Best Kayak Trailer of 2023: 9 Top Models Reviewed

Having to unload and load a heavy kayak is often cited as the #1 problem when planning a kayaking trip.

Contents show

Even if you’re working with a lightweight fiberglass or thermoplastic kayak, it can still be quite the ordeal to lift it up high and put it on my car. I’m 6’ 6” tall and though it’s not too much work for me to heft my 10-foot Pelican Summit, I struggle quite a lot more when loading my much heavier 14-foot Azul Riot onto my roof rack alone. I can’t begin to imagine how impossible it would be for my 5’ 3” wife!

But loading and unloading a kayak doesn’t have to be that hard. A kayak trailer is an easy way to transport a kayak—even several kayaks, canoes, paddleboards, and all your other water sports gear. 

In this post, we’ve analyzed and reviewed some great kayak trailers to make transporting your kayaks a whole lot easier. Read on to find out what kayak trailers are highest recommended for their durability, versatility, and ease of use, as well as how to choose the best kayak trailer for your specific needs.

As an affiliate of Amazon and other retailers, we may earn a small commission when you buy via our links, at no additional cost to you. Thank you!

Quick Answer: The Best Kayak Trailers for You

  1. Best Overall: Malone MicroSport Trailer with a Two Kayak Transport Package
  2. Best for 4 Kayaks: Malone MicroSport Trailer 4-Kayak Transport Package
  3. Best for Extra Gear: Ruff-Sport Trailer
  4. Best for Compact Storage: Yakima Rack and Roll 66
  5. Best Weight Capacity: Ironton 4ft. x 8ft. Steel Folding Utility Trailer Kit
  6. Easiest to Assemble: CE Smith Multi Sport Trailer
  7. Most Durable: Malone LowMax™ 4 Kayak Trailer Package
  8. Greatest Carrying Capacity: MAGNETA UKCT12 – 12 KAYAK TRAILER
  9. Best Ultralight: Trailex SUT-220-S Single Boat Trailer Kit

Comparison Table: Best Kayak Trailers

ModelSpecsWhere to Buy
Malone MicroSport Trailer with a Two Kayak Transport Package
Malone MicroSport Trailer with a Two Kayak Transport Package
Sized for: Up to 20′ kayaks
Weight Capacity: 800 lbs
Number of Kayaks: 2 kayaks
Trailer Weight: 240 lbs
Malone MicroSport Trailer 4-Kayak Transport Package
Malone MicroSport Trailer 4-Kayak Transport Package
Sized for: 20’ kayak (or canoe)
Weight Capacity: 350 lbs
Number of Kayaks: 4
Trailer Weight: 197 lbs
Ruff-Sport Trailer
Ruff-Sport Trailer
Sized for: 20’ kayaks
Weight Capacity: 600 lbs
Number of Kayaks: 2
Trailer Weight: 201 lbs
Yakima Rack and Roll 66
Yakima Rack and Roll 66
Sized for: up to 15’ kayaks
Weight Capacity: 250 lbs, 350 lbs
Number of Kayaks: 2
Trailer Weight: 150 lbs
Ironton 4ft. x 8ft. Steel Folding Utility Trailer Kit
Ironton 4ft. x 8ft. Steel Folding Utility Trailer Kit
Sized for: 20’ kayaks
Weight Capacity: 1176 lbs, max 1400 lbs
Number of Kayaks: 4
Trailer Weight: 253 lbs
CE Smith Multi Sport Trailer
CE Smith Multi Sport Trailer
Sized for: 12’ kayaks
Weight Capacity: 800 lbs
Number of Kayaks: 1
Trailer Weight: 200 lbs
West Marine
Malone LowMax™ 4 Kayak Trailer Package
Malone LowMax™ 4 Kayak Trailer Package
Sized for: 17’ kayaks
Weight Capacity: 600 lbs
Number of Kayaks: 2
Trailer Weight: 206 lbs
Eco Fishing Shop
MAGNETA UKCT12 - 12 trailer
Sized for: 10’ to 20’ kayaks
Weight Capacity: 1175 lbs
Number of Kayaks: 10 (up to 12)
Trailer Weight: 825 lbs
Trailex SUT-220-S Single Boat Trailer Kit
Trailex SUT-220-S Single Boat Trailer Kit
Sized for: 18′ kayaks
Weight Capacity: 220 lbs
Number of Kayaks: 1
Trailer Weight: 125 lbs
WHY TRUST US: Here at, we spend more time on the water than we do in the office. We paddle, kayak fish, and camp as often as we can, so we know exactly what kayakers and kayak anglers need. Each year, we independently research, review, and rate the best kayaks, canoes, and paddling gear. Our experts analyze hundreds of products to find out key differences, pros, and cons of each product. We only make money from ads or if you purchase through our links. No sponsored posts or biased reviews here, period.

Best Kayak Trailers: Reviews & Recommendations

Best Kayak Trailer Overall: Malone MicroSport Trailer with a Two Kayak Transport Package

Malone MicroSport Trailer with a Two Kayak Transport Package

Midweight, durable, and reliable—that’s exactly what you get with my #1 pick for kayak trailers!

Sized for kayaks up to 20 feet long, it’s built with a heavy-duty steel frame and lightweight aluminum crossbars. It also comes with two pairs of SeaWing Kayak Carrier cradles that will keep your kayaks securely in place no matter how bumpy the road gets. And, as if that wasn’t enough, you’ve got space for a smaller, slimmer kayak between the two mounted on the cradle.

Assembly time is roughly 2-3 hours, but the instruction manual is easy to understand and walks you easily through the process. Even the tool-challenged will find it a simple task.

Sized for: Up to 20-foot (609 cm) kayaks
Weight Capacity: 800 lbs (362.87 kg)
Number of Kayaks: 2 kayaks (+1 on its side between the cradles)
Trailer Weight: 240 lbs (108.86 kg)
Construction: Galvanized steel frame, aluminum cross-rails


  • Solid frame, resistant to rust and corrosion
  • No maintenance needed
  • Easy, straightforward assembly
  • Excellent price for a quality product
  • More durable than rival brands


  • No VIN supplied for easy trailer registration
  • Tail light kit feels cheap

Best Kayak Trailer for 4 Kayaks: Malone MicroSport Trailer 4-Kayak Transport Package

Malone MicroSport Trailer 4-Kayak Transport Package

If you’ve got a family and need a trailer sized to transport more kayaks, Malone has got you covered. This MicroSport trailer comes with a 4-kayak transport package: 4 J-racks set side by side on a low-bed trailer that is easily hitched to your vehicle and built for maximum stability.

Made from marine-grade pre-galvanized stainless steel and powder-coated steel cross rails, the frame is very durable and more than capable of withstanding all the rigors of long-haul travel—perfect for a cross-country kayaking vacation. Plus, there’s even room to install an additional storage box/container (purchased from Malone) to carry all your gear.

It may not have the greatest weight capacity, but it’s perfect for anyone with a smaller truck, car, or SUV looking for a super lightweight kayak trailer.

Sized for: 20’ (609 cm) kayak (or canoe)
Weight Capacity: 350 lbs (158.75 kg)
Number of Kayaks: 4
Trailer Weight: 197 lbs (89.35 kg)
Construction: Marine-grade pre-galvanized stainless steel/powder-coated steel


  • Lightweight; you can easily move it around by hand
  • Durable and built for reliability
  • Can accommodate extra storage box/container
  • Rides very well; no bouncing, even when empty
  • Handles highway speeds well
  • Trails straight


  • Doesn’t include a license plate holder
  • Assembly isn’t complicated, but time-consuming

Best Kayak Trailer for Multi-Sport Use: Right On Ruff-Sport Trailer

Right On Ruff-Sport Trailer

If you’re planning to kayak, paddleboard, and bike on the same trip, you’re going to want this trailer.

On its own, it’s a simple low-bed trailer with a sleek, well-built galvanized steel frame. But what makes it so versatile compared to the other models on this list is the fact that it is compatible with Yakima and Thule racks. So if you’ve already got a bike or kayak rack for your car, it can be mounted onto this trailer easily.

It’s wide enough to store two kayaks side by side, or you can stack your kayaks and carry paddleboards and/or bikes as needed. It’s the ideal versatile choice if you’re planning to enjoy a wide variety of outdoor activities.

Best of all, when you’re doing using it, you can fold it up and store it upright in the corner of your garage.

Sized for: 20’ (609 cm) kayaks
Weight Capacity: 600 lbs (272.15 kg)
Number of Kayaks: 2 (+2 mountain bikes)
Trailer Weight: 201 lbs (91.17 kg)
Construction: Galvanized steel


  • Compatible with Yakima and Thule roof rack accessories
  • Ideal for carrying bikes, SUPs, and kayaks all in the same load
  • Compact, foldable frame; easy to store
  • Soft springs absorb impact/shocks
  • LED light kit is submersible/waterproof
  • Foldable for easy and compact storage


  • All racks, cradles, and attachments have to be purchased separately
  • Assembly isn’t very easy

Best Kayak Trailer for Compact Storage: Yakima Rack and Roll 66

Yakima Rack and Roll 66

When you’ve got limited storage space in your garage or shed, you need the Yakima Rack and Roll 66. Weighing in at just 150 pounds, it’s lighter than the other trailers on our list, but still solid thanks to its durable aluminum construction. When folded and stored upright, it will occupy just 66×22 inches of floor space in your garage—perfect for keeping things tidy during the cold winter months when you can’t get out on the water.

The trailer has the option to add heavy-duty shocks (for an additional fee) that will increase its carrying capacity to 350 pounds. Thanks to the carrying handles, you’ll never have trouble moving the trailer around by hand.

Sized for: up to 15’ (457 cm) kayaks
Weight Capacity: 250 lbs (113.4 kg), 350 lbs (158.75 kg) with heavy-duty shocks
Number of Kayaks: 2
Trailer Weight: 150 lbs (68 kg)
Construction: Aluminum 


  • Carrying handles make moving the trailer by hand a breeze
  • Lightweight but very durable
  • User-friendly assembly instructions
  • Well-balanced; smooth performance and arrow-straight tracking
  • Foldable and compact; easy to store


  • Low weight capacity
  • Additional shock absorbers are pricey
  • Quality control issues; some reviewers found product arrived with parts damaged or broken

Best Kayak Trailer Weight Capacity: Ironton 4ft. x 8ft. Steel Folding Utility Trailer Kit

Ironton 4ft. x 8ft. Steel Folding Utility Trailer Kit

If you have extra-heavy kayaks—tandem kayaks, wooden kayaks, heavy-duty fishing kayaks, etc.—you’re going to want this Ironton trailer for sure.

There are few kayak trailers that can match this one’s heavy-duty frame for reliability and durability. It’s also one of the heaviest on our list, but that’s to be expected from such rugged steel.

What’s cool about this trailer is that it’s designed to fold in the middle, between the wheels, rather than stand upright. This makes it even more space-saving than you’d expect—great if you’re working with limited storage options.

Sure, you’ll have to purchase all the racks/cradles separately, but given that it has the highest weight capacity of any trailer on our list—up to 1400 pounds!—it’s worth the cost.

Sized for: 20’ (609 cm) kayaks
Weight Capacity: 1176 lbs (533.42 kg), max 1400 lbs (635 kg)
Number of Kayaks: 4
Trailer Weight: 253 pounds
Construction: Steel


  • Super durable and stable
  • Powder coating makes it resistant to rust, corrosion, and weather damage
  • Easy to fold up in the middle; stores surprisingly small
  • Study 12-inch wheels and leaf-spring suspension
  • Road-ready right out of the box


  • Doesn’t include any racks or cradles
  • Only road-legal up to 45 MPH
  • Assembly process can be complex; instructions and labels unclear

Easiest Kayak Trailer to Assemble: CE Smith Multi-Sport Trailer

CE Smith Multi-Sport Trailer

What do you do if you’re tool-challenged or struggle to put together even simple devices? You order the CE Smith Multi-Sport Trailer!

This frame comes ready to assemble right out of the box, with clearly legible and easy-to-follow instructions. It’s going to take roughly the same time as the other kayak trailers on our list (expect 2-3 hours), but the process will be hassle- and headache-free. The manual will walk you through the steps easily, and you’ll find that building has never felt so easy.

Once assembled, hitch this galvanized steel trailer to the back of your vehicle, load up your kayak (just ONE, sadly), and hit the road!

Though it’s built for heavier boats (up to 12-footers), it’s definitely capable of transporting your kayak anywhere you want to take it.

Sized for: 12’ (365 cm) kayaks
Weight Capacity: 800 lbs (362.87 kg)
Number of Kayaks: 1
Trailer Weight: 200 lbs (90.7 kg)
Construction: Galvanized steel


  • Heavy-duty frame with DOT-approved lights
  • Includes winch, winch stand, hook, and strap
  • Carpeted bunk boards are adjustable to accommodate the width of your kayak, canoe, or boat
  • Assembly is a breeze
  • Compatible with all personal watercraft (kayak, canoe, boat, inflatable, etc.)


  • Only fits one kayak
  • Heavy; hard to maneuver around by hand

Most Durable Kayak Trailer: Malone LowMax™ 4 Kayak Trailer Package

Malone LowMax™ 4 Kayak Trailer Package

Looking for the only kayak trailer you’ll ever have to buy? That’s what Malone aims to deliver in the LowMax.

Built from high-grade galvanized steel with an integrated leaf spring suspension system, the low-bed trailer can handle speeds up to 70 MPH. It’s capable of carrying up to 600 lbs, with extra-wide crossbars perfect for carrying gear as well as kayak cradles/racks.

Thanks to its low-riding frame, loading and unloading will be a breeze. Though assembly time is a bit longer than average, it’s still an easy process that requires only “normal shop tools”. Plus, it’s backed by a 5-year warranty. One trip with this bad boy hitched to your vehicle, and you’ll know it’s a truly tough-and-rugged choice!

Sized for: 17’ (518.16 cm) kayaks
Weight Capacity: 600 lbs (272.15 kg)
Number of Kayaks: 2 (plus bikes and/or SUPs)
Trailer Weight: 206 lbs (93.44 kg)
Construction: Marine-grade galvanized steel


  • DOT/Transport Canada-approved
  • Road-worthy up to 70 MPH
  • Made with hyper-durable marine-grade metal
  • Low-bed frame makes for easy loading/unloading
  • Extra-wide crossbars allow for additional carrying capacity
  • Durable axle + spring leaf suspension


  • 4 to 5-hour assembly time
  • Cam load straps are low-quality

Greatest Kayak Trailer Carrying Capacity: MAGNETA UKCT12 – 12 KAYAK TRAILER


How many kayaks do you need to carry with you? 4? 6? 8? How about 12?

That’s right, this kayak trailer can transport up to TWELVE kayaks or canoes. With five levels of storage racks, it’s easy to carry 10 kayaks or canoes lying flat. However, if you’ve got smaller, sleeker kayaks, you can carry two side-by-side on the top rack—for a total of 12.  

Made from galvanized steel and using a rugged, all-terrain tubular steel frame, this is a heavy-duty trailer. And it’s got the weight to match! At over 800 pounds, this will be too heavy for you to move around by hand. You’ll have to treat it like any box trailer or RV, but it’s worth it to carry so many kayaks at once.

Assembly is easy though time-consuming, and once it’s built, you’ll find it occupies a lot of space. But it’s worth it so your friend group or large family has enough space to transport all the kayaks for your adventure trips.  

Sized for: 10’ (304 cm) to 20’ (609 cm) kayaks
Weight Capacity: 1175 lbs (533 kg)
Number of Kayaks: 10 standard (up to 12)
Trailer Weight: 825 lbs (374.2 kg)
Construction: Galvanized steel


  • Carry up to 12 kayaks or canoes in one trailer
  • Ultra-rugged tubular galvanized steel frame
  • Tongue can be removed for easy storage
  • Pre-wired; lights are waterproof/submersible
  • Sturdy and stable


  • Too heavy to move by hand
  • Takes up a lot of space

Best Ultralight Kayak Trailer: Trailex SUT-220-S Single Boat Trailer Kit

Trailex SUT-220-S Single Boat Trailer Kit

Looking for an ultra-light trailer that you can easily move around your property and store out of the way during the winter months? Look no further!

The Trailex Single-Boat trailer kit is only sized for one kayak (or boat), so not great if you’ve got a big family. But if you’re only hauling one boat, it’s just what you need. It’s lightweight and compact enough that it can fit into nearly any corner of your garage or shed. And you’ll find it’s very easy to maneuver into place to hitch to your vehicle.

Made from lightweight but highly durable aluminum, it’s a long-lasting and budget-friendly choice for sure.

Sized for: 18′ (548.64 cm) kayaks
Weight Capacity: 220 lbs (99.8 kg)
Number of Kayaks: 1
Trailer Weight: 125 lbs (56.7 kg)
Construction: Aluminum


  • Lightweight, easily maneuverable by hand
  • Leaf-spring suspension provides excellent shock absorption to protect kayaks
  • Vehicles use less gas with every trip
  • Can be used as a launch trolley
  • Versatile and durable


  • Due to high demand, order wait times can range up to months
  • Only fits one kayak

Choosing a Kayak Trailer: Top Factors to Consider

Trailer Size: What’s the Right Trailer for Your Kayak?

Multiple orange kayaks stacked on a trailer

As with most things, size does matter!

The right size kayak trailer will be able to carry all of the kayaks (and other watercraft) you need to transport to and from the lake/ocean/river.

There are a few size-related factors to consider when shopping for a kayak trailer:

How many kayaks will you transport?

This is the first—and most important—question to answer when shopping for a kayak trailer.

If you’re just hauling one or two kayaks, you’ll find that most trailers are a great option. But when you start adding more kayaks, that’s when the shopping process gets more complicated.

There are a handful of kayak trailers that can carry 4 to 6 kayaks (great for a small family), and some sized to hold up to 12 kayaks (perfect for large families or groups).

Think about how many kayaks you’ll be transporting regularly—not just for your solo or couple trips, but every time you want to go with family and friends on a kayaking trip—and find a trailer that can accommodate that many kayaks.

What size is your kayak?

Are you transporting child-sized 6-to-8-foot kayaks, standard 10-foot kayaks, or oversized kayaks over 12 or 14 feet long? Single or tandem kayaks?

Most kayak trailers are sized to accommodate standard kayaks—anything up to 12 feet should fit with no problem. However, if you’re working with extra-long fishing kayaks or tandem kayaks, you’ll find that not all trailers will suit your needs.

It’s important when shopping for a kayak trailer to take a closer look at the specifications to ensure that the trailer can, in fact, accommodate larger (and heavier) kayaks. It’s dangerous to exceed the trailer’s weight limits—so dangerous we strongly recommend against it.

You also need to make certain the kayak isn’t hanging out too far over the trailer’s edges. You could cause an accident with another vehicle, or the kayak could get dislodged and fall off.

The good news is that most kayak trailer manufacturers will include dimensions and maximum kayak length in their product details. Read those specs carefully to make sure your kayaks fit!

How much weight can the trailer hold?

Exceeding a trailer’s weight limit can be very dangerous.

Overloaded trailers put excessive pressure on the wheels and axles, which increases the risk of tire blowouts or causes the trailer to sway. It also causes the tires to wear out faster and makes it more difficult to stop your vehicle safely. If a cop suspects your trailer is overloaded, they can pull you over and ticket you for unsafe driving.

Always make sure to check the trailer’s weight capacity when shopping. You need to be certain the trailer can safely (and legally) handle the weight of all your kayaks.

Not sure how much weight you need to carry?

On average:

  • Single recreational kayaks weigh around 35 pounds
  • Tandem recreational kayaks weigh around 65 pounds
  • Fishing kayaks can weigh anywhere from 40 to 120 pounds

Just to be safe, search online to find the specs for your kayak and look for where the product page lists the weight. That will tell you how much your kayak weighs. Add up the weight of all your kayaks, and voila, you know the necessary weight capacity for your kayak trailer.

The good news is that most kayak trailers have a weight capacity that far exceeds your needs. For example, my #1 best kayak trailer overall pick, the Malone MicroSport 2 Kayak Trailer Package, is rated to carry up to 800 pounds. That’s more than enough for even the heaviest wooden kayaks on the market!

Note: Pay attention to weight distribution, too! An imbalanced or extremely uneven load could cause the trailer to tip, wobble, or make it more prone to flipping. When loading, try to distribute the weight as evenly as possible.  

Beyond kayaks: what other gear will you carry?

How much more gear are you carrying? Are you transporting paddleboards, canoes, mountain bikes? What about paddles, PFD, and the other equipment you’ll need for kayaking?

Some kayak trailers will have enough space that you can safely strap down a container filled with all your kayaking gear, or additional rack/bars that will allow you to mount extra equipment like bikes or paddleboards.

Trailer Storage

A white kayak trailer and several boats of different colors on the sea shore

This is a very important factor when shopping for a kayak trailer.

A kayak trailer won’t spend its life hitched to the back of your vehicle. Between kayaking trips, it will probably sit somewhere on your property: in your garage, beside your house, on the driveway, in the backyard, etc.

If you live on a large property, you can park the trailer with the kayaks still loaded. Otherwise, you’ll need to unload the kayaks and tuck the trailer out of your way.

RELATED: Best Kayak Hoist Systems for 2023 Reviewed

Make sure that you’ve got a plan for where to store the trailer before you buy it. Also, measure the available storage space so you can find a trailer in the right dimensions to put away when not in use.

Foldable Kayak Trailers

If you are tight on storage space, it’s a good idea to consider a foldable kayak trailer.

For example, the Yakima Rack and Roll 66 is designed to fold up and be stored upright tucked away in the corner of your garage or property. It’s an incredibly convenient option if you want a trailer but don’t have lots of storage space available.

Types of Kayak Trailers

Now that you know what you need to haul and how much storage space you’re working with, it’s time to look at the various types of kayak trailers:

Low bed kayak trailers

Low-bed kayak trailers are built in a frame that runs low to the ground. These trailers tend to be both lightweight and very easy to load/unload. They’re great for smaller vehicles with a lower towing capacity (such as a light truck, car, or small SUV).

Typically, they utilize a simpler frame: an extending tongue connected to two crossbars and two outer bars sitting on top of an axle with 12” wheels.

Stacked trailers

Multiple kayaks of different colors stacked on kayak trailers

Stacked trailers are typically low-bed frames with multiple racks you can use to stack kayaks on. If they are sized for a lot of kayaks (6+), they’ll typically use a heavier-duty elevated frame and larger wheels (14” or more) with an axle that offers better suspension. The galvanized steel racks/stacks are capable of supporting the weight of multiple kayaks.

Multisport trailers

These trailers are designed to carry not only kayaks, but canoes, paddleboards, and mountain bikes. In addition to the standard kayak racks (bars, cradles, or J-racks), they also integrate racks to carry your mountain bikes or are sized to accommodate paddleboards.

Trailer top kayak carriers

This is an interesting option if you already have a simple, standard box trailer but want to add kayak storage. Trailer-top kayak carriers are bars (typically aluminum or galvanized steel) that can be installed on top of a trailer to serve as an elevated rack for your kayaks.

Side-by-side kayak trailers

Two kayaks (orange and yellow) resting on a kayak trailer

Side-by-side kayak trailers are wider and are designed to accommodate multiple kayaks (up to 4) lying flat side by side, rather than sitting on J-racks or cradles that carry the kayaks turned onto their sides. They’re a good option if you’ve got a larger truck or SUV with great hauling power.

What Brands Make Good Kayak Trailers?

There are a few brands that dominate the kayak trailer industry due to their quality, pricing, and user-friendliness:

  • Malone was the first brand to offer high-quality, budget-conscious kayak racks that could be shipped directly to consumers (via UPS/FedEx) for self-assembly.
  • Yakima is one of the world’s best-known car rack brands, famous for its rook racks, bicycle racks, hitch racks, and, of course, kayak trailers.
  • Right On Trailer is well-known in the US for its production of dolly trailer systems and multi-sport trailer systems, designed for kayaks, sailboats, canoes, and all manner of watercraft.
  • C. E. Smith specializes in stainless steel boating and fishing products, sourcing their products overseas to offer good quality at a bargain price.

Trailer Construction and Materials

Most of the kayak trailers you find on the market will be built from either aluminum or steel.

Aluminum is an extremely lightweight metal that is also highly versatile, flexible, and resistant to corrosion. It’s also surprisingly strong and has a high weight capacity without being excessively heavy itself.

Steel is, of course, an excellent quality metal, but it’s also heavier and prone to rust. Stainless steel is rust-resistant and incredibly durable, but expensive. Galvanized steel is a lighter-weight option that is corrosion-resistant, reliable, and cheaper than stainless steel. Powder-coated steel uses a special rustproof finish to protect the metal beneath, offering both a long lifespan and excellent durability. 

Best Kayak Trailer: Other Important Features to Consider

A blue canoe placed on a trailer

Tongue Length

Most kayak trailers are fixed-tongue trailers, which means the tongue that connects the trailer to your vehicle cannot be extended or retracted. Fixed-tongue trailers account for roughly 95% of trailers on the road.

According to the experts at TrailerSauce, the tongue of your trailer needs to be “at least as long as half the tow vehicle’s width”.

The average car/small SUV is roughly 5 to 6 feet wide, which means you need a tongue at least 2 ½ to 3 feet wide. For safety’s sake, it’s ideal to add another 8-12 inches on top of that length to make sure it has a good clearance margin when making turns.

The good news is that most tongue lengths are between 4 and 6 feet. Look for one upwards of 4’ 6” for best results.


Good kayak trailers come with some form of suspension to protect your kayaks from impact, absorbing the dips and shocks from the road.

There are two standard types of suspension used:

1. Torsion suspension uses a rubber torsion arm system within the axle tubes.

2. Leaf-spring suspension uses a series of stacked curved springs (called leaves) that are secured to the underside of the axle.

However, be warned: not all kayak trailers have suspension. For example, the Right On Multi-Sport Trailer doesn’t include either torsion or leaf-spring suspension. This means there is nothing to cushion impact or shock, so your kayak may be at risk.

Wheel Size

Wheel size will vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. Some, like Malone, will use larger and heavier-duty wheels on 12-inch rims. Others, like Trailex, will use wheels on 8-inch rims. Some budget models even use motorcycle-type tires.

What’s the difference?

·        Bigger wheels are better suited for heavier loads. Typically they’ll be used for heavier-duty steel frames with multiple kayak racks.

·        Smaller wheels are suitable for lighter loads. You’ll often find them on aluminum frames and trailers with a 2-kayak carrying capacity.


If you’re buying your kayak trailer online, it’s going to be shipped to your home for YOU to assemble yourself. It stands to reason that you’ll want to find a trailer that is easy to assemble with clear, easily understandable instructions and how-to guides available online.

Before you buy any kayak trailer, do a quick search through their reviews to see what other consumers said about assembly. Also, search on YouTube for “assembly + TRAILER BRAND/MODEL NAME” to see what others have struggled with when putting together that particular model. 

Easy to move by hand

Smaller trailers are light enough that you can move them by hand, which makes it much easier for you to hitch/unhitch them from your vehicle and move them around your property.

Of course, the heavy-duty frames (made using stainless steel) may be too heavy for you to move around by hand. You may need to opt for a lighter-weight aluminum frame.

What Accessories Will I Need for a Kayak Trailer?

Cam Straps

Cam straps are a great choice to strap your kayak to the trailer. They’re both safer than ratchet straps (which can damage the hull of your kayak) and tend to cost less. The NRS 1″ Heavy Duty Tie Down Strap 2 Pack is one set I’ve used for years to strap down my kayaks. Made from polypropylene with stainless steel cam buckles, they’re UV-protected, highly durable, and rated to hold up to 1,500 pounds. 

Watch this short video on how to properly strap a kayak on a trailer to make sure you’re doing it right:

Tow Flag

Both the US and Canadian Departments of Transportation require that you use a tow flag to warn vehicles of oversize and overweight loads. This applies mostly to cargo trucks, but if you’re hauling an extra-long kayak, it’s worth using a tow flag in order to ensure the safety of the other cars sharing the road with you. This YakAttack Get Hooked Logo Tow Flag is a cheap but highly visible tow flag that will serve you well.

Receiver Lock

I’ve had bad experiences hauling trailers in the past, so I’m always extra cautious when it comes to safety. I like using a receiver lock like the Master Lock 2866DAT Swivel Head Receiver Lock to make double sure the hitch is locked in place. It not only keeps the trailer from coming unhitched while I’m driving, but it prevents theft, too.

Cable Lock

Another great choice for security is a cable lock like the Commando Lock 8-foot Brass Cable Lock. I can use it to lock my kayaks in place on their racks, lock the hitch in place, even lock the wheels.

Here’s a video from a guy who got serious about kayak security:

Kayak Cover

If you want to transport an expensive kayak over long distances, it makes sense to invest in a good kayak cover. It will protect the boat from the elements, dirt, even rocks and gravel flung up by passing vehicles. The Wilderness Systems Kayak Cover is my go-to cover. It’s sized for kayaks 9-15 feet long, made from very durable 600 denier nylon, and can withstand up to 500+ hours of UV exposure.

Kayak Trailer FAQs

Red, yellow and green-blue kayaks stacked on a kayak trailer
Is a kayak trailer better than a roof rack?

Roof racks are cheaper, easier to store, and take up less space on the road than kayak trailers. However, kayak trailers will make it easier to load/unload your kayaks. It will also be easier to secure the kayaks safely onto a trailer than a roof rack. You won’t have to worry about roof clearance when parking indoors or going through a drive-through, either.

Do I need to register a kayak trailer?

Some U.S. states require you to register your kayak trailer and display license plates, but not all. All Canadian provinces require that your kayak is registered.
Begin Boating has a complete list of requirements for all 50 US states.
For Canadians—or U.S. visitors to Canada—contact the local Service Canada office for the province where you’ll be operating the trailer.

Can I use a boat trailer to haul a kayak?

Absolutely! You’ll have to look for a trailer sized for smaller boats/PWC, but the cradle that carries the boat will also carry your kayak. Just take note: boat trailers may be pricier than kayak trailers. But if you’ve already got a boat trailer handy, it can serve double-duty and transport your kayak for you.

Andrew Peloquin

Andrew Peloquin

Andrew is a sports enthusiast, fitness nut, and avid kayaker and paddleboarder who loves nothing more than spending his free time out on the water. He spends his winters snowshoeing, snowboarding, and dreaming of summer days when he can take his beloved 14-footer fishing kayak out to explore the 1,000+ lakes and rivers within driving distance of his home in central British Columbia, Canada.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.