Kayak boat trailers make hauling kayaks significantly easier than car-topping them. Not only do trailers make carrying the boat easier, but gear can be stored on the trailer’s bed, which frees up space inside the car. Most commercial kayak trailers run in the thousands of dollars. When you build your own kayak trailer using a utility trailer kit, expenses can be kept under $500. Kayakers attempting to build a trailer need basic metal-working skills and the ability to follow wiring directions.
Difficulty: Moderately Challenging
Things You’ll Need:
- Utility trailer kit
- Structural steel square tube
- 1-inch structural steel square tube
- Flat iron
- 3/4″ galvanized pipe
- Pipe insulation
- Extended wiring kit
Assemble the utility trailer kit according to the directions. Both the four-foot and eight-foot trailers work. The eight-foot trailers have the advantage of a larger base, which will increase the distance between the uprights. This increased distance better supports the kayaks. A larger base also allows for more storage of accessories on the bed. Order the kit with 12-inch wheels. The upgraded wheels provide a smoother ride and are rated for highway use.
Extend the kit’s tongue. Remove the kit’s tongue and replace it with a 14-foot structural steel square tube. The new steel tube runs from the rear of the trailer past the front of the trailer. Drill holes so you can bolt it to both the trailer’s front and rear frame. Bolt the kit’s trailer hitch onto the square tube. Select a size of square tube big enough to fit the kit’s hitch perfectly. A thicker-walled square tube is stiffer and stronger.
At each corner of the utility trailer, bolt 1-inch structural steel square tubes as uprights. Forty-inch uprights allow for storage on the trailer’s bed and two rows of kayaks. Reinforce the uprights with 1-foot pieces of flat stock steel running 45 degrees from upright to the trailer’s frame.
Using U-bolts, bolt 3/4-inch galvanized pipe onto the uprights at the height you want to carry your kayaks. On each side at this same height run another 3/4-inch pipe between the forward and rear uprights. Pad each pipe and the uprights with pipe insulation. The insulation will protect your kayaks for the metal pipes and uprights.
Extend the trailer’s wiring and make sure that the lights work. Follow the directions supplied with the wiring kit.
Tips & Warnings
- Check the bolts frequently or take the trailer to a welding shop to weld the steel in place.
- Utility trailer kits are available from big box home improvement stores or online at stores like Harbor Freight.
- Replace the pipe insulation with commercially available rack pads for a more durable foam protection.
- Use the utility kayak trailer as a backyard rack to store your kayaks. Lock them to the trailer using a long cable.