If you bought a trailer, are you happy w decision or not so much?

I’m considering getting a trailer. I currently have a 2004 Tacoma pickup for which I can no longer get an extension bar or pneumatic rack system so I have kind of a DIY setup but I’d prefer something that makes it a little more effortless to load and unload. I’d like to keep the truck for 2 or 3 more years and have considered a trailer. Maybe one of the foldup ones since I don’t have a great place to keep it. An added benefit might be that I’d learn to drive and backup with a trailer as I hope in a few years to get some sort of trailerable RV (an Aliner if that means anything to you). So anyway, just wondering if you were happy with going that route, for those who did.


Absolutely. I converted a sailboat trailer several years back and wish I would have done it a loooong time ago. If we take more than one boat we almost always take the trailer. Loading boats at waist height is mucho easier. I’ve put several thousand miles on mine without a hiccup.


I’ve been tempted to convert a jet ski trailer.
It would be a great way to learn to back up an RV BTW

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A kayak trailer would be a great one to start/learn with. It’s long enough that you can see the end of the kayak to make adjustments when backing up, and light enough that you can take it off the car and move it around by hand if needed.

I used J-cradles on the bottom of mine so there would be room for a large storage box (though I attached the top/rear of them to the trailer uprights for more rigidity and strength, as I’m not a fan of J-Cradles normally). We rarely use the top rack these days but there is room for 3 boats if you were so inclined. I chose Yakima bars for modularity.


Absolutely I am happy with my trailer. I have a Triton. Easy on and easy off. It is not hard to learn to back up a trailer. Just practice.
I do car top sometimes if it is just me paddling but it is almost always the trailer


I have had utility trailers and campers over the years and know how to back up a trailer pretty well. And loading the kayak and canoe to a trailer at home would be really nice. Along with the storage problem there is the cost for plates and such depending on where you live. The hardest thing to back up is a trailer with a short distance between the hitch and axle and a long wheel base tow vehicle and a low load that is hard to see behind you. Sometimes a couple flags or something at the very back are helpful. My problem is where we launch and take out locations. If you launch at a place with a ramp and trailer pull thru parking lot then a trailer is ideal. We take out on a dead end road where there used to be a bridge and cars cram in there barely leaving wiggle room. I could see getting there early and leaving the trailer and then not being able to get out until half the cars were gone.

Think thru all the places you will go. In my case about half the time a trailer would work great and half would be much harder.

One nice thing about a trailer is if you are planning to go again in a couple days you can leave the boats loaded and just drop the trailer off and have your vehicle free to use. I end up taking them off the roof unless I know we are going again the next day.


Depending where you launch there might be a required permit or fee based on the trailer but, not if cartopped and hand carried.

The canoe trailer is easier to load than the truck rack. The only thing is the upper rack on the trailer hurts my head when I walk into it.

I’m thinking about trailers because I’m shopping for a big family canoe that seats 3-4. But we also like bringing bikes on some of our trips. Right now, we put our bikes on a Lolo hitch rack and throw our big Neris hybrid kayak in the back of the minivan. If we buy the big canoe instead, are there modular trailers that can take an 18-20 foot canoe plus 4 bikes?

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I bought a Malone trailer a few years ago. It’s great. Especially in places like the Carolinas where the Wildlife Ramps have trailer only parking. Much easier to load and unload, and light enough to disconnect and wheel around by hand. The tires are rated to 75 mph if I remember correctly. It’s easy to back up. Definitely no regrets. It’s nice to have. I’ve now ended up with a Yakima trailer too. It has shock absorbers where the Malone has leaf springs. The leaf springs are a little stiffer riding than the shocks on the Yakima. With the heavier tandems the shock absorbers on the Yakima seem a little too soft, even with their stronger shock absorbers. They’re probably fine. But I seem to have gravitated towards using the Malone MicroSport trailer more regularly. But they’re both really quite nice to use and I’d be quite happy with either.
SC offers a permanent trailer plate that works for these, so I don’t even have to deal with annual or bi-annual registrations.

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In Maryland every county but one allows vehicles with cartop boats to launch and park for free at their public ramps. The exception is Queen Anne’s where all vehicles, boat or no, requires a day or annual permit. All other counties require their own rather expensive annual permit for trailers.

I have used a Magneta canoe trailer for the last 25 years. I just sold it. Putting racks on modern cars is very expensive. I feel naked. How am I supposed to go buy the next canoe?

I was actually considering going the other way and getting a roof rack rather than using a trailer.

If you know that the roads and car park that you’ll be using are suitable for a towing vehicle then towing the trailer is fine, it’s when you start using narrow lanes where when you meet a car coming the other way one of you needs to reverse or pull into a space that’s only long enough for a car, come to a dead end and have to unhitch if there’s no turning room, or have to park somewhere where the spaces aren’t long enough or designed for such a long vehicle that you start running into problems.

The nice thing about a trailer though is it’s easy to load the kayak onto it and you can keep an eye on it in your rear view mirror.


A kayak trailer is very light. If you are in a tight spot you can easily disconnect it and move it by hand. Better fuel mileage, visible while driving, easy to check the tie downs, and you can back it right to the water.


To be fair, mine isn’t a kayak specific trailer (it’s a camping trailer with roof bars) so isn’t as easy to unhitch and manoeuvre as a kayak specific one would be. Plus, I imagine the roads in the US are better designed for larger vehicles than they are in the UK where I live.

I have a trailer and am very happy to have it. But to me, the trailer has to be able to do duty as a utility trailer too. It’s not worth the expense or storage space if it can only haul kayaks. Mine can be a flatbed for hauling big items (shrubs, lumber, etc.), and there are removable sides, front and top to make it an 18 inch high enclosed trailer. And cross bars can be mounted on either configuration to haul kayaks on top. Mine has fairly soft single-leaf springs with a total capacity of 500 lbs or so. That’s light enough to not be too rough on the kayak(s), but also a decent weight capacity for hauling other things.


I am very happy with my trailer purchase because even the slightest dent on my roof is $1200 to fix. Getting the heavy kayaks in and out of the water is so much easier.

I picked a 4 position over a 2 position so I could take friends along. When I purchased it in 2019 the price differential was less than 300.

You may have to use special care when securing the kayak to the trailer. I have a load rite k1000 and the thing will resonate just like a plucked guitar string when going over bumps and construction zones on the highway. I noticed that one of my old expedition lay up kayaks was developing stress cracks at the tie down strap contact area.

Now i put pipe insulation over the thule straps and i do not tension them as taut as i used to do.

A galvanized trailer will look nicer for a much longer period of time than a painted trailer.

I purchased a spare tire and tire mount on the trailer. I use a hitch lock and put conical security volts on the coupler.

But having a trailer can prevent you from going some places due to marginal parking space. So i keep a hullavator on the roof of the vehicle rather than another kind of rack system.

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I do wonder if using a trailer puts more stress on the kayak as the suspension probably doesn’t absorb as much of the impact from potholes/bumps in the road as a car suspension would. My fibreglass Kayak did develop cracks after being towed on my trailer which I put down to doing the straps up too tight but I have a feeling the impact of the road bumps and vibration from being towed on my trailer may have had something to do with it.

I have since bought some protector pads for the roof bars to help cushion the impact.

Perhaps adding weight to the trailer would help if the suspension is too stiff. This may be a case where buying a trailer with more weight capacity than you need isn’t good.

The horizontal arms of the trailer vibrate like a tuning fork. The trick is to not fasten the kayak down so tight that this energy flows through the fiberglass body of the kayak. Some cheap pipe insulation. ( 3.11 per 6 feet) with the thule straps inside work well.

This tuning fork phenomena is because the kt-1000-4 is a big A frame and can flex significantly.

Adding weight may help. I thought of attaching cable from the outside tip of the front horizontal bar to the outside tip of the rear horizontal bar to make the a frame structure more rigid.

A frame trailer kt 1000

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