Whether you’re a first time kayaker or an experienced paddler, transporting your vessel to and from your destination is a must. Because the ability to transport your kayak in the bed or your truck or using a kayak roof rack comes with its limitations and challenges, choosing the best kayak trailer for use on the way to and from your adventure is ideal for both convenience and safety. In terms of ease of use, safety, security and flexibility, many kayak enthusiasts opt for using a trailer, but it can be challenging choosing which is right for you. But we’re here to help!To help you get one step closer to your next kayak adventure, we’ve created this guide to the 5 best trailers for kayaks and a simple buyer’s guide to help you decide which is right for you. Here is everything you need to know about purchasing a quality kayak trailer:
5 Best Kayak Trailers Reviewed
1. Malone Auto Racks MicroSport Trailer Kayak
The Malone MicroSport Auto Racks kayak trailer is made of a strong and reliable galvanized steel, giving it both longevity and durability. Featuring a 350 pound weight capacity, it’s suitable for both lightweight and heavyweight kayaks. The trailer also features kayak saddles for securing your vessels on the go, and it accommodates four kayaks, making it great for use on a fun family kayaking adventure. Additionally, it includes safety straps and chains to keep a secure hold on kayaks, and holds crafts up to 19 feet long.Malone is a top-tier company that uses quality materials and well thought out designs, evidenced by their 5 year warranty. This trailer is suited for high speeds up to 70 mph, and comes with clear instructions to make for an easy assembly. Additionally, it features a spare tire for accidents, along with compact and pre-wired lights for safety on the go. Overall, this kayak trailer is both built to last, and designed for use by the entire family on unforgettable kayak trips.
2. Malone XtraLight 4 Kayak Stacker Trailer Package
The Malone XtraLight Four Kayak Stacker trailer is made of a reliable and strong galvanized steel, giving it both longevity and durability. With a 275 pound weight capacity, this trailer is designed for four smaller to medium sized vessels or two larger crafts. This trailer is capable of transporting kayaks up to 14 feet long, and can carry up to four at a time. Additionally, it features foam blocks to rest your gear on which are designed to prevent damage to your kayaks.If you have a smaller load and don’t need to carry four kayaks, Malone also offers a similar trailer, the Malone XtraLight Trailer with Two V-Kayak Racks. This trailer has two built-in, vertical deep V-shaped kayak holders and comes with ratchet straps to secure it while on the go. The high speed wheels make transporting this trailer on highways a breeze, and the durable design is built to last for many adventures to come. Additionally, it features 58 inch coated steel load bars, a set of padded carriers and two 12 foot load straps for a secure fit. To ensure worry-free purchasing, this trailer comes with a five year warranty.
3. Malone MicroSport Trailer Two Kayak Transport Package with 2 Malone SeaWing Kayak Carriers
The Malone MicroSport with 2 Malone SeaWing Carriers kayak transport trailer is made of a durable galvanized steel, giving it longevity and reliability on your kayaking adventure. This trailer has a 355 pound weight capacity, making it plenty suitable for larger sized vessels. This trailer has two sets of SeaWing kayak carriers with ratchet straps to ensure a secure and snug fit while on the go. It also comes with a spare tire for accidents, and high speed wheels which are suitable for use on highways on the way to your destination.
The pre-fitted electrical and mechanical assembly on this trailer makes for great convenience to get started on your next kayak adventure as soon as possible. It’s designed to easily transport two kayaks up to 18 feet long, and the galvanized spare tire with locking attachment stays secure on the go. Additionally, the assembly on this kayak trailer is made to be user-friendly, including award winning instructions. It’s stated to take two to three hours for assembly completion.
To provide you with a worry-free purchase experience, this trailer comes with a five year warranty.
4. Right-On Trailer Multi-Sport Multi-Rack Kayak Trailer
The Right-On kayak trailer has a durable and powder coated finish, giving it both longevity and durability while you’re on the go. This kayak trailer is designed to carry multiple kayaks and other gear, and has a heavy 300 pound weight capacity. Featuring a two tiered rack system that can carry up to six kayaks, this trailer is an ideal option for a large family or group of friends. It utilizes both the bottom and top for storing your vessels, but it’s important to keep in mind that the 300 pound weight capacity is limited to a large number of crafts.Along with a convenient and durable transport system for multiple boards, this trailer also features springs to help absorb vibrations from rough terrain. It has a locking tongue stand and LED lights for ultimate safety and convenience, and it’s high speed wheels are suited to highway travel to and from your favorite kayaking destination. Additionally, to ensure worry-free purchasing, this kayak trailer comes with a one year limited manufacturer's warranty.
5. Ruff-Sport Kayak Trailer
The Ruff-Sport kayak trailer is made of a strong and durable galvanized steel, giving it both reliability and longevity for your kayaking adventures. Featuring a 400 pound weight capacity, this trailer has the highest weight capacity on this list. The large 12 inch wheels, soft spring system and sturdy frame are designed to help absorb road vibration on rough terrains. Additionally, the fold up locking tongue stand and submersible LED lights come standard with the trailer.
This product is a universal trailer which doesn’t include kayak carriers or mounting cradles, making it a versatile option for those looking to transport more than their kayaks. Additionally, the 64 inch crossbars support all roof rack accessories from companies such as Yakama and Thule. To provide you with a worry-free experience, this kayak trailer comes with a five year warranty to ensure it’s safely and conveniently transporting your vessels for many adventures to come.
Choosing the Best Trailer for Kayak Transport: Buyer’s Guide
A kayak trailer is a great way to transport your kayak to a variety of bodies of water for your next adventure. There are a few key features which you should factor into your decision before choosing which trailer is right for your needs. Kayak trailers are made from a variety of materials and with an assortment of different features. Some considerations you should take into account before purchasing the best trailer for transporting your kayak are:
- Trailer Strength and Durability
- Towing Weight Capacity
- Number of Kayaks to be Hauled
- Versatility for Other Gear
- Towing Distances
- High Speed Wheels
- Ease of Storage
- User-Friendly Design and Build
Trailers designed to transport your kayaks to and from your favorite destinations have a variety of features to consider before making your purchase. Here are some of the top things to look for when deciding which kayak trailer is right for you:
Number of Kayaks to be Hauled
With the exception of those trailers designed for camps or businesses to carry larger numbers of kayaks, most models will accommodate from a single kayak up to comfortably fitting four vessels. The kayak trailers reviewed in this list carry either two, four crafts, or in the case of the Right-On Trailer Multi-Sport, six kayaks. It’s essential that you pay attention to the specs on the trailer you are considering for any restrictions, such as weight capacity, highway speeds and more.
The length of the kayaks you will be hauling will determine the trailer you will need. Manufactures will list the maximum length of kayak that can be transported on the trailer, which is determined by the tongue length. This distance is measured from the axle to the trailer hitch. Generally speaking, the longer the length the trailer tongue the safer the trailer, because it offers more stability and balance while on the road.
An additional option is to purchase and install a tongue extension, however, we would not recommend this as an ideal solution. This is because any joint can wear and compromise the stability of the trailer and your safety.
All kayak trailer manufacturers provide a maximum weight rating for that particular vessel. You’ll need to determine the weight of your kayaks to be transported to ensure you do not exceed the trailers limit. Kayaks typically weigh anywhere from 20 to 80 pounds, although some of the larger and heavy duty kayaks can weigh more. The kayak trailers we have recommended in this list have weight quality capacities from 275 to 400 pounds. DO NOT exceed the weight limits, as it will compromise yours and other travelers safety.
Kayak trailers are typically made from the following materials:
- Aluminum: Aluminum is a lightweight, easy to move and the highest priced material option.
- Non-Galvanized Steel: Affordable and stronger than aluminum, non-galvanized steel will corrode or rust, especially if exposed to saltwater. Additional maintenance will be required with this material.
- Galvanized Steel: Galvanized steel is constructed with a layer of zinc, which creates a barrier against corrosion or rust. These products are desirable when kayaking in saltwater and are generally in the mid-priced range, making them ideal for kayak trailers.
Trailer Maximum Speed Ratings
The Department of Transportation (DOT) provides road-safe and speed ratings for kayak trailers. The product description should list the top speed suitable for the trailer in the manufacturer specs. The trailers we have recommended all meet highway speed ratings, with several having ratings to 70 mph. Consider where you will be traveling and the roads you will be traveling on when purchasing your trailer to determine what type you’ll need for transport.
In addition to your durable and heavy-duty trailer you will want to consider if the following items are included:
- Pre-Installed Brake Lights
- Security Straps and Ratchets
- A Spare Tire
- Trailer Stand
- Locking Mechanism
If these kayak accessories are not included with the trailer you choose, and you need or desire these accessories, it will be an additional cost for you.
Ease of Assembly
Kayak trailers generally do not come assembled and will require you to put the pieces together yourself. The time it takes will be dependent on your skill level, and will vary from trailer to trailer. The Malone Microsoft Sports Trailer takes approximately two to three hours to build and would be the typical time needed to construct a trailer. You will need to make sure you have the tools needed to put the trailer together or that they are included in the purchase.
Typically, kayak trailers can be assembled in two to three hours, but this is entirely dependent on the product. However, if you purchase one of the larger trailers with capacities to transport more kayaks and outdoor gear, it may take much longer to assemble.
Because you’ll occasionally need to move your kayak and other loaded gear, it’s important that your trailer is highly portable and easy to move. Ideally, you’ll want a design which you can manage on your own to prevent from the hassle of needing an extra hand or two.
When purchasing a trailer you’ll need to consider where it will be stored. One option to consider is a collapsible or foldable trailer. Another consideration is to store your kayaks on the trailer, which will save having to find another area for your vessels to be stored, and will speed up your trip to and from your favorite kayaking destinations. In this scenario you’ll want a garage, carport, or other covered area to keep your investments safe from the elements like UV rays, rain and more.
Trailer Tire Size
Smaller kayak trailer tires cost less to purchase and are economical by providing better gas mileage. However, these tires do wear down quicker, have lower load capacities and may not be ideal for rougher roads or needs in launching your kayak. If you’ll be transporting your gear on rough terrain, or plan for long and lengthy drives, then investing in an option with larger and more durable tires is ideal. These tires will provide longer wear times, have heavier load capacities and will hand rough roads better than smaller wheel designs.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should I get a trailer or a roof rack to carry my kayaks?
This decision will largely depend on your personal preferences, desired uses, storage considerations and budget. Generally speaking, trailers are easier to load and unload, while roof racks are less expensive and tend to be easier to store. There are multiple factors to consider that are dependent on your personal circumstances that you will need to factor into your decision.
Can the kayak trailer I purchase be used to transport other items?
Some trailer models will have the ability to transport other outdoor gear items, such as bikes, canoes, storage units, etc. It will depend on the trailer you purchase, as some are exclusively for transporting kayaks. If you’re planning to haul additional large gear aside from your kayak, you’ll likely want to choose a model that suits all of your needs.
Which vehicles are best for pulling a kayak trailer?
Kayak trailers are generally lightweight and should not exceed, even when fully loaded, the towing capacity of your vehicle. Check your owners manual to determine the towing capacity of your vehicle. If you will be launching from a sandy or muddy landing area you will very likely need a four-wheel drive vehicle that’s capable of handling this type of terrain and environment.
Are there any laws or restrictions for using a kayak trailer?
Laws and restrictions vary from state to state and you should review your state, and any states that you will be traveling through, before purchasing. This ensures your trailer is in compliance with the local laws and regulations.
Choosing the right kayak trailer for your personal transport needs will require some research prior to your purchase. Here at Seaside Planet, our goal is to support your adventures and to bring you one step closer to safely and responsibly enjoying the great outdoors. Use this guide to learn everything you need to know about our top five recommendations for the best trails for a paddling adventure, and for choosing the features you’ll need from your kayak trailer.
Are you looking for more kayaking gear guides and reviews? Check out these articles in the blog that we think you’ll love:
- What to Take on a Kayaking Trip
- What to Wear Kayaking to Stay Safe and Comfortable
- How to Kayak with a Dog: Tips, Tricks and Safety
- How Safe is Kayaking for Beginners?
We hope that you find this information helpful, and would love to hear from you. Let us know which kayak trailer you choose in the comment section below!
For more of our top kayaking gear recommendations, please visit the following articles.
Megan Jones leads the editorial staff of Seaside Planet. They are a multidisciplinary team of outdoor adventurers, water sports lovers, and passionate beach goers. You can learn more about Meg and the rest of the editorial team here.