Making a Kayak Trailer for under $500

There are a number of kayak trailers available with racks for around $1000. How about being able to build a kayak trailer yourself for under $500? I don’t mean some “blue tarp and duct tape” hack job, but a nice steel setup built to last.

Here are the basics for how to build an affordable kayak / bike / canoe / toy trailer using a Harbor Freight #62645 40×48 trailer frame kit as the base.  There are two key modifications necessary for this project; extending the tongue and adding the rack.

At 2 1/2′ long, the stock tongue is way too short.

DIY kayak trailer how to

I replaced and extended the tongue with a 10’ length of 2.5”, .120” wall square tubing. This made the new tongue about 6 1/2′ to the end of the coupler.  Installing the new tongue is easy, just drill six holes lined up with the holes already on the bottom of the cross members. Then make some nut backing plates to better distribute the bolting load, I made mine from 1 1/4″ angle iron. Finally, bolt the tongue in place using 3/8” x 3 1/4″ bolts.

kayak trailer DIY How to under $500

kayak trailer How To DIY

For the rack, I started with a No Weld trailer rack Corner Bracket Kit. The tubing is 1.5”, .120” wall square.  The rack has 60” crossbars that are 13” above the frame.  The individual pieces were; four 15 1/2″ uprights, two 60” crossbars and two 44” connectors.

kayak trailer How to Build under $500

Then the corner bracket holes are laid out and drilled.  After that, I test fitted the rack and painted the pieces.

kayak trailer Build at Home DIY

No Weld Trailer Racks Corner Bracket Kit from Compact Camping

No Weld Trailer Rack Made in USA Corner Bracket Kit from Compact Camping

Then the rack is assembled on the trailer and you are ready for kayaking adventures!

kayak trailer No Weld Trailer Rack Kayak or Toy Trailer DIY
kayak trailer No Weld Trailer Rack Kayak or Toy Trailer DIY from Compact Camping

kayak trailer No Weld Trailer Rack Kayak or Toy Trailer DIY from Compact Camping DIY Trailers

Trailer Budget:

$239 – Both Harbor Freight and Northern Tool have a 40×48 frame kit for available
$97 – No Weld Trailer Rack Bracket Kit
$81 – 24’ stick of 1.5”, .120” wall square tubing for rack
$55 – 10’ length of 2.5” square tubing for an extended tongue
$17 – Miscellaneous hardware and paint
Total = $489/
The other items to factor into your overall cost are a floor or crossbars accessories

For additional information on the brackets used to build this rack visit this thread *No-Weld Trailer Rack System*

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