How to Build a Kayak Trailer

How to Build a Kayak Trailer – 2023 guide

Transporting kayaks can be difficult. Some people choose to mount it on the roof of their car, but it can be cumbersome and dangerous. For frequent kayakers, a better solution is to build your own kayak trailer. This makes it easy and safe to transport one or more kayaks.

Planning Your Kayak Trailer

Before you start building, you should take some important considerations.

Number of Kayaks

How many kayaks do you need to carry at once? This will determine the size and capacity of your trailer. For most DIY kayak trailers he can accommodate 1 to 4 kayaks.

Trailer Base

Build your trailer from scratch with a base frame, or save time by starting with a used jet ski or snowmobile trailer. Make sure your trailer can support the total weight of your kayak.

Custom or Off-the-Shelf Parts

Building from scratch allows full customization, but requires welding skills and more time. Using kits or off-the-shelf parts such as towbar boxes and tires makes assembly easier.


A budget helps determine the direction to go. Expect to spend between $300 and $1,000 to build a basic 1 or 2 person kayak trailer. Using kits or repurposed trailers can reduce costs.

Building a Kayak Trailer

Once you’ve made your plan, it’s time to start construction. Here are the basic steps:

1. Acquire a Trailer Frame

If reusing a used trailer, thoroughly inspect it and make any necessary repairs. Make sure the frame, axles, and tires are suitable for the load rating.

Alternatively, steel pipes can be used to weld the base frame of the trailer. Use 2″ square tubing for main rails and 1-1/4″ tubing for cross members. Length depends on kayak size. Plan extra feet for the front trailer hitch.

2. Add Suspension and Wheels

A torsion axle system with 15″ tires is perfect for DIY kayak trailers. Make sure your tires have the proper load capacity. Add trailer fenders to protect your kayak from road debris.

3. Install Trailer Tongue

Buy or manufacture a towbar system. This makes it easy to connect the trailer to your vehicle’s trailer hitch. Use sturdy parts designed to withstand the full load.

4. Add Lights

Trailer lights are required for vehicles to comply with road regulations. Install LED tail lights, brake lights, and turn signals. Wire to a 4-pin connector that plugs into the vehicle.

5. Build Kayak Supports

Once the frame is complete, add supports to hold the kayak.

For simple flat racks, use 2x4s or 2x6s that run horizontally across the frame. Position the kayak hull close enough to fully support it. Attach non-slip posts to the ends.

For slanted shelves, attach horizontal posts with hinges. This allows you to tilt the kayak up for more clearance when trailering. Add a winch or rope to raise or lower the rack.

6. Add Tie Down Points

Secure the kayak to the trailer using ratchet straps or ropes. Attach heavy-duty eyebolts or metal D-rings to key points on the frame. Placed criss-cross across the hull for maximum holding power.

7. Add Finishing Touches

Use foam pads or an old garden hose to protect the kayak hull from rubbing against the trailer frame.

Paint or coat wood or metal to protect it from the elements and corrosion.

Attach a reflector or reflective tape to mark the perimeter of the tag.

Tips for Using Your Kayak Trailer

Here are some additional tips for safely trailering your kayaks:

  • Always check tire pressure before loading. If the tires are under-inflated, they will not be able to withstand the extra weight.
  • Distributes weight evenly from side to side and front to back. If the weight is too heavy, it will be difficult to operate the handle.
  • Cross straps keep the kayak firmly in place. Prevents slipping and jumping during transportation.
  • Attach a safety chain or cable to the tow vehicle. It functions as an emergency backup in case the coupler comes off.
  • Make sure your trailer lights are on before you leave. Use the light extension to see the light across the kayak.
  • Check regularly for loose bolts, cracked welds, and wear. Repair immediately to avoid errors.

With a little mechanical and welding skills, you can build a custom kayak trailer for just a few hundred dollars. A dedicated way to transport your boat safely and efficiently makes your kayaking adventure much easier.

Building a Kayak Rack for Home Storage

Trailers are great for transport, but you also need a good storage rack to store your kayak at home between adventures. Here are some tips for building your own DIY kayak rack for garage or backyard storage.


  • 2x4s or 2x6s for the vertical supports. Length depends on ceiling height.
  • 4×4 posts for freestanding uprights.
  • 2×6 or wider boards for horizontal supports. Painted lumber or composite boards work well.
  • Galvanized brackets and hardware. Resists corrosion.
  • PVC pipe for budget roller system.

Steps to Build

  1. Place 2×4 vertical posts every 2-3 feet along the wall studs. Secures firmly to the studs.
  2. Install horizontal braces between verticals for reinforcement.
  3. Drill pilot holes and install eyebolts spaced along the vertical support.
  4. Create a kayak mount using metal tubing or wood. Attach to the eyebolt with a carabiner.
  5. The space mounts are far enough apart to support the entire hull.
  6. Use the bike hook or wooden slot to keep your paddle close at hand.
  7. Lift the kayak vertically into the bracket. Holds securely and saves floor space.

This vertical rack keeps kayak storage organized and protected from damage while minimizing floor space. If necessary, adjust the design to accommodate multiple boats.

Building a Kayak Rack from PVC Pipe

PVC tubing provides a way to build a lightweight, weather-resistant custom kayak storage rack. With some simple brackets and hardware, you can create an inexpensive rack that can be mounted almost anywhere.

Materials Needed:

  • 1⁄2” and 1” PVC pipe – cut into segments
  • PVC elbows, tees and endcaps
  • PVC cement – joins pipe fittings
  • Pipe insulation – cushions kayak
  • Self-tapping screws
  • Wall brackets or shelf brackets

Assembly Tips:

  1. Cut the PVC top and bottom to fit the space.
  2. Connect the segments to the rectangular frame using elbows and tees.
  3. Tightly seal all joints.
  4. Cut the pipe insulation to seal the contact points.
  5. Use a mount suitable for the installation surface, such as a wall or ceiling. Space every 2 feet.
  6. Add a center support for larger kayaks if needed.

PVC pipe is weather resistant, lightweight, and easy to work with with basic tools. Use it to create an affordable and customized kayak storage solution for your specific space.


Proper transport and storage of your kayak will help protect your investment and start your adventure quickly and easily.

With a little DIY know-how and minimal expense, you can build your own kayak trailer, truck rack, or storage system customized to your needs.

Use these guides to find the right solution for your vehicle and space. Get your kayaks ready for years of fun and exciting water expeditions.

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