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The Best Woods for Boat Trailer Bunks

Are you still a little lost when it comes to the best wood for boat trailer bunks? If so, then you could not have chosen a better time to pay attention to our main topic in this guide and review! Here, we’ll discuss the best types of wood based on loading capability, durability, and ease of installation, along with the top brands that make them.

Worried about not being able to buy them locally? The following selections are readily accessible and showcase what most trailer bunks should aim for in the wood they use.

Want to know some secret, nifty tips on how to make the most out of your bunks? Then simply read on to make yourself a savvier and happier boater in no time.

Best Wood for Boat Trailer Bunk Reviews

1. CE Smith 27600 Guide-On Bunkboard

Relatively easier to install than most bunks on the market and makes loading easier, these boards put the C inconvenience.

I’ve always been a fan of the stuff CE Smith puts out, and it’s not like they have much competition in the trailering department. That’s just part of what attracted me to this product. Ultimately, the pre-galvanized upright support and use of pine with a marine-grade carpet were what convinced me to purchase it.

The wood/carpet combination does noticeably make loading and launching a boat in water easier. Movement is unbroken and no impedance is apparent every time I load or launch my small skiff. I love using this when I go fishing in my local lake because it’s never a struggle to get my boat into the water with it.

I like that I got every hardware I needed for mounting it as well. The guides made centering the boat considerably more unproblematic than others I’ve installed. A friend of mine also owns this bunk board but installed it on a different bunk trailer, so that should give you an inkling about how versatile it is.

I did have to make a few adjustments to the upright brackets since they didn’t fit my boat snugly at first. My vessel is fairly narrow yet has the average size ideal for most bunk trailers, but it became necessary for me to bend it to a 90-degree angle to make it fit. After this slight modification, everything was right as rain.
Pros
  • Galvanized support
  • Easy loading and launching
  • Uncomplicated installation
  • Adjustable to most trailers
Cons
  • Some modification required for smaller boats
These boards provide the best reasons why CE Smith is the brand to beat for trailer components.

2. Tie Down Engineering 86170 Bunk

These bunks are complete in the sense that they deliver everything you need from a bunk board. I’ve never owned boards that are this reliable.

I’ve taken my trailer to Lake Tahoe with these bunks fitted, and it’s just tough to beat its superslick launching performance. I like the fact that it beats carpeted bunks hands down just by incorporating a hard plastic, which also keeps moisture and dirt away. Obviously, this only makes it more low-maintenance since there’s a far lesser chance for rot.

I’ve been using them for more than 2 years, and they’re still holding up extremely well. Do note that these bunks are made for boats on the narrow side (i.e. 2×4 or 2×6). I got everything I needed to install, screws included, and it took less than 2 hours.

Nevertheless, the thoroughly smooth surface could be a double-edged sword sometimes, especially if you don’t secure your boat to the trailer. I once got my 14ft jon boat damaged because I braked suddenly and it slid right off. You HAVE to make sure it’s securely set before driving.
Pros
  • Superslick launching
  • Low maintenance
  • Highly durable
  • Quick and easy installation
  • Excellent value for money
Cons
  • The boat has a higher risk of sliding off
By virtue of its sheer completeness, this wood for boat lift bunks is the safest option if you’re still not sure of what to purchase. This is one sure product that I know I purchased for an outstanding price from what I got. It’s like getting a pair of extra hands when launching your boat, making it the perfect solo boater companion.

3. Extreme Max 3005.2199 Bunk Trailer Guide-On

Brimming with durability and handiness, this Extreme Max guide-on bunk gets an A from even the pickiest of trailer owners.

I’m going to go right ahead and say what I love about this bunk. Its guides make centering a no-brainer and hassle-free every time I launch or load my boat. Not many boat trailer bunk boards wood can boast of having this much consistency, and you can take this from someone who has always had to struggle with aligning my vessel.

Installation is just as easy as the CE smith board mentioned before. I’d say they’re twins in that regard, though I didn’t have to make any last-minute changes with this one. It took around 3 hours as I double- and triple-checked the screws positioning to ensure just the perfect fit for my 14’6” Skimmer.

Like the Tie Down Engineering offering above, this one has been in my possession for more than 2 years. I usually take it to my Lake Superior excursions, and besides some very minor rusting on the underside of the bunks, there’s no sign of debilitation whatsoever. I immediately addressed the rust problem with an anti-rust solution and have not seen any progression since.

Sliding is smooth but not on-par with the one above. Still, it’s pretty consistent, and I haven’t encountered any problems yet in the numerous times I’ve had to rely on it. This bunk trailer does have an Achilles heel in the metal brackets since it’s certainly not built to withstand saltwater, which is why I limit it to lakes.
Pros
  • Easy to install
  • Superior durability
  • Above-average launching performance
  • Outstanding guides
  • Great value for money
Cons
  • Metal brackets not ideal for saltwater
If you’re craving for performance that’s all “steady as she goes” and that much-desired, made-to-last quality in your boat trailer bunk boards replacement, then you’ve found what you’re looking for.

4. CE Smith Bunk Guide-On

These bunk boards may be on the short side, but they’re very flexible in more ways than one.

I’ve used this on both my Lund fishing boat and aluminum fishing boat, with the two measurings 16’ but with different widths.

What I love about these bunks is that it’s easy to tighten them once installed. This allows me to keep the boat securely loaded every time I retrieve it, and that’s just a load off my mind every time I’m driving home.

The side bunks also feel sturdier every time I retrieve my vessels. I once accidentally bumped my Lund on one of the guides, but it held firm and just shrugged off the impact. Though I do have to admit that I was slowly loading it; it was just a slight miscalculation on my part, which this bunk thankfully handled with finesse and toughness.

I also love that the same sturdiness and reliability extends to the horizontal guide. If I were still a beginner boat launcher, I’d love to have this as my support since these boards practically guide you every step of the way. I don’t recall any instance whatsoever when I had to reposition the boat just to keep them centered.

I can’t speak yet about the durability since I’ve only used it for 5 months. But for every fishing day I’ve brought them along, each one was characterized by stress-free boat launching and retrieval. My only real qualm is the long tail since it made installation last longer than necessary — I had to struggle to tighten them. Still, once everything was nice and tight, it worked wonders from then on.
Pros
  • Easy to adjust for a tight fit
  • Superb sturdiness
  • Great for beginners
  • Stellar guidance
Cons
  • Quite hard to install because of long-tail
The classic carpeted trailer bunk doesn’t get a worthier representative than this bunk guide-on.

5. ECOTRIC Side Guide Bunk Board Guide-On

This ECOTRIC side guide completes any bunk trailer setup and remains one of the sturdiest bunk boards I’ve used.

I bought these as a replacement to a side guide, which I won’t bother naming here for the amount of disappointment it gave me. I’m pleased to say that these side guides perform just as well, if not better in some areas, than the CE Smith selection I mentioned above. They even look quite alike, but you’ll see where most of the difference lies once you pay attention to the posts.

Installation went smoothly as I just kept my boat on the trailer while installing, and it took all but an hour to get everything in place. That, plus the fact that it’s galvanized in the right places makes me consider this as nothing short of a bargain. Moreover, no rusting yet after 5 months of relatively consistent use.

Regarding performance, it imparts one of the beefiest supports I’ve ever had the pleasure to enjoy. I remember when winds were blowing up to 35 knots while I was retrieving my 14’ fishing boat in Lake Superior. I was a bit worried that it’s going to get tricky, but I was able to slide it in place without any adjustments whatsoever, and it held the vessel sturdily in place throughout sleekly.

That being said, I was slightly frustrated by the fact that ECOTRIC decided to mount the guides with their stapled side facing the boat. That obviously leads to a higher chance of the boat getting scratched. I preferred to not take any chances and just remounted the side with no staples. Still, its performance is more than made up for this hitch.
Pros
  • Galvanized in all the right places
  • Proven sturdiness
  • Very easy and quick to install
  • Great value for money
Cons
  • Carpet staples might scratch the boat
It’s hard to come by hidden gems in trailer bunk boards for lightweight boats. This unit is one of them.

6. BoatCarpetSales Marine Carpet Bunk Boards

Well-designed and thorough in their carpeting, these long bunk boards exhibit most of the top qualities of the best wood for boat trailer bunk boards.

I make it a habit not to let my trailer sit in the sun for too long. However, there will always be times when I get too hooked on my fishing to break that habit altogether. Also, you can never really guarantee that you’ll be able to park your trailer in a shaded area every time.

With that said, I love that these boards anticipate that by using a UV stabilized boat trailer bunks plastic for its carpet. That means I don’t have to worry about any damage related to sunlight, and I’ve actually been deliberately leaving this out in the sun to test it out. In all the 5 trips I’ve done this, it still looks good as new.

These boards also come pre-treated, which was once the standard for durability. I believe it still is and combined with the stellar fabric of the carpet, it only makes it easy for me to conclude that its developers intend it to last for a good number of years. The developers’ decision to carpet the bunks on all sides only boosts its durability further since rust tends to form on the underside especially on spots where bolts are fastened.

It’s the type of bunk that’s easy to set as well. It only took me 15 minutes to align and install them, and they have been performing as I expected them to. Ultimately, it’s the topnotch, made-to-last design relative to its price that makes them worthwhile.

One thing that disappoints me, though, is that I feel its carpet isn’t securely set. The stainless steel staples felt lacking, so I had to add a few more until I deemed it adequate. For the price, I think it wouldn’t have been pushing it to include those extra fasteners.
Pros
  • Pressure-treated
  • Carpeted on all sides
  • Decent performance
  • Swift installation
  • Made to last
Cons
  • Minimal staples used to secure carpet
If you need a reliable replacement for your horizontal boards, this wood for trailer bunks provides a quick, fairly affordable, and effective solution.

7. VeVe Inc. Boat Trailer Bunk Guide-On

These bunk guide-ons sport a heavy duty build that immediately set them apart from the rest.

The galvanized version of this side bunk guide-on serves as my go-to saltwater board, especially during my regular fishing trips to Daytona Beach. It fits my jon boat to a T, and keeps it well in place every time I make the 300-mile drive from Pier Park to Daytona. I have been using it for more than 3 years now, and it’s still rust-free, which speaks a lot about the mileage you can expect from it.

It does exactly what it claims to do, especially the centering part. This is actually what introduced me to how nifty guide-ons are since I used to have to perch precariously on the trailer’s frame just to adjust my boat. I only remember a handful of times when I experienced poor and clumsy launches with it, and most of it was due to my relative inexperience back then.

With these factors as well as the top-tier materials of each component in mind, these bunks simply abound in quality. If you’re going for that, then I wholeheartedly recommend it. I literally can’t think of any major issue other than the fact that they could be cheaper.

I believe the brand’s stellar customer service also deserves a special mention. Way back when I bought it, I distinctly recall missing out on a few of the hardware for installing. So I called them up and explained my little pickle, and they didn’t even ask me for details about it. They sent the missing parts three days later — this kind of experience is a rarity, to say the least, and deserves to be highlighted.
Pros
  • Built with heavy-duty materials for better durability
  • Topnotch centering
  • Stellar customer service
  • Well worth the price
Cons
  • Price could be lower
Anyone who likes to take out boat trailer to explore new fishing and boating sites should consider this heavyweight of a board as a long-term, reliable partner.

8. Carpet by the Foote Boat Trailer Bunk

To anyone who needs affordable but dependable bunk replacement, Carpet by the Foote delivers nothing less.

This board deserves the spotlight because of the sheer value for money you get out of it. I admit that I’ve only owned mine for only a few months, but it never failed to aid in launching my 14’aluminum fishing boat in all the times I used it. It performs as it should, in short, and I really can’t ask for more from a bunk this budget-friendly.

We’d have to look at how it’s designed to see its value for money truly. If you’re the type who doesn’t hesitate to regularly subject your bunk boards to watery abuse, this pressure-treated wood virtually gives you a free pass to do that. Of course, I’m not encouraging you to do so, and I refrain from doing that myself, but seeing as how this is treated, I’d be surprised if rot even dares to touch it.

The carpet is UV-stabilized, which automatically means one less thing to worry about in my experience. I’ve used rubber carpets before, and they just pale compared to any material that’s been safeguarded against harmful rays. This only increases its durability grade further.

The brand commits to a generous 3-year to 5-year fade warranty, which was what sealed the deal for me. With all its pros considered, I would have wanted it to be a bit larger to accommodate my bigger vessels.
Pros
  • Solid performance
  • Made to last
  • A bonafide bargain for the price and quality
  • 3-year to 5-year fade warranty
Cons
  • Limited to small size
Well-designed bunks that sell at knockdown prices are hard to come by. This Carpet by the Foote board proves to be a pleasant exception.

9. Tie Down 3001.1180 Boat Trailer Guide-Ons

These boards prove their versatility with their ability to accommodate medium to large boats while maintaining sturdy support every time.

These guide-ons were recommended to me by a fishing buddy of mine, and I’m going to go ahead and say that he’s got a good eye for quality. I’ve seen him smoothly load his 20’ Carolina skiff on his bunk trailer with these guide-ons every time, so I can attest that they work just as well for boats that size. I use it to load and set off my pontoon instead, and this belongs at the top when it comes to making both activities buttery smooth.

I always prefer a carpet for boat trailer bunks that manage to make boats glide in place or on launch while keeping them steady every time. These guide-ons also do well to keep my pontoon centered with a minimal extra effort from me. Unlike my other side bunks, though, I haven’t tested this much on inclement weather yet.

Regarding the durability, I have been using it for more than a year and have yet to see any rust. In my experience, two years of going rust-free are the gold standard, and I have a good feeling that this pair would meet that. They took quite a while to install, but for what I got, it’s well worth the effort.

I had the impression that all the hardware, posts included, were galvanized. It turned out the nuts and bolts were only made of zinc. I understand that I should have read the description better, but that’s still a downer considering I was looking for a saltwater-friendly bunk.
Pros
  • Sturdy support when loading and launching
  • Smooth and steady centering
  • Proven durable and rust-resistant
  • High value for money
Cons
  • Zinc nuts and bolts
It’s not for nothing that these bunks have been a crowd favorite for all these years. These guide-ons deliver consistency in durability and performance, which set the bar high for boat trailer bunks in general.

10. Extreme Max 3005.3837 Bunk Guide-On

This guide-on system is made with adaptability as a priority. No other product can boast of having this much freedom in adjustment while exuding equally abundant strength.

I can’t rain enough praises on the direct-to-frame mounting feature as it cut installation time close to half. It also erases the need to make any adjustment to the actual frame. That is actually a godsend for those who own numerous trailers and want a way to quickly set bunk guide-ons on them.

I’ve never been afforded this much convenience in my bunks. The relative strength of the posts deserves to be praised as well. I’ve observed even the seemingly steadiest side guide-ons out there that exhibit a subtle flex every once in a while — this one hasn’t shown any hint of it whatsoever.

While I do my best to avoid loading on strong currents, there was one time when I loaded my small skiff on my trailer in those conditions. It just glided smoothly onto the trailer without difficulty. With that said, I doubt it would be able to pull this off with larger vessels. Also, I just wish they were galvanized for obvious reasons or it would have been neat if Extreme Max offered a variant of one.
Pros
  • Adjustability makes installation a breeze
  • Very convenient features
  • Complete hardware
  • Notable strength
  • Steady support even in strong currents
Cons
  • Not galvanized
  • Doesn’t support larger boats
This is one of the best wood for boat trailer bunks made by Extreme Max with an innovative design. If you want a heady combination of strong support, sweat- and stress-free loading and launching, and ease of installation, these side guide-ons should have a spot in your trailer.

Buying Guide

wood-for-trailer-bunks

I’d like to make it clear beforehand when it comes to the wood and carpet for trailer bunks, you get what you pay for. I’ve made the fatal mistake of skimping on the wood once, and it’s safe to say that I’ll never be making that move again.

Also, even before buying, expect to modify the product, especially if it’s a universal fit. Always take into consideration the setup of your trailer bunk, the exact dimensions and measurements of your trailer’s frame, each component as well as the bolts to use.

More often than not, it’s easy to look for replacement parts if the product doesn’t have them. Always anticipate that you might not have everything you need to install your new bunk. With that said, I’ve summed up the factors that you need to look at when making your decision below.

Type of wood

Pine is often preferred for its lightweight, great elasticity, affordability, and swelling resistance. To me, it deserves the best wood to use for boat trailer bunks title. Cypress and oak, on the other hand, generally belong at the top if durability and rot resistance are the yardsticks. Cypress also performs better on freshwater.

Avoid redwood or cedar for boat trailer bunks since they are prone to breakage. Douglas fir for boat trailer bunks has decent strength. In most cases, any hardwood type of lumber for trailer bunks will fulfill most boat trailering and boat launching purposes.

Treated or untreated wood

Whether you want the wood to be treated or not is up to you, but based on my experience, I’ve come to prefer untreated wood. For one, it’s easier to paint or varnish it. Treated wood might take a whole year to completely dry even though its rot resistance is significantly higher. Wood that’s been treated also tends to become a corrosion hazard over time.

Carpet

The boat trailer bunk carpet almost always goes together with the wood, but obviously, that’s not the case every time. Once you opt for a carpeted bunk, make sure you choose one that will make the task of sliding your boat on and off from the trailer as hassle-free as possible.

Vinyl, a crowd favorite, makes installation a breeze while PVS carpets typically keep moisture away better. Rubber will also suffice as long as they won’t scratch the hull and if you’re willing to keep them from sun exposure.

Durability

This factor is with regards to water submersion. It won’t hurt to have the bolts be made of galvanized steel to take care of rust, for instance. Even the bunks’ support tends to be subject to wetness so it’s often better that they’re galvanized, too. Stainless steel should also not be left out of the equation considering its inherent toughness.

Care and Maintenance

boat-trailer-bunks-wood

Keeping boat trailer bunks in top shape often go together with general trailer maintenance. The best habit you can adopt is to regularly inspect the bunk for signs of wear and tear, particularly scratches and signs of rust. The bunk support tends to be rust; so always be mindful of their state, especially if they don’t have any natural rust protection.

As far as cleaning is concerned, “how to clean under the trailer bunks?” is a pretty common question asked by a lot of boat trailer owners. Why? Because the support areas with the bolts are another spot where rust rears its ugly head before long. To prevent or delay it from breaking off entirely, you can try doing this procedure. This is, of course, assuming there’s still a substantial amount of metal left to work with.

  • You can try grinding the rusted area down then apply an anti-rusting chemical treatment to it.
  • After treating, you can reinforce this further by either spraying it with a bed liner or coating it with plastic.
  • Wait for it to dry then, to spread the load and prevent scratches on the newly placed coating, apply fender washers to it.

Besides this, plenty of cleaning is concentrated on the carpet. Most of the dirt clings to the surface, after all. For this, a good vacuum will do. If there are stubborn stains, you can get it wet; just be sure you use a gentle way to do so and refrain from using pressurized hoses.

Afterward, you can apply a cleaning solution to the surface, any kind of stain-removing solution will do. Then, brush it with a soft-bristled brush to eliminate any lingering stain. Lastly, rinse the carpet again then allow it to air dry. Minimize its exposure to the sun as it could damage the carpet, especially if it’s made of vinyl or rubber.

Frequently Asked Questions

boat-trailer-bunk-boards-wood

Who makes the best wood for boat trailer bunks?

While I already admitted that I have a soft spot for CE Smith, I think Tie Down Engineering and Extreme Max are no pushovers. They form the holy trinity for trailer bunks as far as my experience with them is concerned.

As said above, if you want sure-fire quality, then you might feel safer with the VE-VE Inc. offering featured here. Taken as a whole, these selections have not disappointed me one bit, so I’m more than willing to recommend them all.

How do I make my boat trailer bunks slippery?

Normally, this should be a given in the carpet or finish of the boat trailer bunks wood. But you can also rely on silicon spray to impart that extra slick. Another solution involves attaching plastic strips through the entire length of the board to do the same.

Should boat trailer bunks be level?

The trailer and the boat need to be level with the ground as much as possible. This means making sure your bunks are properly aligned as you install them.

How long should bunk boards be?

This depends a lot on the length of your boat. Most experts recommend that bunk boards should not be less than half of that length. It should also adequately cover the distance between the stern and the bow.

Conclusion

We hope that you now have a good inkling as to the top qualities of the best wood for boat trailer bunks. At best, they should treat your boat as a baby while making fishing and boating life easy for you, to the point that you can never have enough of both!

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