Side Kit Trailer Everything you need to know Truckers Wiki

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Introduction to Side Kit Trailer

A side kit trailer, also known as a side kit is a versatile piece of equipment in the trucking industry. It is essentially a flatbed trailer with removable sides, offering a hybrid solution between flatbed and fully enclosed trailers. This article provides an in-depth look at the side kit trailer, including its design, uses, and benefits, along with a few considerations.

What is a Side Kit Trailer?

A side kit trailer is a type of flatbed trailer that is equipped with removable side panels and a tarpaulin cover, hence the name “side kit.” These trailers are often used when cargo needs protection from the elements but does not require the security of a fully enclosed trailer.

Design and Features

Side kit trailers usually have a flatbed base with removable fiberglass panels or plywood walls that are secured by stakes placed in pockets along the sides of the trailer. These walls, usually 4 to 5 feet high, can be installed or removed depending on the cargo’s needs.

The tarpaulin, or “tarp,” is then used to cover the top of the trailer, securing the cargo and providing further protection from weather conditions. Some side kits even come with custom tarps designed to fit the exact dimensions of the trailer, ensuring a tight, secure fit.

Side kit trailers typically range from 45 to 53 feet in length and can accommodate a variety of cargo types and sizes.

Common Uses

Side kit trailers are extremely versatile and can be used to transport a wide range of goods. They are commonly used for loads that need to be top-loaded or are too tall for enclosed trailers, but still need protection from the elements.

Some of the typical cargoes hauled using side kit trailers include:

  1. Lumber
  2. Steel rods, bars, or pipes
  3. Bagged or palletized goods
  4. Large equipment or machinery

Benefits and Considerations


  1. Versatility: Side kit trailers offer the flexibility of a flatbed trailer with the added option of cargo protection, making them a versatile choice for a range of cargoes.

  2. Ease of Loading: The removable sides make loading and unloading easy, especially with forklifts, cranes, or other equipment.

  3. Protection: The tarp cover provides protection against weather, road debris, and other potential damages.


  1. Setup Time: Setting up the side panels and tarp can take time, which might extend loading and unloading processes.

  2. Maintenance: The tarp and side panels require regular maintenance to ensure they stay in good condition.


Side kit trailers offer a practical and versatile solution for cargo that requires top-loading and protection, but not necessarily the full enclosure of a box trailer. Whether it’s for hauling lumber, steel, or other commodities, the side kit trailer is a valuable asset in the transportation industry. With the right maintenance and care, it can serve as a reliable tool for many hauling tasks.

To learn more about the types of trailers used in the trucking industry click here. 
Image credit Tarps Stop

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