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The St. Johns River The Intracoastal and Beyond
How to Build a Kayak Cart

Leaking KayakI knew dragging my kayak to and from the car was not a good idea, and when I wore a hole in the keel and had to patch it, I knew it was time to come up with a better plan.

There are a lot of different carts, wagons, trailers and wheels for kayaks. I met another kayaker who used the rear wheels from a kid's Big Wheel to make his cart, and I thought that was very clever. He said the big, fat wheels were good on dirt, sand...everything!

I was working on a tiny budget and didn't have a Big Wheel to hand, but thought I ought to be able to construct *something* that would do the job. It took a couple of tries, but I came up with a pretty good little cart.

Leaking KayakI was given some screw-on wheels and a swimming pool noodle, and I had an extra tie-down strap and scrap wood and pvc pieces. Surely I could McGyver something out of all that!

I had to buy the flanges and pvc adapters at the hardware store, but that was the only cash I had to put out to build my cart.

My first version was basically a flat board, foam bumpers, strap, and wheels. It didn't work because the keel didn't sit flat on the board and wobbled, and the strap was past the widest part of the boat. Any resistance on the wheels, and the strap would just slide off the back and the wheels would remain where they were. Also, my wheels were attached with small wood screws that pulled out.

Plan A = Fail.

Plan B called for pvc rods in the scupper holes to hold the cart in place, and nuts and bolts on the wheels. This one seems to be a keeper.

The wheels I am using are swivel, which have good points and bad. Good is that it is very easy to move the boat in any direction. Bad because if you have that sucker on any kind of a hill, it wants to roll in the downhill direction and take your boat with it. You have been warned.

Supplies Needed:

1 wood board (8 x ???)
2 1-foot lengths of 1 x 2 w/wood screws
1 swimming pool noodle
2 wheels w/nuts and bolts
2 flanges w/wood screws
2 pvc adapters
2 pvc rods
1 strap

10 easy steps to make your own custom kayak cart:

  1. Take a board as wide as your boat and mark the spacing for your scupper holes
  2. Verify the size of your scupper holes. Mine are 3/4 ". Cut two pvc rods about 1 foot long.
  3. Screw the flanges onto the board
  4. Put the adapters into the flanges
  5. Glue the pvc rods into the adapters
  6. Screw on wood lengths for bumpers
  7. Slice a pool noodle to glue over the wood bumpers
  8. Put a strap between the wheels and the bottom of the board
  9. Bolt on two wheels
  10. Place under cart with rods in scupper holes, and strap snugly

Homemade Kayak Cart

This is working very well. Now I strap my kayak on the cart, load all my gear in the boat, and wheel it to the launch ramp all in one trip!

Kayak with cart

The cart goes over pavement, wood and grass quite easily, but the wheels are too small to go in soft sand. I don't mind dragging it on sand, but if you don't like doing that, just use bigger, fatter wheels.

When I get it home I wheel it right into the shed and leave it on the cart until the next trip.

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