LIFTING (tool for) YOUR HEAVY FOLDING TRAILER
UPDATE AFTER TESTING: SORRY -THIS WONT WORK.
I am considering deleting the post. For now, its good info on a decent tripod. I am posting my update a couple posts ahead in this thread with details.
This is a bit lengthy due to detailed info/report.
I just thought I'd add this... My (non-HB) trailer weighs about 350+ lbs, and I am an older (but not old) dude who cannot lift that (after fully folding) all the way vertical and onto its caster-assembly by myself (allllmost -dammit, but no cigar ;^).
So I hunted around for figuring a not too expensive "hoist" solution
that I could take with (I travel a bit and need to store it at various 'ports of call' as I go, or I would simply rely on the 5-to-1 pulley hoist I made and put up in the shed).
While a "hitch-mounted hoist"
solution seemed attractive to me, I wanted to be able to not have to rely on the Jeep's hitch for putting up the trailer, as I may wish to move/roll the trailer into a spot and then hoist it right there ...where perhaps it would be inconvenient or impossible to have the Jeep front/rear hitch present.
SO I started figuring on building a "TriPod Hoist"
solution with a hand-winch.
As most hunters already know, there are several over-the-counter solutions for both hitch and tripod hoists for handling game (that typically break down for more manageable transport), and I though one of these might be the way to go. (As well, ranchers and farmers will also be familiar with tripod feeders - similar tech.)
WARNING: Problem is, almost all of the "non-top-dollar" solutions out there suffer from some complaint or other on how poorly they perform, or arriving in semi-broken condition, etc... so if you follow this down be careful to read user/consumer-posts and all the details you can gather on anything you may consider purchasing. (Not only that, there is no "non-top-of-the-line" item out there with a good enough pictures that shows you what all you are really getting.)
AS WELL, when/if shopping be mindful to observe the weight of the tool... the cheaper ones are attractive at around 45-50 lbs, while the heavier duty ones usually weigh in beginning at 90++ lbs (which, personally, I don't want to be hauling everywhere with me).
For instance, a common "less expensive" manufacturer of these types of tools out there is ForeverLast. They cost from $125++ to well over $200 depending on type (hitch-mount or tripod) you look at, and reviews are all over the place - buyer beware. If you look at a Texas or similar lifts, while more "reliable" those types start at about $300 (up to $700+).
So I stumbled upon one at Walmart (of all places) that cost only $70, rated at 300 lbs capacity, and it had pretty good reviews too.
I figured, what the hell - close enough, and for half-to-a-third of the money I was otherwise looking at spending, I can test and modify it as/if I need to... I mean how weak can some metal poles and a winch with a 1/4" steel cable be anyway ?! I bet it can do 500lbs with a 'little help'.
Well it arrived yesterday, so I will tell you about it 'so far'. Bottomline is I think this is gonna work just fine (I won't get to test it for real till weekend).
What this is: Hunter's Pointe Steel Frame Tripod Hoist
You can read the description at the link, so I will skip the main specs.
The poles are about 1.75" diameter (or slightly less) made of thin-ish metal (and we all know chinese steel is non-too-strong). But they are not flimsy. They are sectioned in half with lock-rod clips at the joints (handy), and the Tripod Head and Feet appear to be decently welded (not tack, but full).
***The Tripod Head on this one has a 2:1 Pulley Hoist assembly
. I consider that a bonus since pretty much all the other ones only have a direct 1:1 pulley setup.
It arrived in a box measuring 57.5" x 14" x 5" (poles measure almost 9' long when assembled) that was fairly beat up, but everything was there (nothing lost). I was a little disheartened to find a pole-end slightly bent 'out of round' (from shipping handling), but I was able to fix it (you will hear this sort of thing a lot ...boxed without adequate protection for contents, missing pieces, damage, etc... I consider myself lucky). Rankam does include a phone number and instructions for contacting them directly (the California Manuf outlet) if anything is damaged or missing, or if you need parts. While I didn't call them, it felt good seeing that. Many purchasers of the "cheapo stuff" report no recourse provided at all !
appears similar to decent 500 to 600 (or even 1000) lb styles I have seem, is bolted on (not welded - which I have seen complaints about the welded on ones), and if it isn't up to the task (cannot imagine) I can simply attach my own pulley hoist, no problem. As mentioned above, its got a fairly beefy near quarter-inch steel cable on it. To be clear, I hear some have flimsy handles that have bent, or come apart, or stopped functioning, or are flimsy construction all around. This is as decent, and heavy duty, a hand-winch as I typically have seen, and I don't see any of those things are gonna happen with this one.
IMPORTANT / SAFETY: On these types of tripod 'tools', you have to use the stakes or leg stablizers (if any) that come with. If you do not anchor the feet, especially on a cheaper tripod, the weight you are lifting can cause the legs to spread, and then potentially buckle or break the welds (in the head), resulting in failure and potential injury. I am going to make my own cable stabilizer for this, as it only comes with stakes.
I will post back after testing it, but to mention... assembly went well, and it appears to be very sturdy and capable. I don't think it will need it, but if I need to add some heft to it I already have some ideas for simple additions.
Last thing I should mention... anyone who buys these who has no experience typically complains about the wire spool
. What happens is these types of tools typically ship with a loose bail (duh). You HAVE to unspool, and then re-spool the bail with some weight to pre-prep these for proper use.
Additionally. what I do is, after prepping the hand-crank spool ...take a tough velcro compression strap and wrap it around the bail after re-spooling it in order to keep the bail from loosening up. That way, when finished with the load, or disassemble for transport, the bail keeps its "wrapped integrity" so there will be no "funny business" going on next time you setup for use.
Okay, that's my prelim report. As you can see I am excited about this tool, and to try it out. I guess part of the excitement is not having to spend hundreds of dollars on a potentially marginal tool, and/or having to lug around a huge and/or heavy piece of iron for managing my folding trailer "in comfort", and anywhere I want.