is to be able to detach your tailgate altogether. Being able to remove the tailgate comes in handy when loading and unloading awkward cargo, working in tight spaces, or when you have an oversized load that has some overhang in the back of the trailer. Removing the hinges and replacing them with latches or brackets will allow you to be able to detach and reattach the tailgate to the utility trailer with ease.

You may be able to remove the pins from the hinges and replace them with ones that can be easily slid in and out to detach and reattach the tailgate with ease. On some utility trailers, the pins are crimped or welded into place, or require pounding out with a hammer or mallet. If you can’t remove the pin you can replace the entire hinge. Some hinges are bolted on, making it easy to replace them, while others are welded on, preventing removal without grinding or welding. Latches can be used to replace the hinges as a mechanism to easily remove the tailgate and securely reattach it. 


Utility Trailer Tailgate Idea #4: Utility Trailer Lift Assist

Another handy tailgate upgrade, lift assists are simply struts that help support the weight of a tailgate, making it easier to lower or raise the gate. They’re easy to install, and they can often save your back from heavy lifting. 


Utility Trailer Tailgate Idea # 5: Tailgate Ramp

Ramps are one of the most useful transportation and utility trailer upgrades. They’re helpful for loading and transporting equipment, small vehicles, and large loads with ease. Ramps of different materials and lengths can be installed, including bifold ramps for extra length, ladder ramps, heavy duty ramps, and more. A variety of ramp styles are widely available, but if you have welding experience and tools, you can make a ramp yourself with these welding plans, and even with a few modifications to customize it to meet your needs. 


Utility Trailer Tailgate Idea # 6: Trailer Tailgate Winch 

You can use a winch to move a heavy item from the ground into the trailer without the need to do any lifting. Just wrap the strap around the item and use your winch to crank it into your utility trailer. If you want to free up the space a winch normally takes up, you can install a removable winch mount on your utility trailer. Using a removable mount for your winch also has an added bonus of keeping it out of the weather which will prolong its life.


Utility Trailer Tailgate Idea # 7: Trailer Bed Drawers 

Trailer bed drawers are exactly what they sound like: drawers that sit in the bed of a truck, or for our purposes, the bed of the utility trailer. They’re useful for organizing, storing, and accessing smaller tools, and they’re a great modification to a utility trailer, mainly due to their customizability. Adding drawers to your trailer will essentially turn it into a giant toolbox on wheels, which sounds pretty convenient for a number of tasks. 

Utility Trailer Tailgate Idea # 8: Tonneau Cover or Lid to Encase Trailer 

You can turn a utility trailer into an enclosed trailer with a tonneau cover or lid. These covers protect the trailer and its contents from the elements, and also allows you to lock and protect the contents of the trailer from potential theft.

Utility Trailer Tailgate Idea # 9: Lights

Lights are a bright idea for a vehicle, and we don’t just mean brake lights or taillights. While laws vary state to state, all trailers are required to have taillights, brake lights, side marker lights, turn signals, and side and rear reflectors regardless of size to be road legal. However, beyond that, additional tailgate lighting can help you safely navigate the trailer and its surroundings at different times of day in different locations. 

Even some backup cameras come with lighting, while others have night vision. Some cameras, like those included in the super duty plug and play kit and the 360 OEM camera kit, use infra-red LEDs that will create a daytime like display even in complete darkness. 

Protect Your Utility Trailer Tailgate with Camera Source

Enhancing the safety of your utility trailer is always a good idea. One of the simplest ways to do that is to install a backup camera, not only on your vehicle, but your trailer as well. Camera Source has all the accessories you need to make your vehicle safe. You can even get your choice of a square work light or a round work light, and we even have magnetic bases for your vehicle work light.

Camera Source has backup cameras to fit any need, and expert staff to help you determine which camera is the right one. Get in touch with us today!