For the majority of us who are not lucky enough to live on the edge of a lake or river, we face the chore of transporting our kit to the water. There are the logistical issues of transporting such a large item and then the problem of doing so safely – keeping the important cargo in one piece. You may already have decided that a roof rack is not for you. It can make a car difficult to drive and cause wind resistance and noise. Instead, you have decided on a trailer. This will give you the added benefit of storage for the rest of your kit too – so there is nothing wet getting inside your vehicle!
If you have opted for a trailer – again you are faced with choice. You may already have a kayak carrier. If this is the case, then you will likely need to buy a regular base trailer. You may even want to take the option of buying a kayak carrier and a base trailer separately. This will then give you the option of using the trailer for things other than water sports. However, if you are looking for everything that you need to transport your kayak, then you might want to opt for an all-in-one package instead.
Here are the best buys for the different options available to you. These are tried, and tested trailers and one is sure to fulfil all your needs.
Best Kayak Trailer (All-In-One Package)
An all in one package is a trailer that comes with kayak carriers built in. This tends to make the trailer much less cumbersome and much easier to transport. It will come pre-assembled and the only issue you face with any all-in -one package is how to attach the kayak to the trailer. The only potential downside to an all-in-one package is that its only use is for carrying kayaks – but sometimes it is better to specialise.
Malone Microsport trailer w/ 2 Malone Seawing kayak carriers
By far the best brand for all-in-one trailers is Malone. The Malone Microsport Trailer carries two kayaks and has been specifically designed for the Malone Seawing Kayak – though there is nothing stopping you using it for other kayaks.
The trailer has a galvanised steel frame with 66-inch cross rails, made from aluminium, making this strong where it needs to be whilst being light enough for most vehicles. The 54-inch axle and sealed wheels hubs are maintenance free and the trailer comes with a spare tire – just in case.
The trailer comes in kit form and you should leave up to three hours to assemble it before you expect to use it. Malone promise that the instructions provided are award winning – so, don’t be too phased by the idea of putting the trailer together. The good news is that once assembled it is particularly easy to load your kayaks. Plus, do to the galvanised steep wheel base the trailer sits well on the road and easy to tow – causing little difference to the driving experience.
Best Base Trailer
A base trailer is just as it sounds. It is the basic skeleton of a trailer – essentially a steel rack on wheels. You then have the option to add additional fixtures onto the base trailer to carry what you need to carry. This means you will need to purchase a kayak carrier to attach to the base. However, it also means you can buy cargo boxes, trunks, bike racks and more that can build on to your base. These trailers also tend to be more affordable than all-in-one models.
Malone Auto Racks XtraLight Base Trailer
Like the all-in-one trailer, Malone ship this to you in four boxes. This means that there is some assembly required – but nothing that will test your engineering skills to any great extent. They also come with Malone’s famously clear instructions – which to be fair to Malone – are described as clear by reviewers.
Built in reinforced steel, the trailer is still lightweight and a great mix of affordable, high quality and great design. The 65-inch steel load bars and 12-inch galvanised slotted wheels offer great stability on the road. Malone advise you can tow boats up to 20-foot, which covers almost all kayaks on the market.
The trailer comes with a host of potential extras – including spare tyres, spoke wheels, a storage trunk to load on top of the base and more. You can even buy an optional bike rack, which demonstrates the versatility offered by buying this base over an all-in-one product. However, you will need to buy a kayak carrier to load on top of the trailer for ease of connection of kayak to trailer.
Best Multipurpose Trailer
The clue is in the name. This trailer can be used for multiple purposes, meaning you should never have to choose between activities – instead have the option of doing whichever you want on a given day. The design of a multipurpose trailer is such that it can be adapted for the purpose you want – without necessarily having to purchase lots of extra equipment.
Yakima Rack and Roll Trailer
You might pay a premium price for the Yakima Rock and Roll Trailer, but you get a quality piece of kit. Make from lightweight aluminium, this product is both sturdy and manoeuvrable – and stores easily too. Users have claimed that you can pull this trailer at great speeds – up to and beyond 70mph.
The Yakima trailer has 78-inch crossbars, which can carry up to 300lbs. It has heavy duty springs and independent suspension, meaning your kayak will be safe in transportation. A great security feature is also included, with locking levers with keys to prevent theft of wheels and the tongue.
The general rule with the multipurpose trailer is that if it can fit on a roof rack, then it can fit on this trailer. It is superior to a roof rack because you don’t have to lift heavy objects or your cumbersome kayak above your head to get it on the top of a car or SUV. Some kayak users keep the kayak stored on the trailer and just wheel it out the garage when they are ready to head off to the water.
Like other trailers, this comes in multiple boxes and you will need to spend a few hours assembling it – although assembling is said to be easy.
Best Kayak Trailer for the Money
Value for money sometimes doesn’t mean the cheapest. The best kayak trailer for the money is one that will offer you flexibility, reliability as well as affordability. A sturdy, long-lasting trailer that serves all your needs will be a saving of money in other ways.
RIGHT-ON TRAILER Multi Sport Trailer
The right-on trailer is affordable but also adaptable. The idea behind this trailer is that you can reconfigure it to carry whatever gear you need. You can mix a cargo box with bike fittings – or fittings for a kayak and your bikes or whatever mix you can imagine. If all you are carrying is kayaks, then it can manage an impressive 4 boats in one go – if you use with the Yakima or Thule stacker.
The right-on trailer is 137.5 inches and 60 inches wide. The crossbars are 18 inches high and it weighs a fairly sturdy 165lbs – made of powder coated carbon steel. The steel is not galvanised but then the trailer is not designed to be immersed in water. Users have said that the trailer is still easy to position, even if doing this alone.
The trailer requires assemblage, as with others and some report difficulty particularly with the wiring. However, most saw it as straightforward – and particularly quick. Probably the best feature is the ease of loading the kayaks, particularly over loading onto a roof rack.