Out of personal experience, Chris writes practical and helpful articles about how to make items and accomplish tasks.
Make Your Own Kayak Cart
Do you own a kayak or are you thinking of buying one? If you do (or are), you know you need to have a way to transport your kayak on your vehicle. But how will you get your kayak from the vehicle to the water and back again?
That is a question most of us fail to ask until we are standing beside our boat, looking at the water from a distant parking lot. Carrying the boat is exhausting and dragging can cause serious damage. There are companies that sell carts for this purpose.
A quick look online will tell you that you will spend between $50 and $250. This is a great item to add to your kayak gear. I want to share with you how I made my own kayak cart from an old golf bag pull cart and how you can do it too. Here is how to make your own kayak cart.
First, a Golf Bag Cart
Maybe you have an old golf bag cart out in the garage or in the basement. But if not, consider going to a few second hand stores. I found mine at a Goodwill Store. When I first saw it, the price tag said $20. Well, I didn't want to pay that much, so I waited. A few weeks later, I went back. The price tag now said $1.99. That's what I was looking for. Oh, and the tag was pink, which on that particular day meant I got 50% off. You could also see if a friend or family member has an old one you could have for little or nothing at all.
Modifying Your Cart
Once you have your cart, you will need the following parts and tools to modify it into a diy kayak cart:
Tools and Supplies
- About two feet of one inch foam pipe insulation. This can be purchased at any hardware or home improvement store.
- Four wood screws and washers. The size is not critical. The screws just need to be long enough to go through the foam and into the plastic of the golf bag holder. The shorter the better.
- Kite string
- Two straps with cam buckles, long enough to go around your kayak and the cart's "spine".
- Utility knife
- Electric/battery powered drill
Step by Step Instructions for Making a Kayak Cart
The following instructions are for the type of cart that I used. You may have to make other/different modifications depending on the style of cart you are using.
1. Cut two lengths of foam pipe insulation: one for each of the two golf bag braces on the "spine" of the bag cart. Cut them about an inch longer than the brace itself.
2. Cut one length of foam pipe insulation for the u-shaped platform at the bottom end of the cart "spine".
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3. Attach one foam piece to the top brace. Foam pipe insulation is made with a slit running the full length of the tube. You will need to run your finger down the slit to open it up. Holding the foam tube open, place it on the top brace. Run one screw, with washer attached, through the foam and into the plastic on each side of the brace. Be careful not to tighten it so much that it rips the foam, but tight enough that the screw head dimples the foam slightly. This will keep the screw head from coming into contact with the kayak.
4. Follow the procedure from step three for the bottom brace.
5. Wrap the last piece of foam tubing around the u-shaped part at the end of the cart "spine".
6. Wrap the kite string around each end of the foam covered u-shaped part once and tie off. Leave two inches of string off the end of your knot. Continue wrapping several times to prevent the string from cutting into the foam. Cut the string and tie that end and the two inch piece together.
7. Wrap the kite string several times around the base of the u-shaped part and tie off.
You are now ready to put the kayak on the cart.
Putting the Kayak on the Cart
Line the cart up directly behind the back end of the kayak. The handle of the cart should be the end closest to the kayak at this point. Lift the kayak and slide the cart under the back end of the kayak. Let the kayak down so that the keel fits into the u-shape. You can now let the kayak rest on the cart. Wrap the two straps around the kayak and the spine of the cart. Tighten the straps as tightly as you can get them. Look under your kayak and check the front brace. Depending on the shape of the bottom of your boat, the kayak may not be resting across the width of the brace but only in the middle. If this is the case, simply shim it with some of the leftover foam pipe insulation or some other piece of soft material. This will make the kayak much more stable in the cart.
You Are Ready to Pull your Kayak on Your New Cart
That's it. This may not make the Kayak Cart Review, but, by following these diy kayak cart plans you will be ready to pull your kayak rather than carrying or dragging it. Good luck modifying your golf bag cart to be a homemade kayak cart. If you have questions about these instructions, or suggestions for making the design better, feel free to leave them in the comment area. Good luck and happy kayaking.
Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on March 03, 2018:
Mac, I pulled the bungees up over it on top of the boat behind my seat. It isn't pretty, but it's there when you need it at the end. Thanks for reading and for the question.
Mac on March 03, 2018:
Hi Chris, I've bern looking at a variety of ways to make a small transportable kayak dolly. I ran into a golf cart at a yard sale today for a dollar! My question, can you show how you pack this on your kayak while in the water? I need to get this rather large device from the water to the shuttle vehicle at the end of the trip as well. I mostly ride the river. Thanks!
fishingman on April 25, 2017:
very useful article .i think i can make it now following this article
Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on February 05, 2013:
jimmar, thanks for stopping by and reading my article. Actually, this little contraption does help a bit with loading onto a car top. Lift the free end up and set it on top, then go to the back of the kayak where the wheels are and push. Remove the cart and continue pushing. If you position the cart more toward the middle of the kayak, the lifting will be easier, although the back will touch the ground sooner as well. I hope this helps.
jimmar from Michigan on February 05, 2013:
hmmm. I suspect soon I won't be able to carry my kayak. I'll keep this in mind. Got any ideas to help lifting onto car top carriers?
Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on October 24, 2012:
freecampingaussie, Thank you. Actually, when I stepped back and looked at the project, I didn't make any structural changes to the cart. I just put padding on it to protect the kayak. Otherwise, I just tip it horizontal and strap it on tight. It works great, especially if you get the kind of cart that has the "U" shaped part at the bottom. The keel fits right into it. Have fun on the Europe trip. I'm jealous.
freecampingaussie from Southern Spain on October 24, 2012:
What a great idea ! I will keep this in mind for if we get another kayak while we are traveling . We are selling the 2 we have before we do our trip to Europe . Voting you up & shared on facebook.
Chris Mills (author) from Traverse City, MI on October 07, 2012:
tipstoretireearly, thanks for reading and commenting. I look for ways to not buy new things. I was in the Goodwill store and saw this cart. The idea came to me at that point. I sure could have used a hub on the roof rack. I spent the hundreds on that. Thanks for stopping by.
tipstoretireearly from New York on October 07, 2012:
Very resourceful! Always great to build something yourself rather than pay the inflated prices for most kayak accessories. I built a roof rack for my kayaks rather than spending the hundreds for a commercial one.