Introduction: PVC Kayak Cart

Picture of PVC Kayak Cart

After looking around quite a bit, here is a PVC Kayak Cart I made from various different designs I found online to suit my needs. Thanks to all who helped (whether you realized it or not) .

Step 1: Parts List.

Picture of Parts List.

Parts List (all ¾” PVC unless noted):

Top Half:
4 – 90-degree elbow fittings.
2 – 45-degree elbow fittings.
6 – T fittings (4 are optional).
8 – 2” pieces PVC “pipe” spacers (for front & back).
4 – 6” pieces PVC pipe (for sides).
2 – 13” pieces PVC insulating foam for PVC, I used 1” for 1 ¼” pipe not ¾” as it fits WAY better over fittings.
8 – zip ties, non-locking.

Bottom Half:
3 – T fittings
1 – 90-degree elbow fitting (optional for stand).
2 – closed end caps (I used hex sided).
2 – 4 ½” PVC pipe (Horizontal rails).
3 – 4” PVC pipe (Vertical pieces), (1 optional for stand).

2 – Wheels from a golf bag cart.
4 – Large washers big enough to fit over your axle of choice.
2 – Cotter pins.
1 – 21 ¼” Hollow Axle. Outside measured ½” which is the diameter needed for the wheels.

Tools used:
- Hacksaw and Miter Box
- Rubber Mallet
- Medium sized Visegrips
- Bench Vise (for cutting and drilling axle)
- Electric drill

Step 2: Step 1: Bottom Assembly.

Picture of Step 1: Bottom Assembly.

Prep Work:
- Cut all pieces of pvc pipe to proper lengths (mostly 2” & 4”) & separate into their groups, i.e. Top, Bottom.
- Layout & check all fittings inside for small pieces of pvc or unwanted objects which can lodge themselves inside. (Sounds weird but it has happened to me). Now that you have your pieces together use the photos as a guide, and you will be ok. I found it easier to build the Bottom then the Top before joining the two.

Start with the centre T elbow fitting, add the 2 – 4 ½” pipes out from each end then add the other 2 T’s and 4” pipes going up from them, and finally the end caps on the T’s. And last if you want, add the 4” pipe with a 90-degree fitting as a footing to sit it up. Use the Mallet or hammer to snug everything up.

Step 3: Step 2: Top Assembly and Joining Bottom & Top Halves.

Picture of Step 2: Top Assembly and Joining Bottom & Top Halves.

Start with a T fitting and add the 2 - 6” pieces to each side, repeat for other side.
For the ends put together in this order,
90 degree elbow, 2” spacer, T fitting, 2” spacer, 45 degree elbow, 2” spacer, T fitting, 2” spacer, 90 degree elbow. The 2 V shaped ends when completed should be mirror images of each other. Add the 2 sides and then align according to the photos.

Join Top with Bottom.
If you have cut everything right then it will fit together correctly (believe me I was not sure quite a few times), so if it looks odd or bent out of shape keep tweaking the joints.
Insert the 2 upward pointed pipes from the Bottom into the 2 downward facing T fittings from the Top.
I found the 2 - 45 degree elbows on the Top cause the most misalignment when putting the top & bottom together.

Step 4: Step 3: Wheels & Axle.

Picture of Step 3: Wheels & Axle.

Until I found suitable wheels I was sort of stuck on what to use for the rolling part of the cart. I found a golf bag cart at a second hand store that had nice wide wheels & even though they were plastic I grabbed them, as I was tired of looking.
The axle was easy once I realized I could just drill a suitable hole in each end cap for the axle to go through.  I then just measured the length I thought would work with some wiggle room, then drilled a couple of holes in each end for cotter pins and used a couple medium size washers for some spacers/protection.

Step 5: Finishing Up.

As well as the kick-stand on the bottom, there are 4 extra T fittings in the Top end pieces. When I was looking to build the cart I was looking at many designs but finally narrowed it down to 2 designs, and as they both shared about 90% of the parts, just in a different configuration I figured the T’s would be a little stronger so left them in for future design.
Also I put on a couple of pieces of PVC insulation foam with zip ties on the sides to protect my kayak. I recommend using removable zip ties for when you want to replace your foam or anything else.
I used hex shaped end caps so I could find the centre much more accurately, just draw a line across the cap from each point to the opposite side 2 or 3 lines will give the dead centre to drill your axle hole.
And finally in the end I think I actually spent about $35-40 in parts. I have not glued or screwed mine yet and from what I can tell I probably will not need to. And just for the fun of it I stood on the cart without the wheels and there was no problem ( I am around 215 lbs). Enjoy.

Special thanks to Sprocket.


ScottM426 made it! (author)2017-11-19

Almost finished. Just need to figure out what joints to glue so i can store it in my boat, wait for spring for noodles to go on sale and the weather to be a bit warmer. Aint nobody got time for hypothermia. Thanks for the guidance. Happy boating!

cgfetch (author)2017-08-08

I'm definitely trying this. Where does one find an axle?

darrennie (author)cgfetch2017-08-08

I bought mine at Home Depot for about 3 Bucks if I remember correctly.

ChristopherC139 made it! (author)2017-07-03

I ended up going with 1 inch pipe because I feel like my wooden kayak-canoe is a little heavier. The wheels I used were from an old gas grill frame with some 5/16 in bolts. Pool noodles for the win.

Looks good, I wish I could have found pool noodles when I built mine. Nice Job.

else24 (author)2016-01-03

This is a great idea. I just bought a used cart for mine but later this year I'm going to use this concept to build a spare. The only change I'll try for is to build it to break down enough to carry on or in my kayak. My current one has removable tires and folds up. I'm sure this one can be built to break into two or three storable parts, and quick release clips for the tires. Thanks much for putting this up!

darrennie (author)else242016-01-17

I designed this with a breakdown in mind. Should not be a problem. I can take mine apart in minutes, maybe a bit more to reassemble.
No glue and no screws.

Adamik (author)2016-01-10

Looks complecated!!!

darrennie (author)Adamik2016-01-17

Don't let the looks or instructions fool you, it's not complicated in any way.
I promise.

dsfischer made it! (author)2015-09-09


darrennie (author)dsfischer 2015-09-11

Looks great, hope it works for you as well as mine has worked for me.

dsfischer (author)darrennie2015-09-11

Works like a charm! I should get many years a uses out of it. Thanks again for the instructions.

alcurb (author)2015-07-07

Nice build.

If it weren't for the title, going by the picture of the dog next to the cart, I would have guessed it was a doggie wheelchair. Perhaps it would be helpful to show it in use with a kayak on it in the first picture.

darrennie (author)alcurb2015-08-02

Na Sprocket is more than able to get around even with a sore ankle, I will consider the suggestion... though I don't really see the need. The title says it all.

alcurb (author)darrennie2015-08-02

Yep. The title says it all, but some people don't read at first. They may look at the picture and say, oh that's for such and such. Then they pick up the reading glasses, read the title and realize that it's for something else.

Paul Langness made it! (author)2014-05-29

Thank you for the inspiration. I have a 12' sailboat I built from plywood, and it's a bit heavier than a kayak. It's around 130 pounds, with the rudder, daggerboard, sail and rig. I wanted something a bit bigger and beefier, so I built your cart out of 1 1/4" PVC, but reinforced the axle, uprights and longitudinal members with 1" PVC pipe slipped inside the bigger tubes.

I glued all the joints on the top, but left the axle unglued, in case I have to take it apart for some reason. The axle is a 3 foot long 5/8" threaded rod. The wheels are from Harbor Freight. I plan to use a pool noodle for padding, although I know I probably won't be able to find a noodle with a 1 1/4" inner diameter, but that's OK. You don't really have to pad the bottom of the rails, anyway.

I'll let you know how it performs when I get the padding on.

darrennie (author)Paul Langness2014-10-13

​Nicely done. It's cool to see people modify to fit their needs. I was originally going to use pneumatic tires from a hand cart but found the golf cart in a second hand store for dirt cheap so I went with it.

barrettat1 (author)2013-09-22

great idea. tried to use this for my canoe but it wasn't strong enough

darrennie (author)barrettat12013-09-23

That's Interesting, I have used the cart on my single wood kayak which is 45lbs and my sisters 100lb Libra XT Double. When I was making the cart I tried standing on it many times to see how strong it was (I'm 220lbs). All I can suggest is maybe glue the pvc joints or if it's the wheels/axle (I also felt the wheels were the weak spot) upgrade to some pnuematic tires.

gnach (author)2012-08-23

Excellent job! Looks just like the one sitting somewhere in my garage. Let me add a couple of recommendations:
1) PVC is strong, the glue joints aren't. Drill a small pilot hole and run a small screw to each joint, two are better.
2) Add a nylon web strap, with a snap buckle, to tie down the boat.
Finally, I used the handle on the front of my boat to pull the rig.

Happy paddling!

darrennie (author)gnach2012-08-23

Thanks gnach for the tip,
I have been pondering "glue vs screws" for awhile . For the moment friction seems to be more than enough.
As for the strap, nothing beats nylon (imho) .
Now off to build a bike trailer for those longer trips. 8D

boatingman (author)darrennie2013-08-18

Wow! I don't know where gnach got the idea that PVC glue joints aren't strong but he couldn't be more wrong. If you don't believe me, try to pull one apart. If properly prepped, they are just like any other glue joints, actually stronger than the materials being bonded. Not only do you NOT need the screws, the pilot holes will give you a weak point that can cause the PVC to crack and fail, especially being used in a vibrating application like this.

darrennie (author)boatingman2013-09-23

That was my general feeling towards glue. I really think prepping is the key as is using the right glue (speaking from experience on that one).

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