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Hauling gear from MI to WY
Elk
Contributors to this thread:
320Bull 24-Jul-23
midwest 24-Jul-23
wytex 24-Jul-23
RK 24-Jul-23
Mule Power 24-Jul-23
RonP 24-Jul-23
Beendare 24-Jul-23
LBshooter 24-Jul-23
LBshooter 24-Jul-23
Grey Ghost 24-Jul-23
bluedog 24-Jul-23
320Bull 24-Jul-23
wytex 24-Jul-23
Rut Nut 24-Jul-23
Rut Nut 24-Jul-23
Rut Nut 24-Jul-23
Glunt@work 24-Jul-23
Buckdeer 24-Jul-23
Bowfreak 24-Jul-23
W 24-Jul-23
W 24-Jul-23
320Bull 25-Jul-23
LBshooter 25-Jul-23
Brotsky 25-Jul-23
DEMO-Bowhunter 25-Jul-23
Glunker 25-Jul-23
320Bull 26-Jul-23
Franzen 26-Jul-23
fisherick 26-Jul-23
CBFROMND 26-Jul-23
ND String Puller 26-Jul-23
cnelk 26-Jul-23
Teeton 26-Jul-23
320Bull 27-Jul-23
From: 320Bull
24-Jul-23
I have been hauling a camp out west for allot of years and have done it a bunch of different ways. From wall tents to 10 days of bivy hunts. This year I am going with 1 other guy and we will be running pretty lean and mean due to the fact that I just bought a new truck with an 82" bed and being this new there are no used topper options available I can find. New is out of the question as it will sit for 11 months of the year. I will be using a tonneau cover which makes a freezer difficult. Have any folks here used a hitch haul for a freezer? I have the means to build my own so capacity isn't a problem I am more worried about rain and dust on the drive out and up the mountain. Thought or ideas?

From: midwest
24-Jul-23
Lean and mean but hauling a freezer?? lol

Ideally, you would have airbags on the rear for that extended weight and I would cover the freezer with a tarp. Maybe get a custom cover made by an awning/boatcover manufacturer. No experience, just some thoughts.

From: wytex
24-Jul-23
Have you looked into a FS cabin to rent in your hunting area? I've seen small freezers on one of those carriers, didn't look very secure while travelling .

From: RK
24-Jul-23
I would reinforce your bed cover and put the freezer on top of it near the cap. If you cover is a fold style you will be able still get to some of your gear. You can't be talking about to big of a freezer. I would not put the freezer on a hitch haul

From: Mule Power
24-Jul-23
I’ve used hitch hauls. But not for a freezer. A 120 quart cooler packed with elk meat and dry ice was pushing it. I had to attach a ratchet strap to each corner and put them over the tailgate and down to the hooks on the bed to keep it from rolling. Do NOT load one up heavy without doing that. As far as a freezer… not necessary. I drive from western Wyoming and Montana to Pa and about 20 pounds of dry ice will have it freezing on the way home. I’ve done that with whole quarters too and they had a small layer of frost/ice on the surface when I got home. It really helps to run duct tape around the seam where the lid meets the bottom AND wrap the cooler in a sleeping bag and put the wall tent on top. BIG difference. You need a cap for your truck bed. Maybe you can borrow one or find a used beat up one cheap.

From: RonP
24-Jul-23
i agree, you need a canopy. i would look on craigs list, facebook marketplace, the classified enthusiast's site for the make/model truck you have, and contact every canopy/topper place within a days drive.

if i had a freezer on a hitch haul my eyes would be more on my mirrors looking for it to fall off, than on the road in front of me.

From: Beendare
24-Jul-23
A loaded Freezer is too heavy for a hitch haul on a 1/2 ton….

Dump the tonneau cover and load that baby up.

From: LBshooter
24-Jul-23
No way to access a freezer in a nearby town? Then carry home in coolers? Trying to carry a freezer on a hitch haul, yikes!! Good luck with whatever route you go, will be interested in how you deal with it.

From: LBshooter
24-Jul-23
No way to access a freezer in a nearby town? Then carry home in coolers? Trying to carry a freezer on a hitch haul, yikes!! Good luck with whatever route you go, will be interested in how you deal with it.

From: Grey Ghost
24-Jul-23
I agree with Beendare. If the freezer is a must ( questionable, IMO), lose the tonneau cover, load the freezer up, and use a tarp to keep any weather or dust out. Those hitch haulers scare me. I hate even driving behind one of those things.

Matt

From: bluedog
24-Jul-23
320 is getting good advice imo. Just not a reasonable idea putting a freezer on a hitch hauler.

From: 320Bull
24-Jul-23
I was going to make my own. 3/4 ton truck with 2 1/2" receiver. Two packaged elk will barely fit in the freezer and at average 200# packaged meat each (going heavy there) I am at 450#. The purchased ones are rated for 500# Capacity will not be an issue with it if building my own. Truck is a 2024 chevy so the used market is nill, I have been searching. I just dont want to spend 3k for something that will sit around and need a decent spot to be stored. Yes lean with a freezer lol. We freeze a tote full of ice in the bottom and it serves as an excellent cooler for food until something gets dead. I have done it without a freezer and its just a hassle when you get an elk and want to do your own processing so yes freezer is a must. It solves so many problems with bringing frozen dinners ect I just cant imagine not having it. Keep in mind this is a 7 cu ft freezer thanks for the responses Thanks for all the responses

From: wytex
24-Jul-23
You can buy dry ice almost anywhere in Wyoming, all our grocery stores have it if the freezer option doesn't pan out for you. We put our frozen meals in a Styrofoam cooler inside our ice chest and it keeps everything frozen until we need it, with an ice jug or 2. Dry ice can be bought to freeze your meat, or ice jugs to keep it just cooled until you get home to process. I see lots of those size freezers in the back of trucks every year, lots of folks do the same. I have seen them on the hitch.

From: Rut Nut
24-Jul-23
What about one of those soft (Fabric)top camper tops? I see them from time to time on the highway. Not sure what they cost new, but gotta be a lot better than the fiberglass....................

From: Rut Nut
24-Jul-23
Here is a link 320. For under a grand, I think I would go this route................

From: Rut Nut
24-Jul-23

Rut Nut's Link

From: Glunt@work
24-Jul-23
As mentioned above, no hitch haul, tarp and one of those spider web load covers would be my plan.

From: Buckdeer
24-Jul-23
I won't use them anymore had a pin come out of hitch going up CO mountain,that hitch hauler is scary when it's flipping end over end chasing you down road.We also drug on dips multiple times.I would put supplies in a few big coolers along with freezer in bed that way it stays clean going out.

From: Bowfreak
24-Jul-23
I hauled my bull back from WY in 2 120Qt coolers. Much easier than a freezer. I had one cooler loaded with juice bottles filled with water and frozen. It worked great. Would you rather have the freezer than the tonneau cover? If that is the case you have your answer.

From: W
24-Jul-23
If y’all kill one, haul home in a freezer. If you kill two, ship one home in dry ice.

From: W
24-Jul-23
If y’all kill one, haul home in a freezer. If you kill two, ship one home in dry ice.

From: 320Bull
25-Jul-23
Thanks for the replies fellas. As I mentioned I will be bringing a freezer. The cooler dry ice or ice jugs is fine short term but with a 4 hr round trip to town its just not very convenient for us. Been there done that not for me. Bottoming out wont be an issue the truck is tall as heck. Thanks for the link rut nut, just dont think I would invest 1k in a canvass topper but its an option. I will follow up with whatever solution I decide on.

Thanks again!

From: LBshooter
25-Jul-23
Well how about a pic when you get your hauler set up with the freezer?

From: Brotsky
25-Jul-23
Get yourself a Diamonback cover.

25-Jul-23
Brotsky, If he doesn't want to do a grand for the soft topper, the Diamondback is probably out as well. Although I love my Diamondback and wouldn't go any other way. Have moved it from two different trucks and it still is going strong.

From: Glunker
25-Jul-23
It is tough to find used toppers. It is a combination of truck make, year (every few years the bed shape is redesigned), length and then you have color. For me finding a 6.5' topper for a 2014 silverado getting old. Why not pull a small trailer?

From: 320Bull
26-Jul-23
The last time I hauled a trailer it was a tandem enclosed and it killed our gas millage so not in a hurry to do that again however it was convenient. Viable option for sure. The diamond back looks nice but it doesn't really solve my issue. I would like to back of the truck to be weather proof so to speak. If I end up going the route of a fabricated hitch haul I will post pictures when complete. I know I sound like a cheap skate but I do my best to keep from having to buy something every year I go elk hunting. Being self employed the time away is a killer if I start adding thousands of dollars in the name of elk hunting it just doesn't look good on paper to the other half. Not to mention I just bought the truck which the last couple have been half tons. This time I bumped that to 3/4 ton diesel so there is that as well. Over the years I have found that less really is more for this hunt. We can run a pretty comfy road camp and spend some nights bivy hunting with very minimal gear. Less to pack manage and haul. The fewer trips to town the better. You get the idea. So far it has worked well, I have been going almost every year for 25 years and mama doesn't complain about the cost. I have also been looking at taking an older aluminum topper and modifying it to work so that may be an option as well. That way it can sit in the weeds for 49 weeks of the year and I wont give rip. Thanks for all the comments

From: Franzen
26-Jul-23
I'd be as much concerned about what your going to put the freezer through back there on the hitch. Can't imagine a freezer would last long going through that. The weight probably won't be the issue. The loaded freezer probably weighs close to the loaded cooler(s) mentioned above, assuming it is a newish model. Stabilization at the hitch insert will be most important. In Mule Power's example above with the straps into the bed, that may be a solution. However, it sounds like a lot of stress I wouldn't want to put on a brand new tailgate.

From: fisherick
26-Jul-23
Ditch the tonneau cover, buy and install a large, deep crossover tool box to secure valuables, install freezer behind it over wheelwells. Use a tarp or large roof luggage bag in the bed of truck to cover all other gear.

From: CBFROMND
26-Jul-23
I used to hate having a topper on year round... local topper shop would rent me a topper for my elk hunt.. they popped it on and off for me.. Do not remember cost. color never did match! ha!

26-Jul-23
I’d get a small/medium sized enclosed trailer…tell the wife it’s a tax write off, and you’re going to store your hunting stuff in it. Your diesel won’t know it’s even pulling it. I use an old pop-up pickup camper and pull an enclosed trailer for the wheeler, coolers and tools. Nice to be able to pull over when you’re tired, crank the top up and sleep. Has a fridge, stove and forced air furnace. Works good for 2 guys. About 5 minutes to move camp. Good luck this year!

From: cnelk
26-Jul-23
I’d go down to Home Cheapo and get some 2x4s and OSB, hinges, screws and glue and build me a topper, clamp that bitch on the truck and roll.

I bet it would cost less than a $100.

From: Teeton
26-Jul-23
After read all the post my idea was to build a box in side of the box. Cnelk beat me to it.

From: 320Bull
27-Jul-23
I have been looking for a used aluminum topper that I could potentially modify also. I could care less about looks so that could work out as well. Thanks for the responses

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