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Submitted: 02-20-2014 by Rikjohnson
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FOLLOW-UP REVIEW
After having taken the trailer from Tucson to Yuma (4 hours freeway) a couple times, I have a few additional comments to add to my previous review [2014-01-31].

First trip was to Yuma via I-8, then along a rough road followed by a sand and grass path between the Indian reservation and Colorado River. Once at the put-in, I had to unhook the trailer, push it up a grassy slope and park it until I could turn the jeep around and reattach the trailer. No problem. Unloaded as it was, it moved easily.

Last weekend, I repeated the basic trip but from Yuma it was 18 miles of poorly graded road to the Picacho Campground. The trailer towed so well on both trips I had to stop and check to be certain that it was still there. On the way home, we stopped to help a stranded motorist but the rough dirt road was too narrow to turn so again, I unhooked the loaded trailer (2 kayaks, camping and boating gear), pulled it over the washboard, turned the jeep around and reattached the trailer. No problems and I am NOT a young man anymore. With a high vehicle like the Jeep or Forerunner, the boats were below the rear window which made backing up tricky. Good thing I put a flag on my kayak stern.

It seems that the version I bought had all the features people desired as standard. This includes running lights, easy-to-mount tail-lights and handle-on-the-tongue. I don't know if Malone read the reviews and fixed the complaints or what, but I got a bunch of freebees that earlier buyers had to pay for.

I DID make a few changes that Malone may wish to address.

  1. I drilled a hole in the tongue near the front and installed an eye-bolt for a bow tie-down straps. I strongly suggest this as I had a woman fail to tie my kayak down properly and it slid out of the straps. A bow tie-down would have saved my boat.
  2. the rails are still too flimsy. Either replace them with stronger rails or slide a piece of #5 rebar inside for strength. The rebar option is cheaper.
  3. I drilled holes at the ends of each rail and ran an eye-bolt for my tie-down straps. ONLY at the end, never in the middle. That way I can hook the strap to the end-bolt, over the boat, around the rail, back over the bolt and to that eye-bolt again. Makes tieing down the boats easier and safer.
  4. Never enough tie-down points. Yes, there are holes all around the frame but... I ran a bunch of eye-bolts through these holes and now have plenty of tie-down points.
  5. I went to Harbor Freight and bought a sheet of deck-mat. this is corrugated rubber that people glue to steel stairs. I added it to the tongue in case I had to stand on the tongue to reach the top of the jeep.
  6. Wire hose. I distrust bare wires clipped to the trailer. The insulation ages or rabbits nibble at them and you have shorts. I ran my wires through an old garden hose to protect them.
I made others but those were personal and the Microsport accepts mods easily. I added a large box above the axle with added angle-steel to hold it in place for my gear. Then a wood deck over the frame where I put a couple B2 bags with extra gear. Added a few ammo-boxes to the frame to hold tie-down straps, the usual. Even with all that extra weight, the trailer performed wonderfully!

The standard rails easily held my wing-saddles and a J-rack between (3 boats) so I never saw the need to get the extended rails for a 4th boat. I have seen people with a Malone hauling 4 J-racks with no problems.

I DO suggest getting the spare tire option. Last weekend I saw a number of trailers with missing tire and expensive boat along a deserted road. The victim of a flat where the owner had to leave his boat & trailer on the road while he drove into town to get the flat fixed. Anyone with a spare could easily upgrade to a free boat. So pay for the spare tire!

Unless you are handy, like me, and have a box laying around, I would suggest that you buy the storage box option! At the least, you can put your PFD, painter, leash and other boat gear in the box and clear out the trunk and back-seat of the car. ALSO, I found tossing my wet gear and clothes into the box to be preferable to driving across the desert with my water-shoes and paddle clothes stinking up the car.

For the price ($1169 free shipping) you cannot get anything better. In April, I will be doing a talk on Modifying your kayak at a kayak event and am considering showing off my Microsport. It's well worth the money.

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