How to Choose the Best One?
Getting your kayak into the water may seem simple enough, but have you considered how to transport your boat? Kayaks are often large and heavy, meaning that many cars and vehicles aren’t readily equipped to handle them. Some enthusiasts may use roof racks or similar fittings to move their kayaks around, but a trailer may be the most efficient option on the market.
Kayak trailers are fantastic assets for regular paddlers. They help to take the strain away from carrying boats around and put less pressure on your vehicle. They can, however, be a somewhat expensive investment. You may expect to pay over $1000 for a solid trailer, and we’d hardly recommend you pay for nothing but a reputable model from a great brand.
All things considered, whether you’re just getting started with kayaks or if you’ve been paddling for a few years now, you may not yet have taken up a kayak trailer before. You might not have thought about the benefits, the costs, or how to pick the right model. Don’t worry! Our guide will help you understand the trailer market a little better, and what you should be looking for with regard to your money.
Are Kayak Trailers Worth the Money?
While a good kayak trailer may demand several hundred dollars, it is worth considering whether or not you need one. Kayak trailers are solid investments if any of the following apply to you:
- You need to transport your kayak(s) across a long distance
- Your car or vehicle isn’t big enough to hold your kayak(s)
- You are finding loading and unloading difficult
- You are only able to use your kayaks some distance away
- You have considered ways to transport your kayaks but are unsure about long-term costs
Many budding and expert kayakers live nowhere near the water! Therefore, there’s always been a broad market for trailers. Transporting your boats isn’t just about making sure you have the right amount of strength and power. It’s about making sure that your kayaks are kept completely safe and secure during transit.
Loading and unloading kayaks can be tedious and awkward if you don’t have the right tools or even the manpower to hand. Trailers can, therefore, make a world of difference. In theory, all you will ever need to do is clip one to the back of your vehicle for safe passage.
However, there is a little more involved in the shopping experience than you may already know about. How do you know which trailer is going to be the best fit for your car? How do you know which will carry your kayak(s) safely enough? Which models are right for your needs? While we will take a closer look at some of the best brands and models in a separate guide, our aim here is to make sure you know exactly what to look for while trailer-hunting.
Things to Consider
Before you go ahead and buy a kayak trailer, there are a handful of questions you should ask. It’s also worth asking these questions of yourself, or even a salesperson while browsing.
- How often do you intend to transport your kayaks?
- How many kayaks will you need to transport?
- Do you need additional storage for accessories and other equipment?
- Do you already have the tools and fittings to install a trailer?
- What is your overall budget for a trailer?
Some of these points may seem obvious to an experienced paddler, but do bear in mind that a kayak trailer is a hefty investment for anyone on a living wage! Bearing the above points in mind, let’s take a look at some other things you should be wary of while trailer shopping.
Do You Need One?
If you are using an inflatable kayak or folding kayak the simple answer is no!
This applies to anything you shop for, of course – the difference between ‘need’ and ‘want’! The right kayak trailer for you should automatically offer you functionality which will make your life easier. If you can already easily install, attach or carry kayaks via your car or van, there may not be much need for you to splash out. It’s also worth considering the bodies of water near to you. Can you save yourself money and easily transport your boats to a nearer lake or coastline?
Kayak trailers are marketed towards kayakers who paddle regularly, and who are likely to go exploring new bodies of water. If this fits your particular profile, it is worth looking at trailers which are applicable to your vehicle. We’ll cover this aspect of trailer shopping a little further down.
Consider Your Party
Kayaking can be a solo pursuit, but it’s also a lot of fun with family and friends. As such, if you can’t safely or securely carry your kayak(s) in your vehicle once your party is seated and comfortable, a trailer is going to be a fairly wise investment to make.
You should also consider how often you kayak as a team or with others. Are you physically able to carry multiple kayaks and accessories in or on your vehicle without a trailer as standard? Will you be likely to take multiple boats out across long distances on a regular basis?
If you are a kayaker who prefers paddling in company, and you tend to be the designated driver, you’re going to need to look for a sturdy kayak trailer which will accommodate multiple boats at any one time.
Single Kayak Trailers
If you’re likely only to be taking one boat and/or set of kayaking accessories with you, it’s only ever worth investing in a single trailer model. Single kayak trailers are generally very lightweight and are rubberized to allow for safe passage on the road.
Multiple Kayak Trailers
As discussed above, if you regularly take a party of paddlers to bodies of water, a more expansive and capable trailer is recommended. You can buy trailers which can even hold four kayaks or more, especially recommended for large teams. Regardless of distance traveled, multiple kayak trailers are a must for regular group paddles.
The Distance You’ll Travel
Sticking with the idea of distance traveled, as mentioned, trailers make cross-country trips a breeze. However, if you only live a short distance away from a body of water, or if you only intend to kayak occasionally, a more lightweight option may be worth considering. If this is the case, you may already have considered whether or not your vehicle can manage without!
If you’re unsure, there are more lightweight and affordable trailers built for short distance transportation. Sometimes referred to as ‘mini’ kayak trailers, these sturdy models are best for occasional use. They won’t weather extensive travel or long distance trips, however. While you may wish to save money, never sacrifice the quality and functionality you require.
Your Home Setup
While shopping for a kayak trailer, you should also consider your home storage. Trailers can be bulky and heavy duty, meaning that you’ll need a certain amount of space to be able to store one in your garage safely, outbuilding or otherwise. With this in mind, free up some space at home or in the garage and take measurements.
When purchasing online or in-store with a specialist, take this data with you. The last thing you are going to want to do is pay more than $1000 for equipment you can’t store! Some simpler trailers are more compact, though there is the argument that the bigger the trailer, the more reliable it can be. This will vary from model to model, of course – it’s worth reading consumer and expert reviews.
Where’s the Hitch?
Before you even start considering hiring or buying a trailer, your vehicle is going to need a hitch. This is something which can be fitted to most vehicles, though you will find it already comes standard with vans, off-road vehicles and more besides. In any case, if you don’t have a hitch installed, you will need to have one retrofitted where possible.
This can mean additional costs for you in preparation for a kayak trailer. A hitch installation is something which can come in handy for a variety of purposes, however, so consider this carefully. It is not a poor investment at all if you regularly carry multiple kayaks across long distances.
You will also need to make sure that a trailer you are considering buying is applicable to your make and model of car. That’s in addition to a hitch! Some won’t offer ease of use with smaller cars, while others are more lightweight. For example – a kayak trailer designed to hitch up to a Land Rover Defender will not fit your average run-around!
Choosing the perfect kayak trailer for your needs is more straightforward than it may seem. You merely need to know what to look for, how much to budget, and whether or not such an investment is worthwhile in the long run. For regular paddlers and paddling teams, trailers can make all the difference in convenience. We hope this buying guide has been informative!