When you live in an apartment, the elation that comes with the purchase of your very first kayaks is quickly replaced with that “oh shit where are we going to keep these?!” feeling. In my case, the feeling struck the night before we were going to be hosting a party and less than an hour before Home Depot’s closing time. With that in mind, I armed myself with a rough design and even rougher shopping list, and I headed out the door.
Within thirty minutes I was back home with minimal design changes (more on that in a bit) and ready to get building. I first measured and marked the midpoint on four of the 24” lengths of 1 1/14” PVC pipe. Once all were marked, I made short work of cutting them down using a ratcheting PVC cutter.
At Home Depot, I ended up having to adjust the design a little bit based on the available parts. There were only six 90° elbows in stock in the 1 1/4” pipe size, so I got 45° elbows for the remaining four joints requiring them. Once I got home, I also eliminated the middle cross member from the design, as I had bought one too few lengths of PVC.
As shown below, I assembled each cradle using a 24” piece of pipe, connected at each end to a 12” piece via a 90° elbow. Each 12” piece was then attached to another 12” piece of pipe using a 45° elbow. This actually ended up as a design upgrade, providing a wider opening and more maneuverability when placing the kayaks on the rack. And, once the rack has been properly glued together, the splayed ends will make nice carrying handles for moving the loaded rack.
And, with that, the rack was done and our kayaks were ready to move out of the living room. Working with the pipes and connectors is like playing with adult tinker toys. The process took less than 15 minutes start-to-finish, and was far too fun and easy to call work. Based on what I ended up building, here’s a revised shopping list:
Including the cost of the pipe cutter, the total cost was under $70, with a total time commitment from ideation to completion of under an hour. Since I was under a time crunch to get the kayaks out of the way, the rack is just press-fit together for now. I’ll probably leave it like that for a few weeks to see if if it needs any tweaks before I make it permanent. And if I get sick of looking at the plain pipe, I may paint it or at least sand off the bar codes and labels. For a little extra security against high winds, I used a piece of 1” tubular webbing to lash both kayaks to the rack and each other.