I have a hatch back car. Would a kayak trailer or roof rack be better for transporting a 17' sea kayak.
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I like trailers|
Posted by: redmond on Dec-22-12 5:20 PM (EST)
Most of my put-ins here are boat ramps,so I don't have the problem of finding room for the trailer. I like not having to lift the boats on top of the car and I've gotten pretty good at maneuvering a trailer.
Posted by: ppine on Dec-22-12 5:32 PM (EST)
For heavy boats and tall trucks a trailer is a huge help. For light boats on small cars, a roof rack is fine.
Posted by: abc on Dec-22-12 8:45 PM (EST)
I feel trailer is a luxury:
It's up to you,|
Posted by: tjalmy on Dec-22-12 8:47 PM (EST)
I have both, but I don't use the trailer unless I'm hauling more than two boats. For me, throwing a couple of racks on the car, followed with a couple of boats is easier than getting out the trailer and having the manuvering and parking issues. It's not inexperience, I've had many trailers over the years, from utility trailers to a 28' camper.
Posted by: kayamedic on Dec-22-12 8:53 PM (EST)
I too have a trailer.. and dislike having to figure out what restaurants and motels have ample parking in the dark in strange areas. I do a lot of long distance driving. I will only trailer with three or more boats.
I've never used|
Posted by: rpg51 on Dec-23-12 8:40 AM (EST)
a trailer for canoes and kayaks but I am getting to the point where my age, lack of fitness, and two prior shoulder surgeries are making it hard to load my boats on the roof. I have been looking at trailers and I think a trailer might be in my future. The only thing holding me back now is the price tag. But if you are not having trouble physically getting your boats on the roof (and there are many rack configurations aimed at making it easier to do so) I guess I would stick with racks for all the reasons mentioned.
Posted by: redmond on Dec-23-12 9:38 AM (EST)
For trailers can be less, but it depends on how handy you are. I found a used boat trailer for $200. Spent about another $100 to adapt it. Also bought a Harbor Freight Trailer on sale for about $250. Some assembly required.
Posted by: abc on Dec-23-12 4:20 PM (EST)
For difficulty in loading and unloading boats, I think those new hydrolic boat loader gizmo might be a better option. They cost no more than trailers. They also don't have the wear and tear of the trailer traveling on roads (tires, lights etc).
Posted by: leob1 on Dec-23-12 6:37 PM (EST)
If its just me, or my wife and I with the tandem, then it's on top. Putting my kayak on top myself, or the tandem with both of us lifting, its just easier than hitching the trailer. If we are taking multiple boats, such as the canoe and the tandem kayak, then the trailer is much easier. And, with the kayaks on the trailer I can put all of the stuff paddles, pfds, cooler, drybags, etc in the boat at home, put the cover on, and spend less time getting ready at the put in. At the end of the day, all the wet dirty stuff goes in the boat and not the car. This also comes in handy when we need the space in the car for other stuff, like if we are going camping. I use a regular boat trailer that I adapted for use with paddle craft. I got it for free.
cartopping vs trailer|
Posted by: ret603 on Dec-23-12 7:22 PM (EST)
I have a trailer and also only use it when carrying 3-5 canoes/kayaks. I dislike the parking issues and am still able to load on cartop racks.
Posted by: CEWilson on Dec-23-12 7:29 PM (EST)
You forgot wheel bearings-|
Posted by: rpg51 on Dec-23-12 9:30 PM (EST)
they always seem to go south at the worst time. All you say is true. Trailers are a PIA. But, a nice small and light trailer built for just 2 or 4 boats, not so bad. When your shoulders stop working over head it may be the only alternative if you want to keep paddling.
Posted by: rusty125 on Dec-24-12 12:59 PM (EST)
I've done both. I stopped hauling my composite boat on the trailer because it does not provide the soft and safe ride that that a weighted vehicle suspension does.
Consider elevating the yak on the rack|
Posted by: Glenn_MacGrady on Dec-24-12 1:21 PM (EST)
I have a lot of canoes and kayaks and wouldn't use a trailer for all the negative reasons already stated.
What is the vehicle ?|
Posted by: JackL on Dec-24-12 1:29 PM (EST)
Does raising hatch become a problem|
Posted by: pikabike on Dec-24-12 10:50 PM (EST)
...when the boat is on the roof? Do you intend to keep the kayak on the roof at all times except when paddling, and if so, would it keep you from using the hatchback for loading or unloading other items?
Make loading the boat easier|
Posted by: FrankNC on Dec-25-12 8:42 PM (EST)
I think the biggest drawback to roof racks is the loading of the boat on the rack. With good cradles it is easy to roll the boat up onto the rack from the front of the car with most any cart. C-tug has a video showing how to do this.
Boat Trailer vs Roof Rack|
Posted by: KeyMeKoe on Dec-25-12 11:39 PM (EST)
Thank you for your input. You all brought up many excellent points that I had failed to consider. My car is a 2013 chevy volt. I will go with a thule roof rack, the only one currently available for the volt, with a hull-a-vator. The hull-a-vator should address all the lifting and hatchback issues you all brought up. And the roof rack should address all the disadvantages of the trailer. I am still deciding between the aerodynamic and standard cross bars. Any input on the differences there would also be appreciated.
Might want to re-think that Hullavator|
Posted by: guideboatguy on Dec-27-12 1:27 PM (EST)
The Volt is already low and small, as cars go. I assume since you think you need assistance lifting the boat, it must be a plastic monster that weighs a ton? On a small car, you should be able to get one end of the boat onto the rack, then slide it up the rest of the way. If you do that, you won't have to lift more than about half the boat's weight during any stage of the loading process. You can put carpet on the un-used portion of your cross bars, or use cradles, or substitute a set of rollers for one of the cradles. Alternatively, you can buy or build a temporary cross-bar extension that sticks out to one side, onto which you first lift one end of the boat. There must be a dozen ways to make loading the boat easy, and a Thule Hullavator seems like overkill for the average male paddler with a small car.
Posted by: old_user on Dec-26-12 6:25 AM (EST)
The members of this site usually do a pretty good job with newbie advice. I think you missed the mark on this one.
"Bad advice" or just "not your choice"?|
Posted by: guideboatguy on Dec-27-12 12:51 PM (EST)
Posted by: kayamedic on Dec-27-12 1:18 PM (EST)
trailers are not a blanket solution with one size fits all.
Not as much as a "fleet of roof racks"|
Posted by: pikabike on Dec-27-12 4:44 PM (EST)
The two trailers I've had cost under $1000 (in 2000) and about $1500 including shipping (in 2011). While each costs more than one roof set-up, it's hardly a "fleet" of the latter, especially if there are things such as ShowBoats or Hullavators added on to make rooftop loading easier. And then it still wouldn't be as easy as loading a trailer.
Sports Rig won't even publish prices|
Posted by: guideboatguy on Dec-27-12 5:06 PM (EST)
Expensive does not equal "nice"|
Posted by: pikabike on Dec-28-12 2:25 PM (EST)
SportsRig and Yakima/Rack-n-Roll are the most expensive kayak trailers made, probably partly because they can be folded up.
Posted by: harry0244 on Dec-29-12 2:05 PM (EST)
on what you are driving as to the extra for gas. I haul one or two kayaks on the roof of my 4X4 Silverado, and the highway mpg for cruising at 60 mph is about 1/2 mpg less, 16 1/2 vs 17. While there is a noticeable difference in reaction to wind, it doesn't cause me problems. I would have serious problems turning around with a trailer some of the places I go. The bottom line is that no one solution fits all.
Trailer is by far the best option|
Posted by: Bill_Stevenson on Dec-26-12 2:09 PM (EST)
I use a Sportsrig trailer. It is designed to handle light weight loads like kayaks and bicycles. It uses motorcycle suspension and conveniently folds up against a wall in my garage using a foot print of about 2'x4'. I have never been charged an extra toll for it. My gas mileage is almost unchanged as compared to no trailer, whereas a loaded roof rack will steal at least 10% of your fuel economy. In the 10 or more years I have owned it, and after thousands of miles of towing, the electicals all work and the wheelbearings are just fine. All the bugaboos verbalized in this thread have simply not proven to be true. I bought it after throwing my shoulder out when the wind caught my kayak while attempting to put it up on the roof of my car by myself. A trailer avoids that particular problem. A friend of mine forgot that he had a kayak on the roof and drove into his garage. He needed a new boat after that and a new garage door and frame. In strong cross winds, small cars with boats on the roof are blown around a lot more than small cars towing the boats on a purpose built trailer. The one and only downside to buying a trailer such as the Sportsrig is that they are expensive. On the other hand, the medical bills from my shoulder injury cost a lot more than the trailer did.
Bugaboos are largely avoidable|
Posted by: pikabike on Dec-26-12 8:40 PM (EST)
Posted by: rblturtle on Dec-27-12 6:43 AM (EST)
If you have a Chevy Volt,a trailer would be beter so when it explodes your boats are saved.
Posted by: Bill_Stevenson on Dec-31-12 1:17 PM (EST)
The wheels on a Sportsrig trailer are motorcycle type, I would have to look to be sure, but they are 18" or 19" diameter. The bearings are sealed and don't require frequent greasing.
"Frequent" greasing is twice per year|
Posted by: pikabike on Dec-31-12 1:38 PM (EST)
A minute or two each time. Hardly a factor in the decision.
Wheel Bearings and Failures|
Posted by: guideboatguy on Dec-31-12 4:37 PM (EST)
From what I can tell, wheel-bearing failures usually involve neglected trailers, especially the neglected ones that also have their axles submerged in water at times, as is the case for normal boat trailers. I've met a lot of people who tow various kinds of trailers, but still haven't met someone who's had a wheel-bearing failure. Anyone who's mileage is not extreme, or who comes even close to following Pikabike's advice if their mileage is high, shouldn't have anything to worry about.
Trailer won't work for me, since I keep|
Posted by: Yanoer on Dec-27-12 5:24 PM (EST)
a boat on my car during the week when at work. No place to park a trailer at work.
Capacity is most important in trailers|
Posted by: joewildlife on Dec-29-12 8:27 PM (EST)
I'd love to have a Sportsrig or Yakima Rack and Roll trailer. Question is, who stole who's design?
Ummm, I use utility trailers|
Posted by: redmond on Dec-29-12 9:09 PM (EST)
I've used them to carry lightweight boats over thousands of miles and haven't "beaten the crap out of" any of them yet. Just telling my personal experience. Fiberglass, kevlar, and poly. Hasn't hurt any of them. Sorry, real world experience.
Well, he's right that they ride rough|
Posted by: guideboatguy on Dec-29-12 9:44 PM (EST)
This thread has me thinking even more|
Posted by: rpg51 on Dec-30-12 10:28 AM (EST)
about a trailer. I'm 60 years old and I've had two shoulder surgeries. I have been struggling with all sorts of tactics and gizmos to help me get my boats on the roof for several years. Lord knows how many years I have left. It is starting to impact my interest in paddling - at least day trips. If I don't do it now - when will I do it? Have to start setting aside some $.
One of the things I dislike re trailer|
Posted by: kayamedic on Dec-30-12 11:12 AM (EST)
is loading boats waist high. Its not really much fun getting them inbetween the low bars and the high bars (that are around shoulder high0. But I have a four canoe trailer.
The best thing|
Posted by: rnaimo on Dec-30-12 12:26 PM (EST)
I like about using a trailer is you can keep a eye on the boats. I have a converted boat trailer that I built a rack on that is a little below shoulder height. The boats can be seen in the rear-view and both side-view mirrors. I can also load the bikes and camping equiment on the trailer for them weekend get-aways.
Trailer loading height varies|
Posted by: pikabike on Dec-31-12 1:14 PM (EST)
The height to load onto our old snowmobile trailer was low. The height to load to our Trailex kayak trailer is a little higher but still manageable even for 5'3" me.
Sportsrig has shocks and springs|
Posted by: Bill_Stevenson on Dec-31-12 1:29 PM (EST)
The load limit is 250 lbs. so your boats are not subjected to undue shock. The use of motorcycle type wheels and a swing arm suspended with motorcycle springs and shocks make this possible.
yeah, that's why I mentioned it...|
Posted by: guideboatguy on Dec-31-12 4:14 PM (EST)
Several trailers with leafspring|
Posted by: pikabike on Dec-31-12 1:08 PM (EST)
suspension that are soft and suitable for kayaks/canoes are made by Trailex. I own one of them, the SUT-350-M2 trailer. It is rated to a payload of 350 lbs max. The leafspring suspension is, indeed, quite soft. Softer than the flavor of Tor-flex suspension that was on our old modified snowmobile trailer. Both trailers carried glass sea kayaks many, many times without any harm to the boats.
Sportsrig was on the market for years...|
Posted by: Bill_Stevenson on Dec-31-12 1:14 PM (EST)
before Yakima came out with their trailer. Either of these trailers is a better solution than any others I have seen.
Who stole whose design?|
Posted by: pikabike on Dec-31-12 1:23 PM (EST)
What I *heard* (no verification other than the sequence of going to market) is that a designer from SportsRig left to start Rack-n-Roll. Whether that designer stole the design is beyond my knowledge.
Posted by: Bill_Stevenson on Dec-31-12 1:22 PM (EST)
Finding a place to park a trailer does require creative thinking. Since my Sportsrig is lightweight, I often detach it from the car and then push the trailer and boat(s) into a separate parking spot, or even put it off pavement in the grass or whatnot. I also use the trailer like a cart to deliver the boat by hand to water's edge.
Let's get back to the OP, please|
Posted by: Glenn_MacGrady on Dec-30-12 1:03 PM (EST)
Hard, I know, on pnet.
Posted by: kayamedic on Dec-30-12 3:06 PM (EST)
headtopping is impractical.
Posted by: pblanc on Dec-30-12 5:29 PM (EST)
I had a friend who used a Portage Pal T-1000 trailer to haul his solitary sea kayak. And he had an F-150 pickup truck.
I'm another one who lone-trailers|
Posted by: pikabike on Dec-31-12 1:01 PM (EST)
Most of my paddling is solo. The trailer gets used both for solo and partner paddling (carrying 2 sea kayaks on the trailer). We have done it both ways and prefer trailering by such a huge margin it's not even a contest.
Watch me haul one kayak on Sportsrig|
Posted by: Bill_Stevenson on Dec-31-12 1:26 PM (EST)
If you ever get to West Palm Beach give me a holler and we'll go paddling. That way in your 60 plus years of paddling you will have seen two trailers hauling only one kayak. Or maybe two if you need me to bring an extra boat for you to use.
Posted by: abc on Dec-31-12 2:04 PM (EST)
"However, I don't think I exaggerate my personal and objective experience by saying that, in more than 60 years of boating with thousands of paddlers, I can only recall one person who used a trailer to tote a lone kayak. "
"Drawback" versus inexperience|
Posted by: guideboatguy on Dec-31-12 4:27 PM (EST)
All the questions about how to load a heavy boat onto the roof do NOT indicate a drawback of cartopping. They only indicate that most people simply can't figure out how to do things the easy way, or how to build or modify their racks. I loaded an aluminum jonboat on top of a full size van so many times when I was a teenager, and back then I weighed 130 pounds and was NOT at all strong. That boat was far heavier and more awkward to handle than any kayak that was ever made, but it was easy because the method used was sensible. Loading it onto a full-size van was a bit harder than loading onto something like a station wagon (again, both vehicles had proper rack modifications), but even loading onto something like a station wagon is actually EASIER with that kind of boat (or a canoe) than loading onto something down around waist-high.
And how much of the "drawback" of traile|
Posted by: abc on Dec-31-12 4:47 PM (EST)
... is also due to inexperience?
Posted by: guideboatguy on Dec-31-12 5:21 PM (EST)
Posted by: abc on Dec-31-12 7:28 PM (EST)
in your difficulty of loading onto low decks.
He is not unique|
Posted by: kayamedic on Dec-31-12 7:48 PM (EST)
it IS hard to load onto a low deck when there is a higher load bar in the way.
sort of depends|
Posted by: pblanc on Jan-01-13 8:57 AM (EST)
If two people are handling the boat, it is relatively easy to load onto a low pair of crossbars even if there is a boat above.
Probably a casd of not being clear|
Posted by: guideboatguy on Jan-01-13 9:19 AM (EST)
But, if moving the boat around on a cart|
Posted by: Yanoer on Jan-01-13 12:00 PM (EST)
......loading onto low bars on a trailer would be easier.
In that case, yes. (nm)|
Posted by: guideboatguy on Jan-01-13 5:32 PM (EST)
Posted by: abc on Jan-02-13 10:35 PM (EST)
The OP was asking about kayaks.
True enough, but ...|
Posted by: guideboatguy on Jan-02-13 11:18 PM (EST)
Its been a good discussion|
Posted by: kayamedic on Dec-31-12 6:14 PM (EST)
but did we lost the OP..did I miss what sort of hatchback is involved?
Posted by: old_user on Jan-03-13 10:32 PM (EST)
Its Malone all the way. USA made versus China import. Better warranty. Great customer support. All in all no contest.
Yakima Rack N Roll vs. Malone MicroSport|
Posted by: KeyMeKoe on Jan-01-13 9:22 AM (EST)
How does the Yakima trailer compare to the Malone?
Roof Racks AND Trailer|
Posted by: Cascadians on Jan-02-13 2:12 PM (EST)
We used to have Thule J cradles on the top of our Jeep for 4 kayaks.
Click photo to enlarge or click here to change viewing preference.
Looks like Chewbacca paddling the kayak |
Posted by: Yanoer on Jan-03-13 12:29 AM (EST)
ok I'll weigh in|
Posted by: slushpaddler on Jan-03-13 2:59 PM (EST)
If one has a two-door hatchback, which allows little in the way of bar spread, one has to decide whether to:
Posted by: old_user on Jan-03-13 10:53 PM (EST)
i have a 15.5 pelican canoe and an F-150 with a rack in the bed i haul it on. it over hung on the tail gate too much so i bought the rack. i usually am at a landing which is easy to load and unload, but it can cause me looks from people with trailer rigs waiting to launch or take out. i have to unload, the load my gear and takes longer. when landing i have to unload my canoe then load it then strap it down. a trailer would be nice and easier physically, but then comes tags, registration, maintenance and so on. i've thought about making a dolly rig so i can just park and unload my canoe, then load it by my vehicle and use the dolly to walk it to the water. then i have the problem of what to do with the dolly. if loading and unloading from the roof isn't too much physically, i'd say it's best. no flats on the trailer or bearings wearing out on the highway. no extra registration costs.
Harbor Freight trailer|
Posted by: old_user on Jan-05-13 8:41 AM (EST)
love my trailer|
Posted by: gobsmacked on Jan-05-13 11:27 AM (EST)
Bought a utility trailer for ~$400, plywood floor added, 2x4 racks installed with simple foam pads on top. Racks are spaced to support the bulkheads.