Real Review: Cargo Wave PWC Trailer

The Cargo Wave is an inclosed trailer with a watertight hatch, easily hauling camping gear or just a cooler and some towels.

I was young, but I can still remember my father attempting to tether a pair of lawn chairs to a boogie board to the back of a first year WaveRunner. He had given up trying to somehow strap a cooler down to the makeshift trailer earlier and resigned to making several trips back and forth to our daytime camping spot on the lake. The ride over was slow going as the ski wanted to swamp with all of the extra weight, and the boogie board regularly wanted to flip over, spilling its cargo into the water.

It was a frustration exercise that would be repeated countless times later in my life. Unpacking the truck only to stand on the dock scratching our heads as to how to get all of our provisions to the other side of the lake.

If I recall correctly, I have memories of my brother idling his SuperJet with a loaded Igloo cooler in the tray. My only solace is that we were not alone in our misery. Most of you reading this have grappled with the same dilemma.

The long, low and sleek design ensures you won’t feel like you’re towing a Uhaul behind your ski, and you’ll be surprised with how smoothly it tracks on the water whether idling or at speed.

Its cavernous 28-cubic-feet of storage and 200-plus-pounds of maximum weight storage promises that unless you’re trying to transport bags of cement that you won’t run out of room.

That is why the Cargo Wave PWC trailer is not only a great addition to the personal watercraft enthusiast, but a much needed, and expertly executed solution to a quarter-century’s-old problem. And unlike other PWC trailers that have come and gone before it, the Cargo Wave does not require any drilling or modification to your runabout. It doesn’t require any tricky electronics or tools to attach. It’s beautifully simple in its design, sturdy in its construction and genius in its execution.

But enough with the pleasantries. What is it? The deceptively simple design is made of two specially molded fiberglass clam shells, and bonded together in a fashion similar to your watercraft, even with a rubberized bondrail.

The top deck incorporates a flip-up hatch with steel-braided tethers, and held down with rubberized latch straps, providing a watertight seal. A one-way vent allows air circulation without letting in water, helping to keep mold from collecting inside.

Inside is 28 cubic feet of storage, with a reinforced platform with non-slip matting and railings to strap your cargo down.

We had fun departing the launch ramp and taking our time to find a beach where we could set up our little camp. This process used to be a stressful one, as ditching all of our goods used to be a lingering threat. No longer with the Cargo Wave.

Thick 3-inch steel-belted rubber hoses act as the trailing arms connecting the trailer to the factory D-rings on the back of your runabout. Connected with a central T-handle pin, attaching the Cargo Wave is easy.

Each Cargo Wave comes with its own full sized Igloo cooler as part of purchase, and is easily tied down with a pair of crisscrossing bungee cords. Capable of hauling over 200-pounds, the Cargo Wave suddenly becomes the most useful tool in your daytime or even overnight camping arsenal. Long distance haulers with an auxiliary fuel tank in the bow will love this trailer, as limited storage is no longer a concern.

Towed via a pair of heavy-duty capped and steel-braided, rubberized 3-inch diameter hoses, the trailer mounts with the tightening of two C-rings into the cables’ stout cast O-rings, and to the trailer itself with a T-handle pin (for easy removal at the end of the day). The rubberized hoses allow enough flex to allow the trailer with naturally sway through your ski’s wake without wagging or careening into the back of you as you slow down.

Although it’s sturdy, it’s not a toy. Always practice safe boating practices and please, don’t haul your kids, pets or buddies inside. Seriously, do we even have to ask?

The Cargo Wave also lends itself to being a perfect fit for emergency and rescue applications, being able to transport medical equipment, food and water and provisions to flooded or disaster areas. As more an more departments are turning to modern runabouts, it’s not hard to imagine a Cargo Wave in tow.

We were surprised with how well the Cargo Wave tracked behind our seemingly ancient ’97 Kawasaki STX 1100. Purposely testing a heavy laden Cargo Wave with a very underpowered two-stroke runabout was intentional.

Again, the Cargo Wave failed to “wag the dog” in long sweeping turns or jostle in rougher water. Obviously, the rules of responsible driving apply when towing anything, so hot dogging around the lake with a fully-loaded trailer of goods isn’t recommended.

Ideally, we would’ve liked to see a pair of anodized spring-loaded lockable carabiners instead of the C-rings for a little more user-friendliness, but that’s a sublimely minor detail. The long, low design of the inclosed trailer is attractive and sleek, the large accessible handles make loading and unloading out of the truck a snap, and its 110-pound overall weight is considerably light given its durability.

But for the weekend warrior or long haul rider, we’re thinking this has been a long-overdue solution to your storage and transportation needs. Priced at $1,599, the Cargo Wave isn’t cheap, but considering how many inner-tubes crammed full of coolers, chairs and kid’s toys that we’ve seen lost to the bottom of too many lakes, we’re thinking it’s the right tool for the job.

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Kevin Shaw

Editor-in-Chief – Kevin Shaw is a decade-long powersports and automotive journalist whose love for things that go too fast has led him to launching The Watercraft Journal. Almost always found with stained hands and dirt under his fingernails, Kevin has an eye for the technical while keeping a eye out for beautiful photography and a great story.


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