Since changing homeports from Florida to Virginia in 2021, Skipper and I are once again trailering boats to local creeks, rivers, and bays. Our small-craft collection includes a punt, two kayaks, seven sailboats, and a canoe; they range in length from 8′ to 17′ and in weight from 40 lbs to 150 lbs. Rather than buying multiple trailers or committing to the cartop challenge, we found a small, multipurpose trailer with an extensive selection of racks that supports a variety of boats in our fleet: the Malone MicroSport Trailer. We bought it used this year. It had been assembled the year it was built, 2012, by a Malone dealer and was rigged to carry a fishing kayak and sailing kayak.

Our 2012 MicroSport Base trailer is built from 11-gauge galvanized steel and has a load capacity of 500 lbs. The overall length, from hitch coupler to aft frame, is 13′6″, allowing for the transport of boats up to 20′ in length. It is equipped with Malone’s retractable tongue kit, and with the tongue retracted the overall trailer length shrinks to 7′4″. Thanks to the rubber bumpers included with the kit and added to the aft frame, the trailer can be stored vertically. The coupler has a convenient handle for lifting to and from the towing vehicle’s trailer ball.

Kent and Audrey Lewis

The mounting racks are easily attached and can be located in a variety of different positions to offer great versatility. Secured by universal plates and bolts, the racks can also be used on other trailers or roof racks.

The 2012 system includes two 66″ load bars that sit 30″ above the ground and provide the mounting point for a wide selection of Malone racks. The racks attach to the load bars with Malone’s Jawz universal-fit mounting system, which consists of mounting plates for a variety of trailer and automobile crossbars, secured and tightened with steel mounting bolts and T-knob nuts.

Our trailer is set up to carry a 10′ sit-on-top kayak and a 14′ Sunfish sailboat, using two J-Style DownLoader racks and two heavy-duty MegaWings. For our kayak, we are using the side-loading J-shaped carriers, which are of corrosion-resistant aluminum, well-padded for hull protection, and rated for 75 lbs each. The J-Style DownLoader carrier also has slots for tie-down straps and is part of Malone’s roof-top DownLoader system. Loading our 40-lb kayak from the side of the trailer can be accomplished easily by two people, or one person can load the bow first, then move around to load the stern. The cradles steadily support a kayak while straps are tightened or loosened, and there are plenty of locations to attach the straps.

To carry our Sunfish, we are using the V-style carrier called the MegaWing, which also attaches to the load bars with the Jawz system. The load bars are spaced far enough apart for us to spread the MegaWings and secure the boat in a balanced position—the load-bar spread is adjustable from 44″ to 63″. Each V-shaped MegaWing is 27-1⁄2″ wide, 6″ deep, and can carry up to 150 lbs. The MegaWing is made from non-marring nylon and has integral cutouts to accommodate 1″-wide straps. The MegaWing nylon material is slightly flexible and conforms to the Sunfish hull shape without placing excessive pressure in any one area. All the attachments can be swapped out in minutes without the use of hand tools.

Malone’s Jawz mounting system gives versatility and stability not typical in other trailers of this size. Seen here the trailer has been set up to carry a 14′ Sunfish with a 10′ sit-on kayak on edge beside it. Both boats can be loaded on and off the trailer by one person. Because of the raised position of the racks the spare wheel is still easily accessible when the trailer is fully loaded.

The 2023 MicroSport Base Trailer is still made of marine-grade galvanized steel, but it has an extra leaf in each spring and will carry 800 lbs. It is 13′ 3″ long and has an overall width 55″; the frame width between fenders is 40″. It weighs 197 lbs, has galvanized wheels with marine-grade sealed bearings, and comes with submersible LED lighting. The crossbars are now 78″ wide.

Malone, based in Westbrook, Maine, a suburb of Portland, began as Malone of Maine making fine-quality laminated wooden paddles and later made roof-rack fixtures for paddle craft; in 2001 the company established itself as Malone Auto Racks, a roof-rack manufacturer. Trailers were introduced into its line in 2008. The new MicroSport trailer ships in four boxes, unassembled, to the consumer’s door. Malone says that the new model requires approximately three to four hours to assemble using standard tools; based on our experience of assembling other sports trailers, that estimate seems reasonable. There is nothing complicated about the design, the hardware is of good quality, and the assembled trailer is light on its feet.

Malone also offers several more styles of racks to fit a variety of watercraft and bicycles, plus T-racks to stack watercraft. It is unusual to find a company that builds trailers with the small boater in mind and with so many options for different types of boats. The Malone system offers outstanding versatility, convenience, and quality, and we are very happy with the new addition to our fleet.

Audrey (Skipper) and Kent Lewis have a passion for trailers, which they disguise with 16 small boats. They are currently exploring the Tidewater area of Virginia and North Carolina.

The MicroSport Base Trailer is made in the USA and comes with pre-tested electrical system, pre-fitted chassis components, instruction manual, and registration documentation. Available direct from Malone, the base trailer is priced at $1,999. The MicroSport Retractable Tongue Kit is $199.  Malone products are also available through a network of dealers and online retailers. See comments below for further information on locating a dealer.

Is there a product that might be useful for boatbuilding, cruising, or shore-side camping that you’d like us to review? Please email your suggestions.