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New and Improved Kayak Cart

Over time my homemade kayak cart has worked out pretty well, but I have run into a couple of issues. First, it needed larger tires, the little ones really did bog down in the terrain, many thanks to Southpaw for finding a pair of great pneumatic ones for me. The brackets proved sturdy enough for most trips, we found that if we loaded the cart with both yaks and all of the gear needed for a full day on the water, including big iced down cooler, they flexed too much and while they still worked it was less than optimal. So it was back to the drawing board, for version 2.0.

The first thing I decided was that I was going to have trouble finding “off the shelf” parts to accomplish what I really wanted, so I decided to learn how to fabricate my own parts and weld them together. This allowed me to build a much beefier frame without adding too much weight and it was something I wanted to learn how to do anyway. I reconstructed the frame from the original using a 18″ piece of channel steel for the crossmember and two 9″ pieces of 1/4″ flat steel for the brackets. I ground the bracket ends to round the corners before using the drill press to make a 5/8″ hole for the wheel axle. I then welded these pieces to the cross member to create the basic frame. I then cut two more 9″ pieces of the 1/4″ flat steel and drilled two 1/4″ holes in each end. I welded the pieces to the top of the crossmember to mount the boat supports to. I liked using the 18″ 2X2 wood pieces for the top runners from the original design so I stuck with that using 1/4″ lag bolts to mount them to the metal supports. I then mounted the wheels and spot weld the bolts in place. A quick coat of left over Jeep paint, four strap mounts and some pipe insulation and it was ready to go.

Adding the larger pneumatic tires made a huge difference when pulling it over rough terrain and the heavier frame means I can carry much more weight. I stress tested it by loading both kayaks, the canoe, a cooler, our gear and my niece and it pulled just fine, although I would not want to pull that load up a hill. This design is about twice as heavy as my original, but most of that weight increase is in the tires. One plus is that even with the increased weight, it still floats, once again due to the tires.

So here are the pictures:

The old cart and the new cart

A closer shot to compare the two

On the little yak

Under the big yak, actually mounted

I am thrilled with the way this one is working out thus far and I am glad that I finally got around to learning how to make some of this stuff in metal. Of course, this one does have some trade-offs, it took most of a day for me to fabricate and assemble the pieces and it cost more than thirty bucks to build, on the other hand it should last forever and it is a much better design. Good news for me but bad news for Scoot, now that I have two different models, I won’t have to haul both of the boats every time. The first design works very well for fairly light boats, and with the addition of larger wheels it remains very serviceable, but I am very proud of the new one and I am looking forward to the weather getting better so I can take full advantage of it.

I am still on the lookout for design improvements and I will keep you posted if I make any major changes. I think I really will build a folding one next time, maybe out of a lighter metal…

1 Comment

  1. Paul

    Sweet yak cart! I’ve recently been trolling the net looking for design ideas. I applaud your picking up welding skills to make improvements to the fabrication. Sometimes I’ve been known to spend $200 on tools so I can make that $50 repair myself. There’s something to be said for self-sufficiency and tinkering is fun. Any suggestions for learning how to weld? That would make a great blog article… what equipment is available, how to chose equipment, how not to burn off your fingers and go blind, etc.

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