How to build a kayak trailer

If you own a kayak, then you might also need a kayak trailer. It is so much of a trouble to transport your kayak from one place to another. So much so, that you often just cancel the plans to go on the water and enjoy boating. Carrying your kayak up on your car roof and strapping it down is too much without some extra help. Especially if you have multiple kayaks or a small car, you definitely need a trailer to carry your kayaks.

In such cases, people often invest in pre-built kayak trailer. But these pre-built kayak trailer are rather heavy on the pocket (starting from 1000$) and many people result in building their own trailers. So if you want to build your own trailer and need a step by step guidance then congratulations you are at the right place.

Building you own trailer can be a little time consuming and would require some work but it can reduce the cost of your kayak trailer from 1000$ to about 400$.

Here, we will be providing you a complete guideline for building a kayak trailer.

Step 1:

First of all, you need to gather all the required material.  Get a Harbor Freight Trailer Kit to start with. You should purchase the trailer kit, keeping in mind the size of your kayak. However you can also use some old trailer lying around in your house.

Another cheaper substitution for harbor freight kit is the Utility Trailer Kit from Ironton. You can choose whatever fits your pocket. In addition to the trailer kit, you would need some other things for this project which will include:

  • 10’ 11ga 2” square tube
  • 14’ 1/8” 2” angle iron
  • 2 6’ pieces of 1.25” round tube
  • 4×8 sheet of 1/2” treated plywood
  • 2 12’ 5/4” deck boards
  • 2 8’ 5/4” beck boards
  • 4 10’ 2x4s for bunks
  • 7 eye bolts for tie downs
  • 6’ wire for harness extension
  • Front braces are 3/4” steel bar 

Step 2

Start by assembling the kit, make sure you square the basic frame. Check several times while you are tightening since the entire build is based off this. Once you are satisfied with the build only then move to the next step.

Now add a brace to connect the tongue directly to the spring hangers. A brace is a piece of 2” angle iron lined up with the front spring holes. Turn the frame around so the axle centerline would be farther forward as you will need to extend the front. This will make weight distribution better and is easier to pull and track.

Step 3

Grind off all the powder coat on the joints and then do some welding. If you want a longer bed to haul all your camping gears and coolers, add some extensions. Extensions are typically 2’L each and are made from the angle iron. This will make the bed for trailer approximately 6′ long.

Everything is tacked in place now and is ready to square. Use the original tongue for the front brace since you won’t be using it for its intended purpose. Now hit the welds with primer and weld all the connections together including the spring hangers to the brace and the rear hangers to the frame.

Step 4

Get the tongue bolted with grade 8 bolts and start welding it. Weld all metal to metal connections first. If anything happens and you have to leave the welding process unfinished, please always cover the connections with a light coat of primer to protect from rust.

You might also want to fill all the remaining holes that you will not be using for building the trailer. It is not necessary but sometimes they can be a little inconvenient and don’t look good either.

Step 5

Put the front upright now using some scrap. You can also add a sleeve over the tongue to beef up where all the weight will be (this is optional). Put some primer on the entire trailer to keep the welding protected.

Step 6

Now it’s time for more grinding, priming and sanding. If you missed a spot or welding is disturbed from somewhere, now is the time to do it again. Finish off with the primer and let it rest for a few hours.

Step 7

Time to start painting now. Choose a colour of your choice for the upfront trailer. But for best protection, hit all the sides (bottom, tongue etc.) that will not be visible with an oil based black paint.

For the top side, start with the coat of a metallic silver coat to give it a bright finished look. Now use the colour that you have chosen for the final colour. It can be red, blue or any other you want, put minimum 2-3 coats to make it long lasting.

Now finally the time for a clear coat to make the final look shiny and neat.

Step 8

Time for the coupler on with grade 8 bolts. Add front eye bolt, tie it down and start wiring.

Next up is side rails and axle installation which is pretty straight but you can refer to instructions foe axle setup

Michael Holding

Michael is an outdoor adventurer and a kayaking enthusiast who loves to share his experiences with others. He is the Chief Editor at XgearHub.

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