We recently bought a couple of kayaks, so I had to come up with a way to store them. After doing a little research, I determined that storing them on their side, without any hard pressure points, was best. If not stored properly, kayaks can deform.
Some of the storage options I’ve seen use a nylon strap to gently cradle the kayak, since the strap can conform to the contour of the hull. Also, some sources suggest that it’s best to support the middle 40-50% of kayak.
I built this rack for our kayaks for about $50. Since ours are 10 footers, I placed my supports a little over 4 feet apart. The only significant challenge was designing the support brackets that actually hold the kayaks, so that’s what I’ll focus on.
What you’ll need:
- A sheet of ½” plywood
- About five 8ft 2x4s
- 5/16” hex bolts (3 inches long)
- 5/16” washers and nuts
- 1-1/2” wood screws
- Casters (optional)
- 1” dowel
- 1” schedule 40 PVC
- Nylon straps (I found 9ft long 1-1/2in wide straps in the camping section of Walmart).
To make these brackets, here’s what to do.
- Take a sheet of plywood and cut it into 16” x 24” panels. You’ll need 4 panels per boat. With this size, you shouldn’t have any waste.
- Cut the bracket shape out of the panel according to the plans below. I used a router, but a jigsaw would work too. I used my router with a trimming bit to duplicate the subsequent bracket pieces.
- Drill the four holes in each bracket piece in the spots indicated by the blue circles. Use a 11/32” bit, which will fit the 5/16” bolts.
- Smooth the edges of each bracket piece with a sander or router.
- Cut the 1” dowel into 1-1/2” pieces, and drill a 11/32” hole down the center. You’ll need 2 per boat.
Cut the 1” PVC into 1-1/2” pieces. You’ll need 2 per boat.
- For the nylon straps, you’ll going to need two lengths for each boat. I found 4-1/2 feet to be about right, which works well with the straps I found at Walmart. Cut if needed, and don’t forget to melt the ends and to have a buckle of some sort to attach the two ends together in a loop. My walmart straps had plenty of buckles included.
- Run a bolt through the outboard hole in one piece, through your “bushing” (consisting of the dowel piece and the PVC) and finally through a 2nd bracket piece.
- Run another bolt through the top hole, but you don’t need a bushing here.
- Loop the nylon strap between the two bolts.
(click to zoom)
Once you’ve built your brackets, just build a simple 2×4 frame as shown by the photos. You should have plenty of scraps of plywood to cut the 12” triangle gussets for the corners. I used the bottom brackets as the structure which holds the legs in place. The upper shelf or shelves just bolt to the 2×4 uprights at the proper heights. I found that putting each shelf 32” (measured from top to top) apart worked well for my boats.
On my two boat rack, I put a board across the top where I’ll put some hooks to hang my life jackets, etc. I built a three boat rack, shown below, for a friend.