If we were to have a Rack Hungry award for best-named rack then the Yakima Rack and Roll would be the winner (with a landslide victory).
With such a good name, we understand that it’s tempting to buy the product without knowing anything about it. Obviously, that is not something we would recommend. Particularly, when it comes to racks. It’s so easy to make the wrong choice.
That’s why we’ve put together this review. In this article, we’ll be discussing Yakima as a brand, what sizes that the Rack and Roll comes in, and looking at whether the rack is worth the money.
Is the Yakima Rack and Roll Rack Hungry approved? Read on to find out…
Are Yakima a respected rack brand?
Yakima was established in 1979 by two best friends who were unhappy with the bike and kayak transport options available to them.
The brand quickly took off and by 1984 Yakima became the official rack supplier to the Olympics. They went on to invent the game-changing Q Tower. Roof racking hasn’t been the same since then.
Are they a respected brand in the market?
Well, if the stamp of approval from the Olympics isn’t enough for you then rest assured that Yakima is one of the leading Kayak rack brands. Its main competitor is Thule.
The Yakima Rack and Roll is available in two different sizes:
The 66″ can comfortably fit 2 canoes, and the 78″ can fit 3 canoes with ease.
Between the two sizes, there are no major differences in structure or quality. So, we will be reviewing them together.
Yakima Rack and Roll Trailer Review
Okay, now that we have a little context to the product, let’s jump into the review…
Yakima Rack and Roll Trailer
Here are the dimension breakdowns of the two Rack and Roll sizes:
- Weight: 150.00 lbs.
- Dimensions: L 132.00 in x W 66.00 in x H 22.00 in
- Weight: 160.00 lbs.
- Dimensions: L 132.00 in x W 78.00 in x H 22.00 in
Both Rack and Rolls come with a 1 year limited warranty when bought straight from Yakima.
The Rack and Roll is a square rack. Thanks to its dual shock, motorcycle style system it can offer up to four inches of clearance. It does not come with an axle. Instead, it has V shaped suspension arms.
The rack is made of galvanized steel, and therefore you can barely feel its weight when you are towing it. With the 66″ you can carry up to 350 lbs of items on this trailer. You can carry even more on the 78″.
The tongue of the rack means that you can tow kayaks up to 17 feet long. Yakima does offer a tongue extension kit, (you can also get third party ones for a fraction of the price) that allows you to tow kayaks up to 22 feet long.
The Rack and Roll also comes with a built-in carry handle that can be found just next to the receiver. This handle makes it possible to use this trailer as a hand trailer. You can therefore drag your kayaks down to the shoreline. The handle also makes it much easier to attach your trailer to your vehicle.
- Lightweight (made from galvanized steel)
- Built-in carry handle
- Can hold 350 lbs (bigger model can carry even more weight)
- Can tow kayaks up to 17 feet long (22 with a tongue extension kit)
- Universal fittings for accessories
- Lock on the rack hitch
- Low loading height
- The cost
- No security for items on the trailer
When talking about the price of the Yakima Rack and Roll, there are two key elements to consider: (1) how do the prices of the two racks compare to each other, (2) how do they compare to the rest of the market?
Let’s start by looking at how they compare to each other.
Understandably the 66″ is cheaper than the 78″. For the extra 12″ of storage, you will be paying roughly an extra $350.
The extra 12″ inches means that you will be able to store an extra kayak on the trailer, or an extra two bikes. If you need the extra space then we think it’s probably worth spending the extra money.
If you compare the price of the Yakima Rack and Roll to some of the other leading Kayal trailers on the market you’ll notice that both sizes are around twice the price of their competitors.
Notable examples of this are the difference in price between the Rack and Roll vs the CE Smith Multisport Trailer or Malone Microsport Trailer.
This is the one major flaw of the Rack and Roll range. The two racks mentioned above are not as high quality or well thought out as the Yakima racks, however, some of you may believe that it’s worth sacrificing ease of use for that kind of saving.
One of the real highlights of the Rack and Roll is that Yakima has set it up so it is compatible with most traditional roof rack accessories. Pretty much any accessory, from any brand can be attached to this trailer.
These accessories can make the trailer infinitely more versatile and useful.
What can it carry?
Another highlight of the Rack and Roll is its low loading height. Not only does this give it more stability on the road, but it also takes out the majority of the lifting on your end (your back is going to be so grateful).
So, how much can the Rack and Roll 66″ carry?
- 2 cargo boxes
- 1 cargo box and 3 kayak
- 5 bikes
- 2 kayaks and 2 bikes
- 2 canoes
Is it easy to store?
Like most Yakima products, the Rack and Roll is very well thought out. At first glance you might think that this 11 foot trailer would be difficult to store. But it’s not!
The tongue folds in under the bottom of the carriage, halving the length of the trailer. The wheels can then be moved, and the whole thing is light enough to be hung from the wall. Otherwise it is very thin, and can be propped against the wall with ease.
Is it easy to put together?
The Rack and Roll comes with a 1 year warranty, and Yakima’s customer service is very friendly. If you have any issues with delivery they’ll be happy to help.
Building the Rack and Roll is time consuming but not difficult. The instructions are easy to follow, but it will still take you the better part of your day to put together.
Alternatively, if you are strapped for time, or very bad at DIY then you can pay an extra fee and your Rack and Roll will arrive fully assembled.
Setting it up yourself is a good way to save money, but you will have to sacrifice 6-8 hours to building the trailer.
Is it secure?
There are two points you need to consider when thinking about rack security. Firstly, is the coupling on the trailer theft proof, and secondly, are there safety features to protect the cargo on the back.
This is one of the few categories where the Rack and Roll misses the mark.
It does have a lock in the coupling that prevents the whole trailer from being taken. This lock works well as an extra layer to attachment whilst traveling.
However, the Rack and Roll has no features to prevent theft of the items loaded on it. This is something you could fix yourself with some chains and padlocks, but for the price you’re paying for the Rack and Roll… we would’ve hoped they’d covered something as important as security.
If you’re looking for a well-designed, high-quality trailer from a well-trusted brand that can carry 5 kayaks then the Rack and Roll could be the trailer for you.
The Rack and Roll ticks so many of our trailer boxes! It’s easy to build, easy to store, and it can carry a lot. It comes with security locks on the coupling, and hits low to the ground. Making it stable on the road and easy to load.
There are not many areas where the Rack and Roll let’s itself down. But there are a few small flaws.
Let’s start with the minor issue. There is no security on the trailer body itself. To protect your bikes and kayaks you will need to provide your own locks and protection.
The main issue with the Rack and Roll is that it is very pricey.
When we weigh up the pros and cons, the Rack and Roll has so much to offer over its competitors that we do believe this is a trailer that is worth the investment.