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DIY: folding PVC kayak stand

February 7th, 2012 · 7 Comments


Weekend after next I’m doing a presentation on Kayak Fly Fishing to The Soul River, Inc, meet up group here in town. That meant I had another reason to build a couple kayak stands. Now, I have my rolling cart that I use for primary storage, but I needed something that I could use to help display the kayaks and give me a good platform for working on and cleaning the kayaks.

I had this link in my bookmarks ever since fishing from a kayak got stuck in my head. The PVC kayak rack is very easy to build, and all you really need is a saw (hack saw, chop saw, jig saw, whatever) and a drill. Actually, now that I think of it, I bet you could get the hardware store to do the cutting for you, should you come with the measurements…. But a drill you absolutely do need, along with a good measuring tape and a wrench.

So, to start out, we have our PVC pipe. I picked up seven 10′ lengths of 1.25″ PVC pipe (I built 2 stands, you only need four pipes if you are building one stand). Cut one of the pipes in half, giving you two 5′ sections. Cut one pipe into two 56″ lengths (keep the leftover bit and bolt it to your milk crate to use as a rod holder!). These four pipes will be the long sides. Now cut two 36″ sections from the third pipe, along with one 32″ section (again, you’ll have a left over bit to turn into a rod holder). With the last 10″ section, cut one more 32″ section.

You’re collection should look a bit like this. Throw in 8 elbows, and a pair of 4.5″ long bolts, and you’re in business.

Using the elbows, its time to make a pair of rectangles. You will joing the 60″ (5′) and 36″ sections, and then the 56″ and 32″ sections. when done you’ll see that the smaller rectangle fits inside the larger one perfectly.

Now we’re at the most important part. To make the stand fold easily and straight, you need to drill four identical holes. Make these in the exact middle of the short ends of the rectangle. If you’re a bit off, getting the bolt all the way through will be difficult. If you’re way off, things just won’t work exactly right. I ran my tape measure down between both the inside and outside sections, and marked my holes at the same time for each side.

With your holes drilled, twist the pipes until the holes line up and run your bolts through. You should install washers on each side, then, with a nylock nut, tighten things down. No need to go crazy tight here, just enough to hold things together and to give the nylock nut a couple of turns in so that it won’t back out. Do this again and your stand is pretty much done!

Now, how does the stand hold up your kayak? With your load straps! Just loop them around the stand loosely, then throw your kayak on top! You can easily adjust the straps to cradle your kayak the way you want. Using your straps also gives you a lot of adjust ability, and makes sure you don’t lose them.

That’s it! If you have a powered saw light a jig or chop saw, this build takes just a few minutes. If measured on a beer-scale, this is a 1/2 beer project.

A few folks have asked if I glued the stand. No, I haven’t glued it yet. So far it seems to be holding up just fine without glue. If you’re concerned, then by all means, go ahead and PVC the joints, but do so when the project is all said and done. Next step for me is some Krylon Fusion to make it look good.


  • 4 – 10′ long 1.25″ PVC pipe (~$4 each)
  • 8 – 90 degree 1.25″ elbows (~$1 each)
  • 2 – 4.5″ long 1/4″ Bolts (~$.50 each)
  • 4 – 1/4″ washers (~$.10 each)
  • 2 – 1/4″ nylock nuts (~$.20 each)

total – about $23

If you want a stand with different dimensions, be it taller (longer inside measurements), or longer (longer outside dimensions), that is very easy to do. The main thing to remember is that all the pipes for the inside rectangle need to be 4″ shorter than the pipes for the outside rectangle. This allows for the additional length created by the elbows.

Tags: Kayak modification

7 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Rodolpho Guther Guedin // Mar 31, 2012 at 8:40 pm

    ótima solução. parabéns

  • 2 Chuck // Apr 13, 2012 at 10:05 pm

    Thank you for the idea. Made it tonight and wove an old tow strap from front to back so it would be supported along the length in case the yak gets left for an extended period.

  • 3 Nelson B // Dec 26, 2012 at 8:06 pm

    If you have a bit long enough, drill all four holes at the same time. It will make your life a lot easier. As for gluing, I would not recommend it.

  • 4 Doc // Mar 1, 2013 at 7:58 am

    Instead of worrying about measurements, partiality assemble the sides for drilling and tape and or clamp them. Now both pieces can be drilled as a unit and therefore should lineup perfect.

  • 5 The Nothing // Mar 1, 2013 at 8:44 am

    As someone else mentioned below, that works great if you have a drill bit long enough.

  • 6 kathy logue // May 4, 2014 at 11:55 am

    Do you find it better, more stable, to use one large stand as opposed to two smaller stands? I have a 14′ 50 lb kayak and was thinking it would be easier to be able to raise one end into the stand and then the other. Do you need to pick up the boat and load it in one motion from the side?

  • 7 The Nothing // Jul 16, 2014 at 8:59 am

    My apologies for not getting back to you in a more expedient fashion, Kathy. I do also have the Talic Seahorse stands as well. These are small, folding, aluminum kayak stands. And, you’re right, they are easier to use because there are two of them. Making 2 smaller PVC stands would likely be much easier to use. I got to the point that throwing around a 75# kayak wasn’t much of a big deal.

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