How to Build a DIY Kayak Trailer

If you are now getting serious with kayaking, you will soon find yourself having more than one kayak. Transporting them may be difficult, especially when you are out on a family trip or in a group activity. A car roof can only hold up to 2 kayaks, so you should consider building a DIY kayak trailer. Having a kayak trailer is a lot safer for your kayak than strapping it down on your car roof.

Below, we will guide you on how you can assemble your own kayak trailer. In addition, we will also discuss some of the types of kayak trailers and their advantages. We hope that by the end of this article, you will be able to build your DIY kayak trailer.

The Advantages of Having a DIY Kayak Trailer

Having a kayak trailer would mean a lot of convenience on the part of the kayak owner. Not only will a kayak trailer provide you ease of transport, having one also means more time on the water. You do not have to endure the pain and inconvenience of unloading your kayak off the top of your car.

diy kayak trailer

An advantage of having a DIY kayak trailer is that it can hold more than 1 kayak. If you are with your family or a group activity, it’s a lot easier if you can transport them altogether. A kayak trailer can hold as much as 12 kayaks at a time. Another advantage is that you can save fuel since your trailer is attached to your car.

If you decide to build you’re a DIY kayak trailer, it will be highly customizable. Assemble it based on your preferences. You can make your kayak trailer hold up to 12 kayaks at a time. To add, there is an option to customize it by making it a bike kayak trailer, which means easier loading and unloading of kayaks. Having one is also good for long trips, unlike strapping your kayak on the roof of your car.

Types of Kayak Trailers

  •  Single Kayak Trailer: This type of kayak trailer can only carry one kayak at a time. It is easy to assemble and is very lightweight. It does not require much maintenance and it can accommodate kayaks that weigh up to 200 pounds. We will further discuss this type of trailer later on as this is the easiest one to assemble.
  • Multi-Kayak Trailer: This type of kayak trailer can carry more than one kayak at a time. Just like a single kayak trailer, this is also very easy to assemble using the simplest tools. But what makes it different to a single kayak trailer is that it has two supporters at the center. These supporters make the trailer able to carry multiple kayaks at a time.
  • Trailex 16 Kayak Trailer: This is one of the heavier kayak trailers as it can accommodate kayak weighing up to 1,200 pounds. Unlike the multi-kayak trailer, this trailer has crossbars instead of center support. It also has safety cables and vinyl extrusions that prevent the kayaks from getting abrasions from loading and unloading.
  • Rack and Roll Kayak Trailer: This type of kayak trailer, like the single kayak trailer, is very lightweight and highly durable. In addition, it has loading bars, which keeps the kayaks in a secured position. This one occupies a lot less space as it can be folded when you are not using it.
  • AAA Kayak Trailer: Like the Trailex 16 Kayak Trailer, this type of kayak trailer holds up to 1,200 pounds of weight. But this one can only hold up to 4 kayaks at a time. With this type of kayak, you can place two on the top side and another two on the lower side.

How to Build a DIY Kayak Trailer

To easily build your DIY Kayak Trailer, you first should determine the size of your trailer. Your trailer should be proportional to the size of your kayak. To verify, measure the length of your kayak first. After that, you must also decide on how you want to construct your trailer.

You can assemble it from scratch using individual parts or you can just convert an old trailer. Converting an old trailer to a kayak trailer is a lot easier but make sure you have the right parts. This job requires minimal construction, mechanical, electricity and carpentry mastery but you should be fine with heavy lifting. Make sure you have all the correct materials and tools so you can save time and effort.

homemade kayak trailer

Below is a list of the steps on how to build your own DIY kayak trailer.

  • If you already have an existing trailer and you wish to convert it to a kayak trailer, read on. You first have to get rid of all previous installations on the old kayak. You have to unbolt the parts and you also have to check the tires and the wiring.
  • If you are starting from scratch, you can start with building the bed frame. The frame should consist of four steel rods, two on either side and another two on the front and on the back. After that, you have to weld the rods together to form a square. Make sure that the length of your rods must correspond to the length of your trailer. Remember that you have to measure the length and the width of your kayak first. Next, you have to weld support beams so you can install the boards to the bed frame.
  • After installing the board to the bed frame, you must now attach the axle and tires. Keep in mind that there should be weight distribution when attaching the axles. The axles should be installed 60 percent towards the front and 40 percent towards the back. This will ensure that your kayak will stay in upright position and will not fall off your trailer. After that, you can now proceed with attaching the tires. I would recommend that you also attach triangular gusset plates for extra support.
  • You may now drill eye bolts in front of your kayak trailer and then add the bungees. This will ensure that your kayak is secured and will not fall off while in transit. For added protection, you can also install straps to secure your paddles. You can also use ropes but make sure that it is waterproof and will not become loose. By this time you’re almost done building your DIY kayak trailer.

Ensuring Long-Term Functionality of your DIY Kayak Trailer

If you want your DIY kayak trailer to last longer, here are some of the most important things to keep in mind.

  • In order to maintain your kayak trailer, you have to take care of the bed frame so it won’t rot. You can have it water sealed or even painted for extra preservation. It would not only look pleasing to the eyes, it also ensures added protection to your bed frame.
  • Another tip for taking care of your trailer is you to use lock washers on all bolts. By doing that, all carriage bolts will be secured and will not become loose due to vibration while in transit.
  • While on the move, do not attempt to carry your paddles and gear loose in the kayak or in the trailer. You have to double-check everything. Make sure that you tie everything properly. This will prevent your kayak from falling.
  • Remember that if you are building a kayak trailer for more than one kayak, do not go excessive. Don’t build racks or bed frame that your DIY kayak trailer cannot balance safely. The reason is that it is very dangerous to drive heavy kayak trailers, especially on small and zigzag roads.


In sum, assembling your DIY kayak trailer may seem tricky. But if you follow the above instructions and if you have the right materials. You can do it hassle-free. The most important thing is to ask for help if you cannot do it on your own. You will be handling flammable and sharp objects.

It is recommended to have someone assist or help you. Once you are done, you will be able to transport your kayak hassle free. We sure hope you will be able to build your own DIY kayak trailer after reading this article.

James R. Douglas