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Understanding The Conestoga Trailer

Benefits of Conestoga Trailer

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More shipping options are being developed as the trucking industry develops over time to meet customer needs. Every shipment has unique specifications, including size, weight, and protective needs.

The industry has produced a variety of trucks and trailers to accommodate all of these requirements. The Conestoga truck is a fantastic illustration of this.

When researching machinery types like the Conestoga, you might feel overburdened by the amount of information there is to learn about the intricate business of moving freight. 

We don’t blame you, either. As a shipper in a flourishing industry, you constantly seek to broaden your horizons and stretch your budget.

You’ve come to this page to learn more about our extended services offered with Conestoga Trailers, and you’re aware that what you’ve discovered so far is only the beginning.

Conestoga Trailer Shipping

In this article, we’ll go over everything you need to know so you can decide what best suits your requirements. When discretion is required, a Conestoga’s tarp makes it simple to conceal the contents of a shipment.

Here are topics we discuss in more detail: 

1. What is a Conestoga Trailer?

2. Conestoga Trailers’ history

3. Pros and cons and alternative freight transportation strategies

4. Safety while transporting a Conestoga trailer, including the process of loading and unloading one. 

Understanding the Conestoga Trailer? 

The Conestoga wagon, a type of covered wagon used in the 18th and 19th centuries to move goods across North America, is the inspiration for the name of these trailers. 

They have distinctive design that makes loading and unloading simple and are typically used for transporting large, heavy loads. They have features like GPS tracking and real-time monitoring to ensure efficient and safe transportation, thanks to technological advancements. 

They have a sliding tarp system that greatly simplifies loading and unloading cargo. Ideal for long-distance freight transportation, are now even more effective and secure thanks to technological advancements. 

Finding the right trailer is essential if you want to save money and deliver your goods quickly and safely to their destination. To help you make the best choice, we’ve compiled a few quick facts and figures. 

The tarping system is best known for a few distinctive characteristics:

  • It is one of the few protective shipping techniques that supports loading from the side and the top. For loading and unloading needs, the tarping can fully retract.
  • Contrary to open deck trailers, a Conestoga’s curtain shields the cargo from potential damage from the weather or road debris while it is being transported.
  • Should it be necessary for security reasons, the tarping system can conceal what is being shipped.
  • Considered a well-liked option for moving big and heavy loads like machinery, equipment, and vehicles.
  • Capable of hauling up to 44,000 pounds and it has a retractable tarping system that runs the entire length of their decks. 

However, which trailer model is best for your shipment? 

A business that needs to move large pieces of machinery across the nation, for instance, might choose this type of trailer because of the reinforced walls and floors in addition to GPS tracking and real-time monitoring for increased security. 

In order to guarantee that the cargo reaches its destination in prime condition, a shipping company that frequently transports perishable goods or refrigerated freight may decide to use a Conestoga equipped with refrigeration capabilities and temperature-control technology.

What are the advantages of Conestoga trailers?

In order to provide their customers with better goods and services, trucking service providers are constantly looking for new and improved methods. The benefits of using a Conestoga to transport their freight are well known to shippers. 

As they save money, meet deadlines, and find their product intact after a successful transit, their dedication to these trailers only grows. 

It’s time you understood why these shippers prefer to transport cargo inside Conestoga’s tarped walls. The top three ways these trailers draw attention to themselves are as follows: 

Decreased Risk for Damage

First off, the tarped walls shield the goods inside from weather elements, lowering the possibility of damage occurring while they are being transported. 

Second, Conestogas are a popular option for shippers who deal with a variety of freight because they are versatile when it comes to loading and unloading cargo.

Sending open-deck freight, such as steel, building supplies, machinery, or another good, under tarps is the most popular substitute for the Conestoga. 

Even though tarping cargo is a highly effective way to protect it from the elements, it can harm more delicate items. As tarping demands that tarps be securely and firmly fastened to the cargo in question, scratching, pinching, and crushing can occasionally take place. 

Products that are damaged are never a good outcome for transportation companies or their clients. Fortunately, Conestoga trailers provide a fantastic way to prevent in-transit damage because they can completely enclose products without coming into contact with them.

Advantages of Conestoga vs Dry Van Trailers

Additionally, using one for your freight makes the jobs of truckers a little bit easier since all they have to do is roll back their Conestoga’s canvassing system. 

Tarps are cumbersome and time-consuming to use. Even though there are numerous varieties of flatbed trucks, they all share the same issue. 

Only the rear doors of a flatbed trailer can be used to load cargo. The same loading options are not available on a typical flatbed trailer, making crane loading and unloading, as well as loading from the side, impossible. 

Conestogas frequently prevail over flatbeds in the Conestoga vs. flatbed argument when the cargo has specific requirements. Even though there are numerous varieties of flatbed trucks, they all share the same issue. 

Only the rear doors of a flatbed trailer can be used to load cargo. The same loading options are not available on a typical flatbed trailer, making crane loading and unloading, as well as loading from the side, impossible. 

Conestogas frequently prevail over flatbeds in the Conestoga vs. flatbed argument when the cargo has specific requirements.

Types of Conestoga Trailers?

The staple feature of these trailers is the tarping system — deployed to cover cargo in transit and retracted to load/unload. Because of this, is offered in many shapes and sizes. 

Each iteration of the trailer offers different services and fits unique use cases. 

They are specialized trailers with a tarping system deployed to cover cargo in transit and retracted to load/unload. Each type offers different services and fits unique use cases.

Note, the specifications of each trailer vary slightly from one to the next. Always consult your provider to find out the exact specs of your trailer. 

All Conestoga freight trailers have at least one thing in common: their tarping system. This tarping is used to cover the freight during transit and helpfully retracts to make loading and unload more convenient. It’s made even more versatile by coming in a few different shapes and sizes.

Below, we’ve listed the most common types of Conestoga trailers:

  • Conestoga flatbed trailers
  • Double drop Conestogas
  • Step deck Conestogas


Each of these has its advantages and services, great for fitting to every unique shipment. These specialized trailers should not be overlooked for many shipments.

Keep in mind that the exact specifications of each trailer can vary slightly depending on your provider; contact your provider to get more information.

Conestoga Flatbed Trailers

The flatbed Conestoga trailer is the most prevalent variety. These unique flatbed trailers are available in 48 and 53-foot versions and are used to transport many of the same open-deck goods as the conventional flatbed.

Although these trailers’ sizes differ slightly from one another, you can use the following general guidelines as a guide.

Flatbed Conestoga Trailer Dimensions

The most popular flatbed model is available in lengths of 48 and 53 feet, but these trailers are available in a wide range of shapes and sizes. The Double Drop Conestoga, in contrast, features a lower deck height of about 18 inches and a sliding tarp system that allows it to support loads up to 11 feet tall. These trailers provide flexibility and weather protection for items with open decks.

Double Drop Conestoga Trailers 

These are ideal for transporting taller loads, such as machinery, heavy equipment, and construction materials.

Their decks are lower than those of the flatbed Conestoga, giving them more room for taller cargo. The load is protected from the elements while being easily accessible thanks to an inventive sliding tarp system.

Double Drop Conestoga Trailer Dimensions  

Although the Double Drop Conestoga’s dimensions can change, they typically have a lower deck height of about 18 inches and can support loads that are up to 11 feet tall. 

This innovative layout makes it simple to load and unload tall objects while still offering weather protection thanks to the sliding tarp system. Overall, Conestoga Trailer’s selection provides a flexible

Step-Deck Conestoga

Transporting items that need a higher height capacity than flatbed trailer option can offer is done with step-deck Conestogas (96 inches). Step-deck Conestogas are used to transport taller cargo like CNC machinery, helicopters, robotics, and other large freight in circumstances where in-transit protection is a concern. The following table lists the dimensions of the step-deck Conestoga in both its 48-foot and 53-foot versions.

48-Foot Step-Deck Conestoga

Is a lower deck height of roughly 40 inches and an upper deck height of 60 inches, with a weight capacity of up to 48,000 pounds. The sliding tarp system provides weather protection for taller loads while also allowing for easy loading and unloading.

53-Foot Step-Deck Conestoga 

A higher height capacity, with an upper deck height of 72 inches and a lower deck height of about 42 inches. This step-deck model is a great option for bigger and heavier loads because it can transport up to 55,000 pounds of freight. The sliding tarp system on the 53-foot model is additionally intended to give the cargo the maximum amount of protection while still enabling simple access for loading and unloading. Overall, step-deck Conestogas are a great option for moving tall and oversized cargo, offering businesses in a safe and effective solution.

What is a Curtainside Trailer?

The common name for this kind of vehicle is a “tautliner,” also referred to as a curtain-sided trailer. It is the most common kind of trailer in the haulage industry and used to transport a variety of goods that can be loaded or unloaded from the side with the “curtain” open. 

Conestoga’s curtain offers an all-natural solution for open-deck trailers, like the typical flatbed, that need to be tarped to protect cargo while being transported. These trailers typically carry big, heavy loads and have a distinctive design that makes loading and unloading simple.

The Gooseneck Conestoga trailer

Found with an upper deck height of 72 inches and a lower deck height of approximately 42 inches, is a great choice for moving taller and heavier loads.

It has a sliding tarp system to protect the cargo while still allowing for simple loading and unloading. It can carry up to 55,000 pounds of freight. However, a curtainside trailer, also referred to as a side-load trailer, is an option if you need to transport items that can be loaded or unloaded from the side.

A Conestoga’s curtain offers a natural solution for these goods where other open-deck trailers, like the standard flatbed, need to be tarped to protect commodities in transit.

The curtain can be fully retracted to accommodate requirements for side-loading and side-unloading of products.

BC Trucking Association

Freight Carriers Association of Canada

Alexander Crane
Alexander Crane

Author & Chief Executive Officer at Paige Logistics Ltd. → Experienced Operations Manager with a demonstrated history of working in the Transportation, Trucking and the Railroad Industry.