In this post, I’ll talk about How to choose a kayak trailer with a checklist, and why always choose an aluminum kayak trailer. At the end of the post, I list my top 3 recommendations of the trailers.
When I had to choose my very first trailer. I was nervous about how much the trailers would cost. I also didn’t want to make any mistakes that would cost me extra. But guess what? I totally bought the wrong type of trailer for what I needed. Why? As usual, I didn’t inform myself well enough. During the process, I learned a lot. So, in this post, I want to share the things. I don’t want that to happen to you.
How to choose a kayak trailer
There are a lot of things you need to take into consideration when choosing a kayak trailer, so I have written a checklist of what to watch for you.
How many kayaks will you carry? Most of us won’t need to carry more than 4 kayaks on a trailer. Trailers for 10+ kayaks are built, but you won’t find many online. When you need this large trailer I suggest visiting a local trailer shop.
For the rest of us, we probably only need to carry up to 4 kayaks on a trailer for our family or maybe just you and your friends. Almost all kayaking trailers fit 2 and most can even fit up to 4 kayaks on their trailer.
I suggest buying a trailer fitted with 60” crossbars to ensure that you can carry up to 4 kayaks if needed.
Well, I like to think all our kayaks are unique! That means that we all have different lengths and widths in our kayaks. So be sure to check the length of your preferred trailer since it will save you a lot of trouble later on.
Most trailers will be long enough to carry both single and tandem kayaks, so a sea kayak should also fit the trailer. However, there are some exceptions. When you are unsure whether your kayak will fit the trailer, just contact the manufacturer to be sure that your kayak fits.
To be safe you best buy a trailer that is about 160” long. That way you will be sure your trailer will fit most kayaks.
When buying a trailer, you will see some of them come fitted with a crossbar. Be sure to check the weight your crossbar can carry. If the crossbar doesn’t support enough weight you will end up being unable to carry out all the kayaks you want.
We suggest not buying a trailer that goes under the 275lbs mark. You could buy a lighter one if you are sure that it will be able to carry all the kayaks you have or want to carry at once!
When buying my own trailer, I forgot to look at everything but the wheel size. I had to drive quite a bit off road to get to my favorite spot. When buying a trailer, bigger wheels mean more driving comfort.
When you are planning on driving only short distances the size of the wheels won’t matter that much! When driving long distances, too small wheels will mean more maintenance as they will wear out much faster than bigger sized wheels.
When you need to drive off road a lot be sure to buy bigger sized wheels to be higher off the ground and ensure that you won’t bounce the trailer too much.
For myself I have never bought any kind of trailer with wheels under 12”. If you live in the city and mainly drive asphalt at lower speeds 10” is the lowest I would go. If you really want to save on the budget 8” really is the bare minimum on the Xtralight Base Trailer at Malone’s.
When buying your trailer online you will need to keep in mind that you will need to assemble it. When you have nearly no technical knowledge I suggest buying your trailer at a local dealership.
But maybe you know how to assemble furniture or other assemblies, then you might be willing to try assembling your new trailer. With the easily readable construction, manual people with some technological knowledge should be able to assemble the trailer.
Most of the company will provide an install instruction like this.
Always go Aluminum
I’m not kidding when I say: ‘Always go Aluminum!’. When buying a trailer that will be in touch with water, especially salt water, don’t buy a steel trailer! The steel trailer will wear incredibly fast.
Not all trailers are full aluminum, but you can easily find a trailer that has a lot of aluminum. Galvanized steel, when left unscratched will last long as well.
We suggest buying a trailer that has a Galvanized steel bed, this way it can carry more weight than Aluminum. Be sure though, that all parts that touch your kayak are made of aluminum. This way your trailer and kayak will be best preserved for a long life.
What brand should I buy?
As a brand, I always suggest Malone’s trailers. They are decently built, easy to assemble and durable in use!
Not only do they sell great trailers, but the accessories used by Malone’s are also simply the best in their kind. Using Malone’s as a brand makes it easy to transport your kayaks and makes kayaking so much more enjoyable.
Malone Auto Racks Xtralight Base
The first trailer I chose is the Malone Auto Racks Xtralight Base (Check to see the current price) The reason this one has made it to my list is because it has the bare essential of a kayaking trailer. If you buy this trailer you could easily transport 2 kayaks on it and you could add some of Malone Auto Racks Accessories to it to get it to transport 4 kayaks if needed.
One of the reviews on Amazon reads: “If it fits on a roof rack it fits on this trailer!” A trailer is much more comfortable than a roof rack so switch it up I would say.
Outside of its handy use this trailer is good for the budget and will last you many miles and a lot of kayaking fun!
- Width – 58″
- Length – 134″
- Weight – 164 lb.
- Capacity – 275 lb. / 14′ canoe or kayak
- Frame – Marine grade galvanized steel
Check out the video for the great review.
Malone MicroSport XT Kayak
As a second suggestion, I would suggest using Malone MicroSport XT Kayak (Check to see the current price) This trailer contains a lot more Aluminum as any of the other Malone trailers, that makes it much more durable.
You can equip a lot of accessories to it, making it the trailer of your dreams! For people that have little space at home, the trailer’s tongue is retractable which makes it easy to store. You can even mount rubber feet to its rear end and store vertically as a space-saving option.
The trailer has 12-inch wheels and that makes it comfortable to drive and less bouncy. The tires will wear less fast and that way you will be able to save up fast for some extra equipment for this lovely trailer.
- Load Capacity: 355 lb / 20′ canoe or kayak
- Dimensions: 159″ (length) x 65″ (width)
- Weight: 195 lb
- Frame: Marine grade galvanized steel
- Hitch: 2″ Class II receiver
Malone MicroSport Trailer with 2 Kayak
The last suggestion and my preference is the Malone MicroSport Trailer with 2 Kayak (Check to see the current price) This is a great trailer that comes with an accessories pack to carry 2 kayaks. You could also equip it with Malone’s J-pro2 carries and carry 4 kayaks.
The aluminum crossbars make it safe and durable to use. The Larger tires make it comfortable to drive. The trailer is easy to assemble with the clear instruction.
For me having the spare tire was a strong pro since being stranded with a flat is not one of my wishes. Sadly, the spare tires didn’t have an aluminum rim. That didn’t matter much since I wasn’t planning on really using it anyway.
For me, this trailer was the best choice as it is sturdy, durable and ready to use for 2 kayaks after an easy assembly.
- Trailer Load Capacity: 355 lb / 20′ canoe or kayak
- Trailer Dimensions: 159″ (length) x 65″ (width)
- Total Weight: 240 lb
- Trailer Frame: Marine grade galvanized steel
- Hitch: 2″ Class II receiver
If you’re in a tighter budget(probably don’t buy a trailer right now), you can also consider Ruff-Sport Trailer. I don’t know much about it, but I have one friend use it for a long period. I saw him once carrying up two kayaks and two bicycles at a time, side by side, while still being easy to tow. So, it might also be a good option for you.
When you just start kayaking, buying a kayak trailer that is probably more expensive than your boat is not a wise choice. But when you actually go kayaking on the regular weekly basis, you would know that invest in a nice kayak trailer is totally worth it. It can save you so many time and keep you away from all the transportation troubles.
Hope you find this post helpful. If you find anything wrong or outdated, please leave your comment below. I will update it as soon as possible.
Thanks for reading, Happy Kayaking.