I have searched the archives but didn’t find much info relevant to what I want to know. In our soon to be retirement my wife and I want to drive around various places with our sea kayaks in tow, paddling as we go. For example, we might drive down the south east coast to Florida doing day trips or longer trips with camping. We are considering something like a camper van pulling a trailer with our kayaks and maybe some gear. What would people recommend in the way of trailers?
We have a Magneta trailer
that we’ve used for about 10 years. Except for needing to touch up the paint job, it’s done fine.
converted utility trailer
I have one of the angle iron utility trailers that I converted for my kayaks, already owned the trailer so didn’t pick it for the purpose, but works great.
You definately need to extend the tongue, most utility trailers have a 2 ft. or shorter tongue, mine is now 6’ long. If you order the trailer you can have it built that way.
I used Yakima roof top supports and standard tubes for supports, works very well and removes easily so the trailer can be used for other purposes.
I can carry anything from short WW boats to my 19 1/2 footer SOF with no problems at all.
Advantage to these trailers is they are relatively cheap and come with large size rugged suspensions so they hold up very well. Mine has 13" wheels and is rated at around 1100 lbs.
Not to demean kayak trailers or
get away from your question, but:
For what you want to do, keep in mind that there are many launch sites where you will not be able to park a camping van, or even a trailer.
Also, each time you want to leave your camp ground/Rv park you will have to unhook your water, electric and sewer, (if you have it)
I see where Jacks going with this
and I have mixed feelings on it. I used to travel with a 5th wheel trailer prior to taking up kayaking. I had seen many RVers of all types toting there kayaks in various ways. My first thought on this was a pop-up camper such as an A-Liner. Then I thought of the many nights spent in a WalMart lot while traveling and a pop-up would be a PITA for that so the camper van would be better. Then I thought why not both? A roof rack for the pop-up would be a simple way to haul the boats while giving you a comfy “base camp” for stays more than overnight. It also frees up the van to go into town and sightsee or gather groceries. You still have the van for overnight camping when needed. Just a thought.
We are open to suggestions
Not at all sure what is the best way to do what we have in mind.
If your primary goal is for …
paddling destinations, then you might want to consider what my wife and I have been doing for quite a few years.
If you have the bucks:
Get a pick up truck with a cap on the back and then get a small travel trailer. (big enough to live comfortably in)
All the paddling gear plus the two mountain bikes and back packing gear goes in the enclosed back of the truck.
I have three sets of cross bars on the vehicle. Two on the cap and one on the cab of the truck.
With the ones on the cab, this allows the boats to be way forward so there is no overhang in back to hit the trailer when making sharp turns.
We carry two kayks and a canoe.
We’ll camp at a place for several weeks and the trailer stays at the camp ground while we take off with the truck for day trips with the boats.
We originally did this for our “trip of a life time” seven years ago, from NC to Alaska and back, and have been doing it ever since.
Prior to that we did it similar only with a pop-up.
We would be out there paddling today, but with the wind blowing at 25 MPH, I am in our little cabin on wheels typing this.
makes awesome boat trailers at reasonable prices, might not be a far drive from you
As I kid I grew up doing a lot of camping and for a few years after we got married. I agree that there is a big advantage to being able to disconnect from a trailer and drive the vehicle. I had a motor home and ended up towing a car. Your really want to leave your temporary home in one place and have something else to drive.
Now as for kayak trailer, I agree with Griffin. I have a utility trailer I added a rack to and it's great 99% of the time. There are times I can't park it where I would like but that is not to often, I can put them on top of my truck too.
Tell me more about the rack system
for your truck.
I originally just had two sets of cross
bars on the fiberglass cap, and then added a third set on the front cab roof.(to get the boats farther forward)
Reason being that with the overhang of the kayaks off the back of the truck, they would have hit the trailer when I am making shrp turns.
They are Yakama towers on their “Landing Pads”.
The ones on the fiberglass cap are bolted right through the top with Yakama’s backing plates and large nuts.
The ones on the cab are similar, but instead of being bolted completely through, they are Yakama provided similar to a toggle bolt that does not come through to the underside of the roof, but fastens between the inner and outer roofs.
The first hole you drill hurts the worst, but then you say to yourself; “hey I did it !”, the rest are easy.
With J cradles on the bars, I have the option of loading the boats from the front or the rear
Hope you can understand this.
Thanks. I understand. n.m.
A lot of people are buying the brand of trailer from Harbor Freight and rigging the trailer as needed ..real big advantage there is they are comparatively cheap to buy. Any expenses incurred customizing it are offset by the high cost, typically $2G and up, of specialty trailers like yakima or Trailex brands. check your local Craigslist.com site on a regular basis ...you may been able to find a suitable trailer at a decent price there.
The problem with “cheap” trailers
Is wheel size. If you plan on trailering any distances or at highway speeds then the 8" tires on cheap trailers just wont cut it. These tires, wheels and bearings aren’t designed for this and can become very dangerous for you and others not to mention your gear. I wouldnt use anything less then a 12" rim and really prefer a 15" wheel.
12 " tires/rims are available on the above mentioned trailer...the end user is going to have to decide if that's adequate...i Googled up a 4-bolt pattern 13" rim @$23 each, so they are availiable. Again the low initial cost and then some customizing can yield a decent trailer w/o breaking the piggy bank. I had a trailer of this type b4 ..i never had problems with it over the highway in the 4 yrs i owned it, and i hauled things that weighed far more than a couple of kayaks.
We have a harborfreight
4x8 frame 1200 lb capacity 12" tires.(make sure you pack the bearings properly initially) Any trailer can be dangerous if not put together properly (if a kit) or maintained. We have put many kayaks in various configurations and have absolutely no problems whatsoever. We have used it as a standard utility trailer also many times. We welded and painted it better which improved it but not necessary and added a longer tongue for the sea kayaks. It can ride rough with this stiff suspension though.
There is another forum member who has regularly posted his trailer he owned in various configurations also and i dont think he had problems either. He may post it here again.
If money is not an issue, i would love a trailex but they have smaller tires last time i checked! Actually i just checked Trailex website and the 2-4 small trailer isnt even shown on their website anymore - just the very large fleet ones - maybe website is being updated.?
Yakima Rack & Roll not for everyone
I agree with Kathy’s assessement of tire size. I would add suspension as well. I have a pre-Yakima Rack & Roll and haven’t regretted the investment. But they are not for everyone ($$$$).
But I can honestly say, traveling at xx mph (more than I’m willing to admit) on the Interstate with two kayaks, I have forgotten about it being back there.
I did have a motorcycle trailer with smaller wheels (12"?) that I traveled around the country with. It was fine but I also had a torsion bar suspension. I can’t say I ever forgot that was back there but then again it weighed 10 times as much loaded (at least).
Any trailer is a good trailer compared to roofs.
Mt. Pleasant, SC
BlueMountainoutfitters.net , they build the highest quality, smooth towing canoe and kayak trailers I’ve seen in my many years, and I’ve pulled hundreds of different types of landscape, enclosed and car hauling trailers. Really worth checking out before you make a buying decision!!
getting a harbor freight trailer titled and properly outfitted for hauling paddlecraft. The tongue length just isn’t long enough for boats over 10 feet in length. You could buy the jon boat trailer they sell ( longer tongue length ) but you would have to do some custom building to get more than one boat on it.
Rack & Roll
I’ve had a Rack & Roll trailer for a year now with heavy use, including off road. I use it with fiberglass sea kayaks w/Yakima saddles and it works well. I especially like the light weight trailer that makes manuevering easy, even one=handed while fully loaded. It is expensive but well worth it.