DIY kayak trailers

Has anyone built/modified a trailer to haul your kayak or kayaks? I looking into doing this, and was curious if anyone had any pics you can post. Thanks.

Here’s a few links
From an email I sent to a friend last year, who was considering a trailer project. There are more trailer projects out there.

The cheapest new trailer available for kayaks is just under $1000:

The cheapest new ANY trailers are probably these, from Harbor Freight. Kayakers have been known to modify them for their purposes. While there is an even cheaper one with 8 inch wheels, the 12 inch are preferred for highway use:

Here’s one version of the modified trailer. In the text, the estimate of materials cost is too low, both because of prices over time, and the typical need to buy steel (for the tongue extension) in 20 ft. lengths:

Here’s another:

I’ll second the harbor freight trailer
look for the %20 off coupon then wait for the sale that comes around every 8 weeks or so.

I built a wooden frame on mine, used a ton of metal brackets at the hardware store to stiffen it up and use it to haul canoes and rec kayaks.

Nicest rig I’ve seen was a box for gear about three feet high built on the trailer with yakima bars and J cradles on top of the box.

Check the archives for trailer discussions. Here’s one with pics

Thanks guys. Nice trailers there.

Home made trailer
I too bought a Harbor Freight trailer and made my own trailer. I put a 16’ 2"x3" steel tongue on it and then welded 2 1/2" square tube “sockets” to the tongue. Then I made my removable T bars out of 2" square tubing. That way I can change the uprights I use. I can switch from carrying 1,2,3,4 or 5 kayaks at a time. I put quick disconects on the wiring coming out of the tongue so I can remove the tongue from the trailer. I can store the trailer in pieces during the winter this way. But with the past few winters we have had I have not taken it apart as we have used it quite often during the winter months. The trailer springs were very stiff for the light load I carry so I cut them apart and just run the single spring and reduced the tire pressure. I am going to add a piece of 1/4" diamond plate steel over the back half of the trailer so I can mount a small steel tool box top hold my tie down straps, trailer jack, and some tools. I see some added benefits to doing this too. It will put more weight behind the axle which will help reduce the tongue weight some and will also help smooth out the ride a little more.

When I bought my trailer they were out of the model with 12" wheels so I got the 8" version. So far it has worked fine but once the tires wear out I will upgrade to 12" wheels. I have towed it up to 300 miles in one day with no issues. I just make sure I keep the bearings greased. They have a grease zerks in the hubs so I just keep them full and repack the bearings once a year.

I made my own u channel to mount the craddles to and then the channel slid down over the T bars. My first idea was to make them removable so I could switch craddles to match different kayaks. That worked but rattled something awful going down the road empty as I used a sinlge spring slip to hold them on. Afer seeing that all the kayaks that I currently carry could use the same craddle I modified my T bars and welded the craddles to them. The craddles are lined with mini cell foam and are 4 inches wide so the kayaks have a nice surface to sit on. I made cable locks to go around our two 14’ singles for a lil added security. Also nice to have backup so if someone, no names mentioned, not me, does not tighten their ratcher strap enough and it falls off you won’t loose your kayak.

I am very pleased with the trailer. Well, I and the people we paddel with love the trailer. We paddle large tandems and I quickly grew tired of hoisting 90 lb kayaks over my head. Two couples we paddle with have Old Town 160 Loon tandems that need to go on diets! It so much nicer to lift them up in the trailer and tie them down, versus lifting them up on tall SUV’s. I have been pulled over several times buy people wanting to check it out. I just I wish I would have thought ahead and made my sockets just a little further apart. They are about two inches too close together to be able to store the paddles between them. Thought about making a way to carry them between the uprights after I had built it. I have two people with standing offers for the trailer. I am thinking once I figure all the little things I would do differently I might sell this one and build another one with all the changes. Then again, that would take time away from play time. I can live with having to take the paddles apart LOL!

Everyone ask how much I have in it. Well the way it sits I have right at 500 in it. The diamond plate will be abother 60 and the tool box I want is like 110 on sale. I still need to paint the new steel parts as I did not want to paint it till I was sure I was done welding on it. Just red primer for now. So i guess 700 when it is all done.

I do plan on adding a third break light to the upper rear T bars just to make it more obvious when I am on the brake to people following me. People tend to get caught up looking at the kayaks and trailers and forget to look at the break lights!

Just email me and I can send you some pics if you want to see it.

Some ideas

Made mine from a
Boat trailer and threaded pipe from the local Home Depot. It’s designed to haul 4 kayaks and plenty of room for camping equipment. Sorry I can’t post any pictures cause I lost them on Webshots and no longer have pictures on the world wide web. If your interested sent me a e-mail and I will sent you some pictures that way.


Emailed pics
Jim, I sent you pics of my trailer but the email address is no longer active. Send me another email with a good address and I will resend the pics. Thanks


– Last Updated: Apr-12-13 7:38 PM EST –

Sorry. E-mail is updated.

E-Mailed Pic also
Jim, I also e-mailed my pictures but your e-mail address didn’t work. send me another e-mail and I will try again.


Funny timing, I was just looking at this video a couple of days ago. I am thinking of a kayak trailer as well. Lots of good ideas here. I’d love to see photos of everyone’s home grown trailers.

I started with a 5 x 8 trailer that I have had for awhile. I used SS 20

1 3/8" fence top rail. I welded a rack up, added some kayak saddles.

Probably could haul 6 kayaks.

Sent you an email. Email me back and I will send you a couple pics. pictures.

here is the one i built. got the trailer for free just had to do a little work. still need to paint the T’s since i had them welded on after i did the work. empty or loaded doesnt bounce around like the leaf springed ones or no suspension ones. i didnt replace the springs but did replace the 2 shocks in the back.

Jeffers, where is it?

my bad

– Last Updated: Apr-16-13 5:19 AM EST –

yeah the link might help. finished pic link is at the bottom of the thread