I neglected to mention some weeks ago that I got myself a Burley Nomad Cargo Trailer. I found a seller off Craigslist selling one in may-as-well-be-new condition for $250, and jumped on it. Originally, I had planned on getting a BOB like most touring cyclist who go the trailer route. These initial impressions are what predominantly swung me towards the Nomad:
Unfortunately, there is no great wealth of product reviews for the Burley Nomad. Most of those available review it as an around-the-town grocery hauler. Among those, I heard of various drawbacks: Its not weatherproof enough. It is not durable enough to handle rough trails or roads. Its too wide. Just looking at it, I was worried I'd feel like I was carrying a wide load, or it would jerk my bike around if I tracked it through a pothole or over grass.
After putting the trailer to use, heavily loaded, over gravel, limestone, pavement, and a bit of dirt, I'm entirely pleased with it. My average speed over nonpaved surface was significantly lower than usual, but without the effort of balancing loaded panniers, I felt less exhausted than I suspect I otherwise would have. Over paved surface, I may well have made better time with the trailer.
The attachment arm dampens most jarring from the trailer. I made an extra effort to drag it over lumps, rocks, and potholes to assure myself of this. Even with one wheel on a rumble strip, it just rattles enough to alert you. I've heard of these trailers tipping, but even while intentionally unbalancing it, I never felt it came near toppling over.
The width of the trailer, though no wider then a pair of stuffed ortliebs, does cause me to be a bit more cautious about what is going on down at wheel-level. So far, however, I've not felt cramped by it, nor have I hit any curbs. I've yet to take it out on any narrow, high traffic roads, so I can't say how that'll be. I've heard that in general, folks see the big yellow trailer and give you a wide berth. I also wonder if it might distract aggressive dogs. I suspect the one that chased me was more playful than angry, but it did seem a great deal more interested in my trailer than my bike. I can live with that.
The spacious cargo compartments are great. I love being able to stop, prop up the bike, snap off the cover and have easy access to all my gear in one place. I rode through some heavy rain, any only minimal water and grit found its way into the gaps. For this run, I wrapped my gear up in a tarp. Next time, I'll have made a snap on weather cover out of a bit of tarp, both to keep the trailer relatively clean, and because the yellow covering seems like it might soak through, given enough steady rain. I may also sew some mesh pockets onto the top for drying herbs on the go, thus weakening its weather resistance.
So, in summary - with about 100mi on the Burley Nomad trailer, I'm thrilled with it. It's a joy to ride without the effort of balancing loaded panniers. It is wonderfully spacious and well designed. Hopefully after 1000mi I'll still be saying the same.