Plans For a kayak trailer.

Currently I am looking to get a trailer to haul all of the gear for my family and friends and for running shuttles with. I have been looking around on the web I have found a trailer that I like but don’t want to spend that much. I am certified welder and I have decided that the best route would be to build one myself. I am now trying with no luck to find a good website to get come plans for a 4 to 8 boat trailer with a cargo box. If any of yall out there can help me I would really appreciate it. Thanks again.

An alternative might be…
…to buy one of the inexpensive 4’x4’ trailers from Harbor Freight and extend the tongue. I doubt that you could buy the parts to build a trailer for the same price.

something like this?


– Last Updated: Oct-21-05 1:19 PM EST –

yaeh that loos about likt what I am looking for.
is this yous trailer (if so would you mind sharing your plans with me) thanks a ton. And also what about this one.

4x8 Trailer
from Harbor Freight is what I used several years ago. Added the sides and front and back to the trailer for utility use and built a detacheable rack which fit on top to haul two boats (17 footers). That left the bed open for all kinds of gear stowage.

Good luck on your project.

Cliff Jacobson’s Expedition Canoeing book has some basic plans for a canoe trailer. You can also look around the ‘net at the various canoe/kayak trailers and gather some ideas. Add your own twist to what you’ve seen based on your own individual needs – be creative. Following a given set of plans slavishly will only hem you in – make it fit your needs.

Rather than making your trailer from the ground up I think you’d probably be ahead to simply buy a factory built basic utility trailer and then add your own rack and cargo box. That’s what I did at any rate and it saved me a lot of hassle.

Basic physics dictate that small wheels rotate much faster at any given ground speed than larger wheels and therefore wear out bearings and tires much faster. You don’t have to settle for one of those cheesy rigs with tiny 8”-10” wheels. You can buy a no-frills basic utility trailer with 14”-15” wheels for a reasonable cost. Larger wheels ride better as well. Once you have a basic trailer you can add your own rack and gear box that fit your individual needs at a minimal cost.

FWIW I bought a brand new 5’X13’ utility trailer earlier this year with 15” wheels/tires for $850 then made my own (removable) rack for another hundred or so. I can haul 4 canoes and all the gear for several people with it. I spent less than a grand and part of a weekend of my time to make the rack. With the rack removed it can serve double duty as a utility trailer if and when needed. Works for me.

Build from scratch?

– Last Updated: Oct-23-05 1:15 AM EST –

I agree with Arkay that you probably don't need an actual set of plans. I'd guess that if you're a certified welder you are already quite familiar with where to purchase materials and how to build things. You could probably just collect potential parts and design as you go. If you already know what commercial model you like, it shouldn't be too tough to make something similar, but tailor your design to your own needs as well as to the materials you have at your disposal. Most light-duty trailers have an awfully stiff, bone-jarring ride which isn't good for light boats, so if I were getting ready to build one I'd start with the rear axle of a front-wheel-drive car. Your local salvage yard can find one for you. There may be other choices I can't think of, but for years now, and at least until the last couple years (maybe even to this day), the Dodge/Plymouth minivans have had a solid rear axle supported by long, very flexy leaf springs, and this setup would make a dandy axle for a boat trailer, and the quality would be much better than anything you can buy new, and the price would be lower than anything commercially available that approaches the durability of this model axle. Heck, the shock absorber mounts are already there so you could go one step further and install shocks, something no commercial trailer has.

Otherwise, starting with a basic commercial trailer frame, lengthening the tongue and adding your own rack, as has been suggested, would work out pretty well. And don't forget about the possibility of starting with a used motorboat trailer. Find one that was used to carry a 14- or 16-foot fishing boat and you won't even need to lengthen the tongue. I WOULD see about replacing those short little leaf springs with springs that are two or three times longer, to provide a more forgiving ride (you can remove leaves from each springpack too to make the ride softer).

i liked the pic of the land-sailer
too bad no flat land in upper east TN, but then again no mosquitos either…this comment after paddling to bulls island last weekend.

I have one…
…of the 4’x8’ trailers, too, but I haven’t modified it for kayak use. The reason I suggested the 4’x4’ trailer is that the design makes it easier to modify/replace the tongue to adapt it to kayaks and the size is plenty large enough for carrying paddling gear. I’ve seen pics of one of these modified with the addition of a long tongue, kayak racks and a storage box, but I can’t remember where.

Red tape
Since no one has mentioned it yet, there’s a certain amount of registration stuff involved, at least in my state (NY). The trailer I bought came with a certificate of origin, needs registration, license, yearly inspection, etc.

No idea how you accomplish that for one you build yourself, though I don’t doubt it’s possible.


Quite simple:
On the form, where it asks for the brand of trailer, you write “home-built”. Done deal.

What’s the use?
bsmith, what are your use requirements? What type of roads, how many kayaks, etc. I ran a commercial program for about ten years and would tell you to do it right the first time. By that I mean large wheels, good suspension, built strong. We blew through cheap trailers, then had one custom built by shipwrights. That was awesome, and withstood abuse of BC, and Alaska dirt roads, salt air corrosion etc. I’ve seen some good trailers fabricated from a boat trailer platform. Basically a box with a rack system welded at each end. The little, cheap trailers may be OK back east, but a BC logging road will kill them, and damage your boats. If possible, I’d weld the box and racks out of marine grade aluminum, and isolate that from the galvanized steel frame. Done correctly you may be around 2-2.5k.

To add to this…
in Wisconsin, a title and registration is not required for trailers operated at or under 3,000 pounds gross unless used for hire or rental.

This will undoubtedly vary from state to state.

Look around for a used boat trailer.
A small boat trailer can be modified easily for your use and already has the long tongue. If you are lucky, you may be able to get one with 13" or larger tires. It’ll work better than the cheapy utility trialers.

I’ve seen used Jet-Ski trailers for as little as $75. They’re light, but strong enought to carry a couple kayaks/canoes and gear.