Bumper Pull vs. Gooseneck Cattle Trailer: Understanding the Differences

The Transwest Team
The Transwest Team
Feb 22, 2021
Gooseneck cattle trailer

If you are in the market for a cattle trailer to haul livestock, you will face a few options when it comes to the structure of the trailer. A major difference between most cattle and horse trailers is whether or not the hookup is a bumper pull or a gooseneck.

For those in the process of deciding between a bumper pull or gooseneck cattle trailer, the following guide will help explain the key differences between these trailer styles, as well as highlight some of the benefits each trailer type offers. As always, when you have questions about horse or cattle trailers, our team at Transwest is here to help. Don’t hesitate to reach out for further detailed information. 

What is a Bumper Pull Trailer?

A bumper pull trailer utilizes a basic style of towing connection. The tongue of the trailer rests over the top of a ball hitch. Bumper pulls are also referenced as tagalongs or drag trailers. Bumper pull connections are extremely common across many consumer towing applications. For example, a lot of small campers feature a bumper pull connection. 

The reason why this style of tongue and ball hitch connection is popular for consumer applications is because most trucks and SUVs are factory equipped with a ball hitch or can be easily outfitted with one without the need for major changes to the vehicle. 

However, when you utilize a bumper pull trailer it is important to consider weight distribution, as well as the towing capabilities of the vehicle being utilized. 

What is a Gooseneck Trailer?

A gooseneck trailer uses a different towing mechanism. Rather than hitching to a ball joint located on the back of a vehicle, a gooseneck is connected to a ball joint located in the bed of the tow vehicle over the axle. This is ideal for hauling heavy loads due to the distribution of weight. 

Additionally, with the placement of the hitch, there is added space on gooseneck trailers over the bed of the truck. This serves as a storage area or as a sleeping compartment for cattle trailers.

Pros and Cons of Goosenecks Versus Bumper Pulls

Both goosenecks and bumper pull trailers make useful styles of horse and livestock trailers. However, they are both designed with different purposes in mind. The following benefits of each trailer type can help you determine which style will serve your needs best.

Benefits of Bumper Pull Trailers

Bumper pull trailers are often considered the entry-level version of horse trailers. These trailers tend to be smaller, but still offer all of the following benefits:

  • Affordability: For those that want an economical option, a bumper pull trailer is a great pick. These trailers are a perfect choice for a first-time trailer owner. 
  • Ease of Use: Hitching and unhitching a bumper pull trailer is fairly straightforward. This makes it less intimidating for the average consumer who is not used to dealing with large trailer hitches.
  • Adaptability: You can utilize a bumper pull trailer with almost any vehicle that is designed for towing. The standard pickup truck, and many SUVs, are factory equipped with the ball hitch you will need to hook up a bumper pull. This means no specialty vehicles are needed and no expensive additions are required. 
  • Efficiency: If you don’t want to waste a lot of time dealing with a large trailer, a bumper pull trailer is an effective choice. These trailers offer fast hitching and unhitching for quick trips across town or around a ranch/farm property.

Benefits of Gooseneck Cattle Trailers

While bumper pull trailers are an excellent fit in many scenarios, gooseneck cattle trailers offer their own set of benefits, including the following:

  • Exceptional Towing Stability: One of the top benefits of a gooseneck cattle trailer is that they offer a superior towing experience compared to bumper pull trailers. The trailers tend to be heavier and with their hitch placement, offer less sway, even in windy conditions. This makes them a great choice for long-distance trips where safety is critical.
  • Higher Capacity for Livestock: A bumper pull trailer is really only ideal for hauling a single cow or two. Gooseneck trailers are designed with superior weight distribution which allows them to haul a higher capacity of livestock. 
  • Added Space Options: Due to the placement of the hitch, a gooseneck cattle trailer will feature an additional storage space on the front of the trailer. For some gooseneck trailers, this area can also be equipped with a living quarters, complete with sleeping area, kitchenette and bathroom.

Which One is Right for Me?

In the end, both bumper pulls and gooseneck cattle trailers offer their own set of pros and cons. Which one is right for you will depend on a few factors. Asking yourself the following questions can help narrow down your choices during the research process:

  • What capacity do I need to be able to haul? If you only need to transport a single cow to a local event, a bumper pull might suffice. However, if you are in the business of hauling a large amount of livestock at once, a gooseneck cattle trailer is most likely the right pick.
  • What type of vehicle will I be using to tow my trailer? If you will be using a standard pickup truck or SUV to tow your trailer, it is best to opt for a bumper pull. However, if you have a truck already equipped with a gooseneck hitch in the bed, it is worth opting for the superior towing capability of a gooseneck. 
  • What extra storage do I need? If you want extra storage options or even built-in living quarters, a gooseneck is the better choice.

At Transwest, we will be happy to walk you through both our bumper pull and gooseneck cattle trailer options. We carry a quality inventory of trailers backed by manufacturers you know and trust, such as Logan Coach and Cimarron Trailers. Talk to our team today about what you need, and we’ll help match you to the right choice.

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