I’m really excited to be continuing our kayak transportation discussion. If you missed the first part on truck bed transportation you can find that right here.
I’ve got Jason West and Kyle Matlock here with me today. If you have been around the Feelfree community, these two are long time pro staff guys that have been transporting their kayaks on trailers for some time now. I'm very excited to hear their thoughts, and I’m grateful that they would share some of their experiences with us today.
Let’s just start there with the question, how long have each of you been transporting your kayak on a trailer?
I’ve been transporting my kayak on a trailer for a little over a year now. (Jason West)
And I’ve been transporting on a trailer for two years now. (Kyle Matlock)
That’s great. I feel like you guys will have some good information for us. With other transportation options available, why did you decide to use a trailer?
When I started kayaking I roof topped my kayak. But as years went on I began having back issues due to previous injuries. Eventually, I got a truck but even lifting my kayak a few feet off the ground to load it caused pain. This is when I decided to switch to a trailer and my back has been great ever since. No lifting, plus the added benefit of not having to strip everything off when loading and unloading my kayak is great and in my opinion well worth the price of a trailer. (Jason West)
That’s great. So it was primarily an accessibility issue for you. How about for you Kyle?
For me, I wanted an easier way to transport the Kayak as well as things needed for camping. My trailer also allows me to be able to carry multiple Kayaks (up to 2, and 3 if I put one on top of my car) and my rods with the help of two 10 foot storage tubes. (Kyle Matlock)
So using a trailer for you, Kyle, is about added storage, and the ability to haul multiple kayaks. The thought of taking 3+ kayaks to a lake sounds really appealing to me personally. How did you guys go about selecting a trailer? I know that there are a lot of options out there.
The first thing you need to ask yourself when purchasing a trailer is, “How much am I willing to spend, and how much retrofitting am I willing to do?”
A used Jet Ski trailer fits kayaks great and can be purchased for as little as $200-300 dollars, but restoration on it could mean anything from simply putting new tires, to fully sanding down and restoring the entire trailer.
On the flip side, if money isn’t a factor you could buy a top of the line trailer all the way down to custom paint to match your truck or Kayak. Those will set you back a few thousand dollars.
For me it was finding a middle ground. Something I didn’t need to restore, but also had quality parts and would be reliable. After doing a lot of research I settled on a ComFab single boat trailer. It has good hubs, tires and is galvanized to keep the rust off. Plus the added swivel jack makes it great for not having to lift anything. I just roll the kayak out of the garage and sit it over the ball hitch, then lower the jack down until the trailer is connected. It’s great! (Jason West)
That’s really cool, Jason. It looks great too! I’ll add a picture to the blog here so that the community can see it.
How about you, Kyle?
My father had an old Harbor Freight folding trailer that he wasn’t using any longer so I purchased it from him and began my journey of converting it over to carry kayaks. We removed the folding feature and extended the trailer out to 12 feet where it would have folded in the middle. We added a truck rack, the two rod tubes and finished the deck with plywood. My plan is to add a table to be able to cook on, and an easier way to add and remove my cargo bin that carries all my accessories and camping things. (Kyle Matlock)
You had me at cooking, Kyle. So yours is pretty retrofitted, and required a bit of work, but it turned out really nice. It’s crazy just how much additional room you have on it to transport other things too. Give me a call when you are looking to grill something on it!
There are a lot of different Feelfree kayaks. So what might work well for a Dorado, might not work for a Moken. So let me ask you this, what kayak are you transporting, and how do you strap it down?
I’m transporting a Lure 11.5. I strap it down using the winch strap on the front handle, then I use cam straps through each side of the handles in the middle of my kayak. This keeps it seated evenly on the trailer. I then add another cam strap in the back of the kayak just for extra security. (Jason West)
So, Jason, you use a total of 4 straps on your Lure 11.5. How about you, Kyle?
I currently transport a Lure as well. It’s an 11.5 OD V1, I use one ratchet strap through the front handle and one just behind the seat. I’m careful to not tighten them down too tight. I just want them to be snug. I have also transported a Dorado on the top of the truck racks. I’ve used cam straps just the same way I would with the Lure. (Kyle Matlock)
Thanks so much for your time, guys. Are there any final, helpful tips you would have for someone that is thinking about purchasing a trailer?
Make sure to look around and decide what features you want before you buy your trailer. For example, because of my back issues, lifting as little as possible is important to me. That's why I went with one that has a trailer jack that allows me to lift the trailer up and down just by turning a handle. It also allows me to easily unhook and roll my whole setup into my garage without having to back it in with my truck. Also make sure that the trailer, tires and hubs are rated for highway speeds. Last, look at the brake lights. Older trailers will have lightbulbs which have a tendency to go out once they hit the water. Most new trailers have LED lights which should be a lot less prone to going out. (Jason West)
I would add to that to get the the trailer to work for you. You don't want to be struggling to find places for things or places to strap down your kayak. You need to decide if you want to be able to back the trailer into the water, or if you just want to be able to get it to the water. I don’t have back issues like Jason, so I personally just get it close to the water then go from there. The more storage you can add to the trailer the better. (Kyle Matlock)
Jason and Kyle, I want to thank you guys again for contributing to this round table discussion. You’ve given us a lot to think about, and I’m sure your wisdom will inspire more than a few people to give a trailer a try this year.
For more info on trailer transportation, feel free to reach out to either Jason, or Kyle, or just post on the Feelfree Facebook Group Page.
Written by Bobby Ulrich with help from Jason West and Kyle Matlock, Feelfree US Pro Staff Team Members
Edited by Bobby Ulrich, Feelfree US Pro Staff Team Member