How to haul a kayak on a trailer requires some degree of finesse. Unless you are an experienced kayak hunter, you may want to avoid the more expensive models with fancy gadgets and features. For basic safety and comfort, however, all kayaks should have a simple roof rack and crossbar setup. The roof rack is used to keep the kayak in place while it is being transported; the crossbar keeps the kayak stable while being towed.
There are four main parts to a kayak: the hull, the keel, the cabin interior and the paddle strut. The hull is the top layer of the boat interior, the keel is the bottom of the boat, the cabin interior is the cushioned seats and the strut is the stabilizer, keeping everything in place. All of these parts, except for the tag end (which is the fourth layer), are readily available on most kayak models. If you don’t know how to haul a kayak on a trailer, these are the parts you will need.
The easiest way to move a kayak, whether to a lake or river or the ocean, is to disassemble it and lock the keel to a sturdy anchor. Using a locking keel will secure the kayak against the stronger structure at the back of the trailer. A roof rack solves this problem by securing the keel to the roof rack instead of the stern.
It is not uncommon to encounter a small car that can be hitch loaded with a kayak trailer. These small cars can easily fit into most cars and will be much easier on the environment. You will, however, have to take a chance when taking a trip with a small car. Smaller cars tend to roll over when trying to haul a large kayak trailer. In addition, a small car’s track and wheels may not be strong enough to handle a large trailer. As with a small car, these may be hitch-loaded.
A roof rack hauler is an alternative for those who want the convenience of a roof rack and the reliability of a roof rack. These units attach to the top of your car and can be used to haul kayaks, canoes, or surfboards. You have the advantage of being able to lock the unit to secure it against the roof of your vehicle. A downside, however, is that the roof rack unit will likely not have as many points as a roof rack carrier, so you may not get as much maneuverability when hauling a kayak on the roof of your vehicle.
Crossbars can be used to haul kayak trailers, but only if you can get them attached to a sturdy carrier. This method is recommended for those who want the convenience of crossbars without having to haul with a trailer. The advantage of using a crossbar is that you can control the direction the trailer moves by raising and lowering the bar. Crossbars attach to most small cars, although some vehicle models require special holders.
If you decide that a roof rack carrier is best suited to your needs, you need to consider whether or not your car can support the added weight. Smaller cars may not be able to handle the extra weight, but even the heaviest vehicles can be over-laden when carrying a large load. Before learning how to haul a kayak on a roof rack, you need to determine if your car can withstand the added bulk and weight.
A good way to decide how to haul a kayak on a roof rack is to talk to experienced trailer owners. They can tell you how they haul their kayaks and how much weight they can safely carry. When choosing a trailer, be sure that you select one that best suits your needs. If you don’t have any experience hauling a kayak on the roof of your vehicle, you should consider hiring a professional to help you learn how to haul a kayak on a trailer.