DIY Kayak Rack for Less than $100

With spring right around the corner, outdoor fun is on the back of everyone’s mind. Whether you are considering to purchase a kayak or currently have one, at some point everyone must think about storage options. For some, this may be an easy solution and for others, a creative challenge may be lingering on your shoulder.

There are a variety of kayaks and rack options available on the market. However, one thing is always certain, kayaks have a way of being awkward in size when not in use, and premade racks carry a hefty price tag. For those who need a quick, easy, dollar saving option for the garage or outside, check out this DIY project that will cost about two hours of your time and easily stay below $100. If you have some DIY know how and a drive to make your own, give this a shot.

I made this project on my own with minimal supplies and under two hours. A second hand is helpful but ultimately, one person could complete this project with ease. The dimensions below can be altered to fit your kayak; these are tailored to a 13ft x 34in kayak. It is a rather large and heavy piece of polyethylene fun. Feel free to cut the dimensions back slightly or keep as is for a little extra wiggle room if you have a smaller kayak or others toys to store (e.g. paddles). I could have gone slightly longer with this rack, but as you can see, a 13ft fits fine. This rack could also be used for other watersport toys such as a canoe or paddle board.

I made this rack specifically to cover with a tarp. If these are your thoughts as well, you are in the right place. If not, this rack can be personalized to suit your needs or may be fine the way it is.

Material and Cuts

  • 5 each – 10ft x 1.5in schedule 40 PVC

Cut 4 at 60in
Cut 4 at 36-38in (depends on width of kayak/canoe)
Cut 8 at 12in
Cut 12 at 4in

  • 16 each – 1.5in schedule 40 tee
  • 8 each – 1.5in schedule 40 end caps

Additional Supplies

PVC cement – No special colors needed. Color options are usually for projects that involve state code requirements. This will run about $5

PVC all purpose primer – This is basically an alcohol that will strip all ink and oils from the PVC in order to get a tight bond. No special colors needed. This will run about $5. You could save a couple dollars and use your basic rubbing alcohol and a cotton ball.

PVC cutter – This tool varies in size. You will want one large enough to cut the PVC. Clean and fast cuts are the goal. Borrow one if you don’t want to make this purchase. Expect about $25. You can also use a pipe cable, hacksaw, or ask the home supply store about cutting the pipes to your required lengths. Just know, each cut will most likely carry additional cost.

Assembly

After all cuts are made, you can begin assembly. Keep in mind, if you haven’t worked with PVC cement before, make your joint connection and expect only seconds to make any adjustments before the bond is too tight to move.

Start with a 12in, this will be the bottom of your project. Wipe your primer around the edge and let dry (takes seconds), apply cement, then connect your tee. One corner layering up from the ground looks like this: cap, 12in, tee, 4in, tee, 12in, tee, 4in, tee, 4in, cap.

Make tee adjustments to accommodate the 60in and the 36-38in horizontal framing pieces. I started with assembling the wider side first, completing the project by connecting the shorter horizontal pieces. Extra, if you don’t like the standard white shade of the PVC, you could always spray paint to suit your needs.

Happy YakLife!

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