I am a firm believer in doing the best to protect my kayaking investments. Aren’t you?

Whether it is the actual kayak or the gear and accessories that come with it, these equipment are costly.

You are probably wondering where I am going with this.

Well, I see a lot of people prefer to place their kayaks on a rack on top of their cars when going on vacation.

Let’s be real: that may not be the safest way to transport your prized kayak especially when you and your family have multiple boats.

You name it, you risk it with this method of transportation: broken parts or scratches and spillages or worse an accident even with the rack in place.

But what if I showed you the efficiency of kayak trailers?

I have found 5 top kayak trailers that you can use to move your kayak around and I will also highlight the advantages of hauling your kayak using a trailer.

What Insurers Say about Covering Claims involving Kayak Roof Racks

To begin with, some auto insurance policies do not compensate for damage caused to your vehicle when you put your kayak on the roof of your car. In that case, you are liable for any damage to your car.

Now if you put a roof rack for your kayak on top of your car, it is considered a modification and unless you inform your insurer of its presence your cover could be deemed invalid leaving you vulnerable in case of a claim.

It is important to call your insurer to find out if they consider a roof rack a modification or an accessory especially if your rack is permanent.

Unfortunately, if you are going at a high speed and the kayak loosens, falls or flies off and causes damage or injury to other motorists or pedestrians this could turn into a nightmare that can lead to financial problems.

Having said that, while there are companies that will cover your kayak while on transit either in a trailer or a roof rack you must make sure that your rack or trailer is suited for transporting your kayak model and it is fitted with a lock or clamp to prevent theft when left unattended.

I must say I find it easier to adhere to these rules with a trailer than I do with a rack.

Advantages of Using a Kayak Trailer

You can Transport Multiple Kayaks

Kayak trailers come in different capacities. This can vary from 1-4 kayak carriers to others than carry over 10 or 15 kayaks. Families and friends vacationing together can settle for the 1-4 capacity trailers eliminating the struggle of fitting all those kayaks on a roof.

They can be Customized

If you have more than four kayaks you can have a trailer custom made for your needs. This ensures that you safely work with a space tailor-made to accommodate the kayaks.

This is especially great because kayaks vary in size and if you have customized your kayak, your upgrades may not be accommodated on a standard rack. Checking manufacturer websites for details of the trailer you are ordering is very important to prevent ending up with the wrong trailer.

Durability and Strength are Not in Question

Have you ever asked yourself how long your car roof can withstand the weight of your kayaks? If you have a large fishing kayak, you know how heavy they can get.

While car roofs are not built to regularly take the weight of kayaks, the trailer is. They come fitted with steel load bars and heavy-duty straps and are made of materials like galvanized steel to ensure they can take the weight of the kayak and extended use even venturing out into the sea with them.

Safety is Highly Considered

Hoisting a kayak onto a car roof is not easy or safe. Apart from being heavy and large, being able to position it properly can also be quite a task.

In addition, the risk of getting injured is far higher when loading your kayak onto a car roof than when loading it onto a kayak trailer.

The trailer is fitted with features that make it easy to load the trailer on and fastening does not require climbing. It also can be comfortably done by both women and men.

The more Versatile, the Better

The trailer can also be used to transport other types of equipment when you need to. For example, if you have bikes that need to be transported you can use the trailer to move them.

And no matter what equipment you are carrying the trailers always provide excellent balance to your car because they have less wind resistance.

They are Easy to Load and Unload

The trailer is built to make your transportation convenient. The fastening systems are easy and fast to use which allows you to quickly load and unload the kayaks. In the unfortunate event of theft, it is much easier for the thief to unhitch your trailer and make away only with the trailer instead of the whole car because your kayak is attached to the roof.

Top 5 Kayak Trailers of 2018

Malone Auto Racks MicroSport Kayak Trailer

https://www.amazon.com/Malone-MicroSport-Trailer-Transport-Carriers/dp/B001O1N1LO

When you talk about stability, functionality and performance in a kayak trailer, the Malone Auto Racks MicroSport Kayak Trailer comes to mind of most kayak enthusiasts.

The J-Pro2 J-style kayak carriers on the trailer will lift your kayak onto trailer’s bed, which is 65 inches wide keeping it safe all the while. It can carry heavy and lengthy canoes in place of kayaks with complete ease. It can also carry jet skis and even cargo boxes.

Because of the galvanized 12 inch wheels, it can handle speeds of up to 70 mph without compromising on stability and safety.

The construction is compact compared to other trailers in its category which ensures that it trails straight and has minimal to no bouncing around behind you. You can carry four kayaks lying on the side which I like because they stay compact.

It is also made from galvanized steel for long service life and to ensure it does not rust when you take it onto salty water.

Although it comes with an 8-foot tongue, some people find that adding a tongue extension enables it to carry even longer canoes and kayaks.

I must mention the assembly because the instructions are very precise. If you have done any type of assembly you will find this is not very far removed after you read the manual properly. It does involve some wiring.

Pros:

  • Versatile in use carrying most watercraft equipment
  • Durable construction and finish
  • Easy to assemble
  • Pre-galvanized frame which can’t get corroded
  • Five-year warranty

Cons:

  • Positioning the carriers and bars is a bit tricky

Yakima Rack and Roll Trailer

https://www.amazon.com/Yakima-Rack-and-Roll-Trailer/dp/B002787ZA6

This is a straight forward trailer both in assembly and construction. Rolling the kayak on and off is very also easy, eliminating any physical exertion.

It pulls beautifully providing the driver with a smooth experience and remaining secure even in off-road situations. This is because of the motorcycle-style shock absorbers which ensure the wheels have superb cushioning.

It comes fitted with smaller caster wheels which are handy for additional rolling but you can buy a spare wheel separately for your back up.

I appreciate the way the LED lights are well installed and quite visible ensuring it is not a safety hazard to other motorists at night.

It has a weight capacity of 300lbs despite being only 160lbs and the carrying handles can make it into a handheld cart. You can easily collapse it to lay flat and detach components like the wheels and tongue when storing it. This way it takes up little room.

It is wonderful on off-road paths because of its lightweight and stability. If you had to hand pull it to the water, you hardly feel any strain doing it.

Pros:

  • Long lasting LED lights
  • Can take a large weight capacity
  • Very easy to assemble and take apart
  • Very durable (some people have had it for years)

Cons:

  • Yakima provides only one safety chain for towing but some traffic laws require 2 chains.

Ruff Sport Kayak Trailer

https://www.amazon.com/Ruff-Sport-Trailer-Galvanized-finish-bicycle/dp/B01BHB1Z7M?tag=outdoorpro-20

If you like to take your bikes, stand up boards, or surfboards together with your kayaks on vacation this is the best trailer to invest in because it is a universal trailer.

It is without a doubt a utility trailer that is designed to handle different weights with ease all while remaining stable as you drive. It can withstand speeds of up to 45 mph with no shimming or uncontrollable swaying.

It has a galvanized finish to ensure that it does not rust or get corroded even when you take it out on salty water.

The construction is compact which allows it to sit well on its 2 large 12-inch wheels. The wheels have fantastic springs that eliminate any jarring motions as it trails.

For most people who have bought this trailer, they love how it is very adaptable to carrying a myriad of watercraft and other adventure equipment. In order to make it this adaptable, you will notice that it has no kayak carriers or other features like mounting support structures.

Pros:

  • Can carry a variety of equipment for outdoor activities
  • Rust proof because of the galvanized finish
  • Guarantees a smooth, vibration-free trailing experience
  • The frame can fold up and lock

Cons:

  • Assembly can be complicated because some components are not perfect fits so you have to do some manipulation

Malone MicroSport Trailer with 2 Wing Kayak Carriers

https://www.amazon.com/Malone-MicroSport-Trailer-Transport-Carriers/dp/B0029VJDJW

This trailer is built to carry 2 kayaks with a maximum length of 20 feet although the recommended length is 18 feet.

It is heavy enough even when empty to adhere to the road and when loaded up it doesn’t lose its stability.

The construction is solid and sturdy which enables it to take a weight of up to 355 lbs. I must say the construction is key to the way it trails and it moves smoothly and straight.

If you find the tongue to be too long especially when it comes to storing it, just buy the retractable tongue from Malone and it will fit wherever you want it to.

The assembly is easy using the manual provided and it should take you a couple of hours if you are mechanically inclined and maybe a day if you are a novice. The bolts and other components are perfect fits for their slots which is why users find it easy to assemble.

It is lightweight so if you like to kayak solo you are able to hitch it, load it and drive with it without having an extra pair of hands to help or a look out on the road.

The frame is galvanized to prevent corrosion which is a standard for all Malone Kayak trailers and much appreciated by consumers.

Pros:

  • Easy to assemble with clear directions and fitting parts
  • Tows smoothly making it ideal for solo use
  • It can carry really heavy kayaks

Cons:

  • You have to find a separate lock to lock down the spare tire
  • The electrical components can come while exposed so you have to work them back into place

Malone Xtra Light 2 Kayak Trailer

https://www.amazon.com/Malone-XtraLight-Kayak-Package-Carriers/dp/B00NVRG00I

This is arguably the best trailer for recreational kayak owners. It is simple but solid in construction with a padded rack system to hold your fishing or touring kayak.

It is lightweight allowing you to move at speeds of up to 70 mph even when it is loaded up. The V-Racks are made of metal so your kayak is very secure.

If you have very long kayaks you may want to adjust the kayak holders for your peace of mind although they work just fine even when you don’t tweak them. The kayak holders are some of the best tailored holders I have seen on a trailer.

The kayaks rest on bars that are more than 3 feet wide so even wide kayaks will have the needed stability on this trailer.

The frame is galvanized ensuring that you have no issues of rust.

Pros:

  • Simple and robust in construction
  • Can take bulky kayaks securely
  • Has reinforced components on the frame to make it super durable

Cons:

  • The assembly is made difficult because of missteps in the instructions
  • It is not a foldable model

Time to make a decision! Let’s go over it together!

I know it is hard to settle on one kayak trailer when all the options are so great. Allow me to share my thoughts and my recommendation.

The Ruff Sport Galvanized Finish kayak trailer provides users with a great multifaceted usage. It makes sense to buy it if you have several watercrafts and are an adventure lover. It is well constructed and moves exceptionally regardless of what it is carrying.

On the other hand, the Malone range of Kayaks is phenomenal in their specific applications. From their simple Xtra Light trailer to the more elaborate Auto Racks MicroSport trailer, they have taken care of the important aspects including construction, safety, speed and capacity. Moving about with any of them ensures your kayak is secure.

However, out of all these offerings I stand by the Malone Auto Racks MicroSport Kayak Trailer. It is truly an incredible trailer that caters to serious kayakers who want to keep their equipment safe and are not willing to compromise on quality.

It is not only versatile it is also made to last long so you do not have to worry about buying another trailer when you expand your collection of watercrafts. I recommend it for anyone looking for a trailer to use for a long time.

Happy travels with your kayak!


Phil Mansbridge
Phil Mansbridge

Phil is a retired Sport Fisherman from Florida. His passion for the last decade has been kayaking and canoeing. He spends his summers in Canada and most of the winter in California. He loves reviewing equipment for his avid readers and hopes that everyone's time out on the water as enjoyable as possible.