We're going on a river trip this fall that will require transporting three or four kayaks. The longest is a 12' Tsunami. We wish to rent a trailer rather than buy one (since we already have a two-kayak roof rack that serves our needs most of the time). We have a trailer hitch. Does anyone have experience with transporting kayaks on a U Haul utility trailer? For instance, something like this (http://www.uhaul.com/Trailers/5x8-Utility-Trailer-Rental/AO/)? It also comes in 5x9 and 6x12, though the smaller size might work fine. If anyone has used this for kayaks, or another type of rental trailer from U Haul, I'd value your counsel.
Looks fine to me, although I’ve never
used a trailer. It looks like there’s good options for securing the kayaks and snugging them down. Even might be able to lash a tarp tight down over them.
I did exactly that
Last year I surprised my wife by purchasing two matching Perception Sport Striker 11.5 SOT fishing kayaks. I was planning on transporting them from my home to our cabin 5 hours away by putting them on top of my Chevy Suburban 1500 using a Yakima BigStack carrier.
As soon as I moved the kayaks the first time I knew that hoisting them both up on top of the truck (65 lbs each) and holding them both in place (only two of us doing it) while strapping them down was not going to be as easy as I thought it would be - and maybe not possible without damaging something - or someone.
So my wife came up with the idea of renting the 12’ long Uhaul trailer. The two kayaks fit very well side by side (each 33" wide), the trailer sides were low enough to easily lift the kayaks over, and there were plenty of rings and other places to tie down the kayaks securely.
The trailer pulled very easily - as if it wasn’t there, but I suppose that’s not such a surprise with a Suburban. The only problem I had - and I’m sure its just that I didn’t know about some secrete switch somewhere on the trailer, is related to the trailer brakes. Being a four-wheel trailer it needs to have its own brakes. Rather than requiring an electronic brake controller installing in my truck, Uhaul builds their trailers with some kind of surge brakes. I suspect those brakes automatically lock when there is no forward motion pulling the hitch. So when the trailer was uncoupled from my truck it simply wouldn’t budge - wouldn’t move. I did my best to try to figure out if there was a switch on it somewhere to unlock the brakes for hand moving - and I saw the dealer hand move it - but I simply could not figure it out. For my needs I was able to just leave it hooked up as is.
So … it worked great for me, the price wasn’t too bad, but next time I’ll have to ask them how to unlock those brakes when disconnected.
Our cabin is on a chain of lakes, so there aren’t currently plans to transport the kayaks much.
For future moving needs, well, I have an older Big Tex Single Axle Utility (landscaping type) trailer with a 10’x 6’ bed, BUT it currently has 4’ high 3/4" plywood sides fastened to it to use it as a cargo trailer. My plan is to remove the plywood and fasten two (removable) steel or wood crossbars from side to side and let the kayak stick a bit over the bed front and back (only 9" each end). I think it should work fine so long as I find a good crossbar fastening method.
2 holes, add top strap, tap xbar, bolt all
I worked at Uhaul and have used their trailers quite a bit. For what you want get the 5x9. The 6x12 is a heavy dual axle trailer and too much trailer for what you want. As the previous poster said that trailer has serge brakes. The tongue of the trail is in two pieces that slide back and forth. As you apply the brakes the vehicles slows while the trailer moves forward, thus causing the two pieces of the tongue to slide. As it slides forward it applies the brakes, as it slides back it releases the brakes. His rental unit must have been fubar because it can be moved by hand. Plus the 6x12 is not a common trailer to have in stock whereas the 5x9 is.
Anyway, on to the 5x9. Keep in mind this trailer has a gate at the end so your yaks won't fit perfectly. You'll have to bungee them down and le the bow/stern hang over the back. Otherwise nothing bad to say about this choice.
Swing by your local Uhaul store and check them out before your pickup date only to find what you reserved won't work. They also make a 5x9 ramp trailer but that's not your best choice either. I've used that for my motorcycles.
I have a utility trailer that I made a rack from 5/4 deck boards and 1/2 inch iron pipe. (I had the pipe) I used pipe flanges, elbows and tee to make 4 “slots” to fit the curves of my (4) Old Town 12 ft. I also used a “electrical grounding rod” to fit thru the “tees” at the back of the yaks and do not need to tie or strap them in place. The deck boards and be secured to the rail of the trailer with “U-bolts” or muffler clamps. I can also carry my 16 ft Old Town canoe and a 12 ft Wilderness on top of rack.