How to Build a Kayak Boat Trailer

••• All images (c) 2009 by Tom King

Once you start collecting kayaks, you will soon find yourself with more than you can carry on top of your truck. You can build a simple one that requires no welding and an old boat trailer. Old boat trailers are not difficult to find. Check junk yards, watch the classifieds or if you see one in someone's backyard, stop and ask. They may give it to you in exchange for hauling it away. Once you have your trailer, you are ready to begin.

Step 1

Strip the Trailer Down to the Basic Frame and Lights.
••• All images (c) 2009 by Tom King

Clear away any trailer protrusions, winches or boat cradle hardware from the trailer. Unbolt parts or cut away with hacksaw. Check the wiring, tires and make sure you have a title to the trailer before starting. Obtain a builder's title to get the trailer licensed. Consult your local tax assessor for information.

Step 2

Door Hinges Connect the Top of the "A" Frame.
••• All images (c) 2009 by Tom King

Attach two 2-by-4 studs end to end with door hinge. Turn them over and stand up to form an upside down "V." Do the same with the other two stud length 2-by-4s.

Step 3

Bolt the Front Legs to the Trailer Frame.
••• All images (c) 2009 by Tom King

Drill holes in the front part of the boat frame and in the support legs (the upside down "V") at the base of the legs. Bolt studs to frame with carriage bolts.

Step 4

Bolt the Second Set of Legs to the Back of the Trailer Frame.
••• All images (c) 2009 by Tom King

Attach rear support legs the same way.

Step 5

Screw or Bolt the Top Cross Member to the Legs.
••• All images (c) 2009 by Tom King

Attach top cross member to the top of the leg supports with a lag screw or bolt at either end. Either side will work. For added strength, bolt a second top cross member to the other side of the "A."

Step 6

Cross Members Should Be No Wider than the Trailer.
••• All images (c) 2009 by Tom King

Cut two 2-by-4s to the width of the trailer and bolt or lag screw to the legs to form an A-frame at either end of the trailer.

Step 7

Bolt a Diagonal Cross Brace to Add Lateral Strength.
••• All images (c) 2009 by Tom King

Cut the long 2-by-4 to run diagonally from the top of one pair of legs to the base of the other pair. Bolt the cross member into place behind the outside faces of the leg to allow for the kayaks to rest against the frame.

Step 8

Attach Eye Bolts to Tie-Down Spots.
••• All images (c) 2009 by Tom King

Attach screw-in eye bolts at the tie-down points shown in the diagram at the end of each cross member top and bottom. Two should be placed on either side of center to hold down a kayak in the middle of the "A."

Step 9

Styrofoam Noodles Make Great Pads for the Boats.
••• All images (c) 2009 by Tom King

Cut Styrofoam swimming "noodles" to the length of each section of the cross member where the kayak will rest. Cut each noodle section halfway through to the "hole" as shown. Duct tape the ends and spread the cut open and fit over the tops of the cross members.

Step 10

Note How the Kayaks Rest Against the Noodle Pads.
••• All images (c) 2009 by Tom King

Zip tie short pads on the outside cross members in the center of the "noodle" to make a shallow "V." For the center pads, zip tie in thirds to create a shallow "U." The taped ends will lift up and provide a padded cradle for the kayaks.

Step 11

The Eye Bolts Make It Simple to Tie Down Your Kayaks.
••• All images (c) 2009 by Tom King

Paint or water seal the wooden frame. Strap kayaks securely to the trailer.


  • Toss paddles and gear in the truck. Do not try to carry them loose in the kayaks.
  • Double check all tie-downs before driving off. You may not notice a kayak blowing off until far down the road.


  • Take care of your wood frame to prevent rot. Keep it painted or water sealed.
  • Use lock washers on all carriage bolts to prevent them from vibrating loose.


About the Author

Tom King published his first paid story in 1976. His book, "Going for the Green: An Insider's Guide to Raising Money With Charity Golf," was published in 2008. He received gold awards for screenwriting at the 1994 Worldfest Charleston and 1995 Worldfest Houston International Film Festivals. King holds a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Southwestern Adventist College.

Photo Credits

  • All images (c) 2009 by Tom King