View Single Post
Old 08-19-2020, 05:00 PM   #1 (permalink)
Master EcoModder
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: Missoula, MT
Posts: 2,583

Dark Egg - '12 VW Touraeg
Thanks: 272
Thanked 1,146 Times in 785 Posts
Kayaks on roof vs towed behind on small trailer

I picked up a couple of 10' kayaks this spring and have been waiting to do some testing. Unfortunately 60 hour weeks have kept me away from the water but finally I have some back to back trips using 2 methods of transport with the same car, to the same lake and back. So about 60 miles up and 60 miles back, at 65 MPH similar weather. Vehicle is the 2012 VW Touareg TDI. First trip I stacked the 2 kayaks on a single wave runner trailer and got 30 MPG up and 32 back (the lakes are a higher elevation). Then yesterday I put them up on the roof with those "J" racks so they sit at a 45% angle on their side to be able to fit 2 wide fishing kayaks. I got 25 MPG up and 27 back. That is by the lie-O-meter which has proven pretty accurate (maybe 1 mpg high) the last 10,000 miles I have owned it. Normal steady state 65 mph usually runs about the 32 MPG. I haven't ran it up to the lake without Kayaks to verify but I would bet 31 MPG up and 33 back with nothing.

The trailer is actually much easier to load and unload.

I paid $500 for the trailer and a broken waverunner so after selling the waverunner for $200 I have $300 in the trailer. It's permanent license plate cost me maybe $60. So $360 total.

I paid $90 for the "J" racks, and $150 for the cross bars on the roof rack, so $240 total.

The idea initially was to keep the hitch open for bike racks, or tow the waverunner (I did buy another working one without a trailer), and keep the kayaks on the roof. I like taking the kayaks to no wake lakes anyway, and I now don't see doing both biking and kayaking on the same trip, so I think most times I will use the trailer to move them from now on. The $2 a trip savings would never have paid for the extra $120 the trailer cost, but technically I already had the trailer for the Waverunner so really the $240 for the roof rack was wasted money.

Bottom line:
No kayaks 32 mpg
Kayaks on trailer 31 mpg
Kayaks on roof 26 mpg

  Reply With Quote
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to Hersbird For This Useful Post:
aerohead (08-21-2020), Fat Charlie (08-20-2020), samwichse (08-20-2020)