DIY Kayak Cart – How to Make Your Own Inexpensive Kayak Cart

Last Updated on March 21, 2021 by KayakPro

After almost 2.5 years, my kayak trolley broke down. It started with thinning of its wheels (which I changed) and then proceeded to wear and tear with other parts of the cart. Now, like most of you, I went online to find some good Kayak carts.

The really good kayak carts that I found online were priced at around $70 – 90 and some even above $100! This is when I realized that I don’t want to spend this much and decided to build a DIY Kayak Cart. I mean, how hard could it be to build a cart for my Kayak?

Well, it was hard. I read many articles and watched many videos on how to make your own Kayak trolley but they weren’t enough. After a bunch of hits and misses, I figured out how to build an affordable yet sturdy cart for my Kayak based off Palmettokayakfishing.

It ended up only costing me around $30, so I decided to write an end-to-end guide on DIY kayak carts. The good news is you don’t need acute craftsmanship or technical skills to build this cart.

I have divided this guide into the following two sections:

  • A list of items you will need from the hardware store
  • Step-by-step guide on building your own Inexpensive Kayak Trolley.

So, let’s begin!

Materials Needed to Build Your DIY Kayak Cart?

completed cart

The list of things you’ll need to build a cart for your kayak may slightly differ. As I mentioned earlier, it took several attempts to build my kayak cart. The fun part is you get to figure out the right measurements for your cart.

Things like which PVC pipe do you want to use, what types of types you want to use, the types of nuts you will use, and more! Having said that, this is the list of things I used for my DIY Kayak cart.

A trolley has 2 parts: Body and Wheels. To make things easy in this guide, I’ve broken it down into those two aspects, one section about the body, and one section about the wheels.

For the body of your DIY Kayak Cart, you’ll need these items from your nearest harbor freight.

  • 10-12 feet of best-in-class PVC pipe (1)
  • Jumbo pool noodle (1),
  • Non-locking zip ties (8),
  • Endcap terminals or closed-end caps (3),
  • PVC Glue

You’ll need the following items for the bottom section of your DIY Kayak cart from your home depot.

  • Wheel (2) [The same ones they use for carts of golf bags or lawn mowers]
  • 3 ft of 5/8 threaded rod or shaft
  • 5/8” stainless steel nuts and lock washers (4),
  • Cotter pins (2)

You’ll need these tools for your trolley. Lucky for me, I had them in my garage.

  • Miter Box and Hacksaw
  • Rubber Mallet
  • Bench Vise
  • Vise grips of medium size
  • Electric drill

Step by Step Instructions to Build Your Inexpensive DIY Kayak Cart

Once you are ready with all the items from the above list, it’s time to get down to business! And the first order of business is going to be cutting the PVC pipes.

It’s always better to look at it this way. Your entire Kayak cart is nothing but PVC pipes along with wheels and T-fittings put together.

Use the Hacksaw as mentioned in the list to cut the PVC pipes. If you don’t have a hacksaw, a pipe cutter or a chop saw would also do. So, what will be the pipe size you’ll need for your DIY Kayak Cart?

I’ve mentioned the measurements of pipes, and how many pipes will you need of each size, below.

  • 1.75 inches – 2 pieces
  • 3 inches – 4 pieces
  • 4.5 inches – 2 pieces
  • 8 inches – 4 pieces
  • 10.5 inches – 1 piece
  • 18 inches – 1 piece

And that’s it. You have all the pipe pieces you will need for your Kayak cart. Here’s what we are going to do. We are going to fit all these pieces together.

Pro Tip: Don’t glue these pipe pieces as you go. Before you use any glue, make sure that they stand using all the T-fittings, washers, nuts, etc.

Step 1: Take the 2 end caps. We will drill a hole at the center of each of them. Start by drilling smaller holes and make your way towards the circumference of the end caps. This way you will get the exact hole size you want. The final size of that hole should be ⅝”.

Step 2: Take each of the 1.75 inches PVC pipes and attach the end caps separately to both of them. Keep in mind that we will be using glue only when we are sure that the entire structure of our Kayak cart fits.

Step 3: You now have 2 combinations of 1.75” pipe and end cap. Fit 1 T fitting to each of these combinations.

Pipe fitting Kayak trolley DIY

Step 4: Take the 2 pieces of 4.5” PVC pipes and fit them into each of the 2 final pieces from the above step.

Step 5: To give you a better perspective, you are currently working on the bottom part of your DIY Kayak trolley. It’s time to join the two pieces (from the above step) at the opposite ends of 1 T-fitting. Make sure the center hole of this T is at an angle of more than 90 from the center holes of the other two T fittings.

This T-fitting, now exactly at the center of the entire piece, will be used for the kickstand of your trolley. (Step 13)

Step 6: It’s time to add the threaded rod (for Kayak wheels) through the hole you drilled in the PVC end caps.

threaded shaft

Measure the end-to-end cap length of the entire piece. Cut the threaded shaft to be at least 8-10 inches (for wheels and other hardware) more than that length.

Step 7: Once the shaft is ready, insert it through the ⅝” hole of the end cap. After the shaft popes through the hole of the other end cap, make sure that its parts, sticking out from both ends, are equal. It’s now time to attach the wheels.

Step 8: Insert a stainless steel nut followed by a lock washer from both ends of the threaded shaft. Now, insert the wheels and followed by a washer and a nut, again. Use your vise grips to fit both of the wheels in place by tightening the nuts.

Congrats! The bottom part of your trolley is ready. The hard part is now over. You will now work on the top part of the trolley for your Kayak.

Step 9: Take the 10-inch pipe and attach 2 T fittings at both ends of it. The arms of the T fittings will be parallel to each other as shown in the picture below.

PVC Fitting for kayak trolley DIY

Step 10: Take one 3-inch PVC pipe. Fit it in the hole of one T fitting. Repeat the same process for the T fitting on the opposite side.

Now join this piece with the bottom part of your DIY Kayak cart you created in Steps 1-8.

PVC Fitting

Step 11: We will now make the railings where your Kayak will rest on. Take two 8-inch PVC pipes and join them using one T fitting. Add 2 fun doodles from each side of this railing. Attach one 3-inch PVC in the third hole of the T fitting. Repeat the process. You now have two separate railing parts.

Step 12: Fit the remaining ends of these 3-inch pipes into the two holes of T-fittings of the top part you created until Step 10. Make sure that they fit in parallelly with each other and at 180 degrees from the rest of your Kayak trolley.

Step 13: You are now left with an 18 inch PVC pipe and an end cap. The 18-inch pipe will be the kickstand of your Kayak trolley. Fit this pipe in the only T-fitting hole left in the bottom part of your trolly. Use the end cap to cover the other opening of the kickstand. This will make it easier to make a grip on your trolley.

Once you see that all the pieces fit together, it’s time to glue all the individual pieces of the trolley, especially the bottom part.

built kayak cart diy

Congratulations! You just made a Kayak Cart DIY under the price of $30. You can use it even as a car or bike trailer when going out fishing.


I hope that this guide helped you in building your own inexpensive DIY kayak cart. Also, this can be used as a DIY canoe cart too. Now the only question is, are you going to try it for yourself? Let me know in the comments!

Disclaimer: The pictures used in this article have been taken from here and are for education purposes only.  If you want more detailed instructions, check out hist full post, DIY Bulletproof Kayak Cart – Build Instructions + Pics.

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Ryan Stoltz

Ryan Stoltz

Avid kayaker and lover of the outdoors. Having been kayaking for over 7 years, I love sharing my experiences and learnings along the way. Currently kayaking in upstate New York and always open to new adventures!

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