A Kayak Trailer for our bicycles!

The idea i have in my head is for two 20" or 16" bicycle wheels which are connected with a structure and some way of cradling the kayak, either a fabric hammock or a couple of lateral (running front to back) foam bars. The boat would sit with the wheels in the center at the center of gravity. Then i could be pushed or pulled like a cart, or attached to a bicycle. My boat is 24 inches wide, so unless it is somehow above the tops of the wheels, the wheels need to be about 26" apart.

That structure connecting the wheels is probably just an axel, but i have also seen a cool design (see below) which has a board connecting the wheels. And it has to be able to hold 120-150 lbs. My boat is 16" long, and the cart/wheels will have to be under the cockpit/middle/center of gravity, so approx 7.5 feet will stick out in front of (and behind) the wheels. The clearance has to be enough so that the tail of the boat, trailing 7.5 feet behind doesn't scrape the pavement on hills.

I imagine placing the 14" plastic boat on top of the 16" fiberglass boat and securing with foam and webbing -- there would probably be a couple of foam pads (like my car rack) between the boats.

The second challage is a connection to the bicycle. I consider this secondary for a few reasons -- first of all, i plan on using the trailer as a hand cart half of the time and secondly, believe something quick & dirty can be mocked up while the problem is solved elegantly. After chasing this idea for over 5 years i don't want to get stopped by that issue.

The actual connector hitch is an issue (i'm hoping we can caniblize soemthing from a used bike shop). I like the idea of a 'Bob' style axle hitch, but i suspect it will be too squirly, still, the obvious choices are

The long tounge connecting the trailer is of course a big issue -- if you have a tounge, it has to run 8 to 10 feet under the boat to the bike and then, i assume cutting up to the seat post. The tounge is the key that makes the trailer expensive and awawakrd.

However, i have a 'Sea-Kayaker' magazine which shows directions for an easy to make hitch hitch which attaches to the nose of a kayak, eliminating the need for the long tounge. I like this idea, the trailer itself would be just a cart and could be used with or without the bicycle.

David dreams of building a trailer with a very high axel so that one kayak or canoue can be put on top and the other suspended with straps below the axel. About 3 years ago he promised to work with me to build a trailer, but it hasn't happened and i don't think he is going to do it.

That same issue of 'Sea-Kayaker' has a design for a simple cart made with a slab of 3/4" plywood and 10" wheels connected to the board with a basic angle iron. This looks like a good start and i am ready to build it!

In a kayak shop in Sitka Alaska in 1999 i saw a kayak trailer (wish i had bought it then!!) that i thought would work very well. It was called the Farrington Charriot. It is completly unavailible. Val (at Bikesmith) suspected that they lost the company in an insurance lawsuit because the web domain at one time directed to an insurance company. Here are some photos. This is still, i believe, the best template for a design.

Here are some other photos of trailers

I have collected a list of websites selling trailers, links and prices below.

And my rough design... I keep thinking that the basic design of a Burley Flatbed may be a good way to start, although the clearance might be a problem.

  1. $499 Tony's Trailer (Victoria BC)
  2. review       of Tony's at girlbike
  3. $299 biker evolution
  4. $360 Bikes At Work
  5. $522 Equinox
  6. ????         Jim Clevad homemade
  7. $275 Paddleboy flyer
  8. $270 Burley Flatbed
  9. photo        at bike Friday ... we should ask her where she got it!
  10. homemade Terry Cooper's diffrent design
  11. list            of carts at kayaksite.com
  12. Worksman bikes

    I dropped a note to the folks at 'Bikes At Work', text is below.

    On 6/22/04 at 4:14 AM Mark Canizaro wrote:
    > a friend and are both carless and both have kayaks
    > and we are interested in jointly buying a trailer of
    > some sort to tow both kayaks (the longer one is 16 ft)...
    > We've been searching for a long time (the orignal plan
    > was to build our own, but that has not come to pass)...
    > so i ran price/shipping quote for a basic 116
    > kayak spine trailer on the calculator, but i wasn't
    > quite sure about the length... of course the trailer
    > doesn't have to be the full 16 feet of the kayak,
    > but what calculation should i do to figure what length
    > trailer is best for what length boat?
    > Also, we are planning on stacking the two boats on the
    > trailer, probably the total weight will be around
    > 100-120 lbs...  I am assumming that's not a problem 
    > for the spine trailer... 
    > but i was also wondering if it would be possible to 
    > purchase just the wheel set -- wheels, tires, axels, making 
    > essentially a handleless cart.  Could you do that?
    > Finally, we saw one of your truss trailers this weekend
    > here (in Seattle) and i may be converted!!!  I use
    > my BOB frequently, but the idea of hauling larger loads,
    > or even moving, with the truss trailer is very exciting
    > to me... so now that will be added into the mix of
    > my decision.   
    Hi, Mark.  Thanks for writing.
    For carrying a 16' kayak, I'd probably recommend the longest spine trailer 
    we make (the 116").  If you had a trailer any shorter, you wouldn't be able 
    to place the axle underneath the middle of the trailer to balance out the 
    load, so the trailer would be "back-heavy".  In my experience, a back-heavy 
    bike trailer never rides very well.
    Carrying two kayaks on the trailer wouldn't be a problem.  If you have the 
    room on the roads or trails you'd be riding, we can make the trailer wider 
    at a slight additional charge to allow you to carry them side-by-side.
    If you'd like to make a hand cart, we can sell the parts individually.  
    Although we don't have a parts price list online for our spine trailers, we 
    do have one for our truss frame trailers:
    The prices of the spine frame parts would be comparable.
    If you have any more questions, I'd be happy to answer them for you.  Have a good 
    -Jim		jimg@bikesatwork.com
    Joan Stein & Jim Gregory    
    Bikes At Work Inc.   515-233-6120
    129 Washington Ave.  Ames, IA  50010