Converting A Child’s Bike Trailer Into A Boat Dolly

[I posted this in 2012 at Instructables]

chld_tral_orig

I have a wide 17′ (5.182 m) canoe and a sharpie sailing dinghy I need to move. I bought a Winchester brand child’s bike trailer at a 2nd hand store for $25 USD, but Burley or other brands would convert the same way.

chld_tral_prts1The pink and yellow nylon fabric covering was rotten so I cut it off, dismantled and cleaned the trailer frame and looked at pictures of boat dollies on the web.

chld_tral_bareNext I cut off the longitudinal hoops at about 6″ (0.152 m), reinstalled the resulting vertical stub uprights and reconnected the cross-members.

chld_tral_finI measured and cut wooden dowels (I used old rake handles) and inserted them in blue foam “pool noodles” to form the boat bunks with padding. I drilled holes through the posts and into the dowels and pinned them with wood screws.

chld_tral_fin1To hold the boat to the dolly I used a combination of salvaged nylon ski-rack straps and a child’s automotive safety seat webbing. Finally I pumped up the tires to 35 lbs psi, greased the axles and reinstalled the wheels.

I left off the tow bar for this application because it is not needed or wanted. I kept all the components though as I could easily put a floor on the trailer frame, put the tow bar back on and use it for a cargo trailer with my bicycle. Total cost was $25 as I already had all the other parts on hand.

[2015-the motley collection of nylon straps and seat-belts are mostly not needed on flat beaches as my large, flat-bottom canoe balances and moves nicely without straps. It does need a kickstand or something to keep it from rolling away when you put the boat on it; I used a strap to keep a wheel from turning. This worked quite well. Though bulky and unfoldable, my van had plenty of room for it-when I had a van.]

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