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Aluminum or Galvanized Canoe Trailer?

Jun 15, 2022
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Spartanburg, SC
I am considering getting a 6-canoe trailer for occasional transport duty and also canoe storage (verses building a dedicated 6-canoe storage rack in my shop).

I have looked at a couple of trailers, both home-made and commercial, and talked to a couple of local dealers. It looks like the aluminum Triton brand is quite a bit lighter than the galvanized Com-Fab trailers (for examples) and would be a bit easier to move around by hand or with a trailer dolly. The aluminum trailer would oxidize but should not rust. It seems those are pluses for the aluminum trailers. I know that as aluminum flexes, it weakens. The aluminum trailer also has steel components, which can rust. I do not know if there are any other downsides on the aluminum trailers.
The galvanized trailers should be stronger, but again, I cannot think of any other advantage, and how strong does a trailer holding a maximum of 500 lbs. have to be?
Cost on the new trailers are comparable. I am also watching the sales sites should a 6-canoe trailer pop up locally at a good price. Either way, that may help sway the decision.

Since I have never had a canoe trailer, I would appreciate any input from canoe trailer owners and your suggestions. Thanks!
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I've only had an aluminum trailer, which holds two canoes or four kayaks. I appreciate the light weight. I can easily move it around and even lift the end up when towing to reposition it with a heavy canoe on it. I read that galvanized will corrode and deteriorate much faster than aluminum especially in hot and humid climates or around salt water.

Trailer and Wheels Atop.jpg

With a six canoe trailer, are you realistically ever going to tow it? Or just move it around your property by hand? In the latter case, light weight and maneuverability is likely a big advantage. Like shopping for many used things, however, it may come down to what's available at a good price within a reasonable distance.
I have a Dock Doctors aluminum trailer with 90” load bars, all the hardware is stainless steel and it is easy to move around by hand. You can option up to 102” load bars which sh allow you to carry 3 or 4 canoes. Great trailer.
Glenn; The canoe is a beauty! Not a bad trailer either.
I do plan on mostly using it for storage, moving it around as I need space in the shop, but also carrying canoes when my wife and I are canoeing with other couples or heading out with a group. It will save another car or two at the takeout, gas and allow for a longer visit than if we ran two or three cars with two canoes each.
I have a couple relatively local places that handle canoe trailers, but I am certainly watching for a used one to pop up at a good price.

GeoBoy; Thanks for the Dock Doctors info. I checked their website and unfortunately their dealers are in the New England area and that is a long way from South Carolina.
Instead of extra long load bars, I am hoping to get a setup with multiple arms that will allow six canoes to be loaded in a stacked configuration.
I faced a similar dilemma last summer when my old trailer finally died. An aluminum trailer would have been nice but I ended up with a used, galvanized MegaSport as shown at https://maloneautoracks.com/MegaSport-Kayak-Trailer-w-86-Load-Bars.html from Malone. I also need to occasionally haul things other than canoes so the ability to easily remove the rack was a requirement. I have also added a deck and stake pockets on the sides so I can add a variety of other structures to it as required. Good luck,

I had an aluminum trailer which developed a crack that reopened again and again after welding and reinforcement. However, I towed near the weight limit and on rough roads. If you can avoid that, an aluminum trailer should be fine.
I have an aluminum utility trailer, 4 ft x 8 ft, that I've used and abused for about 15 years...it still looks in great shape.
I occasionally attach a couple of upright supports to the side rails and convert it to a canoe trailer, I've had 5 boats on it at once.
I also have a wrecked all aluminum sled (or hunting?) dog trailer, that I plan to strip down and convert to a canoe trailer.
I only mention my experiences so they may expose you to alternate possibilities.

As far as aluminum trailers cracking, if the folks that built them did their homework, there's no reason that an aluminum trailer shouldn't outlast a steel trailer, galvanized or not.
If a trailer has cracks, there are ways to avoid repeated failures. (softer springs to transmit less shock, stiffer springs to avoid overload or bottoming out, added shocks to damp the harsh loads)
I have used a Magneta canoe trailer for over 25 years. Canoe trailers are light no matter what they are made of. Mine is painted steel. It has never corroded and never failed even after hundreds of miles of dirt roads. The trailer in the photo has tiny little wheels not suitable for rutted roads. It has a tiny little suspension system.

Canoe trailers are prone to hop when subjected to the harmonics of rutted roads. They should have wheels at least 12 inches in diamter, 14 inches is even better. The added weight of steel makes them hop less. Steel is easy to weld if it breaks. Welding aluminum is not so easy. Steel costs less. If I bought another canoe trailer it would be steel with good sized wheels and room for 4 boats.