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Louisville Area Canoe & Kayak Group Message Board Gear & Accessories › New Home-made Kayak Cart

New Home-made Kayak Cart

Thom M.
New Albany, IN
Post #: 56

I made this cart based on several web searches on kayak end carts as well as looking at the TrailTrekker cart offered by I used parts that can be purchased at just about any hardware store and boat shop.

The axle is just a threaded 5/8" steel rod cut to about 26 inches. The spacers are made from 8 inch pieces of PVC pipe, stuffed into a chunk of foam pool tube -- the pool tube is mostly for looks as it serves no other real purpose. The wheels I picked up for $5.99 each at Harbor Freight in Clarksville and the center spool thing is a boat roller for $9.95 at Bass Pro Shops. The black tube is 3/4" ID heater hose cut about 36 inches or so that I found at Ace Hardware. I shoved a 2 inch piece of the PVC pipe into each end of the hose to stiffen it and drilled a 5/8 inch diameter hole through which the axle is passed through.

I went through a couple prototypes before settling on the present configuration. My first attempt was to use a two-foot piece of 1/2 inch copper tubing I had laying around. That proved to be very light weight, but would flex some with the weight of the kayak and I feared over time it would develop a bow. I also used a cotter pin on a ring thing to hold the wheels on (required a hole drilled through the copper pipe on each end) but it kept getting hung up on the air valve of the tire and messing with how they rolled. I also tried using some webbing straps threaded through pool tubes for the harness part, but that didn't hold the kayak centered well enough and didn't provide the same "flex" that the rubber hose has to keep "springing" the wheels back into alignment when they manuever over uneven surfaces.

All in all, it works pretty much the same as in the videos for the TrailTrekker. It's a bit heavier and requires the use of a couple nuts on the ends of the axle, so it won't come apart quite as easily as the TrailTrekker single-pin design. Their video shows assembly in about a minute or less.. Mine will take maybe a minute or two. :)

I've got about $25 to $30 in parts invested. I just couldn't see myself paying $159 plus shipping for the other cart. If the people selling the TrailTrekker cart priced it at closer to $60 I'd buy it in a heart beat.

Jim K
user 9599326
Louisville, KY
Post #: 578
Thom, folks,

That is so cool. I think that it is pretty darned neat when folks put their own hands on their paddling gear. Making boats, gear, etc.

Nice looking cart!

Had a sorta fun occurrence today that I feel necessary to mention.

Bought used for modest price one of these:


..from craigslist $35. I think that I might have been used. Yeah, the wheels come off, but could not get the folded frame in the boat. Is a Valley Nordkapp with large hatches....

Spent no small amount of time with this.

Promptly lost one of the cir-clips holding the wheels a dummmy.:)

Called maker , (in Seattle) and the fellow was laughing at/with me and said that they would send another along at no cost.

Neat doing business with that sort of vendor.

Anyway..Nice work Thom.

David H.
user 12858240
Louisville, KY
Post #: 7
Cool. I built one and used old lawn mower wheels. They worked fine.
Thom M.
New Albany, IN
Post #: 57
I've been able to use the new cart now for several weeks and have been very happy with its performance so far.

Jim, you're right, there is a great feeling of satisfaction to making something with your own hands and having it work well! I bet the folks that make their own custom fitted kayak at Skipping Fish reall get a huge sense of accomplishment from their boats. I'll have to go check their website again. Would be great if they had more photos or even video of the skin on frame boats in the water and such.

David, did you go with a similar design or another? I just eyeballed my measurements, so mine could use a tweak or two if I ever made another. Maybe an inch or so shorter on the harness and/or a 1/2 inch more on each spacer. Truthfully though, it's working so well as is that it's not worth the trouble to adjust even those small amounts.
Greg M.
user 8291008
Jeffersonville, IN
Post #: 797
They've got more pics on their Facebook page:
Tony k.
user 11568470
Louisville, KY
Post #: 2
Wow. That is awesome.

Thanks for the details on the parts and where you got them.
Where did you get the threaded axle?

I'd like to make one to work on a canoe. Would you
have any suggestions to modify it for a canoe?

Thom M.
New Albany, IN
Post #: 58
Hi Tony, the threaded rod can be found at just about any hardware store or home store and isn't very expensive. Less than $10 bucks for longer than you'll need. :)

As for using it on a canoe, if you look at how the orange boat roller fits the relatively sharp angle of the keel in some of the close up pics, you can see how it helps to keep the hull centered. Bass Pro had several types of rubber rollers with wider angles that would likely accommodate the less sharply angled keel of a canoe and yet still serve to cradle the boat in the center of the axle. As for the harness, I'd imagine that the rubber hose would work just as well and could be attached to one of the cross pieces (thwarts?) in the same way I ran the loop of cord to the back edge of my coaming.

If you give it a go, share some pics!

bob k.
user 58623162
Louisville, KY
Post #: 2
I purchased the Trail Trekker and it works beautifully including rough terrain and up and down deep hills. I post this information for those lazy like me and not into building.
Thom M.
New Albany, IN
Post #: 62
If we ever cross paths at a Meetup, I'll be very interested to see the real thing up close!

I've become pretty used to my setup so far and it's made a world of difference when it comes to the ease of moving the kayak from the garage to my truck and back -- not to mention at put-in/take-out sites!

Because I used some old threaded rod that I had laying around, I've got some minor problems with the nuts that screw on the ends and hold the wheels on due to some dinged up threads on the end. I'm toying with the idea of going back to finding a hollow or solid rod and cotter pins for faster assembly/disassembly. (Not like I really need to, I can do it in about a minute, but a tinkerer's project is never done!)
Don P.
user 13711758
Nicholasville, KY
Post #: 35
Thanks for posting this Thom. I've got some wheels from a broken hose reel cart that I'm going to try to make a kayak cart out of using your design in the next week or two. They weigh over 3# each. Might be heavy, but will save me even more - recycle at the same time. I've seen some golf pull carts with some really light wheels that might make good candidates. I bet you could find some of those in a garage sale.
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