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Tack trunk features and sizing (long and opinions pls!)

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  • Tack trunk features and sizing (long and opinions pls!)

    I am having a custom trunk built by an amazing finish carpenter I know. I have done my research and know the features I want, but would like some input regarding what others have found to be very handy, very annoying, points of physical weakness, etc. To my knowledge he has never built a tack trunk before, but does custom cabinet work, tables, benches, etc.

    I am especially concerned with choosing the right hinges, locks and hardware. This thing is going to be HEAVY, and want to ensure the hinges stand up to the usage. What is the best method of transport- casters or a dolly?

    I am having it made of solid wood, which type is durable yet light enough (although I'm sure he'll know)?

    I would really like some opinions on my configuration:

    What do you typically pack in your trunk for a one day show? I have included a removable saddle dowel in my design as I want that option, however for the most part think the saddle will be in the trailer.

    In one half of a permanent centre divider (thinking I will want the strength), I have allowed for spray bottles in a removable grooming tote on the top half, a helmet below. 2 bridle hooks for bridle, halter, girth, martingales, leadropes, etc. on the side, the full height of the trunk.
    The other half of the centre divider has space for a folded cooler and saddle pads below the saddle dowel, so is basically open.

    On the lid I have designed a medicine cabinet-like small mirror with storage behind the door for personal stuff and numbers, rule books, agenda, about 1/3 the width of the lid and 2/3 the height(with a hook to keep it closed). I don't like the single use of the bandage rack idea, so have instead thought of putting bungee cord both vertically and horizontally on the other 2/3 for multi-purpose use (boots, bandages, maybe a body protector). Below the mirror one of those little fold forward drawer/cubby things to keep more little odds and ends. On the bottom of the lid, a clip for crops and whips, I have seen these advertised for wall use, but should work fine in a trunk.

    I am currently showing hunters, but plan to transition to eventing when I buy my next horse.

  • #2
    If you're going to be an eventer, save your money and just get a big black plastic trunk.

    ... and Patrick


    • Original Poster

      Ya, I looked into those.
      I'm too vain LOL


      • #4
        For a typical show, I have the following in my trunk:

        Grooming box
        Top shallow tray (half the length of the trunk) for smaller items - gloves, number, polish, spurs, stick, stud box, etc.
        Below the tray (which slides from side to side for easy access to items below) is room for a cooler, scrim, rain sheet, standing wraps and boots/polos. I also sometimes put my show girth, bridles, etc in there if we are going to get stalls; otherwise, tack just gets hung in the dressing room of the trailer. Same goes for my helmet.

        On the other side of the trunk is stuff like poultice, hoof packing, some personal things (rain jacket for me, sweater, etc.)

        I personally prefer not to transport or leave my saddle in my trunk.
        Last edited by Lucassb; Mar. 12, 2010, 04:00 PM. Reason: added info about saddle
        We move pretty fast for some rabid garden snails.


        • #5
          I hate my bandage lid. It has to sit so far away from the wall to be able to open fully- I just leave it at home as my spare trunk.


          • #6
            I don't personally own a nice trunk, just one of those Stanley rolling toolboxes from Lowe's.

            However, as a former working student, I can tell you from tack trunk transporting experience, things get heavy very quickly. My trainer had a giant trunk (nicknamed the monster) With a bandage lid and tray made by her cabinetmaker husband. It was packed to the gills with just about everything but the kitchen sink. Even with two people it was pretty hard to move.

            Several of her clients had medium sized trunks made that all have a full or half length sliding tray. Some were even complete with a small locking box for personal items. Most of them don't have dividers, but they could have easily been added.

            I think keeping your saddle in your trunk might be nice for at home, but I probably wouldn't have a show trunk built with a rack inside just because it would make the trunk that much more difficult to move.

            If it were me, I would likely get a bandage lid, grooming tote, tray and divider. I have a hard time packing lightly though, so I would probably end up with a trunk that needed to be moved by a football team. In short, I think the minimalist approach or a few frills approach is best. I would definitely invest in a dolly, or a moving crew.


            • #7
              The best (and in my opinion, most necessary) feature of a tack trunk is a lid that doesn't slam shut, but will stay part way open. I can't even tell you how many times I have thought that I had the lid open enough, only for it to slam down on my fingers (read: ouch). It's SO nice to have one of the ones where it can be open at any level, rather than all or nothing.


              • #8
                This has been stated before, and it sounds stupid, but...
                No matter how big or small your trunk is... you'll fill it up...

                We have one of those saddle racks that hook over the stall wall. If you are going to keep your saddle(s) primarily in your trailer anyway, I'd do away with the saddle rack. You'll end up not using it and just cussing that the dowel is in your way.

                My only other thing is to make sure that the top is srtong enough for you to sit on it (you and a friend). Everyone sits on their trunks and I saw a girl go through one once! lol!

                I like the ideas you have so far (minus the dowel for saddle). I'd do 3 or 4 more heavy-duty hinges, rather than a piano hinge. Piano hinges get dented really easily and then have to be replaced.

                I think your trunk is going to be super cool!
                Steppin Not Dragon "Bella"
                Top Shelf "Charlie"
                Check out the Military + Horses fb page!


                • #9

                  I have the trunk on the left in the first picture on that link. (click the tack boxes link at the top) I love that my bridles hang on the door instead of the lid, so I don't have to teather them down on the lid (like the box to the right).The drawers are fantastic, I use the wide top one for all my bandages and the ones down the side are really deep and fit all kinds of things (including spray bottles!) There is room underneith the saddle rack for pads, and my feild boots fit nicely beside my saddle.

                  It's not incredibly heavy, rolls around easily, even on gravel or grass, and it's pretty much indestructible. I do make sure use a bike lock to secure it to my stall at shows because I'm paranoid of someone stealing it will all my stuff inside.


                  • Original Poster

                    Thanks for the input guys!

                    The "PITA to move" factor has been worrying me, hence the removable saddle dowel.

                    The multi-position hinges are a great idea! Will be looked into. As will lid strength so I don't end up on my butt :P


                    • #11
                      I have a big wooden show trunk. It lives in my closet.

                      Everyone at my barn has a plastic stanley rolling box. They're perfect. They have a handle that pulls out like a rolling suitcase sorta, making them easy to roll without hitting yourself in the back of the ankles. And no matter how full (unless filled with bricks or concrete maybe) they only take one person to move.

                      So I'd say... wheels are your friend.
                      friend of bar.ka


                      • #12
                        We lift all of our trunks on and off the trailer. As long as they don't have to get carried 1/2 mile it's ok no matter how stuffed they are.
                        Wheels is a nice feature and will keep the trunk up of the dirt once parked, but they will most likely be useless in horseshow ground dirt so make sure you get some nice comfy handles on each side for carrying.

                        I also agree with whoever said hinges that don't allow the lid to slam shut. Very important if little fingers might ever get near it and useful in any case!

                        Outside of that, you know better then us what you need from a trunk. A mirror on the inside of the lid is a nice touch. I have a beval showtrunk and I find that all the little things I throw in the drawer insert could use better confinement so asking your guy to constuct a simple (think kithen drawer) divider for that space could come in handy.

                        I have a raised lid with compartments for pads and bandages that are mostly empty because they have a cutout that mkaes whatever i might want to put in there that is not a bandage or pad fall out. If you go with a raised lid, maybe divide it in three or two parts and have small doubble doors with a simple latch instead of cutouts? Thinking you may have designed something like it already for bridles etc but just trowing it out there.

                        You mentioned space for a grooming box on one side. Grooming boxes usually leave a bit of unused space on each side of the handle. Maybe installing a slot for a bit bar on the side closer to the wall of the trunk would be good use of the space? If you don't have use for a bit bar, maybe put some small soft hooks on the inside of that wall to hang spurs or whatevers on could be good use of that space?

                        Outside of that I have very little, I think you may have mentioned a divider for the bulk area of the trunk? I don't think that this would be neccesary, but if you go for a divider, ask your carpenter to just put slots in so you can remove the wall if you need to. Maybe even have him put a few different slots in so you can change the layout as needed.

                        Timothy, stop lurking


                        • #13
                          I know this is not QUITE the same as what you are having built, but I wanted to mention this... My daughter is making me a tack trunk in Tech class and the top of the trunk is the saddle rack. Perhaps your carpenter can round the top of the trunk to hold your saddle part time, rather than a flat top?


                          • #14
                            First of all: I don't do hunters....But my dad did build our Pony Club a tack trunk. If anyone knows Pony Club, you must have EVERYTHING--literally. Its a PITA! But anyway, the trunk was WONDERFUL! It had giant weels, good handles, the lid would stay up when you put it up, he put Apoxy on it so it would be water proof and it had a brush box, and it fit tupperware containers perfectly. The only downside to this trunk was getting it in and out of the trailer because it weighed a ton! It took like 6 of us to get it out of the bed of the truck....


                            • #15
                              Stanley Tool Boxes

                              If you want to fit in with the eventers, you might get some funny looks as we roll our plastic Rubbermaid wheelie totes and Stanley Tool boxes past your stall.


                              • #16
                                Questions to ask yourself: how are you going to use the trunk? As an everyday truck? As a show trunk only? Do you primarily show off the trailer? Do you own the trailer and does it have a tack room? Does said trailer have ramps or a step-up?

                                If you switch to eventing, will you be doing it seriously enough to have a dressage saddle and a jumping saddle? You may need two saddle racks, but if your saddle tends to live in the trailer, this might be double the reason to not have a rack(s) in the trunk itself.
                                Life would be infinitely better if pinatas suddenly appeared throughout the day.


                                • #17
                                  I have two fantastic trunks from Oakcroft that my husband got me as wedding gifts- one medium, one large, both with bandage lids. They each have a shallow tray and a tote (grooming box) on top.

                                  I love the hardware on my trunks. The hinges are great, and both trunks can stay open on their own.'

                                  What I HATE!!!!: The trunks have no handles on the lids. So in order to open them, I have to either hug the sides of the bandage lids and "lift from my back", or I have to use the locking tab thingy on the front and pull up. If I keep doing this, I know I'm going to rip on of them off at some point.

                                  To be honest, I wouldn't have gotten the bandage lids had I ordered these trunks myself. Maybe in the large one, but not the medium one. But DH didn't know better, so he got all the features he could.
                                  Here today, gone tomorrow...