Written by Rachael Kraft, Last Updated 3/16/2023
The tack-room-vs-living-quarters dilemma for a new custom horse trailer often makes the design process complicated. After all, there are lots of little horse trailer upgrades that are worth turning into your ideal horse transport on wheels. You could add a hay pod to protect feed from bad weather. Or, you could go for rubber floors to make traveling easier on your horses. Ultimately, you need to decide whether to stick with a tack room or go all out with living quarters.
There’s no straight answer to which of the two options is better for your new horse trailer. It’s all a matter of personal preferences and needs. To help you get there, we’ll share some benefits of having either of the two setups.
A Horse Trailer with Living Quarters might be the most expensive option, but considering how long you’ll own your new trailer, you would actually save a ton of money on hotel fees by bringing the comforts of home everywhere you go. In other words, living quarters are great for frequent travels.
Even if you already have a trailer you’re thinking about remodeling, then you should know that converting the tack room to living quarters is always an option.
Living quarters are great for frequent travel and provide several advantages in this aspect. We’ll name a few below, but there are plenty more we could discuss when the time comes for you to order your new custom rig or decide to remodel your existing trailer.
It may seem like a small thing now, but when you’ve been on a trip with your horse for a week or more, begging for showers from friends or relying on cold blasts from the hose to keep yourself and your horses clean, a hot shower will become your favorite option.
Camping out with your horses on a beautiful spring or fall weekend is one of the best pleasures in life, but when the event you’re attending is taking place in the heat, snow, rain, or cold, it’s awfully nice to pop into your heated or cooled living quarters.
Sure, old-time cowboys roughed it on the open range, but they would have chosen a nice comfy bed if they had this option. A long day of riding, working your horse, or just cheering on friends takes a toll on your body. That’s why a good night’s rest gives you the energy to keep going all weekend long, and you’ll need a comfy bed for that.
Campfires are romantic, but they’re not very efficient when it comes to preparing a meal the right way. Living quarters horse trailers are typically loaded with appliances like cooktops, ovens, microwaves, and refrigerators - perfect for helping you stick to your diet.
Depending on the size of your horse trailer living quarters, you could either opt for a small sleeping area or a full-fledged living space that features everything you could think of, including a separate seating area, a bathroom, and a kitchen countertop, to name a few. But the real pros of having such space are always the same:
The living quarters of your horse trailer can be tailor-made to suit your needs down to the smallest detail. Plus, it’s better to have such a space and not use it every time you travel than the other way around.
If you opt for a living quarters horse trailer, you’ll be able to enjoy the basic comforts of home while on the road, even on longer trips. Plus, you’ll be able to get some rest or cook a meal immediately after an event, instead of having to go to a hotel or a restaurant. Not having to do the latter also reduces costs, which is not to be underestimated, especially in the long run.
The positive aspects of investing in horse trailer living quarters listed above come at a certain price, literally and figuratively speaking. The good news is that it’s almost always worth it to invest in such amenities.
Living quarters cost more, which is obvious. As mentioned above, however, the higher costs should be accepted as an investment instead of an expense. Think of the money you’ll save by not paying hotel bills.
The more equipment you have, the higher the weight of your horse trailer will be. Still, factoring in the additional weight of the living quarters' features usually shows that it’s a reasonable calculation. Plus, it’s all a matter of weight distribution and having a solid structure.
A well-designed horse trailer tack room can often meet your needs if you only take your horses for day trips and the occasional long haul. You’ll have lots of places to store all your horse gear and supplies, and if you spring for a cot or hammock, you’ll be able to hide from the rain on those rare trips.
Gooseneck trailers offer an additional advantage to a trailer owner who isn’t ready to commit to living quarters - the area above the gooseneck can be outfitted with carpet and a mattress to make a convenient bunk area. You can even add air and heating to these bigger tack rooms, creating a micro camper of sorts. It won’t have all the comforts of home, but it will be more comfortable than sleeping on the ground in bad weather.
Similar to the living quarters you could opt for, the size of the tack room in your horse trailer depends on the size of the rig. It all depends on how many horses you transport frequently, and how long your usual travels are. Regardless of the size, having a convenient tack room has plenty of perks, including:
With a sufficient storage area as part of your horse trailer, you won’t have to worry about carrying supplies, equipment, and other gadgets. Organizing them in a designated space is always the best option.
Adding up a tack room as part of your new, custom-built horse trailer would not set you back a whopping amount of cash. Even if it’s bigger than just a few square feet, it would not be expensive to create and maintain.
There are downsides to everything you could think of, and this includes horse trailer tack rooms. Thankfully, the list of disadvantages related to this type of space is short:
If you decide to include both a tack room and living quarters in your new trailer’s blueprint, you might find that you can’t have both spaces as big as you want them to be. This means that if the tack room is your priority, you’ll have limited space to set up the living quarters.
Double D Trailers patented swing out rear SafeTack allows you to have a full living quarters area up front and a separate organized space for tack.
If you only opt for a tack room and you have no space for living amenities left, then you’ll be forced to sleep at a hotel and dine outside, and that equals higher expenses during your travels.
Ordering a new, custom-designed horse trailer is the best-case scenario. It gives you the chance to organize every square inch of your rig exactly the way you need and envision it. But overhauling an existing horse trailer is a good idea as well. Sometimes, converting tack room into living quarters is a possibility, too, and we’ll suggest the important aspects of such an operation that you must consider.
You need to start the process by figuring out the things you need. Since you have a limited space to work with, set your priorities straight. Write all the amenities and perks you consider important. The next step would be to create different layouts based on what you think the remodeled trailer should feature.
Depending on the state or country you’re living in, there might be specific regulations and requirements related to a trailer remodel project. Before you spend any time, resources, and effort, make sure your intention is to comply with the local legislation.
Converting a storage space into a living area means you need to change everything from the ground up. You should add insulation to control the climate inside and to reduce outside noise. Don’t forget about utilities: you’ll need to install a water supply and a plumbing system, as well as an electrical system.
To make the most of your horse trailer remodeling project, you’re always better off leaving it to professionals in this field. They might charge you more than you’d be willing to pay, but the quality of the build and the projected lifespan are always well worth the price.
If you insist on doing it on your own, then you need to calculate every cost and meticulously plan every step. Always choose lightweight materials that are also durable enough. After all, you’re not building a stationary hut but a tiny home on wheels.
When you’re looking for a compromise between comfort and expense, check out our available horse trailers with living quarters models.
Because we build each and every trailer from the ground up, you can design the horse trailer that’s perfect for your needs and your budget. When it comes to the tack room vs. living quarters debate, we can help you enjoy either of them (or both, if possible) onboard your horse trailer.
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What is a tack room for horses?
This is a space that’s part of a horse trailer (or attached to it) that’s used for storing riding tack and miscellaneous supplies or gear.
How do you insulate a horse trailer tack room?
Using XPS (extruded polystyrene) foam boards is the most common way, but there are alternatives, such as polyisocyanurate.
What is the purpose of a tack room?
This space is dedicated to storing various equipment and supplies needed for your horses, such as saddles, bridles, and so forth. Tack rooms can also be referred to ‘dressing room’ depending on the layout of the trailer. For example, most slant loads have a rear saddle compartment, and a space up front which can be used for storage or even camping/overnighting.
What is the typical size of a tack room?
If it’s a mid tack dimensions are typically 3’ x 6’. Dressing room dimensions (which can also be used for tack) average 4’ x 8’ size.
Do livestock trailers have tack rooms?
Some of the livestock trailers out there feature such a space, but it depends on the size of the trailer.
How big should a horse tack room be?
A 4’ x 8’ size room is typically sufficient, although larger sizes are available.
How much room should a horse have in a trailer?
If it’s a straight load the typical stall length is 10’. On a slant load, Double D Trailers offers various size stalls to fit specific size horses…up to 17.3 Warmblood plus size.
What should be in a tack room?
The tack room needs to be equipped with plenty of storage means, such as wall organizers and separate storage compartments.
What is the difference between a tack room and living quarters in a horse trailer?
The tack room is used for storing riding tack, equipment, and supplies, while the living quarters are meant to accommodate people during long travels.
Is it easy to convert a tack room into living quarters in a horse trailer?
If it’s a front dressing room, insulation, paneling, plumbing, cabinetry and electrical along with appliances can be added. However, this addition typically needs to be included in the original trailer build to ensure tank cut outs are in the correct position, window placement and door placement. Without careful planning at the time of build there’s a good chance the dressing room conversion to a living quarters will not work.
Is a horse trailer with a tack room more expensive than one with living quarters?
No, a living quarters horse trailer is more expensive than the alternative, but the higher initial costs can pay off in the long run.
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