The 5 Best Kayak Trailers 2020 – Reviews & Buyer’s Guide
Whether you are a beginner or a pro paddler, kayak trailers help you get your yak from one spot to another with ease.
While a single kayak can fit in most truck beds or on the car roof, things get more complicated when you need to transport two or more kayaks. This is where kayak trailers come in. They are very popular and convenient for institutional settings as well as large groups such as summer camps, expeditions, scout camps and large families!
If you’re in the market for the best kayak trailers, this article will give you a better understanding of what to look for when choosing a trailer. We’ll also help you narrow down your choices and pick out a kayak trailer that best suits your needs.
Are you ready to check out the top 5 kayak trailers? Let’s get started!
Table of Contents
5 Best Kayak Trailers 2020
Weight Capacity (lbs)
Trailer Weight (lbs)
Crossbar Width (inches)
Number of Kayaks
|Malone Auto Racks MicroSport||
|Malone XtraLight 2 Kayak Package||
|Malone MicroSport Kayak Trailer||
|Ruff-Sport Trailer – Galvanized Finish||
2 kayaks + other cargo
|Yakima Rack and Roll Trailer||
1. Malone Auto Racks MicroSport Trailer Kayak – Best Overall
Malone produces tons of different canoe and kayak accessories, including trailers, mounts, and roof racks. It’s one of the main reasons why this particular trailer is a safe bet. This brand is extremely popular among the kayak clubs and communities.
Not only do you get a reliable, solid trailer for your kayaks, but also a great opportunity to save a lot of money by carrying four kayaks at once.
One thing you will particularly like about this trailer is that kayaks are mounted by means of the J-Pro2 carriers. These are very easy to operate and extremely reliable. Another feature is the robust box channel frame which sets this Malone model apart from other trailers in its class.
When it comes to the weight capacity, this trailer weighs nearly 200 pounds and can carry up to 350 pounds. Not sure if your kayaks will fit? Here’s a hint! The galvanized steel frame of this kayak trailer is 164 inches long and 78 inches wide. With these dimensions, it can accommodate most types of kayaks without any difficulty.
Straps, kayak carriers, safety chains, and spare tire are included to make this aluminum-frame trailer simple to use and eliminate additional costs. So, there’s no need to purchase these components separately.
Overall, this is surely one of the best kayak trailers you can find if you want to securely transport multiple kayaks. Out of all the yak trailers available on the market, it comes in first place for design and quality.
- Made from galvanized steel
- Can withstand high speeds
- Pre-wired light system
- J-Pro2 kayak carriers
- Compact and sturdy
- Large weight capacity
- Considerable assembly time
- The ground wire is too short
2. Malone XtraLight 2-Kayak Package with V-Style Kayak Carriers – Best 2 Kayak Package
If you seek a high-quality, strong, hassle-free trailer that can carry two kayaks at once, then this 2 kayak package from Malone is the perfect choice for you. The Malone XTRALIGHT is an easy-to-assemble, lightweight version of the Malone Auto Racks MicroSport trailer that has no extra carriers.
This budget-friendly kayak trailer is created to support both fishing and recreational kayaks. It features the rock-solid construction with the reinforced two-piece extended tongue so that despite the pretty lightweight frame, it’s extra durable and tough. In fact, it can carry a load up to 275 pounds and hold boats that are up to 14 feet long as well as 32 inches wide.
For better protection to kayaks, the trailer includes super-thick padding. The steel frame is galvanized and powder coated for enhanced durability. On the top of that, there are ratchet straps that keep the kayaks securely strapped and prevent them from falling off.
- Ratchet straps
- 2-piece extended tongue
- Galvanized axles
- Easy to use and assemble
- Reasonable priced
- It tends to bounce and jostle when driving fast on rough roads
- No extra carriers
3. Malone MicroSport Kayak Trailer – Best 4 Kayak Trailer
If you are in need of a basic yet dependable trailer that can hold 4 kayaks at a time, this model is a safe bet. Many people love Malone MicroSport Kayak Trailer because it is easy to assemble with clear instructions. The trailer boasts a galvanized steel frame that is resistant to corrosion and very strong.
Another thing that sets it apart is an impressive weight capacity of 355 lbs. This premium-built kayak trailer is capable of carrying vessels that are up to 18 feet long, meaning most canoes and kayaks will fit comfortably. You can add your bikes, surfboards, and cargo boxes as well.
The 66-inch-wide crossbars are designed to support all sorts of car rack accessories and gear carriers, not only from Malone but also Yakima and Thule. You will also benefit from having rolling style by virtue of 12-inch galvanized wheels which are reinforced with marine grade bearings.
Note that the trailer comes with the pre-fitted hub and mechanical assemblies. Plus, there’s a pre-wired electrical circuit for lights.
- Extended heavy-duty tongue
- Sealed hubs and wheels
- Chrome acorn nuts
- Easy to assemble
- Awesome weight capacity
- Complete detailed instructions
- The back cross arm is a bit wobbly
- The frame could be sturdier
4. Ruff-Sport Trailer with Galvanized Finish – Best All-Around Trailer
With two horizontal crossbars and several ratchet straps, this universal aluminum trailer can carry just about anything from kayaks, canoes, bikes, and cargo boxes to a wide variety of adventure gadgets and accessories. Actually, you can adapt it to transport any extra gear for weekend camping trips. It is only a matter of imagination.
What is it best for? While there are no limitations, this kayak trailer is most suitable for paddlers wanting to use their trailer for SUPs, bikes, or other things with quick adjustments.
There are no mounting cradles or kayak carriers included. While this may seem odd for some, others will appreciate the advantage of versatility. The trailer is meant to accommodate two kayaks at once, so make sure to mount it accordingly. Otherwise, you will have a tough time finding the available space and securing your load.
One of your main concerns when choosing a trailer is whether it is a good fit for your kayaks. Well, the Ruff-Sport trailer is 64 inches wide and 11 and 1/2 feet long. It features large 12-inch wheels which are fitted with springs to lessen vibration.
While padded crossbars aren’t included with this trailer, you will get the submersible LED lights and locking tongue that can fold up.
- Strong and durable
- Impressive weight capacity
- Galvanized steel structure with wide crossbars
- Great value for money
- No padded crossbars
- It takes a lot of time to put together
5. Yakima Rack and Roll Trailer – Best Heavy-Duty Kayak Trailer
If you are one of those people who know at least something about kayaking, chances are good that you have heard of “Yakima.” That is because it’s one of the most popular brands when it comes to kayak accessories.
This particular trailer is very attractive because of its sleek design and sturdy construction. It boasts a feature-rich mixture of lightweight design, suspension, ease-of-storage, and ease of use. That makes it an absolute choice for people who have a bit smaller cars but want to transport a few kayaks at once. In fact, it is aimed at Yakima fans who want to own a kayak trailer compatible with other Yakima accessories.
It’s made from anodized aluminum and strengthened with steel fasteners. Despite weighing 160 lbs only, it can carry up to 300 pounds. With the width of impressive 78 inches, this heavy-duty trailer is notably wider than most of its competitors on the market. The extremely wide crossbars are coupled with locking levers that come with special keys. This prevents theft of your beloved toys.
We also want to highlight well-built, strong springs which are responsible for smooth rides. For extra plush rides, we recommend adjusting the dual-suspension spring rate. It comes in handy on the motorcycle-style shock absorbers.
There is also a carrying handle included that can transform the trailer into handcart with ease. Besides, it makes hooking up easy. Wheels and tongue are detachable to make it easier to store.
- Impressive width
- Zinc plated steel fasteners
- Locking levers with keys
- Longevous LED lights
- Comes with a carrying handle
- Sleek style
- You’ll have to purchase additional Yakima kayak carriers
- Thin wheels are prone to get damaged or stuck
Things To Know Before Buying Kayak Trailers
Choosing the best kayak trailer may look like a real nightmare if you are a newbie who isn’t acquainted with trailers. Don’t worry, we’re going to break it down for you. Let’s determine what truly matters when purchasing such a trailer.
How Many Kayaks Do You Intend to Carry?
Do you plan to run a scout camp or a kayak rental location? If so, you’ll probably need to transport several kayaks at once. Otherwise, you will have to make multiple trips.
It’s good to know that there are trailers with a capacity of 10+ kayaks. If you have any special requirements, your best choice is to get in touch with a local boat trailer maker and order a custom trailer.
The majority of kayak trailers are offered with a capacity of 2 to 4 kayaks. These are mostly tailored for small groups and families. Every manufacturer should provide a max capacity rating and a recommendation for its trailers.
If you are in pursuit of a trailer that is specially designed for tandem kayaks, then you’ll definitely need to take into consideration the following 3 things:
The width of your tandem kayaks
The length of your tandem kayaks
Maximum weight capacity of the kayak trailer
Tandem kayaks are usually wider than the kayaks intended for a single paddler, meaning you should go with a trailer that’s meant to hold wider vessels. While most trailers can accommodate tandems without a hitch, some models must be extended to carry longer length kayaks.
Multi Kayak Trailers
If you need to transport several kayaks at a time, it’s critical to be 100 percent sure of the capabilities of your vehicle and know exactly how much weight it can haul. In addition to the kayaks, take into account the weight of the trailer itself as well as any other cargo on the trailer.
Please note that some kayak trailers can be utilized as multi-purpose transport means. They come in handy when you need to carry other things like paddle canoes, bicycles, paddleboards, and so on.
Multi-kayak trailers are suitable for larger families, groups of friends, and kayaking associations. Yep, these trailers tend to be pricey, but you should think of the cumulative value you’ll get by hauling all of your vessels at once. It may seem like an expensive investment, but it pays for itself in the long run.
How Big are Your Kayaks?
Nearly any kayak trailer is built to handle either tandem or single kayaks; however, that does not mean you should not double-check just in case. It’s a good idea to visit the manufacturer’s site to find out the correct dimensions of a kayak trailer. You’re also advised to contact the manufacturer prior to ordering a trailer if you think that your boats won’t fit. Otherwise, you will have a tough time bringing back a whole trailer, especially if you’ve ordered it online.
The trailer tongue can give you a better idea of how well your kayaks will fit in the trailer. Check for length and be certain. In case of tiny trailers, it can be impossible or very difficult to fit sea kayaks or longer tandems. Take careful note of this!
How Much Available Space do you Have?
It’s advisable to store your kayak trail in the shelter like a temporary canopy or garage to insure its longevity. That said, make sure to consider ease of storage when purchasing a trailer. Even though your trailer is galvanized, it will have a longer lifespan when kept under some kind of shelter.
If you have a smaller shelter, choose a trailer that takes up less storage space yet offers enough space for your kayaks.
Let’s follow up on the discussion about trailer tongue. As we’ve already stated, it is important to check out the length of this component to make sure your kayaks will comfortably fit.
Tongue length is actually the distance between the hitch and the axle. Based on this metric, you’ll determine the kayak length that can be carried and get the feel for how towing is going to look like.
As a general rule of thumb, the trailers with the shorter tongues are less likely to carry longer kayaks like sea kayaks or even tandems. In addition, traveling straight will be more difficult alike. Such trailers work best for shorter kayaks such as a recreational-sized yak.
On the other hand, the longer tongue can support the long kayaks and is much easier when you are moving backward, i.e. it’s much easier to back up in the straight lines. That makes a big difference.
Many manufacturers reduce the prices of their kayak trailers by producing shorter tongues. And many people are tempted to buy a trailer with a short tongue to save money. Be careful!
The short trailer tongue increases the chances of hitting your vehicle, particularly in sharp corners. That’s why you’ll appreciate a greater distance from your automobile when turning around and making sharp turns. You can address this issue by installing a tongue extender and keep your car safe from bumping.
Tire & Wheel Size
Tire size is much the same in most kayak trailers. There are some differences though. If you will be traveling on rough terrains, go for the wider and larger tires. Smaller tires are only recommended for the light loads and they’re suffering a lot in off-road areas or rough unpaved roads.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that it’s better to go for smaller wheels in order to make it easy for you to load and/or unload kayaks from a slightly lower platform. While that could be the truth, bear in mind that the tires will wear out faster in case of smaller wheels. That’s because smaller wheels must do a lot of rotations to pass a certain distance; as a result, your trailer will eventually cost you more in the grand scheme of things.
Every trailer features a particular weight rating. It refers to the load a trailer can support when carrying kayaks or other cargo. Just about every trailer is capable of accommodating two kayaks at a time. Nonetheless, be sure not to overweight your trailer if you intend to carry a large amount.
Rest assured that the total weight of your kayaks doesn’t exceed the limit. That will increase the risk of breaking on the road while traveling. Most kayaks weigh about 40 pounds, whereas the weight capacity of a typical kayak trailer usually falls somewhere between 250 and 350 lbs.
Whether or not you’ll examine the suspension system of a trailer will depend on whether you’re going to drive on dirt roads in a backward area when searching for the kayaking places. It is a must for the bumpy rides. This smart system lets you drive on unpaved roads and rough terrains without damaging your precious vessels.
The vast majority of kayak trailers are made from steel, as it’s very strong and durable. By the way, the steel trailers turned out to wear very well. Many come with a galvanized coating which gives them enhanced protection from rust and corrosion. They are suited for saltwater environments in particular.
Some kayak trailers have built-in racks that keep vessels safe in transit. Note that you can also buy separate padded racks or accessories for the one that doesn’t come with padding, so-called base trailer. Just make sure it fits your trailer.
Easy to Move
A kayak trailer is supposed to make your trips easier and more comfortable, not even harder. So, it’s vital to make sure your trailer is easy to move and maneuver when driving. This is especially important when fully stacked. A kayak trailer should be lightweight so that you can move it easily by hand when it isn’t attached to the hitch of your car.
Most trailers are equipped with an independent suspension system to lessen vibration and reduce the effects of bumps. It cuts down the risk of the kayaks knocking each other, which can cause serious damage during transit.
Our Final Review
Finding the perfect trailer for your kayak(s) and your family is a serious task and it’s really not easy to settle on one with so many choices out there.
As there’s a broad spectrum of kayak trailer options these days, it’s highly important to understand what you’re shopping for.
The best kayak trailer is supposed to offer simplicity and convenience for your journeys. It also should be versatile as well as easy to assemble and move.
Be sure to consider the weight capacity, check out the tongue length, crossbar width, and wheel size along with other details. Take your time and don’t make a rash decision.
Hopefully, you find this buyer’s guide helpful in selecting a kayak trailer that fits your needs. Enjoy your time on the water and have a lot of fun!