Rack and Roll - Kayak Trailer

Next month, we will be taking home a kayak trailer that we bought from BikeWorld – the trailer is called the Rack and Roll and it has a max weight capacity of 250lbs – its only meant to carry a couple of kayaks – our two kayaks weigh a total of about 100-115lbs. The bumper of my Chevy S-10 quad-cab truck has a capacity of 1500 or 2500lbs – I don’t have a hitch. For those of you who have experienced towing a trailer before – do you have any suggestions, tips etc? I got the extra long tongue and the spare tire to go with the trailer since our kayaks are between 17-18 feet long. How do you secure the trailer to your vehicle so it doesn’t get stolen when you park it in a motel/hotel at night? Do any of you have any forseeable issues with me towing this on my bumper since I dont have a hitch? I have a built in hole in my bumper now which I am sure is there so it could be used for towing a lightweight trailer. Eventually, we plan on taking longer trips outside of Iowa to paddle MN, WI etc.


ball and lock
you need a 1 7/8" ball for that ‘hole’ in your bumper, you need to wire your tailights with a flat four plug and you need a lock for the safety chain. The lock will keep it secure at night.

Rack/Rolls ROCK!


Agree with Flatpick
Might be handy to run a cable through your trailer frame and to your truck with a good hardened steel padlock though. You can take it on and off at night, or when you park for a period of time. Bolt cutters can pop off a chain but many can’t cut a good cable.

The back bumper of your truck is more than solid enough to haul your trailer.

Just a reminder, don’t fasten on your boats too close as they can jam into the back of the truck on tight corners.

I really appreciate your feedback! I thought, man… it would suck if they stole my trailer and my kayak are still attached to it - I have a lock for my kayaks but none yet for my trailer. A friend also suggested a ball hitch lock - would that work with my setup since I dont have a hitch?

Trailer hitch lock
This one is for the trailer when not connected to the tow vehicle:


Small padlock or dedicated cylinder lock

– Last Updated: Feb-22-08 11:13 PM EST –

I don't see any problem with you towing such a light load from a bumper ball. Just practice so that you know what your jacknifing clearance is. You will have less than you would with a hitch system, but it's not a big deal, especially since your trailer can easily be unhitched and hand-positioned if necessary.

If your bumper is rated to 1500 or 2500 lbs, your tongue load max is probably 150 or 250 lbs. That info should be stamped right on the bumper. It'll be fine for your kayak trailer and kayaks.

Put on a ball for about $10, electrical wiring for about $50 (if someone else does it), and add two hooks or loops near the ball/bumper to stick the trailer's chain ends in. (If your bumper does not have those, you can buy hooks or loops from a hardware store and bolt them on yourself.) Your bumper should have three holes: one in the center for the ball plus one on each side of that for the hooks or loops to be bolted to. Cross the chains once before you put the ends in the hooks.

Locking tips:

1. The trailer's hitch coupler has a hole through it. When you mount the coupler on the ball and close the latch, put a lock through this hole. It can be a small padlock, or a cylinder lock sold at hitch shops. So now your trailer is locked to the ball.

2. The spare tire sits on the trailer tongue. I also lock that to it using a small padlock.

3. IF you have a hitch receiver, hitch bar, and ball, you should lock the hitch bar into the hitch receiver (there are cylindrical locks made for this purpose). Otherwise, someone can simply remove the stock nonlocking pin, slide the hitch bar and ball out, and slide them into their own truck with hitch and away they go. They can also unbolt a ball from either a bumper or a hitch bar, but that would be more difficult to do, and much slower. You can buy a one-piece ball-and-hitchbar combo if you're really paranoid, but this wouldn't help you with a bumper-mounted ball, and anyway I have yet to see such a combo that had only one ball on it--they always have several balls of different diameters on the bar.

4. If you remove the trailer and leave it at, say a campsite, while you drive elsewhere, lock the trailer coupler to itself so that it can't be latched onto someone else's tow ball. With a really light trailer such as the R&R, they could simply hand-pull it (locked coupler and all) to a large truck/van and a few people could lift the entire trailer and load into it, so you may ALSO want to cable-lock the trailer to a tree or other immovable object.

Of course, you ARE going to lock your kayaks to the trailer, right? Lasso Locks are good.

(chuckling to myself)
I recently saw a utility trailer “safety chained” to the receiver holes with the el-cheapo keychain carabiners you find sold for keychains.

Guess the owner didn’t want to have the trailer chained to the truck if it unhitched accidentally.


The long tongue
should make it real easy to back that little thing up. Everyone is right. That trailer will be easy to steal, so chain the heck out of it. I have a flatbed for my skidstear and a four horse trailer, both goosenecks, which are also easy to back up. If I ever leave them anyplace I try to chain them to a tree or something. A long heavy log chain and a GOOD lock with that little trailer would be a good combination. Just keep the chain and lock in a rubber bucket in the truck.

If I stay overnight at a motel I alway get a ground floor room that has a exterior door or window I can bring my kayak into the room. A cable lock is so easy to cut. I’m sure most bad guys have bolt cutters.

I think
most trailers these days use 2" balls. Check the size on the trailer.

Most, but not all
I’m pretty sure R&R’s takes a 1 7/8" ball, as flatpick posted.

The crap I see with some trailers…
makes me wonder if the driver gives a d@mn about anybody else on the road.

I call 'em “Ma and Pa Kettle” when I see them and get as far away as I can (usually very easy to do because they are driving about 20 mph less than the speed limit).

I’m talking stuff like no safety chains, broken rusty chains dragging on the ground and making sparks fly, items not tied into the trailer, major swaying of the trailer, tires wobbling and about to fall off, hugely overloaded trailers causing the truck’s front end to stick up while the bumper almost touches the ground, long-gone shock absorbers in the tow rig…you name it.

My husband and I were driving behind a new truck pulling a beat-to-crap trailer whose left wheel was moving in and out alarmingly, as the trailer itself swung all over the road. I barked at my husband to hit it and pass with a wide margin, NOW! For once, he didn’t argue with me. As soon as we were in front, I looked back and saw the trailer wheel bouncing across the road all by itself. That one was tooooooo close.

not R/R
it’s a 1 7/8". in fact the one at the CWS factory I changed over to 2" to fit the balls on the company van and duelly.


trailer users beware
In my neighbourhood, a man did not connect his chipper trailer “correctly” and it came off and sadly crossed the road killing the occupants of an oncoming car -a father and his two children -the little girl was decapitated. Imagine a little more thought and time spent (we are always in a hurry!) and this family tragedy could have been spared. Very sad - now the police are more diligent in checking trailers in this area - always “after” a tragedy though. He was charged i believe with manslaughter - not sure of the outcome though.

Looky that!
Thanks for the website link! I appreciate that.

Thanks for the tips!
I really appreciate your suggestions and your tips. Yep - I already have a kayak lock. I was initially concerned about getting the trailer stolen but with all of the tips and suggestions I’ve been getting here I’m starting to feel very confident about this new setup. Heck - right now I am just glad that I wont have to do my circus moves just to get my straps around the kayak and the rack on top of my truck anymore.

Great idea!
I thought about the same thing - just taking the kayaks and putting it in the motel room but if for some reason we end up in a motel where the door is only accessible inside the motel from a hallway - that wont work. :slight_smile: So - yeah - a good lock with a mammoth sized cable is probably what I’ll eventually need. Thanks!

20-25’ cable
I travel with a 25’ cable, which I secure to the kayaks, through the trailer, and to my vehicle when parked. If I need to leave the trailer unhitched, I use the same cable to lock it to a tree, or other segure object. Cost about $20.00