Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Trailer Design IRL

Last month I posted about the design for modifying my utility trailer and turning it into a kayak and canoe trailer.

I was trying to avoid having to shuttle kayaks in two loads for my lessons (I need 7 kayaks for a set of lessons) and also avoid having to overload the roof racks on my CRV.

CRV with a couple too many kayaks on one roof. The Thule racks are really good but still, I'd rather avoid this.
I took the trailer along with my sketches and required dimensions to a local welder (CJ's Welding near Clavet) and he went to work. About $1200 later (including the replacement of the trailer's leaf springs, which were apparently broken), and I have a trailer that will serve to haul up to 12 kayaks at a time on their sides, or 4 canoes sitting flat.

Room for 4 canoes or kayaks sitting flat. Or, with kayaks leaning toward the pillars there should be room for up to 12 assuming their decks are not too tall. The bars are 78" wide, the same as the Thule load bars on my vehicle. The welder added a plethora of  loops for tie-down points, on the bar ends and at various points on the racks. The racks and the extra tongue bracing are all removable so that the trailer can serve for hauling stuff to the dump and similar mundane tasks. 

My canoe & kayak at 17.5' and 18' respectively are among the longest loads this trailer is likely to see. The rack spacing allows the canoe to fit on the lower rack as well.

Close up of extended tongue with removable brace in place. The pin near the receiver pulls out in order to remove the barce. Note that the re-wiring was not complete at this point. I also want to add a jack to the tongue. In it's previous state the old trailer didn't need a jack because it was quite light. All the extra steel adds a lot of weight and the trailer is now fairly heavy. Plus, I might have occasion to unhook the trailer with a load of kayaks and that will be easier with the jack.

Close up of the trailer end of the tongue. The original tongue bracing is seen on top, and the original tongue was removed and a larger square tubing welded in it's place in order to act as socket for the telescoping tongue. When in short mode, the pins at the corners pull out as well as one near the receiver and the outside brace lifts off. The extended tongue can then slide back into the socket and pinned short.

A much nicer load distribution. My two kayaks on the CRV roof (with Thule racks), plus another 6 kayaks on the trailer (4 on the bottom, two sitting flat on the top bars). The two kayaks on the top of the trailer are relatively short. If I wasn't careful, I could run into a problem with the kayaks on the car hitting the kayaks on the top tier of the trailer.

I still need to figure out the perfect arrangement for ropes or straps for easily securing the load.

The center pillars have been padded with sections of rug to protect the kayaks and the kayaks are resting on foam blocks on the load bars. 
So, let me know what you think of the end product!


  1. This is amazing these pics are awesome . i love it.

  2. excellent Job! I have been thinking of getting a trailer as well, just so we can get 5 guys together in my little korean car spit gas and head far away.

  3. Hi Lee,
    Yeah, I've been wanting a trailer for a long while now and had considered either building afresh or modifying this trailer many times over. I've been involved with the local paddling club for about 15 years now and during that time I have fielded many times over the question of "do you know where I can rent/borrow/buy a canoe/kayak trailer?"