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The decision to start trailering my kayak was an easy one to make since car-topping and carting the kayak was quickly becoming a hassle, staging all my gear on the trailer while near my parking spot seemed like a faster way to launch and land my fully loaded kayaks especially in tournaments. With new LED tail-lights, new fenders, crossover bars for additional yaks, marine-grade plywood decking, & D- Rings for quick release straps my trailer build had come a long way from when I bought it used from a neighbor down the road.

This is what the trailer looked like when I bought it. It had two different sized tires, was missing one of the fenders, the wiring harness was shot, and the tongue was simply bolted to the main body of the trailer. Nevertheless, the potential to become a great lightweight trailer for my needs was there and for only twenty bucks it was easily within the budget.

I quickly got to work and jotted down the as-built dimensions and started figuring out where the jet-ski bunk hardware needed to be relocated so that the marine grade plywood wood would sit even with the side rails.

Once the supporting hardware was relocated and the tongue was fully welded in place, the trailer received a few coats of spray paint and clear-coated to make it shine. The new tires and re-packed bearings made the trailer roll like a dream, but I still needed to add the D-Rings, kayak bunks, fenders, and LED lights to round out the basic design that would meet my needs.

With the D-rings and bunks added to the trailer it became very apparent that I needed a better solution for trailering two kayaks because stacking kayaks two high was causing undue wear on both yaks. A little while later it was back to the drawing board for a second round of design ideas on how to make the trailer work best for how I was typically using it.

I sketched up a few different ideas but found myself leaning towards having a cross-over bar system that would be welded in place and securely hold a second kayak and have room for rod storage boxes and gear lockers. I measure the height of the kayak seat in the high position and set my cross-over bars to the desired dimension.

I took the trailer down to my local welding shop and had them install some 1-1/4” schedule 40 pipes as shown along with a few stiffening plates to ensure that the bars were firmly in place. One of my biggest fears is losing a kayak on the highway so there were no shortcuts taken here.

Once the trailer was complete with the cross-over bars it made life a lot easier. I found that the flat top deck allowed me to step out of my kayak when landing onto the trailer without stepping in knee-deep water, the cross-over bar gave me a nice handle to pull myself up with as well. Now instead of using my truck and spending a ton of money on fuel I added a trailer hitch to my commuter car and found out that I was getting north of 30mpg while towing two kayaks. This made it easier to drive to tournaments further away without putting the hurt on my wallet. At the end of the day I’ve concluded that there is no single “perfect” kayak trailer since we all use our rigs a little differently which will affect the overall trailer design. If you’re thinking of going the trailering route and want to go the DIY route like I did, then take the time to think of all the ways you plan on using your trailer and come up with a design that meets your needs. Often, it’ll be a far less expensive option to retrofit a jet-ski trailer than it is to buy a purpose-built trailer considering the small amount of $300 for material and labor at this point.