What Is a Gooseneck Trailer?
Insights on the weird-looking heavy hauler with the funny name.
For most hardcore pickup owners and people who buy light- or heavy-duty rigs, "towing capability" matters a lot! In our opinion, a truck's mettle hasn't really been tested until a trailer is hooked to its hitch and then dragged between two points, safely, and without mechanical catastrophe.
Trailers are built for moving almost anything imaginable. However, despite the nearly infinite number of uses, only one hauler is named after a water fowl's distinctive anatomy part: "gooseneck." So given the unique name, you might be wondering exactly what a gooseneck trailer is.
A gooseneck trailer actually gets its name from its hitch, which is highlighted by a long, arched "neck" section at the front. The unique coupler is designed to clear a pickup's (closed) tailgate, and it connects to a ball (inside the bed) for a frame-mounted hitch that is positioned over the rear axle.
Gooseneck trailers can be much longer, wider, and heavier than most bumper-pull units, which allows them to carry more weight (upward of 30,000 pounds) without compromising stability. They're typically used for commercial purposes such as hot-shot vehicle towing, agriculture, horse/livestock transporting, etc. They're the go-to trailer on the diesel dragracing scene, in most instances capable of supporting two full-size pickups on a 40-foot deck.
When compared to its similar-but-different counterpart, a fifth-wheel trailer (hitch is mounted inside the bed), a gooseneck is less expensive and ultimately much less intrusive, affording owners more space in the bed for cargo.
Here are a few pros and cons about gooseneck trailers:
- Not too invasive
- Bed remains functional
- Easy hook up and operation
- Installing hitch requires drilling a big hole in the bed
- Can be noisy
- Not as stable as a fifth-wheel trailer