Experience with kayak/canoe trailers

Because of a shoulder problem I find it difficult to load my 12 ft Pungo and Old Town Pack canoe on top of my Ford Freestyle crossover. So I’m thinking about buying a kayak/canoe trailer. Trouble is I have no idea how advisable that might be. Also I have no idea about brands, though I would like to keep the cost below a thousand bucks. How about some advice from experienced users.

Love my trailer
I don’t like having to stretch putting my canoes on top of my car, so I really like my trailer. My husband made it from a trailer made to carry a 16’ power boat. We had our welder BIL put the bars on, and then DH made the box (4x8’ inside dimension). We got a local awning shop made the tarp. I know I get better gas mileage carrying boats on my trailer than on top of the car.

We had a popup camper for quite a few years before the canoe trailer so I was comfortable hauling and backing a trailer. It just take a little practice if you’re not familiar with it.

Here’s a link to some pictures:




Do-it-yourself boat trailers

– Last Updated: Jul-19-07 10:50 PM EST –

All of the "true" kayak/canoe trailers (like they advertise in the paddling magazines) I've seen are pretty expensive...usually $1500 on up to $2000+. Also, they are good for hauling a few boats and not much else. Your best bet would probably be to buy a small utility trailer and customize it your own personal needs. Utility trailer kits can be purchased for as little as $300 or $400 and some retailers like Lowe's or Home Depot sell 4x6 or 5x8 assembled trailers for between $500 and $1000. The good thing about these is they can used to haul not just your boats but a lawnmower, bikes, lumber, garden supplies...you name it. Here's a good example of a multi-tasking utility trailer:


The above pics belong to Redmond, a regular contributor here.

CanoePam used an old galvanized boat trailer such as you would have with a heavier fishing boat. Academy Sports (or your local super sporting goods retailer) sells a similar trailer for about $500. It's made to be used with a small john boat but could easily be converted like CanoePam's. The good thing about that is it already has a longer tongue, a desirable feature depending on the length of the boats you'll be hauling.

Pimp - July 2007

Another benefit
of trailers is that if you’re wondering how the boat is riding, just look out your rear view mirror!

Love my trailer…
I started with a rack and loadbars and progressed to a Hullavator and my husband convinced me to try a trailer for my kayaks. He was right. We had ours custom built by Barry’s Trailers in Sarasota FL. It is galvanized, has 12 inch wheels and holds up to 8 kayaks. It is light enough that I can push it if I don’t want to back it up in a tight area. The boats ride safely. Most important is the ease of lifting the kayaks or our canoe and strapping them down. I can pick up friends and throw their boats on and since I am driving an Odessy, I can take a number of people and gear. I would not go back to anything else now…another big plus is not having to listen to the vibrations of the racks etc when driving down the road. Oh, and the cost was $852 and that included the tax. I have pictures if anyone is interested.

i think that that is the same one i have, with a slighlty different set up. i’ve got mine set up to carry five to six boats ( i can’t fit more people than that in my car anyway. When i first got it i hadn’t thought about hauling anything other than boats, but i’ve since hauled couches and the like

Freestyle Transmission
Student of mine was looking into new cars and was considering a Freestyle. Check with Ford to make sure that you can tow with it. If it is the AWD version there might be restrictions with the transmission. Check first.

If it’s ok then look into a Trailex SUT 200. All extruded aircraft alum. that doesn’t rust and doesn’t need paint. Comes to you by UPS with all the T-Bolts already in place and ready to put together. Takes about an hour’s time. $800 + UPS shipping.

Had great success with these for folks and my larger UT-8 (16 kayaks) is fantastic.

See you on the water,



Hyde Park, NY

See you

Also heard warnings about CVT trannies
Continously variable transmissions. Ask your car manufacturer, not just the dealership, where you might get a know-nothing who tells you the wrong thing.

I use a modified snowmobile trailer. It cost about $1000 back in late 2000. Overkill for just kayaks but wonderful for carting things like chainlink dog fence panels and other bulky, heavy stuff.


– Last Updated: Jul-23-07 1:32 PM EST –

I have a Trailex SUT-200 that I got to haul my 13' Sportspal sq. stern aluminum fishing canoe. I'm in my mid-50's, and had tweaked my back, and needed a break from cartopping and handling the Sportspal down to the water.
Great little trailer, very light, about 90 pounds with a 200lb capacity.
If you get one and want Bearing Buddies, order it with the bearing buddies installed, as the recommended size standard issue BB's need some machining to get them to fit.
Also, you would want to pad the "bunks" that the canoe rests on if your canoe is aluminum and you drive over rough roads. After about 3 1/2 years of hauling my Sportspal over rough logging roads, the unpadded bunks and road jostling/vibration actually caused enough metal fatigue (in the areas where the bunks contacted the hull) that a 3-inch tear happened in one of the contact points on the way to the river. When I launched my Sportspal and it started immediately filling up with water, I knew something was seriously wrong, as I had been fishing out of it the day before and it wasn't leaking.
I fixed the canoe and padded the bunks with several layers of 5mm neoprene from an old wetsuit, and so far have had no more metal fatigue problems.
I can also re-configure the trailer to haul my 9'6" Don Hill mini-drifter (small driftboat or "whitewater pram"), although it is not ideal for that boat.

Barry’s Trailers
Very interested in your pic’s