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Picture of How to turn a harbor freight trailer into a Kayak/Camping trailer
This is my first instructable but I have posted this on some kayak forums with positive feedback so I wanted to post it here and enter it into the outdoors competition. I wanted a trailer I could haul our three kayaks on and our camping gear but all the trailers I found for purchase were $1000 plus. Here is how I built mine for $363
I started with the harbor freight Kit and turned in into exactly what I needed.

Step 1:

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 I started with harbor freight #42708 - 870 Lb. Capacity Utility Trailer, 40" x 49". It was $219.99 and with a coupon I got it shipped to my door for around $160. In addition to the trailer kit here is what I used for this project –

10’ 11ga 2” square tube

14’ 1/8” 2” angle iron

2 6’ pieces of 1.25”od round tube

4x8 sheet of 1/2” treated plywood

2 12’ 5/4” deck boards

2 8’ 5/4” beck boards

4 10’ 2x4s for bunks

7 eye bolts for tie downs

6’ wire for harness extension

Front braces are 3/4” steel bar that was already bent that I got from a scrap pile

For those who don’t know the above picture is what the manufacture intended it to look like.
 

 
baja betty1 month ago

I am new to kayaking and just bought a hobie outback. I thought I could haul it in my pickup bed but I am not strong enough to lift the boat up into the bed. I talked to fabricators to come up with something that would help me, we thought of pulleys, winches, ramps with wheels and it is just getting too complicated and expensive. Today I got turned on to this HF trailer. Can you tell me what the distance from ground to the frame to put my kayak on is? Do you suggest I put a plywood deck (covered in marine carpet) on the trailer to haul the kayak or can it be hauled as is? Since I am a newbie to kayaking, not at all mechanical (but I have male friends that will assemble and help me with this project) please give me any suggestions, knowledge, problems what have you so I can get on the lakes before summer ends. Do I need some kind of pad eye or hook to tie down the kayak or does the trailer come with these? I am desperate to get out on the water instead of looking at my beautiful boat sitting in my barn. sigh. Help! thank you so much!

baja betty

Frkzila (author)  baja betty1 month ago

baja betty, For my trailer the load height is about 38" but that is because I wanted to make the bed underneath to hold my tent, firewood and other camping gear. I usually pick up the nose of the kayak and put it between the bunks then grab the rear of the kayak, lift and push forward and the kayak will center itself on the bunks and you only have to lift one side at a time. You could get one made that would be as low as 16" or lower if needed. To hold the kayaks I used 2x4's for "bunks" or rails to pull my kayaks up on and you can go to any marine shop to get bunk carpet to cover them. You don't need an entire floor just to hold the boat. For tie downs, I used eye bolts so I could fasten my ratchet straps securely to the trailer. I had to buy these separate at a local hardware store. If you have any other questions feel free to shoot me a PM and I'll try to help out! Happy kayaking!

Thank you so much for the reply. After being totally frustrated with this project because I cannot do it myself and depending on others has been not so good, I went ahead and bought a Malone Micro sport seawing kayak trailer. Sigh, a lot of money but I wanted to get my new kayak out on the water before I croak. You are a godsend however for others that can DIY things, unfortunately I can't. I so appreciated you posting what can be done and I hope others will have as much success as you have. Great too that after so long you still are willing to help. I wish you were my neighbor! I'd be putting you to work.

thanks again!
baja betty
AndyK61 month ago
Frkzila (author)  AndyK61 month ago

Andy, linking to your site is great, I like that other people can get inspired by my ideas!

AndyK61 month ago

Hi Frkzila,

Great post. I even see your design being applicable to the other types of trailers that are similar to the harbor freight model. I have been putting together an article and compilation of resources for building kayak trailers when I stumbled on your site. I have put a link to your page on www.kayaktrailersale.com I hope that's okay with you if not please let me know and ill delete it.

Cheers!

Andy

phottomatt1 year ago
Awesome project, can't wait to get started, I have the 4'x 8' HF trailer and will be using this as my build plans. I have 2 tandem kayaks to haul, 13.5'and 16.5'. thanks for this indictable.
Bushie1 year ago
NICE WORK...

I'm always looking for hints and suggestions along these lines..
wmansfield2 years ago
You might consider putting larger automobile rated wheels on your trailer. I built a trailer some years back using the Harbor Freight utility trailer as a starting point. I drove it from New York to California at highway speeds. Somewhere in Texas we had stopped for food and noticed that the entire tread was missing on both tires, save for the one strip of rubber on the outsides of the tire. That could have been disasterous. I was lucky.
I really like this!
It inspires me to get to work on camping-kayak combo of my own.
Thank you!
We have two HF trailers--one the "full size" 4' x 8' or so that we use for general hauling and to trailer our motorcycle--850 lbs dry. Plus ramps etc. The only prob we have had with that one is the orig paint and lights--both are politely--crap.

We then bought the smaller one --dunno the size but about 4' x 6' mebbe?---And we sanded the "paint" off of this--I am pretty sure the entire thing was just dipped in pure red colored lead!!!--and painted it black. We had the axles and frame etc cut down to make it match the width of the bike and the saddle bags so we could make a tow-behind-the-bike size. We then mounted a fiberglass or ? plastic type car top carrier on to see how we liked it. This has held up well altho the paint that we used to paint THAT part (plastic cover up paint) is---not the best altho we used the name brand. We have done many miles on some pretty rough roads and you wouldn't even know she is behind the bike.

Get the BIGGER TIRE option for any HF trailer! And get a spare--they make a mounting bracket and you will be very happy if you ever need it that you invested the few $$$ in this!

We used some "diamond plate" black rubber cut to fit (also from HF) on the fenders to avoid chipping the paint and also used plastic "chrome" door trim (Wally world auto section) to go around the fenders and other parts inc the edge of the car topper to add a nice chrome look.

We had to replace the lights--rear lights--on the big trailer several times--first with HF replacements and then we discovered that PEP BOYS and WM have super bright water proof boat trailer lights--PEP BOYS are cheaper---and we replaced the ones on the big trailer and used them for the orig build on the tow behind the bike trailer. Do yourself a favor and just shell out the $30 or so that the Pep Boys lights cost--worth the cost in frustration and time saved!

All in all we love the trailer we built and altho we are thinking of building a more sturdy "Tear Drop" or other design for the same trailer this one is holding up well so this is not an urgent need.
Dr.Bill2 years ago
DeNault2 years ago
Nice job! You'll find it too easy to snap or drag those tail lights off though. Suggest mounting them on top of that angle iron and protect from above by another piece of angle iron. (Let the angle iron take the hit.)
Harbor Freight posted about your article on Facebook.
Frkzila (author)  capturedlive2 years ago
Thanks for letting me know! That is so cool to have a project featured!
artlife2 years ago
Good Job!
May I suggest that you change your photos around so that the finished product is showing on the list of instructables. Let folks see what a good job you did, so that they will check it out.
artlife artlife2 years ago
Much better!
Frkzila (author)  artlife2 years ago
Thanks for the suggestion! I do think it looks better on the search
Nick705872 years ago
Looks good. I was thinking of buying one of those trailers to make a small camper. What do you think of the trailer quality itself?
Frkzila (author)  Nick705872 years ago
The quality of materials is decent, the one problem I had with the kit is it bolts together and that could cause it to be out of square if you hit a pothole or something but I fixed that by welding everything together. Out last camping trip I had over 500lbs of gear on it (that includes 4 days of firewood) with no issues. I highly recommend the kit providing you can weld everything and not just bolt it.