Disclaimer: We received the Burley Tail Wagon as part of a sponsorship for our bike trip. The opinions expressed in this post are entirely my own and we were in no way compensated for this review. We love our Tail Wagon and would like to see more on the road, filled with dogs!
The Burley Tail Wagon is a dog bike trailer designed especially with your four-legged companion in mind. If you have ever wanted to bring your dog along on a day ride or longer bike tour, the Tail Wagon is the ideal trailer for the job.
We used a Tail Wagon daily during our eight-month bike tour across Europe, as well as during a month-long tour in Oregon after we returned.
The Burley Tail Wagon is a rugged, well-built dog bike trailer that can handle a ton of mileage, varied terrain, and regular use.
During our trip, we took our trailer over smooth pavement, not-so-smooth pavement, gravel, pebble-lined trails, rocky and rooted dirt roads, forest service roads, cobblestoned roads, muddy paths, mountain biking trails, wheel-sinking sand, chunky clay and over potholes.
It never showed signs of wear and tear and worked pretty much as good as new throughout the trip.
We put this thing through the ringer and know it inside out. In this review, we tell you what we love about the Burley Tail Wagon and why it is hands down, the best dog bike trailer on the market.
About the Burley Tail Wagon
Burley Design manufactures bike trailers out of Eugene, Oregon. The brand started out in Fargo, North Dakota some 40 years ago and eventually relocated to Eugene.
The company is named after the founder’s wife, Beverly, a bicycle racer, who was known as “Burley Bev.”
Committed to living a car-free life, the founder, Alan Scholz needed to figure out a way to carry his bags and young daughter to the Saturday Market where they sold their products, so he built the first Burley trailer.
Today, Burley designs high-quality and durable bike trails and accessories for children, cargo, and, of course, dogs.
Why Choose a Burley Tail Wagon for your Dog?
If you ride regularly or have thought about bicycle touring, but have decided not to because you weren’t sure how to bring your dog along, the Burley Tail Wagon is for you!
The spacious dog bike trailer can hold up to 75 pounds. For perspective, Sora weighed about 42 lbs.
There’s a reason that we chose to use Burley Design bike trailers. Why?
- They’re built to last
- Can hold fairly large dogs
- Easy to clean
- Lots of storage
- Maximizes air flow
- Folds down for storage and transportation
Burley Tail Wagon Specifications
Once you’ve assembled the Burley Tail Wagon, it’s ready to go for a spin! The trailer includes all the attachments you’ll need, and more, including:
- Tow arm
- Safety flag
- Handlebar for optional stroller kit
Made from an aluminum frame, the Burley Tail Wagon weighs in at 23.5 lbs (11kg). For its size and durability, the weight is appropriate. The design team has slimmed down as much as possible while maintaining the quality and maximizing features.
The teardrop shape of the Tail Wagon provides maximum space for dogs of all sizes. At 42 lbs, Sora could comfortably stand up and turn around inside the Tail Wagon. There was also plenty of space for her dog bed as well as other accessories that we tossed in there.
Here are the sizing details:
- Interior height = 23 in / 58 cm
- Interior width = 19 in / 48 cm
- Interior length = 32.5 in / 82.5 cm
The Tail Wagon includes two hub-and-spoke alloy wheels with a quick release lever. A lot of dog trailers come with plastic spokes, which is bad news if one breaks because you’ll need to replace the entire wheel. With spokes, you can replace the single spoke and continue on your way.
We swapped the original tires for the indestructible Marathon Schwalbe (16” X 1.75”). I believe we had one or two flats during our entire bicycle trip, which included very questionable terrain and plenty of glass.
Is the Burley Tail Wagon Weatherproof?
In case you haven’t heard, the PNW is a very rainy place. The fact that Burley is based in Eugene means that the team puts a lot of consideration into weather when designing their trailers.
Two zippered roll-up plastic covers keep the rain out, while the side mesh windows allow for ample air flow to avoid humid conditions inside. In really wet weather, there would be some rain that would get inside, mostly from road splash.
To mitigate this problem, we brought along an old tent footprint to drape over the inside of the crossbar and secured it to the trailer cover with magnets.
The side mesh panels do keep out some sun, but it still penetrated through the fabric making for a toasty dog on really hot days. We’d really love to see the Tail Wagon include an adjustable sun shade like they have on the children’s trailers.
When we did travel on hot days, we improvised, just like we did for the rain, by securing a white pillowcase to the outside of the trailer using magnets. We also stopped more frequently to help Sora cool down.
All four sides of the Burley Tail Wagon have mesh panels that allow for maximum air flow. As mentioned earlier, there are two plastic panels that zip down for rain or cooler weather.
Additionally, the rear panel can be lifted to allow for a sort of Dutch door, allowing your dog to poke their head out and take in all the smells and wind.
While there is a wall that keeps your dog securely inside, escape artists can certainly hop out if they really want to. There’s no hook to secure your dog inside the trailer, but you can fashion something out of a dog seat belt harness.
Favorite Burley Tail Wagon Features
There’s a reason that we went with the Burley Tail Wagon as our dog bike trailer of choice. In addition to the quality, there are also a lot of well thought out features of the trailer that keep dogs in mind.
The Tail Wagon features three large mesh cargo pockets for storing essential pet gear. There are two on the inside and one on the outside.
This is where we would keep items like a leash, dog bowl, and small towel. The outside pocket was great for storing wet gear. There is no way to secure it shut, so just be sure to keep an eye on anything you store in there.
The cover detaches completely for cleaning purposes. Just spot clean using a towel and mild soap or detergent and line dry out of direct sunlight. To clean the mesh windows, simply use a damp cloth.
The floor where the dog lies down is completely removable. This makes for easy cleaning, whether you just need to remove the collection of dog hair that has amassed over the days or give it a thorough cleaning after a muddy day or your dog is sick inside of the trailer.
The seat pad is a flat surface that may be a little hard for some dogs, especially if they’ll be spending long periods of time in the trailer. We lined the bottom with the Wander Loft Bed from Kurgo to provide a bit of extra padding.
Since we traveled by air with our Tail Wagon, we opted for the stroller attachment. We managed to convince the airline to check it like a stroller and therefore got to use it to push around all of our hefty and awkward bike touring gear.
What we didn’t realize, however, was just how handy the stroller attachment would be for us. When Sora had unexpected surgery for a cancerous tumor a couple months into our trip, we used the trailer to push her like a baby, since she couldn’t walk for about a week.
The handlebar is a bit awkward at times and it doesn’t store easily if you bring it along. We put ours in backwards while traveling to minimize wind resistance. Ideally, we’d love to see Burley incorporate the handlebar the same way they do on the children’s trailers.
As a bonus, the handlebar acts nicely as a makeshift clothes drier! It’s magnetic, so we’d stick any small, wet items to it while we rode. If the sun was out, they’d be dry in no time!
Storage and Transportation
The Tail Wagon folds down flat easily in a matter of seconds for storage and transportation. Broken down, the Tail Wagon fits easily into small spaces, like an apartment closet, elevators, the car, and more.
Easy Load and Unload
Burley designed the Tail Wagon with a reverse opening from the childrens’ trailers. The large rear tailgate allows dogs to easily hop in and hop out without having to jump over the hitch.
The low profile also means that older dogs won’t have a problem getting in and out, as they can essentially step right on in. This makes the Tail Wagon a great option as a way to keep adventures going for senior dogs.
What’s Missing on the Burley Tail Wagon?
As much as we love the Tail Wagon, there is always room for improvement! With just a couple of modifications and additions, the Tail Wagon would be absolutely perfect.
Tail Light Hook
I’d love to see a strip of fabric or a tail light adapter for the Tail Wagon. There was no real good place to attach a red blinking light, and there were many times we found ourselves pedaling at dusk.
There is reflective piping and red reflectors on the rear, which certainly helps, but the red blinking light adds an extra layer of safety.
As mentioned earlier, we took our Tail Wagon over every surface imaginable, and while it’s still in great condition, we are certain that shocks would not only provide a more comfortable ride for dogs, but would also lessen the impact from many of the bumpy, uneven, potholed surfaces we traverse.
After mentioning this to Burley, they said one reason they chose not to include shocks is to minimize the weight. Maybe it will be an add-on in the future?
Final Thoughts About the Burley Tail Wagon
Overall, we love the Burley Tail Wagon and would absolutely recommend it to anyone looking to take their pup along on their bike. In fact, we do recommend it. It’s the only dog bike trailer that we would recommend.
Whether you prefer short rides to the park or brewery, longer day rides, or a multi-day bike tour, the Burley Tail Wagon is the best dog bike trailer out there, hands down. See how the Burley Tail Wagon compares to other dog bike trailers.
Where to Buy the Burley Tail Wagon
You can purchase the Burley Tail Wagon from a number of great businesses, including: