For those who enjoy kayaking, there are two main ways to transport your kayak from point A to point B – either on a roof rack or on a trailer. Both have their pros and cons, so it’s important to choose the option that best suits your needs. Roof racks are generally more affordable and easier to install, but they can be difficult to load and unload by yourself. Kayak trailers, on the other hand, are more expensive but offer the advantage of being able to transport multiple kayaks at once. They are also easier to load, since you can simply back the trailer up to the water’s edge. Ultimately, the best option for you will depend on your budget, your transportation needs, and your personal preferences.
But generally speaking, how do you determine whether to go the rack or trailer route? Here’s an overview:
Kayak Rack Pros
Price: Much less expensive than trailers.
Storage: Easy to store when not in use (all of the garage space!).
Smaller Road Presence: Less considerations for parking and making tight turns because kayaks are stacked on top of vehicle or in the back of a truck.
Kayak Rack Cons
Parking: Clearance issues in covered parking and drive thru’s.
Loading/Securing: It’s important to know the proper techniques for loading kayaks and gear on top of your vehicle (if you’re opting for a roof rack) to avoid injury and/or damage to the vehicle, as well as possible damage to other vehicles and your kayak if your system fails due to improper set-up..
Kayak Trailer Pros
Easy Loading: Trailers sit lower than the top of the roof of a car/truck, so actually getting your kayak on is less of a feat.
Much More Storage Space: You’re able to carry your kayaks, canoes and SUPs, as well as your other fishing and camping equipment.
Higher Weight Capacity: Roof rack capacity is generally in the neighborhood of ~ 150lbs, whereas trailers start around 275 lbs and commonly have capacities in the 1,000 lbs + range.
Kayak Trailer Cons
Additional costs: $$$ for registration.
Feeling of extra baggage: It takes some time to adapt and develop the skill of driving with the trailer, especially when backing up.
Special travel needs: Considerations for length, parking, tolls and storage.
Consider the Yakima Rack and Roll trailer or the Malone MegaSport trailer if you’re looking to carry multiple boats with considerable storage space and wanting an easier set-up than a roof rack.