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.
The real advantage of a trailer, costwise, is that mpg suffers less than with roof racks, and that the trailer can be swapped to different vehicles as long as the vehicle has the same size towing ball on it. In other words, you don't need to keep buying different sets of roof-to-rack hardware because you sold your old vehicle.
That's why we could keep our first trailer for 11 years despite several vehicle changes. The same applies to our current trailer. With built-in riser bars, all that's necessary is some minicell kayak blocks--cradles not required.
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