Moving The Kayak, Trailer — Phase2

**** This is a continuation of Phase 1. ****

Trailer After Maiden Voyage0805071314.jpg0805071317a.jpg0805071317.jpg

I’ve completed the trailer. I had to make a few changes along the way, but that always seems to happen. The pictures here were taken after my first trip to (and from) a launch point about three miles away. The route included a few hundred feet of vertical climbing as well.The trailer performed flawlessly during the trip. I got a lot of double-takes, (friendly) horn toots, and general comments. My favorite was the Prius owner who, while unloading his kayaks, said, “Now, THAT’s carbon neutral!”

The top kayak attachment bolts to the flat bed using four 1/4″ holes. Bolts are passed through from the top, with a fender washer, lock washer, and wingnut on the bottom to hold the assembly together. The boat hangs on two webbing straps that run across the trailer and the stern end rests on a cross member by the hitch. The boat sits backwards since the stern is much heavier, allowing me to place the wheels further forward (for maneuverability), while still having an acceptable tongue weight. The majority of my time was spent finding an acceptable balance between tongue weight and trailer position. I didn’t want too much tongue weight since it’d break my hitch, or mess up the handling of the bike.

The boat is wider than the trailer, so it has to rest high enough up that it clears the tires, which causes the bow (rear when loaded) to sit much higher in the air than the stern, but that’s probably a more stable configuration anyhow.

The overall assembly is probably heavier than it needs to be. Making it out of aluminum would probably reduce the overall weight, though compared to the 85 lbs of the boat, it’s probably insignificant. My original plans called for the boat to support itself and for the hitch to attach to a front section that strapped to the boat. Unfortunately, it moved around far too much, so I ended up using the 8′ 2×4 seen in the picture to support the length of the boat and to attach the hitch. This added a few pounds, but made the trailer easier to pull. A side benefit that I didn’t consider until much later is that the trailer can be pulled without a boat attached, which my original design wouldn’t have allowed.

Moving The Kayak, Trailer — Phase1

Trailer, Prior to ConversionOK, now that I have my new Kayak, I need a convenient way to get it to the lake. Lake Natoma is a little over a mile from my house, so driving there seems quite silly. By the time that I lift the heavy kayak up on top of my car, drive to the lake, pay the $5 day use fee, take the boat off of my car, etc, I could just ride my bike there! I have this old child trailer that I’ve been meaning to convert for cargo use, so here goes…

Trailer, During ConversionPhase 1 is to convert it from a child trailer to a flatbed cargo trailer. A cargo trailer would have many uses in addition to the kayak, so even without the kayak this’d be a worthwhile venture. Once phase 1 is complete, I’ll continue to phase 2, which is to build a kayak cradle on top of it and move the tongue forward. The final phase will be to convert an old Rubbermaid tub and lid to fit on top of the flatbed using the same mounting holes as the kayak cradle.

Trailer, Flatbed Conversion CompletePhase one is complete. I removed all of the excess parts from the old child trailer. Once it was stripped down to just a rectangular frame I drilled some 1/4″ holes along the perimeter and bolted 1×4 strips fore-aft to support the 1/4″ birch plywood bed using carriage bolts. Not much to say about this step, it was quite straightforward and took maybe 2 hours total, including cleanup.

So far, so good…

Continued in Phase 2.

A New Kayak!


Finally… I got a kayak! After various rentals I liked the Wilderness Systems Pamlico 160T the best. It seemed the most comfortable after a long day, and one of the more efficient. The seats (Phase3) are the most comfortable, that’s for sure! I can sit in those all day long with no discomfort!

Now I just need to practice my stroke to avoid injuring my wrist or elbow, both of which get sore with my novice stroke. I use my arms far too much — need to learn to use my torso!! My back muscles could use a workout anyhow since I work a desk job and sit all day!

I didn’t get the rudder, so steering will be an issue with much cross current, but I might add that later.

Kayak Roof Rack Idea

Roof Rack 3D Model

This is my idea for a roof attachment for my new kayak… I’m seeking feedback before building it.

The artwork is crude, but hopefully it conveys the overall idea. The four central fore-aft boards (2×4) sandwich down over the factory roof rails (’05 Subaru Outback, shown in black) with a rubber strip between them using eight hex head bolts. The entire assembly can be removed by removing these bolts.

The lateral crossbars support the load of the kayak and are bolted to the top two fore-aft rails that hold the assembly to the roofrack.

Two more (longer) fore-aft supports run 6 or 8 feet along the length of the car and support numerous tie-downs illustrated near the front of the rack. These would be held in place on the port side by passing them through a hole drilled in the 2×4 and tying a simple knot (not shown). The starboard side would have cam buckles for each strap so that each one can be custom fit to make equal contact with the boat.

This would, I hope, create a hammock that would cradle the boat, while evenly distributing its weight over a large surface area, reducing the likelihood of oil canning. I suspect that the entire cost of the assembly would be around $30 and be superior in performance to more expensive saddle systems which often dent the bottom of the boat. The design only needs to be able to support the weight of the boat since the ripping forces of the wind are supported by the heavier duty straps going over the top of the boat.

Any opinions? Suggestions? Warnings?