Introduction: Kayak Rack

About: I work as a Realtor at Keller Williams - Fredericksburg. I'm also a partner in a granite countertop company. Married to Jodie. We have (2) awesome children, Anissa & Troy.

Here's a great way to haul up to (5) kayaks plus the paddles, life jackets & other gear neatly in the back of of pick-up. Outfitters in our area charge $40 per kayak per trip to drop you off upriver ($200 a day for a family of 5). With this set-up, they only charge us $25 to drop us off at the same spot & to drive my truck back to the same take-out spot downstream. That saves at least $175 each time we go!

Step 1: Plans

The pdf file includes the cutting list for this build. There are probably 1,000 more efficient ways to lay it out, but I really didn't have much material at the end. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions and please share pics & ideas if you build your own.

Step 2: Cut Pieces

Cut all pieces from the cutting list. It will take some planning to make all of the 90° cuts, reset  your saw & then cut the 45° pieces. It will be nesessary to use an angle grinder or bench grinder to debur & bevel the cut ends before you start to assemble. One of the most time-consuming jobs is making the tie-down braces (See 4th pic). Mark & drill all of the required holes for eye bolts, etc.
For the eye-bolt tie downs on the top of the rack, I used a decorative end cap for wrought iron fences. I drilled a hole through the center & welded the nut from an e-bolt underneath. Later I inserted the end cap into the top rail & welded it permanantly in place. In hind-site, it would have been easier & cheaper to bend & weld a loop of steel rod or flat bar to make these tie-down points.   

Step 3: Assembly

The rack is really just (3) identical vertical panels (2 end panels & a center panel) held together by horizonal braces. Start by making the (3) top braces, then tack the panels together. In pic 1, there is an extra piece layed in place temporarily across the top to keep everything square before it was welded. Weld & grind the everything smooth on all three panels. This is a good time to install the tie-down braces.
Prop one of the panels up with a clamp or magnetic corner, making sure it's square & start tacking the bottom brace.Tack the other end panel into place & add the center panel. You'll need to flip the whole project over a couple of times to finish the welds underneath.

Step 4: Fork Braces

You can either weld the fork-lift braces together from seperate pieces or bend a single piece of flat iron if you have a metal bender. I use pallet forks on my tractor to load/unload the rack in the back of my pick-up. I'm considering either buying or building a little trailer for kayaks & skipping the loading hastle altogether.
The 1"x2" rectangular tubing should be long enough to reach the corner (see pic 3). It would have been a lot easier to weld & will be much stronger that way.

Step 5: Equipment Cage

This is the cage for paddles, fishing poles, etc. I decided to use 3/8" solid rod for the bars, because I already had a bunch of it in my shop. But, welding pieces cut from 2"x4" or 4"x4" cattle panel or something similar would be much easier & would eliminate the need to drill a lot of holes!
Fell free to contact me with questions/comments.