When you’re deciding on getting a rack or a trailer for your kayak. You can be put in a bit of a pickle. Deciding on the correct trailer or rack that you use for your kayak will require you to take on a few compromises and considerations before you make your perfect choice, but boy will it be worth it!

Firstly, you have to consider that your choice will depend on the equipment that you’re using. If you are a solo kayaker and you’re only interested in a kayak transport this whittles down your options. However, if you choose to specialize in several sports and you want to carry several kayaks at a time we can examine a larger variety of racks and custom trailers.

The Kayak Trailer –

kayaktrailersmanyIf you are getting into kayaking seriously and have the space and money to tow your kayak it probably makes much more sense to buy a quality trailer. Fuel economy is one of the biggest advantages here since the kayaks running behind the car create a sort of wind tunnel and waste less fuel. Another great advantage is the comfort, and the capacity that the kayak trailer allows let’s be honest when you load and unload kayaks off the top of your car it is a huge pain and very difficult. It would be much easier with the trailer to allow transport of your equipment.

The trailer can also hold four kayaks and up dependent on how many you need. We have seen kayak trailers that can hold up to 12 kayaks but for most people’s purposes a trailer that holds four will suffice.

One of the cons of the trailer is obviously the price it’s a little larger than the roof rack as well as the loss of range of movement of your vehicle when the trailer is connected. There are trailers that are much more customizable and have larger ranges of motion and these come in different sizes as well.

Another good thing about the trailers is that they are very well built and designed and you can easily adapt the trailer to use whatever you like. If for example you later choose to put bikes on the trailer you know that you can do this by adjusting the trailer and loading and unloading quickly and easily.

A kayak trailer can come with a lot of accessories and this is great because you can use those to greatly customize your trailer to whichever task you wish.

If you are the type of person that likes to take your kayak on long journeys a roof rack is probably not for you and you should go with the trailer. However, if you are only doing small nearby kayaking trips then maybe a roof rack could work.

The Kayak Roof Rack – Racking It Up

roofrackA roof rack is usually the cheapest solution, but they do have their disadvantages such as fuel consumption, depending on the type of vehicle that you’re using the consumption with the roof rack can be up to 30% greater and can go all the way up to 50% because of the wind force during highway speeds. This happens because of the additional air resistance that is pushing against your kayak and thus making your car slower. The roof rack and the air resistance bring its value down. If brought on a highway trip for example, it can actually cost you more gasoline in the long run than a trailer!

Another problem with the roof rack is the fact that they don’t allow you to carry as much weight. For example, the maximum that a roof rack could support would be two boats, if you have a lot of other things to carry the trailer could carry more load.

Additionally, it could be a big pain to deal with the roof rack they could be very difficult to install correctly and there is always the possibility of them becoming loose. One of the major drawbacks is that it makes loading and unloading a challenge.

We know that when you’re trying to choose a roof rack or a trailer. This could be a big decision for you and could have a big financial impact. So here is a little bit of a helper for making your decision.

Roof Rack the Positives –
  • storage of a roof rack is easy
  • the roof rack is very cheap and affordable(money spent in gas however may dilute this positive)
Roof Rack the Negatives-
  • much more difficult to load your kayak
  • will reduce the fuel efficiency and cost more gas
  • Limited to up to two kayaks
Kayak Trailer the Positives –
  • allows your vehicle to drive balanced
  • a larger capacity for storing more kayaks
  • increased fuel efficiency due to wind tunnel effect
  • much easier to load and unload
Kayak Trailer the Negatives –
  • may need a larger vehicle to be able to haul the trailer and will need some assembly such as a hitch
  • reduced abilities to go off road
  • cost – can get expensive

I hope this helps you in deciding which of the two to use. Please leave a comment. If you had any more helpful suggestions.