When you’re planning a kayak trip either for your family or a few of your friends, one of the most difficult things to consider is how you’re going to transport multiple kayaks to and from your location at the same time. And kayak trailers are perhaps the best way to do this. They’re capable of transporting multiple kayaks at once as they’re being hauled behind your vehicle, eliminating the stress involved in having to spend hours securing them down on the top of your vehicle or hiring another vehicle to transport them if you have more than two.
Kayak trailers come in a variety of different types, styles and designs, making it easy for you to find the best one for your specific purposes. They range in their ability to transport anywhere from two to 10 kayaks at once, and the way that they’re assembled onto your vehicle also varies from trailer to trailer. This guide can make it easier for you to find the best type of kayak trailer for your specific uses. Here you’ll find not only the best trailers for kayaks on the market, but also some helpful information to consider when you’re browsing for one.
Kayak Trailer Reviews
The best kayak trailers go as follows:
- Right-On Multi-Sport Multi-Rack Kayak Trailer (Best Affordable Option)
- Yakima Rack and Roll 78 Trailer (Most Lightweight Design)
- Malone XtraLight LowMax Base Trailer (Easiest to Assemble)
- Malone MicroSport LowBed 2-Boat MegaWing ( Most Heavy Duty)
- Ruff-Sport Galvanized Finish Kayak Trailer (Most Versatile)
- Material: Steel with powder-coat finish
- # of Kayaks: 4
- Wheel size: 8”
- Weight: 205lbs
For those of you simply looking for a kayak trailer that does its job and can carry kayaks from point A to point B without all of the extra accessories, the Multi-Sport Multi-Rack Kayak Trailer from Right-On is most recommended for you. Not only is it available for the most affordable price, but it’s capable of holding up to four kayaks at once.
Regarding the design of the trailer, it comes with crossbars that measure 64 inches, giving you the option to either place kayaks lying flat on the trailer or sitting up with the J-hooks. Additionally, this trailer from Right-On is constructed with a powder coat finish that gives it water-resistant features. That being said, you don’t have to worry about the paint chipping overtime or the material rusting or corroding over time.
Lastly, this trailer only weighs 205 pounds and it’s produced with soft springs as well as a sturdy frame that help to absorb all of the road vibrations. This makes hauling the kayaks a smooth traveling experience.
What We Like
- Supports up to 800lbs
- Equipped with center storage
- Comes with 14in wheels for combating rocky or wet terrains
What We Didn’t Like
- You can’t access the storage compartments in the back of the trailer without taking the kayaks off of the trailer
- Material: Aluminum
- # of Kayaks: up to 5
- Wheel size: 8”
- Weight: 160lbs
Yakima is one of the most high-quality and trustworthy brands on the market known for producing heavy-duty and reliable kayak accessories. This particular Rack and Roll 78 Trailer for kayaks from Yakima is great for those of you that have more experience with assembling and using trailers. It’s one of the more expensive trailers, but it outperforms some of the other trailers on the market because of its lightweight, easy-to-use and high-quality design.
More specifically, this trailer only weighs 160 pounds because of its aluminum material design. Because of its lightweight, hauling behind any size car is extremely easy and makes for a more comfortable, smooth traveling experience. The trailer itself features a longer length of 11 feet, making it capable of carrying kayaks up to 20-feet in length.
Moreover, this trailer is equipped with high-performance shocks that can provide cushion for your gear while you’re traveling on uneven surfaces. This helps to prevent any of your kayaks or the gear assembled onto the trailer from moving around and potentially falling off during your traveling experience.
What We Like
- Features a lightweight design
- Aluminum material fights against rust or corrosion from developing over time
- Accounts for easy storage after use, since the wheels and the tongue can be dissembled in second
What We Didn’t Like
- More expensive than some of the other trailers on the market
- Material: High-grade galvanized steel
- # of Kayaks: 4
- Wheel size: 8”
- Weight: 206lbs
If you’re looking for one of the easier kayak trailers to assemble without much mechanical expertise, then you may benefit from purchasing the Malone XtraLight LowMax Base Trailer. It has the ability to hold up to four kayaks at once, and its weight capacity is 600 pounds. Because of that, you have more than enough space to safely haul not only your kayaks but also your kayak accessories on the trailer.
This Malone XtraLight trailer only weighs 206 pounds itself, making it extremely lightweight and easy to haul on the back of smaller vehicles. The trailer itself is constructed with a high-grade galvanized steel material that eliminates the risk of rust or corrosion developing on its surface. The tires on the trailer measure eight inches round, which is a bit small if you’re traveling through uneven terrains and rocky surfaces.
But the size of the tires shouldn’t be a problem if you’re only traveling on smooth or even terrains. Furthermore, the trailer measures 11.3 feet by 6.5 feet, so it’s capable of hauling kayaks of various lengths. As for the assembly, most can put together the trailer within about three hours and most standard tools found in a workshop.
What We Like
- Can be put together in around 3 hours
- Capable of hauling up to 4 kayaks at once
- Safely travels up to 70mph
What We Didn’t Like
- The wheels are a bit small for tackling rocky terrains
- Material: Marine-grade galvanized steel
- # of Kayaks: up to 4
- Wheel size: 14”
- Weight: 197lbs
We’ve labeled this kayak trailer as the best overall because of its high-quality construction and convenient features. Not only is it capable of carrying up to four kayaks at once, but it features a universal system that lets you either place the kayaks down flat on the trailer, up on their sides with the J-hooks or you can even place cargo holders on top of the trailer.
The J-hooks themselves feature a sturdy and easy-to-use design that can ensure all of the kayaks are secured to the trailer. It’s also the best kayak trailer for security purposes because of its marine-grade galvanized steel material construction. It’s equipped with 14-inch wheels that can tackle practically any type of surface, whether it’s rocky and uneven or muddy and wet.
Additionally, it’s the best overall because it can safely support up to 800 pounds, which is much more than most other kayaks on the market. Even more, it comes equipped with the option for you to place storage on its center bar as well as under the kayaks in the back. Lastly, it’s capable of holding kayaks up to 20-feet in length because of its long tongue design. For additional insight, there is aYouTube video review of the Malone MicroSport LowBed Kayak Trailer.
What We Like
- More affordable than the other trailers on the market
- Features a powder coat finish to prevent paint chipping or rusting
- Soft springs help to absorb road vibration
What We Didn’t Like
- Requires some wiring when assembling the trailer, so you may need more time and mechanical expertise for assembly
- Material: Galvanized steel
- # of Kayaks: 2
- Wheel size: 12”
- Weight: 200lbs
Capable of hauling a range of accessories other than kayaks, this Ruff-Sport Galvanized Finish Kayak Trailer from Right-On is suggested for those of you known for going on countless adventures. For instance, this trailer is capable of carrying anywhere from fishing kayaks to boards, SUPs, bicycles and even cargo boxes for additional storage on longer trips.
It comes with crossbars that measure 64 inches and can be easily assembled. They can support a range of roof rack accessories from different brands, offering a universal construction. It’s equipped with 12-inch wheels that can tackle practically any type of terrain, and it can safely travel at highway speeds. Without J-hooks, the trailer can hold up to two kayaks assembled flat on its surface. But if you purchase J-hooks with the trailer, then you have the ability to haul up to four kayaks on the trailer at once.
Weighing only 200 pounds, this kayak trailer from Right-On allows for a smooth riding experience while you’re driving to your kayaking location. And the soft springs contained within the trailer’s construction allow for an even smoother ride, since they help to absorb the vibration from the road.
What We Like
- Capable of hauling anywhere from bicycles to kayaks, boards, SUPs and even cargo boxes
- Comes with 12in wheels
- Made with a sturdy frame and soft springs for a smooth travel
What We Didn’t Like
- The black rack pads to prevent scuffing aren’t included, so you’ll have to purchase them separately
How to Choose the Best Kayak Trailer
What are you looking to bring?
The first thing you should be thinking about when you’re browsing the market for a kayak trailer is the amount of accessories you have. Are you going on a one-day kayak trip or do you plan to stay a whole week at a campsite near a lake? This will determine how much luggage you’ll have in addition to the accessories required for kayaking.
Some kayak trailers have the ability to carry more than just kayaks since they’re equipped with side cupboards and other storage compartments. But other kayak trailers are only capable of hauling the kayak on its rack. That being said, it’s important that you consider how many supplies you actually have and then think about whether you need a larger vehicle to carry everything. Ultimately, you should consider how many kayaks each trailer can take before purchasing it as well as its load capacity.
How many kayaks can it take?
Are you going on a small kayaking trip with your family or friends? Or are you planning on hauling enough kayaks for a group of kids for camp? Questions like these will help you to determine how many kayaks you’ll be bringing on your trip. As a result, you can figure out what kind of trailer you’ll need to haul all of these kayaks.
The majority of the kayak trailers on the market have the ability to carry around two to four kayaks. These standard types of trailers are perfect for small get-togethers over the weekend or for short kayaking trips. But there are also some kayak trailers with the ability to haul anywhere from six to sixteen kayaks at once.
A trailer’s load capacity refers to the amount of overall weight that it’s capable of safely supporting. Whether it’s the kayaks’ weight or the additional luggage placed on the trailer, the load capacity enlists the total number of pounds that it’s capable of supporting for longer trips. Most kayaks weigh between 35 and 100 pounds, but this does vary depending on the type of kayak it is.
From there, it’s sometimes not enough to only consider the number of kayaks that the trailer is able to support because of the weight disparities between the different types. For instance, fishing kayaks tend to weigh the most because of the extra gear that’s assembled on them. So a standard trailer that’s expected to haul up to four recreational kayaks may not be strong enough to safely support the weight of four fishing kayaks that weigh up to double the weight.
It’s important that you think about what materials the kayak trailers are produced with because this will ultimately determine its durability and its ability to withstand all weather conditions. Most kayak trailers are made with either steel, galvanized steel or aluminum material. Steel is often the cheapest option because it’s the easiest to shape and produce, but it does require more maintenance in order to prevent rust or corrosion from developing over time.
Galvanized steel is also a popular construction material for kayak trailers because it has weather-resistant properties and can withstand getting wet without developing rust or corrosion over time. This is because galvanized steel has a zinc coating on it that’s specifically made to prevent rust or corrosion. If you want a sturdy, steel construction, then you should make sure that it’s a high or marine-grade galvanized steel for optimal durability.
Another common material that many kayak trailers are made out of is aluminum. It’s common because of its ability to have more lightweight features than steel. Not only is it way more lightweight than steel, but it’s also more water-resistant. That being said, it has an advantage over steel in that it won’t develop rust over time as it gets wet. It does tend to be a more expensive option than steel though, so you should consider that when deciding.
Aluminum usually offers a smoother traveling experience than steel because of its lightweight design, and it’s easier to haul aluminum trailers behind vehicles of different sizes. But steel trailers are more heavy-duty and can usually haul more weight than aluminum ones. That being said, if you’re planning on hauling either a large number of accessories or fishing kayaks that weigh more than recreational boats, then you should probably aim for a steel trailer .
The tongue length of a trailer refers to the length of the bar that connects the axle and its compartments to the hitch of the vehicle you’re towing the trailer on. The tongue length of trailers varies anywhere from 10 feet to 15 or 20 feet. It’s important to consider because it ultimately determines the size of the kayaks that you’re able to transport on them. If you have longer kayaks, then you’ll want a trailer with a longer tongue length.
On the other hand, if you have a trailer that’s too short, then you risk the kayaks not fitting on the trailer. Or you might be able to fit them onto the trailer but they hang off the back of it. This is not only dangerous for the other people driving around you, but you also risk your kayaks getting scuffed up and developing damage if they’re constantly scraping against the ground.
But you should also consider its maneuverability because the longer the trailer’s tongue length is, the more difficult it is to steer and maneuver throughout traffic. So if you need a longer trailer to transport longer kayaks, then you may want to have someone drive that’s more experienced with hauling longer trailers .
Tires and rims
You should consider the size of the trailer’s tires and rims because of traveling purposes. Trailer tires and rims can range anywhere from eight inches to 14 inches, but they vary in the trailer’s ability to haul more weight. Trailers that have wider tires and larger rims are capable of withstanding more rough terrains and uneven surfaces.
On the other hand, trailers that have smaller tires and rims are really only built for the ability to drive on even and smooth surfaces. They’re usually only capable of carrying a certain amount of weight as well. That being said, if you’re either hauling a larger amount of weight or you’re traveling on rougher roads, then you’ll want a kayak trailer with wider tires and larger rims.
But if you’re traveling on smoother, well-kept roads and only have a certain amount of weight on the trailer, then you’ll be able to get away with smaller-sized tires and rims. You should also keep in mind that the trailer’s tires can most likely be switched out if you have larger ones. But you should make sure of this before you rely on changing them out by yourself.
Many people wonder whether buying a kayak trailer and assembling it is more time and money efficient than simply buying the supplies and building on yourself. There are obviously advantages and disadvantages to both of these options, but it essentially comes down to your personal preference. You really have the option of choosing to purchase one from the store already built for you, purchasing one online and assembling it yourself or purchasing the supplies to building one yourself.
If you’re planning on building one yourself, yes you will probably spend less money overall on the supplies needed. But you also risk the trailer not working, malfunctioning or even the measurements not working out. And even if you’re experienced and all of the measurements and parts are the perfect size, the amount of time that it takes to assemble the whole thing will likely take a larger amount of time than simply purchasing one.
The most convenient option would be to purchase one already assembled at the store, but this is often the most expensive option. Not only that, but it seems that you would also have to worry about the certain store you’re buying the trailer from having it available in stock. Because of this, most people try to aim for somewhere in the middle of these options, since it’s the average price and it tends to be convenient as well.
Buying a kayak trailer online and learning how to assemble on your own at home is a task that most people are willing to take on. But you should be prepared beforehand since the entire assembly will take a few hours and require some standard workshop tools. But you’re in luck because most kayak trailers come with instructions that you can easily follow just by reading step-by-step.
Most kayak trailers require that you first layout all the parts to ensure that you have everything. Then you’ll probably start with passing the wiring through the holes in the different prices and then as long the brackets while the trailer is upside down. After that, you’ll want to tighten the hardware to ensure that it won’t come apart. Next, you’ll want to attach the spring hangers and then tighten down the tongue in place.
Aligning the axle usually comes after that, followed by the tires, lights, and the license plate brackets. After you’ve installed the fenders over the tires on the trailer, you’ll usually install the crossbars last, since the trailer will be flipped upside right at this point.
How do kayak trailers differ from regular trailers?
Just as the name suggests, kayak trailers are specifically designed to haul kayaks and regular utility trailers are designed for more utility purposes. Utility trailers are typically designed to carry higher amounts of weight, so they’re stiffer. The suspension in these types of trailers is designed to carry weights that are much heavier than kayaks, so they may cause damage to carrying kayaks.
On the other hand, kayak trailers are equipped with accurate load capacities to haul multiple kayaks at once. In addition to that, they’re usually equipped with j-hooks, crossbars and an extended tongue that can more easily and more safely haul kayaks and longer boats.
How do I secure a kayak onto the trailer?
Yes. You can’t simply place the kayak onto the trailer and expect that it won’t fall off while you’re driving down the road. With the bumps, high speeds and even different weather, you’re required to secure the kayak down onto the trailer using the straps and the other accessories that come with the trailer. It doesn’t take too long to secure the kayaks to the trailer either, so there isn’t a reason that you shouldn’t tie them down.
Do I have to register a kayak trailer?
Yes. Just like any other trailer that drives down the road, you’ll have to register the trailer and make sure that it has a license plate assembled to the back of it. You can easily register them at the DMV or the BMV closest to you.
Can I build my own?
Technically, yes it is possible. But you’ll have to be prepared for the extra time and effort that goes into making the trailer. You’ll need to ensure that the parts and pieces are the right dimensions and all assembled into the correct design so that it can safely haul multiple kayaks at once. You may save some money by building your own kayak trailer, but you definitely won’t safe time and effort, so it might be more worth it to just buy one either online or in-store to assemble yourself.
Can you haul kayak accessories with it?
Some kayak trailers come with the features to allow for storage compartments, but some of them don’t. You’ll have to make sure that you buy one capable of offering these types of options if you’re going to rely on the trailer storage to carry your belongings. Most trailers that offer storage either come equipped with storage containers along with the tongue of the trailer or in the back in between the two wheels above the axle.
Some trailers even have floors that you can utilize for extra security while hauling paddles and other kayak accessories, but you’ll have to make sure you find the right one if you want this feature.
Overall, kayak trailers can make your kayak hauling experience much easier. Rather than having to assemble kayaks on the top of a small vehicle or even taking multiple vehicles just to carry more kayaks, having a trailer is so much easier. They’re equipped with the features to carry multiple kayaks at once, and they’re safer than other means of transporting kayaks from one place to another.
But trying to find the best kayak for your specific purposes may be difficult, so hopefully, this guide has provided you with information that can help you along with your camping adventures. We hope you’ve benefited from this information and if you liked it, we recommend that you share it with your friends and even comment below if you have any other suggestions or advice.