Towing/rack options for multiple kayaks

jerzojerzo Member Posts: 1
edited June 2015 in Mazda
Hello all,

We're on our second Mazda 5 (first an '08, and now an '12) and we couldn't be more happy with it as it has been a perfect family vehicle for two kids (and a dog).

As our kids are getting older, we're starting to get more involved in outdoor activities.

I have a 1-person Pelican kayak that I have carried on the roof using temporary foam bars and straps to the front tow hook and hook under the rear bumper with success for two years now.

We recently also bought my kids two smaller sit-upon kayaks, which amazingly, fit inside the hatch with the door down, and both kids in the back seat. Can't even do that in most SUVs :-)

The problem is that this only works if the only thing we're doing is kayaking for the day. But, we now want to go to a cabin and also take the dog, and all the other supplies that need to go inside the car.

So, I'm looking for options to carry all 3 kayaks (and maybe a 4th if we buy one for my wife) on the outside of the vehicle.

I considered a utility trailer, but the manual says the Mazda is not rated for 'any' towing.

Does this include a ~500 lb 5'x7' utility trailer? Total weight of the kayaks is definitely going to be less than 100 lbs, so is the Mazda 5 (Touring) really not able to pull less that 1000 lbs?

I don't have any racks or rails installed, so I'm also looking for the best option to carry the larger kayak(s) on the roof.

As for my kid's smaller kayaks, they are maybe only 10 - 15 lbs each. I have a Thule 3-bike rack that secures around the back door. Is there anyway to safely modify that to carry the two lighter kayaks?

Or, are there any other rack or hitch carrier options that would provide us the flexibility we need?

I don't feel like voiding our warrantee, so I'm looking for any creative options you can think of :-) .. But I'd love to get a utility trailer if it would still be safe.

Thanks in advance,



  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    edited June 2015
    I think you may be underestimating the weight of your kayaks, even the short ones.

    I'm not a fan of towing - something else to register (in most states), buy tires for, try to store and try to park on the road. Always used racks, and mostly "double wide" ones that I can carry two canoes side by side and a third on top (or a fifth, or sixth... :p )

    For yaks, I think I'd go with a rack with a center post, although the longer sea kayaks will probably like riding flat better.

    I've always managed to cartop my boats and still have access to my rear hatch, although sometimes that access is with the hatch resting against the end of the boat. If you do go with racks, remember to watch your head, especially if you go with wide bars or kludge your own. It gets easier to remember after the first few clunks though. :)

    If you go with a trailer, pay attention to the tongue length. Sometimes a longer tongue makes it easier to access the rear hatch, and should give you a bit more clearance for the longer boats going around corners.
  • texasestexases Member Posts: 10,056
    edited June 2015
    You might check out, they'll have a roof rack, and their 'big stack' mount says they can be used to carry up to 4 boats (1 big stack per boat). They also sell a lightweight (150 pound) trailer that would carry that stuff. I'd prefer a roof rack.
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