Kayaking is one of the most enriching sports you can engage with, the freedom of the still open water and the challenge of negotiating tricky currents. Those who practice it say that it’s amongst the best adrenaline rushes that you can get.
However, one thing that you won’t enjoy is transporting your kayak there and back. It can be very tiring dragging your kayak out of your garage and trying to lash it to the roof of your car with a length of rope. You can be completely exhausted even before you hit the water.
This is where kayak trailers come in. Kayak trailers are simply the best way to get your bulky kayak from your home and into the water. You can even have kayak trailers that can be used to stack numerous boats on top of one another.
Luckily, or perhaps unluckily if you are a particularly indecisive person, there are thousands of options of trailers out there. Each one will suit your specific kayaking needs. You can keep them lashed to the trailer in pairs, or even have multiple kayaks stacked on top of one another in a row.
A trailer is also not the only option for shipping your kayak across vast distances when on holiday. You can strap your kayak to the roof rack, which will save you on storage space, although it might require you to do a little heavy lifting.
If you decide to put your kayak inside your vehicle, then you might expect to see some corruption in the condition of the kayak itself. It might get battered about and damaged, especially if it is not secured properly and you are moving over rough terrain.
Also, if you want to store more than a single kayak, then you’ll be struggling to find enough space to store this particularly long and unwieldy boat.
So where can you find the best kayak trailers? Which ones have the best features for your particular shape and design of kayak? Which are the best models for accommodating more than one kayak? How much can you be expected to pay for a decent kayak and how can you save money on your final model?
Well, don’t worry kayakers, because we’ve got some of the best kayak trailers and roof racks currently available on the market. We’ll discuss their good features as well as some of their bad, giving you a wide overview of what they do and whether you should pick one up tomorrow.
We then have some frequently asked questions that should allay some of your kayaking anxieties and help you to decide which trailer or rack will be the most suitable for your needs.
BEST LOW BED
This first trailer is one of the best that we’ve seen on the market, coming in a lightweight design that will allow you to easily unhitch it and maneuver your kayaks into position by hand.
It can be used to carry small kayaks as well as boats and paddleboards that extend up to 12 feet in length - introducing the CE Smith Multi-Sport Trailer.
You have a pole at the front of the trailer which is connected to a hand winch. You can use this to slide your trailer and therefore your kayak into the water without issue.
This also has bunk boards that are made from mold-resistant fabric that you can use to keep your kayak from suffering superficial damage in transit.
This trailer is very easy to assemble, which is one of the many reasons we’ve made it our overall favorite. It comes with safety chains, lights, wiring and brackets all included, with an instruction manual that clearly tells you how to put it together.
- Lights - this makes it ideal if you want to transport your kayaks overnight. They are waterproof, so you won’t have to worry about dipping them into the water.
- The material of the trailer is both very lightweight and sturdy, you can drive it for thousands of miles without having to worry about it denting or succumbing to damage.
- This has a nice soft cushioning on the underneath, which will be great for keeping both your kayaks and your trailer safe from additional damages.
- There are many materials to this trailer, most of which make sure that they are resistant to both intense vibrations as well as rust and corrosions from water, giving you that assurance that your equipment will remain safe on long journeys and in treacherous terrain.
- If you have a single kayak, then you might not be invested in this trailer. It might cost you more than you are willing to spend and be considered overkill.
Next up, we have one of the cheapest kayak racks that you can buy in terms of price, although not cheap in terms of design and build quality.
This has been made by a very reputable company Mrhardware, garnering hundreds of positive reviews on Amazon, which is very important for buying a quality kayak rack - introducing 2 Pairs Heavy Duty Kayak Rack.
This rack is made from lightweight aluminum, which means that you can mount it a lot easier. You can mount it on the top of your car, storing one or two kayaks. This has a ratchet rope that you can use to affix the kayaks tightly to the roof of your car very quickly and very easily.
You can also position this rack so that it can accommodate the size of whatever vessel that you’re taking out on the water. The versatility of this product is one of the best things about it, along with the price.
There are very few moving parts of this model, so you can be more than certain of having plenty of storage space when this isn’t in use.
- The price - this is why we’ve put this as our number one budget option. For under $100, you can get a system that will mount your kayaks quickly and easily on the top of your vehicle.
- Made from sturdy aluminum and rubber material, you can be sure that it will prevent your kayak from deteriorating through high impacts and intense vibrations.
- The rachet ropes will provide you and your kayak with added stability, meaning that they won’t be compromised with holes or fractures when you get it onto the water.
- The weight of this roof rack is one of the lightest on this list, all you have to do is get it firmly attached to the roof of your car. This is far less cumbersome than using a trailer.
- Some users have complained that this roof rack will not fit the crossbars of their car, having to be reshaped with tools and adhesive glue.
BEST LOW BED
When it comes to mounting your kayak low to the roof of your vehicle, then you can’t go wrong with these brackets.
Designed to keep your kayak close to the surface to avoid shuddering or shaking, this rack can carry up to 2 kayaks of varying size and weight - introducing the Yakima J-Style fold Down Rooftop Kayak Carrier.
These are the most lightweight and easily attachable brackets that you can get on the market. When not in use, these brackets can be easily folded away and stored in the back of your trunk.
Not everyone wants to have unsightly roof racks mounted on their car when they aren’t traveling to the lakeside. This also comes with heavy-duty straps and bow/stern tie-downs, giving you that added security when traveling across the country.
You want to protect your car, your rack and your kayak from damage due to vibrations and, god forbid, prevent it from falling from the car as you are driving.
- The price - these are some of the cheapest racks that you can get. There isn’t much to them, they are very easy to install and are perfect for first-time kayakers.
- The installation - these brackets can be easily attached to the crossbars on your roof, meaning that you can have your kayaks installed and ready to travel within a few hours.
- The material composition of these is very lightweight, so if you are traveling with a lot of gear in your pack, then a rack is a good way of lightening the load.
- This roof rack is very durable and resilient to rusting and other corrosive elements from prolonged exposure to the rain.
- Some users have complained that this rack does fold down correctly when holding your kayaks, result in destabilization that might actually cause it to drop from the housing on your roof and onto the roof.
Again we head back to our initial overall best trailer, as this is also the best model that we have for a multi-sport trailer.
That’s right, you can use this trailer for a number of different water sports activities, from paddleboarding to wakeboarding and surfboarding. This trailer is durable, lightweight and easily portable - introducing the CE Smith Multi-Sport Trailer.
As we have mentioned before, this trailer has a very durable design that you can use to accommodate many different types of water-based board. This will be very important if you have a family or group of friends that like to explore many different activities when on the beach.
This trailer comes with some very durable attachments that will keep your boards hooked to the back of your vehicle securely.
This will be very important for long-haul trips where you might be going off-road, where the tarmac will be sparse and the ground might succumb to vibrations that could loosen and damage your kayak and your trailer.
- You can use this trailer to attach multiple boards, including surfboard and paddleboards. You can hook these up to your kayak neatly and efficiently beside each other.
- The bottom cushioning of this board will absorb the shocks of the ground, meaning that it won’t negatively affect the constitution of your kayak.
- This trailer is made from a sturdy aluminum frame that will be able to take the repetitive knocks and bumps from a long-distance journey. It is also highly resistant to rusting when exposed to intense water elements.
- This can be stored very firmly to the back of your car using chain links. This will ensure that it will not be dislodged.
- If you are a casual kayaker or surfboarder, you might find that this unit is a little surplus to requirements.
BEST TRAILER TOP
Our next kayak rack is another that you can easily affix to the top of your vehicle using a few simple brackets.
This kayak comes with both steel framing that will be able to withstand the repeated shocks of the floor, as well as padding that will ensure that your kayak is not too traumatized from long journeys over uneven ground - introducing the AA-Racks 2 Pair J-Bar Rack For Kayak.
This roof rack has a wider J-bar that will make mounting and dismounting a lot easier. It will mean less back-breaking lifting and positioning, simply allowing you to slide it into the compartment with ease. This will be very important for senior kayakers who might find it difficult to reach the upper echelons.
This roof rack comes with bungee cords that will allow you to secure the nose of your vessel to the nose of your car, giving you that extra security when it comes to tough off-road trail driving.
The ratchet straps that are included will also allow you to fasten the central section of your boat to the roof.
- The portability - you can quite easily remove the brackets and clasps of this boat and transport them from one vehicle roof to another, giving you plenty of versatility when it comes to vehicles.
- The steel and padded composition - you can be certain that you and your kayak will be secured extra tightly to the roof of your car. It won’t succumb to harmful vibrations.
- This car comes with a carriage bolt that you can use to affix the kayak firmly to the main body of your vehicle.
- This roof rack is very versatile - with only a few attachable pieces, you can mount any size of the kayak to any style of vehicle. This means that you won’t have to rely on just one car or truck to take you and your boats to the beach.
- Some users have complained that the product description of this roof rack is slightly misleading, suggesting there are 2 pairs of racks rather than 1 rack for a single kayak.
This next style of rack means that you can pile the kayaks on top of each other, making it the perfect unit for a family of kayakers who will need to transport 3 or 4 boats.
You can also carry multiple bikes, paddleboards and surfboards, making this the perfect trailer for multi-sport use - introducing the Ironton Personal Watercraft And Boat Trailer Kit.
This trailer has a simple square design, with a second-tier that you can use for stacking another two sets of kayaks on the top. You can easily mount this second-tier, giving you the ability to alternate between 2 and 4 kayaks.
However, the versatility of this trailer is probably the most appealing thing about it. You can use it to carry bikes and surfboards, making it the perfect outdoor carrier for forest, beach and mountain activities.
You can even carry a few bikes and boats if you plan on a camping adventure, mountain biking one day and surfing the next.
- The two-tiered system - this vertical style of storage will mean that you can carry more equipment and take up less room.
- The steel connection for this trailer is very secure, meaning that you won’t have to worry about additional weights increasing the overall strain on your unit.
- You can also attach a cargo box to this trailer, perfect if you plan on taking that fishing trip with you and your family.
- The crossbars are very durable, giving you the option of carrying any number of sports vessels, whether it be bikes, surfboards or kayaks.
- Some users have complained that this product is defective and not as long-lasting as the manufacturer has described.
BEST EXTRA-WIDE SIDE-BY-SIDE
When we were searching for a roof-mounted rack for kayaks, we could not ignore the sheer versatility of this model.
With an adjustable clamp that you can use to affix your mounts to a variety of different rooftop crossbars, you won’t have to worry about having the right vehicle for your next kayak trip - introducing the Malone Foldaway-5 Multi-Rack Folding 1 or 2 Kayak.
These support pads have plenty of cushioning that provides ample protection for your hull. When you are out on the road you might experience rapid vibrations over a long period of time and having sufficient padding will be a great way of keeping everything intact.
But the most appealing feature of this device is the ability to mount your kayaks side-by-side, maximizing your storage space and allowing you extra room for other items such as a cargo bin or a fishing tackle box.
Condensed gear is very important for saving space, so you need something that uses it efficiently.
- These brackets can be easily collapsed and stored for future use, meaning that they won’t take up too much space in your garage when not in use.
- With an overall weight of 4.5-pounds, you won’t have to worry about it contributing to the weight of your gear bag. Sometimes the last thing you want after a hard day’s surfing is to expend more energy mounting your kayak.
- These brackets come with a useful slide-in system and plenty of straps that you can use to anchor the kayak to the surface of your car.
- The padded elements of this roof rack will mean that your kayak will fit snugly onto your roof mount, protecting the delicate hull from the sharp jolts that can lead to cracks and splits.
- For the simple features that it provides, some users might find this a bit basic for the price.
BEST MULTI KAYAK TRAILER
Our final trailer is one that you can use for multiple vessels for multiple sports, with a vertical mounting unit and a protective powder coating.
This unit is probably the most resilient of all the options that we’ve got on our list, with a steel frame that can withstand rainy conditions - introducing the Multi-Sport Multi-rack Kayak Trailer.
Not only can you use this to carry your 2 kayaks, one on top of the other, but you can also mount your bikes on the side.
So if you are a family that enjoys a challenging outdoor holiday with many different activities to choose from, then we would recommend bringing along this trailer to make life a little easier.
This is lightweight and you can quickly and easily hook it up to your car or trunk in no time at all. It comes with a durable coupling that will stay attached even when you load it to its maximum weight capacity.
It comes with a support strut in the nose that you can use to prop it up when it’s not attached to the car.
- The sturdy V-shaped construction that runs on two wheels is very ergonomic, giving you everything that you need to have a very sturdy transport.
- The coated paint job is designed to allow the water to just run off the side, preventing water damage that can result from days of driving in less than pleasant weather.
- You can hook up kayaks and bicycles to this frame without having to worry about it buckling when you’re out on the open road.
- The vertical design on the frame will save you a lot of space and weight in your overall gear, especially handy if you tend to travel with lots of stuff.
- If you are a solo kayaker, you might not need this much trailer support.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is The Best Kayak Trailer?
The best kayak trailer that we have listed here is the CE Smith Multi-Sport Trailer, not only for its durability but for the fact that you can attach more than one kayak to it at any one time.
How Much Does A Kayak Trailer Cost?
A decent kayak trailer with a solid metal frame usually costs anywhere between $100 and $500, depending on the materials and how many kayaks it is able to store.
How Do You Transport A Kayak On A Trailer?
All you have to do is mount the kayak in the safety bars, using ratchet ropes to secure the middle and optional bungee cords to secure the nose to the hood of your vehicle.
How Do You Transport A Kayak By Yourself?
You can always carry a kayak, depending on how heavy it is. However, for long-distance journeys, we would always recommend that you use a trailer to haul it behind your vehicle.
Should A Kayak Be Transported Upside Down?
You shouldn’t transport a kayak upside down, simply because the hollow inside is more likely to dent or split.
You’ll want to distribute the pressure evenly across the hull to avoid splitting and breakages.
Can One Person Lift A Kayak?
One person can lift a kayak if it is small enough, although it can often be quite heavy.