How to DIY a Kayak Trailer

Anyone who loves kayaking at some point must have thought about buying a kayak trailer. This is because it helps with moving the kayak from one place to another.

Quick research on kayak trailers reveals how they can be expensive. It is why some people might end up not being sure if they should get one or not. That is why you need to get your tools out and come up with a DIY kayak trailer.

Do not be scared that it might not turn out great. All you need is to have the right supply of tools and start working on your DIY kayak trailer.

What You Will Need

  • A harbor freight trailer of size 48 x 96 inches. This trailer will have an impressive load capacity of around 1195 pounds. As such, you should be able to carry not only the kayak but also other important gear. Check out the official Harbor Freight website to buy the trailer.
  • A 16-mm combination wrench is also vital. Such a wrench will be important for loosening or tightening the bolts and nuts on your DIY trailer.
  • A 17-mm combination wrench is also good to have one. There are times you might have to secure different sizes of nuts and bolts. So, it is best to have all the necessary wrenches too.
  • The tie-down straps are still important for your DIY trailer. They are mostly used for holding down your kayak onto the DIY trailer.
  • You could also get kayak carriers too. However, this is optional. The carriers are crucial for safely securing more kayaks onto the same DIY trailer. There are times you may want to carry more kayaks since you are kayaking with a friend. It is good to know that it would be possible.
  • For the base, you need a sheet of plywood. Buy from the local hardware. As for the size, ensure it is the same as the trailer. In this case, it should be 48 x 96”. A thickness of ½” should be good enough for such a project.
  • You also need 2x4s. Buy both the 3’ x 8’ and 2’ x 6’. They will be used to create racks and crossbars, respectively.


1. Building the Frame

Once you have received your trailer from Harbor Freight, what follows is to put it together. Assembling the kayak trailer is not hard. The manufacturer would have sent you all the important instructions to follow.

Once the frame is assembled, go ahead and add the wheels. You should now be good to start working on the deck.

2. Building the deck

Go ahead to place the plywood onto the trailer frame so that it sits right based on the length and width of the trailer. Proceed to drill through the plywood, ensuring the holes go through the predrilled holes in the frame.

Once you make the holes into the plywood, attach the bolts and nuts to secure it to the trailer base.

Next is to add the 2 x 4s, in this case, the 3 x 8’ lengthwise on the trailer. Make sure they are bolted done to the trailer frame correctly. Make sure you have one on either side and another one in the middle.

Using the 2 x 6’, it is time to make crossbars. You have to install them across your deck rather than lengthwise. It is advisable to secure them using the L-shaped brackets to make them stronger.

3. Testing the trailer

At this point, your DIY trailer is ready for use. Go ahead to secure two kayaks on the new trailer and secure them using straps onto the crossbars.

Because of the weight capacity of the trailer, you can easily add up to five kayaks. Just make sure they are always correctly tied down before you can start your trip.


Is it cheaper to build a kayak trailer?

Yes. You will not spend as much as compared to buying a completed kayak trailer from a top brand.

Do you need many tools to build a DIY trailer?

No. In most cases, the common power tools and some wrenches should be all you need. The guide above features everything you need to get started.

Are DIY kayak trailers durable?

For the most part, yes. It depends on how you assemble the trailer. If you follow all the instructions correctly, you should have a durable kayak trailer all the time.


Overall, it will be cheaper to build a DIY kayak trailer than walking into a store and getting a ready-made model. It also helps you get crafty with your trailer and personalize it to suit your style and needs.

It is worth mentioning that not everyone would find it easy to come up with a DIY trailer. If that seems like the case, you could always buy one from a top brand to save you time.

Leave a Comment