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Old 08-19-2020, 05:00 PM   #1 (permalink)
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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

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Old 08-20-2020, 09:25 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Harbor fright has a 2" double receiver plug in adapter for cheap. I use it on my F250 to attach the bike rack above the trailer hitch when dragging my casita.
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Old 08-20-2020, 07:57 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I wasn't a fan of our double hitch. I had to take the bikes off and dismount the bike rack in order to unhook the camper. It's a pop up, so I already had bunches of assembly to do right then anyway.
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Old 08-21-2020, 12:07 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Your results make sense, having the kayaks atop the car increases the frontal area which increases drag, while if towed behind on a trailer it's partially in the wake of the car.
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Old 08-21-2020, 12:43 AM   #5 (permalink)
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My 96 Suzuki Esteem (in my pre-hypermiling days) got 40 mpg driving it like I stole it. Putting a Christmas tree on the roof and driving it 2 hours to my father's house got me 20mpg for the trip.

If I had owned my trailer then, I'd have used it.
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Transmission type Efficiency
Manual neutral engine off.100% @MPG <----- Fun Fact.
Manual 1:1 gear ratio .......98%
CVT belt ............................88%
Automatic .........................86%

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Old 08-21-2020, 12:55 AM   #6 (permalink)
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My inclination is always towards trailer vs roof.

A friend of mine needed a home for a 16’ canoe, so I offered to store it in my garage for unlimited usage of it. Decided to buy a 2” receiver and trailer light controller for the company car to tow it (and anything else I trailer). I’ve only got 1.5 years left to get use of it. I’ll remove it all and try to sell it when I’m done, but as of now I’m $175 and a morning in on it.
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Old 08-21-2020, 02:12 PM   #7 (permalink)
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My Civic Hybrid MT got around 48mpg driving to the lake and back (43 mile round trip).

With 2 kayaks on top it got around 33, so that tracks.

I bet this trailer would do pretty well for fuel economy.
https://www.austinkayak.com/Yakima-R...r/ACK687P.html
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Old 08-22-2020, 10:44 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Where these aforementioned kayaks tarped together or naked to the world?
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Old 08-23-2020, 11:06 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Piotrsko View Post
Where these aforementioned kayaks tarped together or naked to the world?
Just up there one on each side. They are hard enough to get up there and tie down. The double hitch might work, I could probably just put the bikes on the trailer as well. I also was thinking, they nest on the trailer and that may be a better way to carry them on the roof. These are not the exact kayaks I have but a similar shape and size. Again, it would be even harder to get them up on the roof and tied down this way.

I think I'll just stick to the trailer.

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Old 08-23-2020, 11:33 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Here's my latest setup:


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