Pull-Behind Gear: Trailer offers 'Massive Capacity'

We had four grown men and a stationwagon. We had mountain bikes, backpacks, paddles, life jackets, shoes, and all the food and extra gear required of a weekend away.

We had 200 miles to drive. Fortunately, we also had a trailer.

Yakima RackandRoll Gear Trailer all loaded up

Yakima Gear Trailer all loaded up

The RackandRoll trailer from Yakima, a unique gear-hauling creature, offers massive capacity for bikes, boats, and other bulky gear.

Two wheels, an aluminum chassis, and a trailer tongue comprise the skeletal system. Yakima includes a set of its rack-mounting bars, which affix on the trailer to create a blank slate of a platform for attaching carriers of all sorts.

Our trailer, a loaner from a local Yakima sales rep, came ready to go with four bike mounts and a large gear box in the middle. We rolled our mountain bikes onto the trailer and cinched them on for the ride.

Yakima RackandRoll Gear Trailer

Yakima Gear Trailer in its base form

When empty, the RackandRoll weighs about 160 pounds — light for a trailer. My immediate concern was with bumps and high speeds on backcountry roads. If we hit a rut would the trailer bounce or go airborne with our bikes and gear taking a jarring hit?

Happy to say that did not happen. Yakima includes independently adjustable suspension on each wheel with about 4 inches of travel. The company uses motorcycle shocks that offer “about twice” the cushion of what’s used on standard trailers, Yakima cites.

On our drive, a four-hour journey to an adventure race, more than once I winced when we hit a bump. But looking in the rearview mirror I could see the trailer sucking up the bump and keeping our bikes stable at high speed.

You can haul up to 300 pounds of gear with one configuration of the RackandRoll trailer. It comes in two sizes and allows for the attachment of not only bike racks and gear boxes but boat mounts, ski racks, and most any other accessory that normally sits atop a car.

Convenience and extra gear capacity are the advantages. You can easily mount six bikes or multiple boats on the trailer.

Yakima RackandRoll Gear Trailer

Yakima Gear Trailer with bikes

But all the capacity will cost you. Starting at $2,149, the Yakima trailers are a major investment. This price gives you the trailer and crossbars, but all mountable accessories are extra.

The trailer is about 6.5 feet wide and 11 feet long. It mounts to a vehicle hitch with a 1 7/8-inch tow ball and includes a standard electrical hookup for stop, turn, and running lights.

On our trip, the RackandRoll performed as advertised, tracking straight, rolling smooth, and hauling our equipment so seamlessly we often forgot it was there.

—Stephen Regenold is founder and editor of www.gearjunkie.com. Connect with Regenold at Facebook.com/TheGearJunkie or on Twitter via @TheGearJunkie.

Posted by Jer - 07/05/2012 12:46 PM

Nice option for big trips. Once again a shame to see Yakima requiring you need to put more $$ in for the extras (ie shocks, kickstand). Why can’t they just make an all in one out the door package?

Posted by Matthew Mullins - 07/07/2012 03:49 PM

Malone sport trailers cost less and come with more load options. I got one when I ran out of space for kayaks on top of my car. Square bars accept Thule or Yakima racks.

Posted by jim - 07/09/2012 07:37 AM

A really nice trailer, but you can build your own with similar features for a lot less. I built a trailer like this for myself using a small utility trailer ($400) and square tubing for the bars ($40) from Fleet Farm. See photo

I added a repurposed hitch-mount rack and a Thule luggage box, but you could easily add a bike mount or whatever you’d normally put on your Yakima or Thule rack.

Posted by Scott - 07/09/2012 09:24 PM

I’ll side with @Jim on this one. A utility trailer can be gotten cheaply (particularly a used one, though you’d want to make sure the bearings and tires are OK) – no need to succumb to Yakima’s $1600 upcharge for cachet , and many of the utility trailers fold neatly for storage.

Posted by T.C. Worley - 07/13/2012 03:49 PM

I totally agree that the price tag is steep for this specialized item, but if you saw where we took this trailer you’d realize we aren’t talking apples-to-apples with just any trailer. I’ve used folding trailers before and they typically have terrible bearing systems that seem to blow out at the most inopportune times. And the independent suspension on the Yakima is awesome! It handled everything we threw at it and pulls like its not even there. So yeah, it’s pricey, but if you have the dough or would use it enough to justify it, it’s WAY better than just any old small trailer.

Posted by Sega in Wash DC - 08/02/2012 07:54 AM

If you like the Malone trailer & live near DC, I’ve got one unused & built. I can let it go for $1000. I also have 3 Yakima bike holders if interested. My company found it was overkill for our purposes (Bikestoborrow.com)

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