Get Off the Roof! Why a Kayak Trailer Is Better Than a Roof Rack
Kayaks make it easy to explore even the most remote waterways. But getting the boats to place where you can reach your favorite paddling spot often proves challenging.
Many kayak owners opt to install roof racks to transport their boats. Roof racks have many appealing features. They tend to be relatively inexpensive, they are easy to install, and can be removed when the kayaking season is over. However, there are some major disadvantages too. Driving with a kayak on your roof significantly reduces your fuel efficiency, for example.
For that and several other reasons, a kayak trailer is a better choice for the serious paddler. Let’s take a look at some of the many advantages of using trailers instead of roof racks.
Trailers Carry Multiple Boats. If you want to paddle as a group, in most cases you can only fit one or two kayaks on a roof rack. Depending on the size of your kayak trailer, you can carry six or more kayaks at once.
Trailers Are Easier to Load. As anyone who has tried to load a kayak onto the roof of his or her vehicle after a long day of paddling can attest, the process of lifting and securing the boat to the roof rack can be challenging. For someone of smaller stature, simply reaching the belts and ropes is difficult. A kayak trailer can usually be loaded in half the time.
Trailers Get Better Gas Mileage. As noted above, roof racks affect a vehicle’s aerodynamics, reducing fuel efficiency. While you still won’t get your typical gas mileage with a kayak trailer, the affect will be much less drastic than with a roof rack.
Trailers Offer More Flexibility. Some roof racks are designed specifically for kayaks, and cannot transport other gear, like canoes or bicycles. In addition, all of your paddling gear needs to be stored inside the vehicle. Most trailers can accommodate gear in addition to kayaks; many allow the option of enclosed storage for luggage, life jackets, and more.
A kayak trailer does have some drawbacks — you have to sacrifice some maneuverability in tight places, for example — but if you are a serious paddler, or you often travel with family and friends, a trailer can make getting your boat to your favorite spot a lot easier, and get you on the water faster.