As great a sport as kayaking is, there’s absolutely no doubt that getting your boat from your home or storage space to the side of the water can sometimes be a challenging process. If your boat is inflatable, then you shouldn’t have any worries. However, a huge amount of people, possibly yourself included, prefer to take advantage of the numerous benefits that a hardshell yak offers.
In order to use a hard shell kayak on the water, you of course, must have a way of getting it to the water. If you’ve got a normal car or even a large car, the chances of you being able to fit any hard-shell kayak inside is very slim indeed. Another option is purchasing a van, but it doesn’t exactly make sense to have van as your vehicle if you’re only using it once or twice a month to transport your kayak. That’s where kayak trailers come in!
In this guide, we’re going to take an in-depth look at kayak trailers, including the different types that are on offer and the types of kayaks and vehicles which they are best used with.
Not only do kayak trailers offer the advantage of being able to easily hook up and transport your kayak, but they can support multiple kayaks at the same time, and will free up a whole load of trunk space for you to keep your additional equipment – particularly handy if you’re going on a trip for a few days!
Kayak Trailers – A Jargon Free Buyers Guide
So, you’re considering purchasing a kayak trailer! Fantastic! You can soon expect your journeys to and from the waterside with your kayak(s) to become a whole lot easier. However, choosing your first kayak trailer/carrier can be quite a daunting prospect, particularly if you don’t have much of an idea about trailers, or what you’re really looking for in general. Fear not, our guide is here to help!
What To Consider
There’s a number of factors that should influence your selection of kayak trailer. As with all products, regardless of what type, there are different features offered by different products within the same category. You should of course think of the basics, such as how many kayaks you’re going to be carrying, but let’s take a deeper look.
The Number Of Kayaks You’re Towing
Of course, the number of kayaks that you’re going to be carrying should be your primary and most obvious consideration. The vast majority of kayak trailers out there are designed for 2,3, or 4 kayaks. There are however carriers available that can carry a huge amount more, but for most domestic/personal uses, these would never be necessary.
The Size Of Your Kayak(s)
The sizes of the kayaks that you are hoping to do should be another factor that you consider first and foremost. Different kayak trailers are rated to carry different lengths of boat, this number is known as the “length capacity.” Ensuring that your kayaks are well within the length capacity is extremely important for safety, and making sure that you avoid being penalised or trouble with the law.
For example, tandem kayaks are of course a lot longer than the majority of one-person boats. Even if you are looking to tow one tandem and one standard kayak, you must ensure that your trailer has a rated length capacity that accommodates for the tandem, not just the one-seater boat. This is extremely important.
The Towing Allowance Of Your Vehicle
Another extremely important point that you must check before purchasing your kayak trailer is how much weight your vehicle is legally allowed to tow. This information can be found out by contacting the manufacturer of your car, in your vehicle’s handbook, and often on the driver’s door sill of your car.
When trying to work out the total weight of the trailer, you should obviously make your calculations for once the trailer has been loaded up with kayaks and equipment. If you think your trailer is going to be very close to the towing allowance of your vehicle one full, you should look for another trailer. The last thing you want is to be caught and fined for towing more than you are allowed. It’s both unsafe and would mean you’d be fined and most likely have to purchase a lighter trailer. Always air on the side of caution. The best advice is to overestimate the total weight of your trailer and equipment combined.
Your Trailer’s Weight Rating
The weight rating of your trailer should also be considered. All kayak trailers will have a number that refers to the maximum carrying weight which they are able to support at any one time. If you load your trailer up with more weight than it can safely carry, you are posing a massive safety risk to yourself as well as other road users.
Storing Your Trailer
Just when you thought you’d solved the problem of kayak transportation, you’ve now not only got to think about storing your boats, but also the trailer! However, it’s not all disadvantages. If you’re currently storing your kayaks on some sort of shelving area in your garage or outbuilding, your new trailer can very conveniently act as a storage place for your kayaks when they’re at home.
Alternatively, if you have another storage place for your kayaks and don’t want to be taking up a huge amount of space with your trailer, you may wish to consider a kayak trailer that can be folded up and placed against a wall. Folding trailers are easier to store, the only downside is that they require setting up each time that you want to take your kayaks out.
Ensuring that your kayak is durable and is going to last a long time is important for both safety and your bank account! Buying a kayak that’s durable but not well protected could result in quick rusting, and therefore structural weakening and poor appearance. The best way to ensure that a trailer is good quality and durable is to make sure that it’s made of a lightweight and rust-resistant material, such as galvanised steel or carbon fibre. Reading fellow users reviews is also a great way to gauge an idea of how long a trailer lasts with regular use.
Dependant on what your budget is, you may want to look for a certain type of kayak trailer or one with more particular characteristics. For example, kayak trailers are available in both pre-built and ready to build form. Those that have been already constructed tend to be considerably more expensive. However, you should make sure that you are good enough at building things/with tools if you’re planning on putting your new trailer together yourself – doing so badly can result in your trailer being unsafe.
The Best Kayak Trailers – Reviewed
Welcome to our review section of our comprehensive guide to kayak trailers. Here, you’ll see that the vast majority of the trailers that we recommend are made by Malone. Malone are one of the most popular and most well-respected kayak trailer manufacturer. The build quality of Malone trailers are fantastic, they are fairly-priced, and even come provided with a reassuring 5-year warranty period.
Malone AutoRack MicroSport – Great for Ocean and Tandem Kayaks
The AutoRack MicroSport is a widely-used and popular kayak trailer made by Malone and features Malone’s advanced J-Pro2 kayak carriers on top.
Carrying up to 4 kayaks at the same time, the well-built and durable MicroSport can support a carrying weight of 350 pounds in addition to its length capacity of 19 feet. This long length capacity makes the MiroSport extremely versatile in what it can carry, being able to accommodate tandem and longer touring kayaks just as easily as it can one-seater variants. It’s one of the best trailers available for transporting around the market’s longer kayaks.
In terms of durability, the Malone AutoRack MicroSport will not let you down. The construction is excellent, being both strong and resistant to rust since it’s galvanised prior to being built. If you’ve got an ocean or a tandem kayak, the MicroSport is a fantastic option – not only will it be easily able to accommodate the length of both, but it’s also resistant to rust and therefore won’t be adversely affected by the salt-water left on your boats.
Another great feature of the Malone AutoRack MicroSport is that it can be driven straight into the water from the bay. Given that the wheels are galvanized, you don’t need to worry about them rusting as a result of being submerged in either fresh or saltwater. This is an amazing point to consider that will save you masses of time and aches transporting your boats from the roadside to the waterside.
- Load capacity of 350 pounds
- Length capacity of 19 feet
- Able to carry some of the largest boats on the market
- Thoroughly galvanized and is so perfect for ocean kayakers
- Can be driven into the water – no more long treks with your kayak from the side of the road to the side of the water
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Malone Xtralight – Best Trailer For High End Kayaks (2 V Racks)
The Malone Xtralight is a very advanced trailer that can support the transportation of up to two kayaks, in true style. Similarly to all other Malone trailers, the Xtralight is etremly well made, being galvanized and therefore resistant to rusting. Since the frame is made of a high-quality steel, it’s lightweight too which means there’s more of the towing capacity weight left over for your boats, instead of it being taken up by the trailer.
The Xtralight features to V raks that are padded and extremely securing. Once fastened in to the Xtralight, you can be rest assured that your kayaks aren’t going anywhere, and that they’ll arrive with you at your destination completely unscathed. The Xtralight really is great for keeping your kayaks in the best condition when transporting, it’s perfect for two high-end kayaks that you really want to take care of. In addition to the V mounts, the Xtralight comes supplied with loading straps extras for mounting your boats.
Although some assembly of the Xtralight is required yourself, it’s not at all difficult. It can be done in a few hours, and you’re good to go for the rest of this trailer’s life.
The Malone Xtralight can support kayaks that are up to 14 feet in length, and has a total load capacity of 275 lbs, which is more than enough for two large kayaks.
- Total loading capacity of 275 pounds
- Can support boats that are up to 14 feet in length
- Galvanized and therefore resistant to rusting – you will get many great years of usage from the Xtralight
- Leaf spring suspension that minimizes the impact on your kayaks when going over poor terrain
- Comes with a 5 year warranty period
- Perfect for 2 high-end kayaks
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Malone Microsport – Minimalist Kayak Trailer
The Malone Microsport is very much a minimalist kayak. It comes with a singular towing beam in the middle, and two horizontally-placed beams on the top.
A design such as the Microsport means that the buyer can “design” their trailer in such a way that they like the best. They can also be more cost-effective – if you’d like to add kayak carriers onto the trailer that you either or going to buy or already have, then you can easily do so. Alternatively, one can easily simply strap the kayaks directly onto the horizontal bars of the Malone MicroSport.
- Can support up to 4 kayaks
- Load capacity of 800 lbs
- Galvanized, rust-resistant steel construction
- Easy to assemble
- Minimalist and versatile design
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