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Last updated: January 29, 2021
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Finding the best kayak trailer is essential if you want to keep your kayaks and canoes safe while you are on the road. You may also want a model that can keep bikes as well as kayaks and canoes, and the right trailer can be your road trip companion. There are lots of different options with different capacities, so discovering which is best can be tricky.
After extensive comparisons, our team found that the Malone Auto Racks MicroSport Trailer Kayak comes out on top. It fits the bill in terms of capacity and ease of use. These are two of the main important features we’ve considered when creating reviews. Others include the max length of the kayaks, dimensions of the trailer and the weight. We’ve also looked at any warranty which is on offer from the manufacturers to back up the quality of trailer they have on offer.
Our team has spent weeks researching these products and considering all of the vital features when coming up with the reviews. Our research is presented very simply, first as an overview table and then with reviews of each of the products, and a full buying guide to help you to work out what you should look for when finding your own ideal kayak trailer. These aren’t exactly everyday purchases so some research will be required to make sure you get something suitable for your vehicle, your kayaks and your own needs.
This is a wonderful solution for the hardcore kayak enthusiast, and allows you to transport four kayaks at once! The Malone Auto Racks MicroSport Trailer Kayak has been named our editor’s choice, and it is very easy to see why when you delve into the features, build quality and the manufacturer’s warranty.
Firstly, this comes with four different kayak carriers, all of which have their own straps and hardware to keep the kayaks or canoes perfectly in place and secure throughout. There are pre-assembled hubs which means that installation is really easy, you don’t have to spend all day making this trailer.
It comes with a galvanized spare tire, so if anything goes wrong when you’re on the road you have a spare to put on. No more worrying about flats when you’re out and about.
The wheels themselves are very well made, and the bearings are made of marine-grade materials. The load bars are similarly well made with 78” coated steel.
The reinforced tongue can hold boats, kayaks, and canoes up to 20’ in length. This is very sizeable and means you can take bigger boats out too.
On top of all this, there is a 5-year warranty. This means you can use this with peace of mind if anything happens in the first five years you should be able to claim on this warranty.
What we liked:
Comes with a five-year warranty.
Holds huge boats, kayaks and canoes up to 20 feet long.
Extremely well made and built to last.
What could be better:
One of the most expensive kayak trailers and may be overkill for small kayaks.
The Malone XtraLight Base Trailer is a wonderful choice for single kayaks, and even if they are relatively large in size, this trailer can cope with the job. The galvanized steel frame is very sturdy and can support up to 14 feet trailers.
The wheels are also galvanized with a great level of quality and durability so you shouldn’t be expecting flat tires all the time. Injection-molded fenders also make this a flexible trailer, it’s not clunky to drive around with and it can cope with even higher speeds than some of the competitors.
LED lighting is a great extra function, and a heavy-duty axle combined with leaf spring suspension make this a suitable option for even bumpy rides.
The D-ring tie-downs make it very easy to attach your kayak and keep it secure.
This trailer is well made in the USA, and like some of the other best trailers for kayaks, it offers a five-year warranty which means you don’t have to worry too much about anything happening to it. For one kayak or canoe you will struggle to find a better option.
What we liked:
Very smooth to drive around with this on your car.
Comes with a five-year warranty and was made in the USA.
Can support kayaks of up to 14 feet and 400lb in weight.
Easy to attach the kayak.
What could be better:
Rear lights could be slightly better quality in an ideal world.
No spare tire included, but can be purchased separately.
We were tempted to nominate this product just because of how brilliantly it is named. The Yakima Rack and Roll Trailer may be a smart pun, but the product lives up to expectations, too.
Yakima manufactures lots of roof rack products, too, and this is totally compatible with these. If you need to kit out a vehicle ready to take on a trip, then it could be that the Yakima range is the best for you and your canoe or kayak needs. It doubles up as a canoe trailer, too.
It has 78-inch crossbars and can fit multiple models of kayak on, as long as you don’t go over the 300 lb capacity.
Locking levers have been designed to stop people from stealing the wheels and tongue, something you may suffer from with other models.
The motorcycle-style shock absorbers are designed to make this a smoother ride, and you don’t have to worry about it slowing you down when you’re on the road.
One of the things we love about the Rack and Roll trailer is the fact that it has a carrying handle. Once you get to your destination, you can just remove it from your vehicle and drag it to where you want to go. It even works over rough terrain.
This trailer from the Malone brand offers a lot of quality without being excessive in terms of weight. It has a huge capacity when you consider the fact that it only weighs about 200lb itself. That means for every 1lb of weight of the actual trailer itself, it can hold 4lb of weight in kayaks or canoes.
What this means is that it can transport four kayaks at once which are up to 20’ long and up to 200lb in weight each. This means you can take a huge capacity out on your trips with you. The Malone MicroSport Sports Trailer is truly a heavy duty model.
The construction is pretty simple too, considering how massive it is. You should be able to put this together in 2-3 hours. Not bad considering how great the product is and how much use you can get out of it.
The 12” galvanized wheels have acorn nuts and are pretty sturdy. Also, the product is maintenance-free, so you shouldn’t need to revisit it to make alterations.
What we liked:
Holds a huge capacity with up to 4 big canoes or kayaks possible.
Doesn’t take too long to assemble, just 2-3 hours.
What could be better:
May be overkill if you don’t need to take out lots of kayaks at once. You could be adding extra bulk without needing it.
Suspension is not as good as some competing models.
A lot of the best kayak trailers on the list are made with hardcore use in mind. Manufacturers often build the biggest and bulkiest product they can and ensure it has a huge capacity. This isn’t the case with the Rambo R187 Canoe/Kayak Trailer which is designed to be nimble, and vitally, affordable. It fits on the back of your bike rather than your car.
Keep in mind when buying this that you will need the R150 luggage rack made by the same brand in order to install it on your bike.
This has some level of adjustability, but generally, it is designed to fit kayaks which are 8-10 feet long.
If you’re using this on a bike, it has a 70lb capacity, but using by hand increases this capacity to 300 lbs.
It includes padded points to stop scratches from occurring on your kayak or canoe. It also has tie-down straps to keep your gear nice and secure.
Obviously, being the best cheap kayak trailer, this does have some level of limitations. It isn’t perfect, and isn’t really something we’d recommend for long trips as it is only good for use with a bike. However, it could be exactly what you’re looking for if you want to transport your canoe by hand or by bike.
What we liked:
Very affordable compared to a lot of the other kayak trailers.
Easy to construct.
Some level of adjustability.
Decent capacity for the size (300lb when used by hand).
What could be better:
Not attachable to cars.
Can’t attach multiple kayaks.
Not as well-built as some competing models due to the cheap price.
The Right-On Trailer Multi-Sport Multi-Rack Kayak Trailer is a great option for taking a couple of kayaks and canoes out on a trip with you, especially if you want to keep them separate. This trailer has two different racks that are attached to one another. This means that you can have one above the other and double your storage space.
This is still a model that has some pros and cons. In spite of the cool tiered design it is far from perfect. One of the things we’ve noticed about the trailer is that the capacity isn’t huge. If you have two kayaks which weigh 160 lb each, you’re not going to be able to use this product.
That said, plenty of kayaks are lightweight enough, and the Right-on trailer has also left room for a lot of other gear.
You can transport your surf boards, bikes, SUPs and more. The crossbars included are 64 inches wide and this means you can support roof rack accessories.
It’s pretty easy to load, and installation isn’t too painful either. Plenty of people are reporting being able to fit a couple of kayaks on with ease and still have room for more equipment.
What we liked:
Two-tiered design is great for including more equipment such as bikes.
Very easy to put together.
What could be better:
Capacity is not as large as we’d expect for the size.
We’ve named the Right-On Ruff-Sport Trailer our best versatile kayak trailer as it seems to have a little something for everyone. It isn’t designed just for use with kayaks and canoes, as you can also use it for boards, boxes, SUPs, bikes, and other watersport equipment.
The trailer has large 12” wheels with plenty of durability, it also has a sturdy frame which includes some springs by way of suspension so that the gear doesn’t take a beating from the road.
A 64 inch crossbar is suitable for use with accessories sold as roof rack accessories made by Yakama or Thule, for example.
LED lights ship with the product so that you can ensure you’re visible on the road.
Of course, it isn’t perfect, otherwise, it would be at the top of our list. It could do with a little bit more in the way of capacity. Also, the product can be tricky to assemble and takes a lot longer than some of the other models on this list. You also need quite a few tools which don’t automatically come with the trailer. If you aren’t the handiest person, this might be a struggle.
What we liked:
Has a great level of versatility, can be used with roof racks and other accessories.
Suspension included to handle the road, as well as LED lights.
Can be used for kayaks which are up to 15 feet in length.
What could be better:
Not a huge capacity.
Could do with being a little easier to install.
Things to Consider
Our buying guide is designed to talk you through all the aspects of buying a kayak trailer. This is not the easiest buying decision to get right. What works for you might not work for others, and vice versa. You need to understand the features, and how kayaks are made, and then match up your needs with these features. For this reason, we’ve created a kayak trailer buying guide to help you with this buying decision. Kayak trailers don’t tend to be the cheapest products. You want to make sure you get the correct decision first time.
Do I need a kayak trailer?
A kayak trailer obviously serves the main purpose of transporting kayaks from one place to another. Most of the options on this list are designed to be sued with a car, though some have the capability to be towed by hand or on the back of a bicycle. Some people use roof racks for this purpose, but a trailer is usually far more efficient and uses less fuel due to the fact that it has wheels and doesn’t add the same mass to the top of the car.
Kayak trailers can also allow you to transport a lot of other equipment. Some of these models have up to 800lb capacity, such as the Malone MicroSport Sports Trailer. This means you can easily add other items such as SUPs and bikes if you attach these correctly.
A kayak trailer isn’t the only option for you to transport your kayak or canoe, but they certainly can be the easiest option.
Features to consider when choosing a kayak or canoe trailer
The following are the features we’ve looked at in most detail when creating our kayak trailer reviews. It is important to understand all of the features so that you will know which are vital for you. You may not need the highest capacity or the longest maximum size. These features are often only vital if you have massive needs in terms of the canoes and kayaks you own and need to transport them over long distances.
The features below should all be considered before you make your purchase.
Maximum weight and kayak capacity
These two features are basically how you can determine whether the trailer is big enough for your needs. If you are a hardcore kayaker and have a huge kayak or canoe you need to fit onto the trailer, make sure you buy something which can fit both the weight and the size of the equipment in question.
Also, you might want to consider any extras you plan to put on the trailer, some have room for you to include a bike or other gear, fishing equipment, for example. This all adds to the weight capacity you will need.
If you’re just taking one canoe or kayak and it doesn’t weigh that much then it will be much easier to find a suitable model. However, if you need a lot of space, think about something like the Malone Auto Racks MicroSport Trailer Kayak which can handle up to 800lb of kayaks and other gear.
If you just need room for one kayak which doesn’t weigh that much, and you plan to take it by hand or on a bike, something like the modest capacity of the Rambo R187 Canoe/Kayak Trailer might be suitable.
Some trailers can take up to four kayaks. Look out for extra features like additional tiers on the rack which can tell you whether or not you can fit multiple kayaks.
Kayak/ canoe length
Naturally, the kayak trailers will only have space for kayaks up to a certain size. Each of the products will list the maximum length of kayak or canoe that can be fit on the trailer. It is a case of working out how long your biggest kayak or canoe is and making sure that the trailer you want to buy has space for it.
As well as looking at the size and weight capacity, you need to look at the actual size and weight of the trailer. When it comes to storage, this will be vital, you need to know you have room to store your trailer when it is not in use. Also, if you are heading to a campsite, you need to know how long the vehicle is when attachments like this are included so that you know the size of pitch you will need.
Some of the trailers are pretty big and bulky in order to be able to keep big and bulky kayaks on them, so make sure you have plenty of room.
How quickly can it go? To be allowed to be used on the road, kayak trailers have a certain level of quality. Something called DOT approval means that the products are road-safe. They should list the top speed they can go on the manufacturer specs for a trailer. Most are now made with the capacity to go very fast, up to 70mph or higher, meaning they may be suitable for freeway use.
The max speed could mean you have to avoid certain roads or be wary of your speed when you have your trailer on your car, so don’t ignore the max speed.
Overall build and construction
There’s no point in buying a kayak trailer if it is flimsy and poorly made. It is important to pay close attention to the build quality and the materials used to make the trailer. For instance, the Malone XtraLight Base Trailer is made from galvanized and coated steels which can add to the durability of the trailer.
You need a product that you know can be useful over long periods of time and that can stand up to the test of being towed along the road for thousands of miles!
Important extras: tires, straps, and brake lights
Some kayaks include extras as the manufacturers try to make their own product stand out against competitors.
Most have brake lights to help you to ensure you are seen at night or when braking on the road. Some have straps to help you to keep the kayaks secure on top of the trailer. Naturally, there will be tires on the product, but some have spare tires so that when you inevitably get a flat, it won’t cause too much of a disruption.
Ease of assembly
These products don’t tend to come to you already assembled. You will have to do some of the construction yourself. For instance, the Malone MicroSport Sports Trailer takes 2-3 hours to build. However, it has a huge capacity and is worth the extra time to make sure you have a durable and sturdy trailer ready for taking on the road.
Check whether you will need any tools to put the product together and whether it is necessary to buy extra tools. Some products will be shipped to you with the tools needed to put the trailer together.
There is a maximum speed on each kayak trailer which will prevent you from going over a certain speed. This doesn’t impact the actual speed limit on the road that you can go when towing your trailer. It is a limit by the manufacturer though not a road limit.
Our number one rated product, and the editor’s choice in this article, is the Malone Auto Racks MicroSport Trailer Kayak. It has a huge capacity of 800lb and can be used to transport up to four kayaks. It is incredibly well made and gets a 9.9/10.
The next product, with a rating of 9.8, is the Malone XtraLight Base Trailer. This product has suspension and flexibility to make it a smooth ride. It is also sturdily made and comes with a fairly respectable 400 lb of capacity, enough for most people’s needs.
At 9.6/10 rating, the Yakima Rack and Roll Trailer is also a good option for those who don’t need more than 300lb storage on their kayak trailer. It is one of the best kayak trailer options for one or two kayaks, and the suspension keeps it smooth on the road. It also has a handle for manually hand-rolling it to your location.