Making kayak trailer

I am going to be using a Harbor Freight 4x8 utility trailer for transporting 2 kayaks for a long move. I have a Yakima rack from my previous vehicle (that will not fit my current vehicle without drilling through the roof – and I’m not willing to do it). I would like to use my Yak rack but need advice on how to attach it to the trailer.

Some thoughts I’ve had…

  1. Use Landing Pads and attach it directly to the plywood floor. I would have to unbolt the LPs to use the trailer for hauling anything else.

  2. Use Landing Pads and attach them directly to the side trailer frame rails. This option wouldn’t allow me to use an enclosed frame box since the LPs would be in the way.

  3. Somehow use the brackets meant for a 2x4 as a LP base that can easily be removed. I worry about the security of this option. Both from a theft perspective as well as jumping out of the brackets while in tow.

    If anyone has ideas, advice or suggestions I’m willing to listen!


All I would suggest is that you over design it for vibration. Put locktite on all the bolt threads. Boat trailers, for various reasons, bounce and vibrate like crazy on rough roads.

Regarding the rough ride
That trailer will probably be pretty bouncy. Chances are good that you can remove at least one leaf from each spring pack to make it ride a little softer. In fact, chances are there are three leaves, and you could remove two of them, leaving only the main spring leaf. That will make the ride a lot more cushy, and less stressful on your boats and the carrying racks.

Got it…
Locktite and fewer leafs, thanks. Now, about attaching that rack… :wink:

The rack
Sorry about that part. I’d be full of ideas if I knew what the rack looked like so I could understand what you were telling us your ideas were.

Forget the harbor freight
piece of junk, you’ll be sorry if you buy that. Spend the money and build or buy a decent boat trailer. Buy an old cheap utility trailer and extend the tongue and customise the bed to hold whatever you want. I can’t believe the stories of folks that want to travel at 70 mph with a 16 foot kayak or canoe on frigging roof racks. That’s fine if you have a lot of confidence in your racks and your attorneys.

I realize
the Harbor Freight trailer won’t be the best, and if I can find a decent used trailer, that’s fine, too. Basically, as long as it’s a flatbed usable for other things I’ll be fine. And, I won’t be doing 70mph towing this thing. :wink: It will mostly be used for towing the boats for an hour or two, not long trips.

The Landing Pad
Looks like this: . It’s just the dark part at the bottom, I have the other parts. There are different landing pads for different applications, so I will get one that uses two bolts to secure it to the wood, the trailer frame, or wherever I end up putting it. Which, is the problem…where to put it.

attaching crossbars to a trailer
Look at the RackAndRoll trailer website. They will sell the “towers” that go between the trailer bed and the crossbars.


I don’t see where they sell the parts, but I don’t really need them when I have the same basic set up.

You’l find yourself
in the dilema of wanting to haul more than the trailer is capable of. It’s almost like the problem that “fast paddlers” have with always wanting a faster boat !

A Suggestion

– Last Updated: Jun-24-07 3:38 PM EST –

I can see using something like those "Landing Pads" for mounting to the roof of your car. For a trailer, I'd only use those if you already have them. It sort of sounded like you'd be buying some for this purpose. I certainly wouldn't buy any just because they give you a way to bolt your cross bars to the trailer, but then, I'm a cheapskate about things like that.

You could find all sorts of ways to mount that round Yakima crossbar (or any other round pipe) to your trailer. The easiest way I can think of off the top of my head, would be a little "tower" made from 2x6 blocks (with short pieces, 2x6s would be less prone to splitting than 2x4s). Use a long block (about one foot) for the base, 2 or 3 short blocks stacked on each end of the long block to gain height, and another long block across the top. This way, there's a space below the top block so you can put a U-bolt through it, and that U-bolt (or a pair of U-bolts) will hold the round bar to the top of this little wooden tower.

|____| |____|
_|____| |____|_

(This was supposed to be a neat and symetrical little diagram showing how to stack your 2x6s, but there's something new built-in to this site that prevents me from inserting a controlled number of blank spaces in front of and within text. Because of that, the picture is a mess)

Bolt the towers to the bed of your trailer and you are all set. A similar rig could be built to mount the bars to the tops of the trailer sides, if the trailer has a cargo box.

Obviously this is a dirt-cheap way to go. You can certainly be more elaborate, and use building materials other than wood. Bolting vertical pieces of angle iron to the frame of the trailer would give you as much height as you want for your cross bars, and the cross bars could again be attached to the angle iron with U-bolts. You may need diagonal supports both right-to-left and front-to-back to build in the stiffness you need.

Weight wise?
If that’s what you mean, I understand weight limits and such because I pull a pop-up camper with a pickup truck. Of course, I would love to have a bigger camper, but I would need a new tow vehicle. SIGH. :wink:

Good idea, but I already have all the parts I need except one, and I can get those for a reasonable cost on ebay. So, for about $20 I can make this work. I think. LOL, I’m confused because I’ve been thinking too much.

If you missed this…
posting from earlier in the week, there are some links to some good pics with lots of trailer and transporting ideas.

Check it out:

Here ya go

Your Yakima stuff will clamp very well to 3/4" galvanized pipe.

I use a Harbor Freight trailer and have hauled many boats thousands of miles with it. Haven’t altered the springs (still like to use it as a utility trailer) and I’ve had no problems with the boats or the trailer. Most of the nuts that came with mine were Ny-lock’s so they’ve held just fine. I am careful at railroad tracks though. Depending on how long your boats are, you may want to get the tongue extended. A welding shop can do that for a nominal fee.

I have traveled thousands of miles with kayaks on my roof rack and never had a problem.

I can’t use my roof without drilling into it, and I’m not willing to do that.

Your trailer
looks great! I’ve looked at your pictures often!

My boats aren’t very long, 13 and 11 feet. I’m not sure if I would really need to extend the tongue on a 4x8 trailer.

I already have the Yakima crossbars, so no need for galvanized unless I’m not thinking of something.

I would still like to think of a way to attach my bars to the trailer more easily than buying landing pads and using my Q Towers. That way I could make them a bit higher. The RackandRoll trailer looks like they use something along the lines I’m thinking of. Not sure where to get such a thing.

I got one
’cuz I got tired of lifting them up on the roof. At the time I had a Ford F-150 pickup with a camper shell. I also noticed that my boats are heavier when I return from paddling. I think the plastic must absorb water or somethin’. 8>)