Usually when you go to Harbor Freight for a trailer to haul your canoe or kayak, you'd probably look for the Haul-Master 600 lb. Capacity Boat Trailer. Makes sense, right? Not to everyone. It's not that the boat trailer isn't pretty great, itself-- it IS, as the customer reviews can attest!-- but what if you want something different,and still keep the price nice and low?
I recently found a slew of canoe/kayak mods made from Haul-Master utility trailers, and I thought they were so cool-- and share-worthy-- I decided to post them here:
On TexasKayakFisherman.com, a forum member who goes by the handle "G-Man" purchased a Haul-Master 1090-lb. Capacity 40-1/2" x 48" Mini Utility Trailer, extended the tongue and added two sets of bunkers for two kayaks--
-- and then, shortly thereafter, he modified it again!
Florida resident "venice" also shared his solution using the 1090-lb. Mini, adding a 6-ft. 2' x 2-1/2' piece of steel and a couple of kayak carriers.
He offers a detailed account of his project, including multiple pictures.
"The eyebolt in front is used to use a "Dog holder Y" which we used with our Golden, two clips attach to front of kayaks and the third to the eye bolt... this forms the "Y" I mentioned, the point of it is fast stop, etc., this restrained any forward movement of the kayaks. Overkill, I know, but..."
No apologies, buddy. Overkill is underrated. You found a sweet solution!
And as a final example of the 1090 lb. Mini, ... this is the best build using a Harbor Freight trailer as a base with no welding that I have seen so far! Check out MattD's post, once again compliments of TexasKyakFisherman.com.
"It started as a Harbor Freight trailer, a pile of SuperStrut and some scrap steel from the dumpster. I added a couple of coats of spray-on bedliner coating and a recycled battery box for tie-down and tools. "
Also on TexasKayakFishing.com, "smitty24," a Washington state resident, modified his 1720-lb. Capacity Super-Duty 4'x8' Utility Trailer--
"I welded some square stock to the side, slid a larger piece over it and mounted a flat piece of steel and the yakima carriers to that. I made the tongue movable, but I need to cut a foot or two off. I'm planning on adding a coffin type box in the middle so I can carry everything inside and keep it locked, but I want it to be removable too, so I can still use it as a regular trailer to haul stuff. It was actually pretty easy to do..."
You can click here to see additional photos of his work.
Finally, check out Marcel Rodriguez' modification of the Haul-Master 870-lb Capacity 40"x49" Heavy-Duty Utility Trailer:
Marcel replaced the tongue with a 14-ft. two-piece square steel tube, which he ran from the rear of the trailer, and created the rack from steel tube stock. The trailer can fit four boats comfortably and "could accommodate six." In the category of getting the most out of little space, this baby takes the prize! To really appreciate what he's done, you need to go visit his site.
That's it for now. But, explore the aforementioned sites, yourself-- and Google others-- for the awesome examples of kayak and canoe trailers made from Harbor Freight utility trailers. There's no shortage of them-- in probably every configuration imaginable-- including the one that best matches your needs.
If there’s anything I learned about Harbor Freight customers, it’s that they’ve got a lot of stuff to haul. A utility trailer is worth its weight in load—and Haul-Master’s been the go-to vehicle for years.
Foldable-- AND Brawny!
I was curious why customers were so sweet on the Haul-Master utility trailers. I mean, it’s not like there’s a shortage of other brands. The first thing that caught my attention was all the noise about their durability. Talking about the 1195 lb. Capacity 48”x96” Foldable Utility Trailer (#90154), for instance—
One guy said: “I bought this trailer about 8 years ago and have abused it without mercy during that period. I estimate it conservatively has about 7000 miles on it now. The longest single trip being around 1000 miles carrying a 2500 lb load…”
Another added, “Having just returned from a 5,000 mile trip carting a 500# motorcycle without any problems......THIS LITTLE TRAILER is AWESOME.” (caps included).
And the comments just kept on coming.
When choosing a utility trailer, consider the space it’ll take up at the house. In some areas they don’t like it when you park it on the front yard, driveway or street (the neighbors might think it’s an eye sore-- there’s no accounting for taste). But the nice thing about the 1195 lb. trailer, you can just fold it and lay it flat against the garage wall, or out back, and it takes up next-to-no room! And, whether it’s a full-size Harley, a power washer, a half-ton of top soil or a teardrop trailer, the formidable 1195 lb. Capacity Foldable Utility Trailer will take it on, and give you years of reliable service.
Solid Super Duty
If you prefer an un-foldable utility trailer, but still want the heavy load capacity, the 1720 lb. 48”x96” Super Duty (#94564) is just the ticket.
Able to take on everything the foldable trailer does—and more!—the Super Duty is a favorite among ATV, quad and kayak junkies (as well as others) ‘cause it’s lightweight, durable and it’ll tilt to the ground nicely for loading and unloading. One happy owner raved, “I have had one of these for almost 7 years and I love it. I've gotten so much use out of it, it's paid for itself tenfold, at least.”
Another reported, “This is my fourth trailer. I have not worn one out yet but seem to give them away to the family. The one my son has is about 8-yrs old and still kicking.”
Point being, it’s a tough little sucker.
As with others, by adding your own planking to the 5-lug Super Duty, you’ve just created a heavy-duty cargo trailer, ready for anything. Head on over to your local home improvement store and get the thickest pressure-treated decking you can find. This type’s best ‘cause it’s got factory-injected water repellant,-- which is up to eight times better than the surface-applied repellant—and they make awesome planking.
Because both the Foldable and Super Duty trailers sport 12” wheels, they’re great for camping trips-- even spots that take you off-road—as well as transporting & launching small boats and jet skis. The trailer is fine going into salt water; just be sure to hose it off with fresh water when you get home. The 12 inches also provide a greater load-carrying capacity.
The Mighty Mini
If either one of those utility trailers is too large for your needs, Harbor Freight has smaller models to accommodate you. The 1090 lb. 40-1/2” x 48” Mini Utility Trailer (#90153) is every bit as rugged and reliable as the foldable and Super Duty models,…
Bikers like this trailer, too-- not only to haul their motorcycles, but also to pull cargo behind their rides. One biker told us, “Went over 3K miles on one trip. I highly recommend this to pull behind a motorcycle…” The Mini’s light, durable frame also makes it ideal for pulling behind smaller vehicles, and its space-efficient size allows it to fit nicely in the back of the garage.
Utility trailer love spreads thick over other models as well. “This thing towed beautifully, solid sturdy and straight… What a great little trailer!” said one owner about his 870 lb. 40”x49” Utility Trailer (#42708).
Another shared this amazing story about the 950 lb. 4’x8’Foldable Utility Trailer (#42709): “Bought this trailer from the original owner who's had it approximately 20 years” (underline added).
I have to add, I was also impressed with the countless ways customers made use of their utility trailers: besides the methods already mentioned, I read about dump runs, moving furniture, picking up lumber, pulling behind a garden tractor; hauling lawn mowers, sod, refrigerators, wood pellets, mulch, scuba gear, dog kennels, building materials, race tires, jacks, tools, luggage, sheetrock, DJ gear-- even making campers out of them!
Last—and definitely not least—buyers couldn’t say enough about what a great value the HFT trailers are. Time and again, I kept seeing, “the best utility trailer for the price!” No argument here.
In the March/April 1939 issue of Popular Homecraft a story ran, along with detailed plans, for something that was dubbed the “Honeymoon House Trailer...”
...designed and built by Louis Rogers of Pasadena, California. He had literally saved his dimes and built this little gem back in the 30’s, to take his new bride on their wedding trip. The 8’x4’ floor plan was had tongue-and-groove flooring on a pine chassis, and Rogers used a Chevy front axle with 28” wheels and 1926 rear fenders. The odd little trailer slept two and had a raise-up deck lid for a rear kitchenette, with ice box and stove. A curtain-enclosure outside the starboard entry served at the “dressing room.” The teardrop trailer was born.
DIYers went crazy. They used Rogers’ plans, and soon added touches of their own. After World War II, the trailer evolved with models sporting Jeep wheels and exterior skins made from bombers’ wings. After the 50’s, their popularity started dropping when larger RVs appeared, but then returned with a vengeance. Today you can find a number of websites for plans (some free!), photo galleries, forums and clubs. Teardrop trailer enthusiasts believe that creating, renovating and modifying their own models are what give the little campers their timelessness—and the most rewarding way to own a teardrop!
I first noticed the teardrop trailer when surfing for a tent trailer to take on road trips. From time to time, “teardrop trailer” results would pop up, and eventually I started clicking on them. My first impressions: These critters are small… they’re cute… wow, they’re equipped… oh wow, they’re cool! The best of the bunch, IMHO, were the homemade models. They remind me of the Pinewood Derby race cars we made as kids—there were always a couple that hijacked the event, they were so amazing.
I also saw that the Harbor Freight utility trailer was a favorite for the frame, particularly the Haul-Master 1195 lb. 4’x8’ foldable trailer...
...and 1720 lb 4’x8’ Super Duty model.
There seems to be a controversy over whether or not a foldable utility trailer should be used, but as is shown in the above photo, they’ve proven to be very capable. This model--
--aptly named “Woody,” is a simple, classic example of the DIY teardrop trailer. When I asked Steve Edling, the site owner, to use a picture of Woody for this article, he graciously consented and added that a number of Harbor Freight tools were also used in its creation. Indeed, Kuffel Kreek, a provider of teardrop trailer plans, lists several must-have Harbor Freight tools one should get before starting, including a brad nailer, air shears and angle grinder.
Type in phrases like “teardrop trailer harbor freight” on Google and you’ll get tons of sites—including a few YouTube videos—that talk about using Harbor Freight’s utility trailers in their projects. This isn’t just because the trailers are inexpensive—it’s because they’re rugged, reliable, durable AND inexpensive. I mean, if you’re going to invest all that time, sweat, and money (and probably a pint or two of blood) in this labor of love, would you risk the integrity of its frame? Neither would I.
The American-born DIY teardrop trailer is more than just a cool, little camper. It’s a gratifying project of personal expression, something you can climb into and go to sleep knowing, you built this! It’s not an easy project—as noted on Kuffel Kreek, “Anything that bounces down the highway at 65 MPH isn't easy”—and if you’ve never built anything before, forget it (I should probably hone my skills a tad more before I attempt it), It also takes space and time. But the payoff is awesome, and your teardrop trailer will retain its value much longer than any other RV on the road.
Check out this great photo gallery which includes several teardrop trailers!
Surfing for BBQ-ing tips the other day, I wandered into some chat forums where it’s “All-Barbecue, All the Time.” Make no mistake, those “Q-ers” are serious about cooking their meat. The best cuts, types of fuel, which wood for smoking, the tools, curing, venting, seasoning & preparing, temps and times. To them, grilling a steak is like customizing a car-- the body may be pretty, but it’s all about what goes under the hood.
Not happy with their out-of-the-box units, some guys retrofit their BBQ grills (as I said, like a car). For example, Phil Lee of Hawg Heaven Smokin’ Barbecue modified his smoker…
...with 10” air tires (#30900) to better deal with mobility on lawns, parks, campsites and such.
My favorite modification is the BBQ trailer: A Q-er will either remove the legs from their BBQ grill, and then bolt or weld them onto a utility trailer, or build one up from scratch--making them über-mobile! Here’s a great example of a customized, homemade barbecue trailer-- created by a fellow named Spankerchief-- on SmokingMeatForums.com…
...using the Haul-Master 1720 Lb. Capacity Super Duty 48" X 96" Utility Trailer with 12” Wheels (#94564). In fact, every BBQ forum I clicked on had at least one thread where an adventurous “trailer Q-er” incorporated a Haul-Master utility trailer from Harbor Freight. Several put their projects together using the popular & affordable Chicago Electric 90 Amp Flux Wire Welder (#68887).
The online BBQ cooks were all loaded for bear with gear that supported their grilling operations. The Propane Torch with Igniter (#91037) was a favorite-- for its turbo performance and for its great, low price. The Instant Read Digital Thermometer (#95382) was also popular, for its accuracy and, again, price. Also included were the Compact Food Slicer (#42787), Electric Meat Grinder (#99598) and plenty of protective wear like nitrile, PVC-dipped and/or welding gloves.
Needless to say, I was bitten by the BBQ bug and ended up getting a “barrel-style” barbecue grill with smoker side box, as well as the igniter and thermometer. I also picked up this pair of welding gloves, and, of course, a BBQ cookbook. I'll probably get the 10” wheels next (they look cool).
Now all I have to do is experiment on the meat and hope I don’t burn anything vital... like Sunday dinner.
Whether you’re on the job or having fun, there are dozens of ways to make your life easier with a trailer. But what happens when you don’t have the space for one? Sure, you could park it outside, but just think of how much static you’ll catch from your spouse or neighbor for plunking it in their favorite parking spot or cluttering their view.
That’s where a folding trailer comes in handy. When it comes to versatility, flexibility and maximum convenience, folding trailers have conventional ones beat hands down. Why bother renting a trailer when folding trailers for sale are available? Renting works for those who need a trailer once in a blue moon, but a lot of people soon discover after renting one how useful they can be.
Consider another situation: If you have a car or SUV, some stuff is just impossible to stash inside. In this case a trailer is a must. Even those with a large pickup bed will still at times find the need for a trailer. Unfortunately, a full-size conventional trailer takes up too much space in many driveways or garages.
This is where the Haul-Master 1195 Lb. Capacity 48" x 96" Heavy-Duty Foldable Utility Trailer with 12" Wheels (SKU: 90154) is the king of Heavy-Duty Foldable Utility Trailers. It only takes up 24" x 63" of floor space when folded, so it can be stored practically anywhere. But when this trailer is unfolded, it can handle heavy loads up to a whoppin’ 1195 pounds! Add plywood decking (not included) to make yourself a 48" x 96" flatbed. The bed even tilts all the way to the ground for easy loading. Without a doubt, this heavy-duty folding trailer is a jack-of-all trades.
With the Haul Master foldable trailer, you can haul tools, toys and practically anything else a standard trailer can haul without tying up all the storage space. (Just keep an eye on weight and load distribution.)
Other noteworthy specs are as follows:
- 1-7/8" ball hitch receiver for secure transportation when properly loaded and hitched to a capable vehicle (ball hitch and hitch coupler not included)
- DOT-certified tail lights and side running lights
- Safety wiring harness
- 3-leaf spring suspension
- 4.8" wide, 12" diameter tires
- Axle thickness: 5mm
- Overall dimensions: 110" L x 61-1/2" W x 19-1/4" H