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A Renter’s Guide to Reefer Trailers

Posted by on May 22, 2020 in Stuff with 0 Comments

There are certain industries where temperatures matter. If you're transporting frozen food or medical supplies, then the goods need to stay at a certain temperature to be viable. Regular semi-trailers don't have temperature control, but reefer trailers do. These trailers were originally made for the ice cream industry, but now they are available for any goods that must remain cold.

Best Uses for Reefer Trailer

Reefer trailers can be used for any cold goods, but these are most commonly used for frozen food and medical supplies. Frozen food should be obvious. If the food doesn't remain consistently frozen, then it will start to go bad. This is both bad for the consumer and against the law, which can result in fines. Many medical supplies, such as antibiotics and blood, must remain cold or they will go bad. A reefer trailer is the only way to ensure these products safely reach their destination. According to Hale Trailer, “When hauling perishable goods, they need to move fast, some more than others. If you’re going to be moving different types of freight (LTL shipping), you want to make sure your reefer is properly equipped for different temperature zones and that you have ample space for goods, including their packaging.”

Things to Know About Reefer Trailers

Reefer trailers are specialized semi-trailers that come in standard sizes from 28 to 53 feet long and as high as 13.5 feet. They can haul up to 44,000 pounds at the largest sizes. Though rare, reefer trailers can also heat shipments if needed, but cooling is their primary function. The trailers are basically large refrigerators with walls that block heat from coming in and the cold from getting out.

Most reefers use a small diesel motor to power the refrigeration. While the exact temperature range depends on your specific reefer trailer rental, you can expect these trailers to reach anywhere from -85˚F to 104˚F depending on your needs.

Other Temperature Sensitive Goods

Aside from food and medical supplies, these trailers can be used for anything that needs temperature control. Cosmetics are commonly temperature controlled because they can be ruined if they don't stay within a certain temperature. Some collectibles must also be temperature controlled or else their condition can deteriorate.

Specialty stores might also ask for products that don't normally require temperature control to be shipped via reefer trailer. For example, wine typically doesn't need temperature control, but keeping it cool is thought to maintain its quality. Some specialty stores must request this in order to satisfy their patrons.

Reefer Trailer Best Practices

Make sure the trailer is cooled before loading. Loading cold goods into a warm trailer is a big problem. Some states may even fine you for this practice. You must ensure proper airflow between the products. Using pallets can help with this when shipping flat goods. You'll want to make sure that the products are packed properly to ensure temperature control. For example, if the products are packed too tightly, then items in the center may not be properly cooled. You should also use a temperature sensor to show you, and the receiver, if the temperature changed at all during transport.


Reefer trailers are specialized for temperature-control goods and allow you to easily ship frozen items and to enter the cold chain of transportation. Just be mindful of what to look for when choosing one of these trailers.

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