The Best Woods for Boat Trailer Bunks for 2021

Nicholas Swartz
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When we were kids, we used to take a summer road trip each vacation. Car camping was fun with campfires and games and roasted marshmallows. Dad made it fun.

However, once we all got a little older it seemed like the fun of burning down the woods was no longer as appealing.

So the next logical step was a boat trailer with a bunk on it. That might be a stretch. Yes, it's a stretch. However, it doesn't make this roundup review any less insightful.

And the next step after that was to camp on the water.

I love floating around on one of those lakes in the middle of nowhere, taking in the gorgeous views.

The downside is that you have to stay organized, and that is a lot harder than it sounds. You’re sleeping on a plastic boat that, if not properly secured, can have a bad case of the creaks and squeaks.

Worse yet, you may be a kayaker. In that case, you may need bunks to hold your kayaks.

You can’t use just any wooden boat trailer bunks, though. You need good ones, and good quality means relying on something that is good at resisting rot and mildew.

Which is why this post will help. By the time you are done reading, you will know exactly which woods float your boat (You are correct. This pun was intended!) and what the best woods are for the job.

NameCategoryProduct
Guide-ON BUNKBOARD 2'Best OverallGuide-ON BUNKBOARD 2'
Tie Down Engineering 86170 Bunk SlickBudget PickTie Down Engineering 86170 Bunk Slick
C.E. Smith Guide-ON BUNKBOARD 5'Upgrade PickC.E. Smith Guide-ON BUNKBOARD 5'

1. Guide-ON BUNKBOARD 2'

Our rating: 9 / 10

Guide-ON BUNKBOARD 2'

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Pros:

  • Makes installing easier than most standard bunks
  • Perfect for carrying a variety of boats
  • Fits virtually all standard trailer types
  • Easy to install
  • An effective way of protecting trailers and your boat

Cons:

  • Packaging and manual are innacurate and can be misleading

The Guide-ON Bunkboard is a heavily sought-after boat trailer bunk board. Perfect for propping up the boat and protecting the trailer it will greatly influence the appearance of your boat and increase your local independence. It's also a very useful tool if your boat will be stored on a slightly inclined trailer to prevent slippage. However, this is not something we recommend.

This boat trailer bunk board is stronger than most, allowing the ability to safely hold a smaller boat. It comes with strong locking rings and the angled clamps provide a safe and secure fit to almost any shape of boat.

2. Tie Down Engineering 86170 Bunk Slick

Our rating: 8 / 10

Tie Down Engineering 86170 Bunk Slick

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Pros:

  • The wedges come with gelcoat to protect your boat
  • Have some support to hold against the tire
  • Just screws in and move your Boat up when loading
  • The Bunk Slick holds a pressure washer in the middle perfectly

Cons:

  • Strap needed to hold down, but will buy separately for peace of mind
  • Wood only (still need the rest)
  • Only recommended with aluminum boats
  • Gelcoat easily rubs off

3. Tie Down Engineering 86127 Carpeted Bunk Boards Pair 3'

Our rating: 8 / 10

Tie Down Engineering 86127 Carpeted Bunk Boards Pair 3'

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Pros:

  • Very affordable
  • Nice clean design
  • Good for protecting your boat or trailer

The Tie Down Engineering 86127 Carpeted Bunk Boards are 3 in by 1 ft bunks designed to help protect your boat and your trailer. They feature a high density carpet to protect the hull of your boat. You can even leave these bunks in place all year long, since they won’t scratch or scuff.

The price is lower than many other alternatives, so if you’re on a tight budget this could be the way to go. They’re also easy to clean, which many of the customers found to be a big plus.

But while some people really liked the carpeted bunks, others had a different experience. It seems like there’s a difference in size for the stern and bow bunks, which means they won’t fit perfectly. Also, the carpet on these bunks isn’t the best for a boat to slide gracefully onto. Unfortunately, the bunks may need to be replaced after a few uses.

4. Extreme Max 3005.2199 4' Bunk Trailer Guide-On

Our rating: 8 / 10

Extreme Max 3005.2199 4' Bunk Trailer Guide-On

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Pros:

  • Handles loads and provides great stability
  • Easy installation
  • Available in multiple lengths (2' and 4')
  • Attaches very quickly
  • Can use for trailers with bunks 12' or larger
  • Cargo bed hooks included

Extreme Max makes these bunk trailers that help the trailer to stay level when pulling a heavy load. They can also be used as tie-down anchors for larger loads and to secure for long periods of time.

As with most Extreme Max products, these bunk guides have great customer support behind them and should stay clear from rust and corrosion if maintaned properly. Although they come with a price tag higher than others on the market, you get a top-of-the-line product.

5. C.E. Smith Guide-ON BUNKBOARD 5'

Our rating: 8 / 10

C.E. Smith Guide-ON BUNKBOARD 5'

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Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Up to 3/2" thick
  • Resists gouging
  • Marine grade carpet covering untreated Southern Yellow Pine
  • Dense mass eliminates rattling

Cons:

  • Only available in 5 foot length
  • Not available in various lengths

The C.E. Smith Guide-ON BUNKBOARD is a well made, galvanized truck bed bunks with a speckled finish, available with adjustments to complement your trailer.

They’re rigid with high density to resist gouging and are resistant to most chemicals and do not require a separate coating thanks to the marine grade carpeting on the high quality wood.

The C.E Smith Guide-ON Bunkboard is a high quality truck bed bunks that are affordable with its easy to install. Solid, rigid and dense they do not rattle. They can bear high weight. They won’t need a separate coating with their flexible and durable surface.

6. 8' Long Marine Carpet Black Bunk Boards

Our rating: 6 / 10

8' Long Marine Carpet Black Bunk Boards

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Pros:

  • The boards were well-constructed and incredibly sturdy
  • Excellent product for the price
  • The pieces were shipped quickly and had no damage

Cons:

  • The holes did not line up exactly with the predrilled holes on the trailer

The storage space on your boat trailer is hard to utilize if you don’t have help from a good under deck bunk system.

One of the most popular under deck bunk products online are carpet coated wooden bunk boards. There are many users who have left online reviews to laud its installation ease and extensive options to customize the location of your bunks.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the best wood to use for boat trailer bunks?

Here are some things to keep in mind when choosing boat trailer bunks:

Size: You will need to measure your trailer to make sure that the wood you buy will fit. Take into account the weight of your boat and the accessories that will be in the trailer. For preparing large boards instead of using a table saw or trying to hand saw the pieces.

Strength and durability: You will want a wood that is resists splitting and cracking. Hickory and oak are great choices for this.

Appearance: While appearance isn't as important for boat trailer bunks, it would be interesting if you could make or find some nice looking wood for your bunks. But most of the time the wood is not visible and, therefore, looks shouldn't matter at all.

Recyclability: So, you don't want to cut down one of the trees and then have to get rid of it later. Look for sustainable lumber.

Tip: Invest in untreated pine wood or other high quality wood. It might cost more now, but will set you up to enjoy your trailer bed for longer.

What is the best carpet for boat trailer bunks?

The carpet is what your boat trailer bunks are coated in and what your boat will sit on. Before making this decision, you first need to consider what you are using the trailer for or hauling. A lot of people will just go with marine grade carpet to protect their gear. Others will go with very cheap floor mats to protect the carpet.

There is no one-shoe-fits-all-sandals situation. There are a lot of different factors you should consider before buying trailer bunks. However, should your boat go on salt water, then the marine grade carpet is usually highly recommended.

How do I make my boat trailer bunks slippery?

When a trailer’s bunks are not slippery, it makes for a miserable experience.

Your boat will either tilt one way or the other in an effort to avoid standing against the side of the trailer. This creates all kinds of issue, most of which are difficult to remedy. It makes loading and unloading your boat difficult and can lead to long scratches on your boat, the trailer, your car, and the dock.

So how do you make your bunks slippery?

The solution is surprisingly simple. You spray a lubricant into the grooves of the bunks. Don’t worry, these are safe, odorless, and unobtrusive. And they will last you usually at least a season of loading and unloading. We are not fans of the gel-coated wood, as it usually doesn't last long.

How do you carpet a bunk board for a boat trailer?

Make a new full-size pattern, extending it by an inch on all sides. Fold it over and fold together in the back. Carefully staple it together.

Conclusion

Unfinished cedar, pine, and oak are some of the woods that are used in the manufacturing of boat trailer bunks. Cedar is a classy addition to a boat as the smell is known to rid its surroundings of any insects and bugs and keep the boat clean from them. Plus, it’s also easy to install. With just the right amount of moisture, it doesn’t crack.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
Guide-ON BUNKBOARD 2'Best OverallGuide-ON BUNKBOARD 2'
Tie Down Engineering 86170 Bunk SlickBudget PickTie Down Engineering 86170 Bunk Slick
C.E. Smith Guide-ON BUNKBOARD 5'Upgrade PickC.E. Smith Guide-ON BUNKBOARD 5'