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It does not matter whether you a first time kayaker or an experienced paddler, you’re going to have to be able to have a way to get your kayak from your home to the body of water you are setting out to explore. The challenge is relative to the distances you will be traveling.
You may be able to transport your kayak in the bed or a truck or using a roof rack on your vehicle but both come with the limitations and challenges. However, if ease of use, safety, security and flexibility many kayakers opt for using a trailer.
This article will assist you in understanding what your should look for, provide our top recommendations and give you a better understanding to assist you in finding the best kayak trailer for your individual needs and circumstances.
Best Kayak Trailer Reviews
1. Malone Auto Racks MicroSport Trailer Kayak
The Malone MicroSport Auto Racks kayak trailer is made of galvanized steel, giving it longevity and durability, and has a 350 pound weight capacity. The trailer features kayak saddles, accommodates 4 kayaks, includes safety straps and chains, 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.
2. Malone XtraLight 4 Kayak Stacker Trailer Package
The Malone XtraLight 4 Kayak Stacker trailer is made of galvanized steel, giving it longevity and durability, and has a 275 pound weight capacity. This trailer comes with foam blocks to rest your gear on, is capable of transporting crafts up to 14 feet long and can carry up to 4 kayaks.If you do not need to carry 4 kayaks, Malone offers a similar trailer, the Malone XtraLight Trailer with 2 V-Kayak Racks. This trailer has two, built-in, vertical deep V-shaped kayak holders and comes with ratchet straps.
3. Malone MicroSport Trailer Two Kayak Transport Package with 2 Malone SeaWing Kayak Carriers
The Malone MicroSport with 2 Malone SeaWing Carriers kayak trailer is made of galvanized steel, giving it longevity and durability, and has a 355 pound weight capacity. This trailer has two sets of SeaWing kayak carriers with ratchet straps. All that is required is for you to slide your kayak into the SeaWing carrier, securely strap and you’re set to go.
4. Right-On Trailer Multi-Sport Multi-Rack Kayak Trailer
The Right-On kayak trailer is a durable powder coated finish, giving it longevity and durability (may need some touch ups if scratched), and has a 300 pound weight capacity. If you are looking to carry multiple kayaks at once, this trailer is one you will want to look into. The trailer features a two tiered rack system that can carry up to 6 kayaks, utilizing both the bottom and top, however the weight capacity is 300 pounds, which may limit you.
5. Ruff-Sport Kayak Trailer
The Ruff-Sport kayak trailer is made of galvanized steel, giving it longevity and durability, and has a 400 pound weight capacity. The Ruff-Sport is a universal trailer with no kayak carriers or mounting cradles included, making it a versatile option for those looking to transport more than their kayaks. This trailer features a locking, foldable tongue, trailer springs to reduce vibration and LED lights that are submersible.
Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose the Right Kayak Trailer
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 you should factor into your decision before making your final decision.
Kayak trailers are made from a variety of materials and with different features. Some of those considerations are durability (i.e. used in saltwater?), towing capacity, number of kayaks to be hauled, versatility (i.e.haul canoes, bikes), additional gear to be hauled (i.e. storage units), towing distances, and ease of storage.
Different trailers come with different features and the following are some of the items you should research before making your decision:
Number of Kayaks you will be Carrying
With the exception of those designed for camps or businesses to carry larger numbers of kayaks, most trailers will accommodate from a single kayak up to 4. The kayak trailers in our list carry either 2, 4 or in the case of the Right-On Trailer Multi-Sport, 6 kayaks. It’s essential that you pay attention to the specs on the trailer you are considering for any restrictions (i.e. weight capacity, highway speeds).
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; the distance measured from the axle to the trailer hitch. Generally speaking, the longer the length the trailer tongue the safer the trailer.
An option is to purchase and install a tongue extension, however, we would not recommend this as an ideal solution, because any joint can wear and compromise the stability of the trailer and your safety.
All kayak trailer manufactures provides a maximum weight rating. You need to determine the weight of your kayak(s) to be transported to ensure you do not exceed the trailers limit. Kayaks typically weigh anywhere from 20 to 80, although some of the larger, heavy duty kayaks can weigh more. The kayak trailers we have recommended have weight 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: Lightweight, easy to move and highest priced.
- Non-Galvanized Steel: Affordable, stronger than aluminum but will corrode or rust, especially if exposed to saltwater. Additional maintenance will be required.
- Galvanized Steel: 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.
Trailer Maximum Speed Ratings
The Department of Transportation (DOT) provides road-safe and speed ratings for kayak trailers. The product should list the top speed 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.
In addition to your trailer you will want to consider if the following items are included: brake lights, straps and ratchets for securing kayaks, a spare tire, trailer stand, locking mechanisms, etc. If not included 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. 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 2-3 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 2-3 hours at the most. However, if you purchase one of the larger trailers with capacities to transport more kayaks/gear, it may take a day to assemble..
Easy to Move
You will need to move your trailer on occasion and at times with your kayaks and other gear loaded. You want something you can manage on your own.
When purchasing a trailer you need to consider where it will be stored. An 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 kayak(s) and will speed up your trip to and from your kayaking experiences.
Smaller tires cost less to purchase and are economical by providing better gas mileage. However, they do wear down quicker, have lower load capacities and may not be ideal for rougher roads or needs in launching your kayak.
Frequently Asked Questions About Kayak Trailers
Should I get a trailer or a roof rack to carry my kayaks?
This decision will largely depend on your personal preferences, uses, storage considerations and budget. Generally speaking, trailers are easier to load and unload, roof racks are less expensive and 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 trailers will have the ability to transport other items, such as bikes, canoes, storage units, etc. It will depend on the trailer you purchase, as some are exclusively for transporting kayaks.
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 may will likely need a four-wheel drive vehicle.
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, to ensure your trailer is in compliance with the laws.
Choosing the right kayak trailer for your personal needs will require some research prior to your purchase. We have provided trailer recommendations and some guidelines for consideration in making your decision. Getting it right is important but once you have done so, getting to and from your kayaking adventures will be a breeze and make your effort on the front end well worth it.
This article provides our top five recommendations , however we feel strongly that the Malone Auto Racks MicroSport Trailer Kayak distinguishes itself and receives are highest recommendation. This trailer features quality components that include: durability, weight and length capacities, ease of use, highway speed limits, ease of assembly, transports up to 4 kayaks, and has a 5 year warranty.
Hopefully you will find this information helpful. Let us know in the comments section which kayak trailer you choose.
For more of our top kayaking gear recommendations, please visit the following articles.
Megan Jones is the lead author of Seaside Planet. She is an avid surfer, scuba diver, and travel enthusiast who takes any opportunity she can to spend time in the ocean. You can learn more about Meg and the rest of the editorial team here.