This comprehensive guide covers the definition of flatbed hauling, its benefits, shipping tips, and other crucial things you need to know about hauling cargo using a flatbed.
Let’s start with what a flatbed truck is and its types and uses.
What is a flatbed truck?
Flatbed trucks are large vehicles with flat bodies. They don’t have roofs or sides.
The vehicle’s unique bed design is ideal for loads that are too wide for trucks with enclosed bodies.
Because forklifts can be maneuvered from any side of the vehicle, a flatbed’s design structure simplifies the loading and unloading of cargo.
Are there different types of flatbed trailers?
Knowing the different types of flatbed trailers and their uses is essential.
Here are flatbed trailer types.
1. Step deck
A step deck, or drop deck, is a flatbed trailer with a top and bottom deck. The step deck is commonly used for cargo that is too wide or tall to fit into a standard flatbed.
Step deck loads usually ride lower in the trailer. Being lower allows the vehicle to pass under low bridges, even with tall loads. At ground level, you can use loading ramps to get on and off the bed easily.
2. Extendable flatbeds
Extendable flatbeds, or flatbed stretch trailers, transport cargo that is too long to fit onto a standard flatbed.
An extendable flatbed truck can haul freight without overhang. However, larger loads may require a permit and escort vehicles at times.
3. Stretch single-drop deck
This trailer type is similar to extendable flatbeds. But it comes with a drop deck.
The vehicle can lengthen its bed like an extendable flatbed. It can stretch to accommodate cargo that is too long for standard step decks. Essentially, a stretch single-drop deck can legally carry loads that standard drop-deck flatbeds can’t.
To secure large cargo, you can attach a bulkhead to the trailer’s front. This can protect the freight from coming loose during hard-braking events.
Attaching a bulkhead should also allow the cargo to bend and go over the truck’s cab. Instead of into it.
4. Double drop
Double-drop flatbeds allow you to load oversize freight, including items more than 10 feet tall.
Besides a front and back deck, double-drop flatbeds have a well in the middle. The well is usually 25 to 29 feet long to accommodate tall freight.
But the well can shorten your space for loading cargo. It requires a crane and other flatbed trucking tools to load and unload.
5. Removable gooseneck trailer (RGN)
RGNs are versatile trailers you can use for long and tall loads, such as large machinery. RGNs are detachable. The trailer can be dropped to the ground to become a ramp. That means you can drive heavy equipment right onto the deck.
RGNs are usually designed with three to 20 axles. Axles allow them to carry and deliver heavy and massive payloads.
Side-kit flatbed trailers include panels, curved metal spines shaped like bows, and stakes around the bed’s perimeter. Together they provide a structure that allows you to attach tarps if needed.
When tarps are attached, the side-kit flatbed’s design can protect sensitive cargo from exposure to the elements.
A lowboy trailer can handle cargo that is too tall for step deck flatbeds. Lowboys resemble step decks. These vehicle types include a double drop. They sit lower than standard drop deck trailers.
Lowboy trailers sit 18 inches off the ground. Their height allows them to accommodate freight that requires clearance heights of up to 11 feet and 6 inches.