Introduction: Canoe/Kayak Caddy Mod From a Jogging Stroller
This is a canoe or kayak carrier modified from a jogging stroller. The stroller was bought at a garage saie and only required a small bit of re-engineering to create the carrier. This particular brand was made by Dreamer Design and is called Fitness First. The wheels are detachable (great for stowing in a canoe) and the frame is made of aluminum tubing. Also of note is the parking brake for the back wheels which is used to prevent the carrier from running away while you are trying to saddle it with a canoe.
Step 1: The Materials and Tools:
1) Stroller; ideally this would be a jogging stroller with detachable wheels and a mechanism to collapse the stroller. The back wheels have a knob that turns the wheel onto and off of the axle. This is a great advantage and something to look for when scouting out a stroller. The aluminum tubing is also circular. This makes it easy to cut with a tube cutter. Many strollers are constructed with elliptical tubing and will require a hack saw or sawzall to make the cuts. Look around and find one that suits your needs.
2) One piece of wood 3/4''x2 1/4''x 17''' long to use as a cross brace. This will vary depending on the type of stroller you find and the wood you have available.
3) Hardware consisting of:
a) two 1/4 x 2' bolts with locknuts, washers & wing nuts.
b) three 3/16'' x 1 1/2'' bolts with locknuts & hex nuts
c) two 1/8 x 1'' bolts with hex nuts
4) 12' long strap to anchor the canoe to the caddy. You can also use bungee cords or rope.
1) Miter Saw
2) Tube cutter
4) Combination Square
5) Allen wrench set
6) Tape Measure
8) Center punch
9) Standard Screwdriver
10) Crescent Wrench
12) Drill Bits
13) Cordless Drill
Step 2: Deconstruction
First, take off the stroller’s canvas baby seat to reveal the frame. Set the material aside for another project. Next, take off the front wheel; again, set it aside for another project. I also dis-assembled the front brake and set it aside (yes, another project).
Now, take off the handle and baby seat support bracket. We will use the handle later to make the bed of the carrier. We will also use the hardware from the baby seat support tubes, but not the tubes themselves.
What now remains is the axle with the back wheels attached (along with the parking brake), as well as the back support arms and the front chassis pieces that had attached to the front wheel. This gives an indication of the usable parts attached to the axle.
Step 3: More Decon and Reorientation
Take off the front chassis pieces by drilling out the pop rivets of the T-joint at the axle. We will leave the T-joints on the axle and use these later.
At this point we will rotate the back stroller supports forward. They will later come to an angle of approximately 30 degrees from the horizontal. These will become our forward struts for the canoe caddy. Note that there are 3 T-joints that remain on the axle. We will use the two outside joints to construct the vertical support pieces. We will leave the middle T-joint in as a spacer.
The new forward strut will now have to be shortened before attaching the handle/bed to it. Measure out 3’’ from the end of the strut and cut this section off with a pipe cutter. Once the short pieces are removed, drill new 1/4'' pivot holes in the strut elements 1/2'' from the end. First use the center punch to establish purchase for your drill bit. This will be the new attachment to the handle/bed element. It is not necessary to make this cut, but it does do 2 things; 1st, it shortens the triangle formed by the struts, the bed, and the vertical supports to make a more rigid frame, and 2nd, it shifts the center of gravity back and closer to the axle such that the canoe's weight is balanced more evenly on the axle.
Keep the short sections of tubing. We will use those to create the cross brace.
Step 4: Creating the Bed
Remove the baby seat support element (i.e. where the child's feet were supported) from the handle assembly. We will not be using the baby seat support tubes, but will use the plastic ends that pivot in the end of the handle. Also detach the narrow gauge black rod that had functioned as a canopy frame. The handle assembly will be attached to the new forward strut pieces and become the horizontal bed of the canoe caddy.
At this point drill out the pop rivet from one side of the handle brace. This is so we can later slide 2 T-joints onto the handle brace.
Turn both of the plastic attachment brackets on the ends of the handle 180 degrees. (The brackets can also switch sides so that the allen heads are still pointing out.). This is because the handle element is now to fold the opposite way than it had while on the stroller.
Step 5: Cutting the Vertical Supports
Take the front chassis assembly we had disconnected earlier and drill out the pop rivet from the center tube. We will use this tube to create the two vertical supports. Drill a hole in each of these 3/4'' from the end. We will bolt the support tubes to the handle brace using the T-joints below.
Cut the center tube into two 6 1/2 inch pieces to form the vertical supports. I measured the tubes such that the bed of the canoe caddy would be above the wheels. This is so I can carry a canoe or boat that is broader than the wheel base of the caddy. If you have a narrow canoe or kayak that can nest between the wheels, then you can cut shorter tubes for a more compact carrier.
At this time also drill out the pop rivets to 2 of the T-joints from the chassis assemblage. These will be inserted into the handle brace from the previous step and become the connection between the bed/handle assembly and the vertical supports.
Step 6: Assembling the Frame
Slide 2 T-joints onto the handle brace (these are from the chassis). Let these T-joints slide free. Reconnect the handle brace with a 3/16 x 1 1/4'' nut and bolt.
Place the 2 vertical support pieces into the T-joints on the bed/handle brace. Drill and bolt these into place at the top, but leave them free at the bottom. This way the caddy can be collapsed when stowed in the canoe.
Now slide the end of the front struts onto our new caddy bed (the handle element) and attach using the initial hardware from the stroller.
The bottoms of the vertical supports can now be slipped into the T-joints attached to the axle. This completes the main frame formed by the front struts, the caddy bed, and the vertical supports. Note that the horizontal bed is above the wheels enabling a broad boat can be carried.
Step 7: Creating the Cross Brace
Measure the wheel base of the caddy. Ours is 14''. Add 3'' to this measurement (1 1/2'' per side) for a total length of 17''. This is the length to cut the 3/4 x 2 1/4'' stock for the cross brace.
Measure in 1 1/2'' from the end and 3/4'' from the side and mark the spot. Drill and countersink a 3/8'' hole to accept a bolt. Repeat on the other end.
Drill out the pop rivets that hold in the plastic pivot pieces from the baby support tubes in Step 4. Attach these to the small tubes cut from the front struts by drilling a 3/16'' hole in each short tube 1/2'' from the end. This will create the joists for the cross brace to rest on. There was already a hole in each of these shorter tubes. We will use these hole to support the cross brace with a bolt and a wing nut. The wing nut lets us quickly disassemble the cross brace for stowing the caddy within the canoe.
Assemble the short pieces to the plastic pivot piece using the 1/8 x 1'' bolts; then connect these to the plastic bracket system already used to connect the bed and the front struts.
Now attach the wooden cross brace onto the short tubes using the 1/4 x 1 1/2'' bolts and wing nuts.
Step 8: Canoe Caddy Assembled
Congratulations, you are now finished with the body of the canoe caddy. The only thing left is to put the parking brake on and strap the canoe down by feeding the strap around the bed/handle supports and round the top of the canoe and cinching it down. Release the brake and you are on your way towards water.
The canoe caddy can also be easily disassembled and stowed in the back of the canoe while on the water.
Step 9: Bonus!
We can also extend the bed of the carrier out and make it a handle again. The canoe caddy can now become a equipment or garden cart.