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Cheap Homemade Canoe or Kayak Storage Plans:


In These Tough Economic Times, why Buy Designer Kayak Racks from Yakima or Talik?

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A cheap homemade kayak storage rack, by Kelly Smith

I used to store my Heritage Redfish fishing kayak in a sling along with my canoe in the back yard. But fly fishing season is here and I’m tired of shlepping the yak around the side of the house where I can just squeeze it between the air conditioner condenser and the fence.

As a temporary measure, I just set it on the ground next to the driveway. I didn’t want to buy a manufactured one because they are so expensive. Why?

I suspect it’s because they associate excess discretionary income capital with boating and fishing.

As with most of my DIY projects, I like to mull over possibilities for a few days and then come up with a plan. This one was no exception.

In this article, I’ll outline exactly how I built my kayak storage rack. Any minor modifications you might need will be obvious. This is a 1-day or less project including 2 trips to Home Depot.

Material and Tool List

  • A saw. I used my Craftsman table saw, but a circular or hand saw works as well.
  • Tape measure.
  • Corded or cordless drill with bits.
  • 5 2’ X 4’ studs.
  • I used scavenged Yakima roof rack cradles and holy rollers, but you could easily cut curved chocks with a jig saw or band saw. You’ll need to know exactly what you are using before hand so you can buy the correct length carriage bolts.
  • 8 carriage bolts with nuts and washers.
  • Wood screws; any type will work, but either brass or stainless steel are recommended for anti-rust purposes.
  • 2 sets of Crawford sawhorse galvanized brackets. Each set put me back $7.00 at Home Depot. Sweet.

Rack Building Procedure

Yakima holy rollers attached to kayak storage rack The first consideration is how high off the ground you want it. My only concerns were that I would be able to mow under it and that it would be at a comfortable height for making mods to the boat.

Kayak fishermen love to trick out their boats.

  1. It turned out that just cutting 4 2’ X 4’s in half worked out fine, yielding a height of 25 1/2”. If you want to be really efficient, you might want to size the height so that you can just drop the tailgate, back your truck up, and slide your boat into the bed. That way, you can load the boat with paddling/fishing gear before loading it in the truck for transport.

  2. Next assemble the saw horse legs by sliding the cut studs into the brackets and secure with screws.

  3. Cut the remaining stud in half and complete the sawhorses.

  4. Determine where you need to secure your cradles. This will be determined by the geometry of your boat and whether you will be storing it on the bottom or on the side.

  5. Lay out the holes, drill down through the horizontal stud, and secure the cradles with the carriage bolts. Click on the photo above for a more detailed view.

    If you build your cradles out of wood, recess them for the nut and cover it with some scrap carpet.

Yakima rooftop kayak rack cradles attached to storage rack Well, that’s about it. I also cover my boat with a tarp and secure it with bungee cords. For security, I run a cable through a drainage scupper and around a very tall queen palm tree.

Have you found any tips and tricks that relate to canoe or kayak storage plans? Feel free to share them with our other readers in the comment section below!

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