Now that we're firmly anchored in the doldrums of the USGAA offseason (thanks Tampa Bay GAA for the brief respite a few weekends ago!) we're attempting to pass the time here at American Hurling by building out our travel trailer into the ultimate traveling hurling shop! Now that I put that into writing, I realize it's probably a pretty low bar to reach...but it's a target nonetheless! So off we go. Oh, and if you can squeeze us into your busy schedule (maybe there's a few minutes between binging hurling highlight videos and your next wall-ball session?) we'd love to take you along for the ride!
So let's start with the blank slate. A shiny, new 7 x 14' enclosed trailer. Bog standard really, but there was actually a decent amount of decision-making that went into getting to this point.
The first choice was footprint size. We were stuck between the 6' x 12' and the 7' x 14' options. 6' x 12' gives the option of single axle or dual, while the 7' x 14' forces your hand into getting the dual axle. We ended up springing for the 7' x 14' dual axle because:
a) the dual axle seemed like the sturdier choice once parked since we plan on building a workbench for hurley repair inside (not to mention the safer option if we ever experience a tire blowout while traveling)
b) if we already decided on the dual axle, it probably won't hurt to have a little bit of extra floor space.
There was also an 8.5' width rather than the 7', but that would have incorporated the wheel wells into the interior of the trailer (another obstacle to build around) and we had the option of adding 6" to the interior ceiling height, which we opted not to do because we weren't sure how useful the added wall space would be.
Throughout the trailers inaugural season, all of these choices have panned out really well in one situation or another. We've found a use for every square inch of space inside the trailer, we've come about as close as possible to not being able to fit the trailer into a tournament grounds (looking at you, Charlotte GAA/Comporium Athletic Park!) and we've really appreciated not having that extra 6" of height when we accidentally ended up on a parkway in NYC, exited said parkway to avoid the super-low overpasses (there's a reason why no trailers are allowed on the parkways, it turns out) and had to haul the whole rig directly through the heart of the Bronx; the local roads there might not be quite as skinny as the stone-wall-lined streets of Ireland, but they sure feel like it when you're hauling a 7' x 14' dual axle enclosed trailer!
The trailer was delivered just in time to load it up haphazardly to take it to our first tournament. Luckily we had a lot of moving boxes to roughly organize things in, so that turned out looking like this:
Not great, but it got the job done for the day. We immediately began planning for how we could build this thing out, however. The day after the tournament, we began testing a few ideas and making a few prototypes for how we were going to hang hurleys from the wall. This seemed like a logical use for some of the wall space (we do have a lot of hurls to transport, of course) so it was a natural starting point for the build out part of the project.
We then quickly learned that storing a lot of hurleys securely, compactly, and accessibly is a bit more complicated than we'd originally bargained for! I won't go as far as to say that our first few prototypes were failures...but they certainly didn't make their way into the actual build. We ended up settling on a pretty simple design; just an anchor to the trailer wall that offsets the hurls enough for the handle, a spacer for the grip section to run through, and a containment 1x4 on the outside to sandwich everything in place. The idea is that you insert the hurley with the handle sideways, slide it up so the flared part of the handle is above the "sandwiching board", and then turn it 90 degrees to secure it in place. I have a hard time building anything without a 3D model, so here's what that was supposed to look like:
⬆️ Overall Concept Perspective ⬆️
⬆️ Side On View ⬆️
⬆️ Top Down View ⬆️
And here's the end result:
The clamps fill the empty space between the spacers and the hurls so that they don't jostle around and work their way out of the rack while we're in motion. We've since started using more clamps to divide between different sizes so they're easier to remove, but the concept works!
I think we'll wrap up Part 1 of this series there in an attempt to keep these posts relatively concise. Please keep in mind that this is a constantly-evolving work in progress, so we'd love to hear any ideas for the space that you can dream up! We're certainly not experts (much less carpenters) so we need all the help we can get from the community to make this thing as functional and as cool as possible; if you have an idea throw a comment our way below! We also hope these little offseason build logs are at least entertaining enough to keep you coming back for more. We'll try to put one out every few weeks or so so stay tuned to our socials and we'll let you know when a new one is up. We certainly have a lot more projects in mind for this thing!
Cheers everyone and happy hurling! 😎