Plastic Kayaks on Trailers

I am considering a trailer to carry our Necky Zoar Sport and Perception Carolina 14.5 Airalite. We are also plannning to get a 3rd boat for the family, so a four-place trailer seems the best choice. And frankly, carrying our heavy yaks on the roof of my Explorer is real pain. My question is how do you carry the rotomolded boats on the trailer crossbars to avoid oilcanning? Do you simply pad the crossbars and vertical and strap the boats to them on their sides? Do you add carriers such as Hull-A-Ports or stackers?

I use a trailer
I have cradles that I made that keep the weight distributed across the entire hull. In fact, the majority of the contact of the boats with the trailer is towards the outside of the hull where the plastic is more vertical. I don’t tie them down tight. They are allowed to move around on the racks and the tie downs only set limits of movement. We park in the shade when possible. It has not been a problem for us.

Form fit
My cross members on the trailer are 2x10’s, cut to precisely match the hull shape, and mounted so that they support the kayaks at the bulkheads. The 2x10 forms are padded with minicell foam.

How I do it…
I have a 4x8 utility trailer by Snowbear; purchased at Costco. To the plywood floor pieces I have screwed two cradles made from 2(2x4s) glued and screwed together, side by side cut to just fit my hulls. The results are form fitted closed cell foam padded 3 inch wide cradles which fit at the exact cross-section of the bow and stern bulkheads. The boats are strapped down AND bow-stern anchored for longitudinal motion.

For the other two boats, I U-bolted two 2x4s across the side walls of the trailer. Then I mounted the Thule Hull-a-port saddles to them.

I have had SEVERE deformation from just strapping the boats on the bare arms of a Slick-Ryder trailer. Of course, this was driving from Cody, WY to San Diego, CA in hot sunny weather. I thought the boats were ruined, but more hot sun allowed the deformation “to heal itself”.

George in Cody

trailer with j-saddles
I have a 4-place kayak trailer by Magenta/Oldenkamp ( – a bit of work to assemble) and use j-saddles to hold the kayaks (go to for a picture of a j-saddle). I have only had the trailer and kayaks since last August but haven’t had any oil canning problems.

i built one
out of an old utility trailer. email me and I’ll send pics and design drawings. cost me $75. for the trailer and a carton of smokes for the welder.


Trailer Dealer Located
Thanks all for the help. I think the Oldenkamp trailer will fit the bill. I’ll probably get the adaptors for mounting the Thule Rails. Then I can use my Hull-A-Ports on the trailer. I found a dealer in Warren, MI who will sell me an assembled trailer to my order.