Kayak Accessories


The Trailer Project

Now that we have all of these boats, the rooftops are becoming way too crowded and the cars always seem to return from trips filled with sand and wet gear. The solution seemed to be a trailer. We wanted to be able to haul 4 to 5 kayaks and all of our gear, yet be able to store the trailer out of the way. Also, we didn't feel like dropping $1000 on a custom kayak trailer. Thus was the birth of the trailer project.

We started with a stock utility trailer kit from Harbor Freight Tools. The basic kit came with the trailer (4' x 3 1/3'), lights, and 12" road tires and was $179 (delivered).

The standard tongue, at 4' long was way too short, so we replaced it with a 14' two-piece square steel tube. We extended it all the way from the rear of the trailer. The tongue has a steel inset to allow it to be shortened for storage. The steel for the tongue was $40.

The rack is made from 1" square tube stock. The uprights are 48" and the front-to-back supports are 72", allowing a better distribution of the boats' weight. The crossbeams are 3/4" gavanized pipe, attached with "U"-bolts. The 3/4" pipe allows us to use our existing Yakima rack components. The crossbeams are padded with pipe insulation.

The uprights are bolted into 1' lengths of 1 1/4" square tube stock, so that the rack can be removed for non-kayak hauling.

The steel for the rack was $60 and the hardware and crossbeams were another $60.

The rack is high enough to allow ample storage. The entire frame is bolted, no welds. McKinley was in charge of decorating, so her collection of bumper stickers has a new home.
The additional tongue length allows us to open the rear door of the minivan without hitting the boats. It also allows us to do a complete "jacknife" turn without removing any bow tips. You can see the bolts on the tongue where it breaks down.
The racks hold four boats easily and could accomodate six, if needed. Note the custom-built Greenland stick rack.

The Tuilik Project

I wanted to make a tuilik for my SOF boat, but I didn't want the first try to be on a $50 sheet of neoprene. I picked up some waterproof/breathable fabric on sale for $5.75/yd. and followed Chris Cunningham's basic instructions in "Building The Greenland Kayak". I modified the design to include neoprene cuffs. Total cost was 2 1/2 yds. of fabric and $7.50 for seam tape. Everything else (neoprene scraps, bungee, cement) were leftovers from past projects.

The tuilik is cut generously to allow me to wear my PFD, wetsuit, and drytop underneath. All seams are sealed with seam tape. The neoprene cuffs are glued on to the inside of the tuilik cuff with Aquaseal cement.
A close-up showing the detail of the hood attachment.
After a few months, I decided to replace the fabric face seal with "sticky" neoprene from Waterbug Products. I cut out the old seal, glued up the new seal, then sewed it into the hood rim. It is much more comfortable. I used about $1 worth of neoprene.
By popular request, I took some photos of the cuffs. The neoprene cuffs are attached to the sleeve with Aquaseal Cement. The seal is good, but I will caution you that it is a one-shot project. Once it is stuck, it is there. I ended up with some bunching, as you can see. When I do it again, I will put both on some type of conical mandrel to keep things nice and tight while gluing. The stitching you see on the cuff is just the sleeve hem.
Here is a view inside out. Here you can see there is no stitching. This tuilik is made of 2-ply material. The 3-ply material I have been able to get since then is much better.
This shows the overlap. It is about 1.5".

Sail Project

I wanted to try out my hand at building a kayak sail. I used a simple design developed by Rebecca Heap of New Zealand. The sail is an easily made, mounted and deployed downwind sail. Total cost was about $20 in materials and about 2 hours work.

McKinley and I trying out the sail on Washington's Vancouver Lake. The front lines are light bungee and allow the sail to be quickly deployed and collapsed. The poles were made from a tent pole replacement kit. The poles fit into "T" fitting from a light irrigation system and are joined at the base with a short length of vinyl tubing. It is mounted to the deck with a piece of shock cord. The sail is a lightweight ripstop nylon.
This picture shows the deployed sail from the front. Two lengths of 1/8" shock-cord run to a snap ring through the front toggle.
Here is the same shot from the rear. Two braided nylon lines run to snap rings on the deck rigging.
Here is the sail collapsed. It is collapsed by pulling the lines and tucking the tips under the deck rigging.
This is the base of the sail rig. The poles fit into irrigation fittings, which are connected by a length of vinyl hose. A length of shock cord runs through it all and has a clip on either end to attach to the deck rigging.
Detail of the base.
These webbing tabs are to take the strain of the lines. I took a 5" length of webbing, put a grommet in each end and then sewed it onto the sail. All of the strain is on the webbing, rather than the sail.
Detail of the base.
The base with one pole removed.
Detail of the attachment point. The webbing is folded around the pole and bar-tacked through the sail.

The dimensions of the sail:


36" across the top.

50" high.

10" at the base.

McKinley's Tuilik

My daughter was consistently cold when practicing rolling, etc. The answer was a 1/4" neoprene tuilik. I used a pattern provided by John Doornink, but modified it a bit to fit a small keyhole cockpit.
Back view.
She is much happier in the water these days. A little tip in working with kids. If they are warm, they are happy. If they are not warm, they are not happy. If they are not happy, they are done.

The Avataq

An Avataq is a traditional Greenland hunting float. This modified (and modernized) version was made of heat-sealable nylon. It is attached to the back deck and assists the paddler in keeping the boat from flipping over completely. It is a great transition tool between outriggers and no additional floatation. It is a very easy project and provides a great deal of peace of mind.

(Photo by and copyright Ted Henry)


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All images and text are copyright by Marcel Rodriguez unless otherwise noted and may not be used for commercial purposes without the prior written approval of the copyright holder. Noncommercial use is permitted.