Modifying Boat Trailer for Kayaks?

Just purchased a Thule cartop system with the “J”

bars. I have a Dodge Durango and frankly, even with the “J” bars it is hard to load up my SUV with the kayak solo. I have an old boat trailer for a 14’ fishing boat. Has anyone tried to make modifications on something like that with some type of saddle system? Pulling around a trailer would sure beat pushing and shoving my kayak up onto the rack system. Thanks in advance for your input.

i have not but…
there are some good pics on of a guy who has. search for kayak trailer. also, search the archvies here and see what’s out there.

my boats are too long for my utility trailer so I have to heft them up. also, you may want to look at malone j cradles as you don’t have to lift the boats quite as far as you do with thule or yakimas.


Should have went…
…with the Yakima system and the hully rollers. Piece of cake with that system. It’s a shame to be dragging around a trailer.

Trailer mods
In addition to a tongue extension and kayak carriers, you should reduce the stiffness of the springs if possible, since kayaks are much lighter than the boats the trailer was designed to carry. You may be able to remove a leaf from each side.

sunfish sailboat trailer

– Last Updated: Aug-19-04 2:19 PM EST –

A talented friend of mine modified a sunfish sailboat trailer for me and I love it.
A sunfish is a 14 ft boat, so the length was right. I have carried as many as 6 kayaks and a canoe.....but normally carry 2-4 boats. The 4 boats can all be loaded and carried on their sides at waist height. I'm getting better at backing up!

I had a few early pictures on webshots...and after I update the page I will post the link.

Having the trailer this year has enabled me to go more often and at times take more friends/kids! It's also quiet compared to a boat and straps up on the roof.

I'm pulling it with a 4 cylinder 92 toyota previa van with 222750 miles.

bnystrom made a good point…
but I approached it from the other angle. I converted a 5’x12’ utility trailer and I add two 48 qt. ice chests filled with water (appx. 200 lbs) to the trailer bed instead of removing lee springs. That seems to add an appropriate amount of weight and helps to keep the trailer from bouncing around on our cruddy highways down here.

Your conversion can be done economically with just a little imagination and effort.

If you’re gonna’ lug ice chests…
…you should at least put something more fun than water in them. :wink:

Another helpful option in such a case is a lockable chest to hold your paddling gear.

Sailboat trailer pictures up

– Last Updated: Aug-19-04 2:17 PM EST –

New photos of my sailboat trailer conversion are on webshots....... I really enjoy the trailer!
Good luck!