I tested my kayak sling with 210 lbs

Building a Kayak Sling

By Matthew Maddalena

Every year people ask “where can I get [kayak slings]?” This is usually because they see us using them while washing our kayaks, repairing kayaks in our workshop, or displaying kayaks out front or at events. Often we recommend just getting a pair of sawhorses, but the rigid surface causes boats that aren’t flat to roll. The flexible strap of the kayak sling makes your boat more likely to sit stationary while you work. I made a couple more pairs for the shop and thought I’d share the process with you. To make your own kayak sling you will need approximately $45 to purchase:

  • Three 10 foot lengths of 1 1/4 inch PVC pipe.
  • Four 1 1/4 inch 90 degree brackets.
  • Four 1 1/4 inch 45 degree brackets.
  • Two 1 1/4 inch T brackets.
  • Ten 1 1/4 inch end caps.
  • PVC Glue and a primer if needed.
  • Two 7″ bolt and nut.
  • Ten 1 1/4 inch screws.
  • 80 inches of old strap.

Step 1: Cut

Cut the PVC to length.

Cut the PVC to proper length
Cut the PVC to proper length
  • Four 25 1/2 inch lengths.
  • Four 20 1/2 inch lengths.
  • Four 11 inch lengths.
  • Two 39 inch length.
  • Two 2 1/2 inch length.

Remember as you make your cuts the width of the blade takes material. I measured before every cut instead of pre-marking and making all the cuts at once. Otherwise your kayak sling could come out lopsided.

Step 2: First Glue Sequence

  • Pair off all four 25 1/2 inch length with a 20 1/2 inch length.
  • Glue 25 1/2 inch lengths into the one side of the 45 degree brackets and the 20 1/2 inch length into the other.
  • Glue two of the 11 inch lengths into each T bracket so they are in line.
  • Glue the two 39 inch lengths into the two T brackets. It should be perpendicular to the two 11 inch lengths.
  • Glue two 90 degree bracket to one 2 1/2 inch lengths. make sure they are aligned to create a U.
First glue sequence complete
First glue sequence complete
Vice use option when gluing the 90 degree brackets.
Vice use option when gluing the 90 degree brackets.

Step 3: Drill

Drill a nice vertical hole
Drill a nice vertical hole

Choose a bit diameter appropriate for the diameter of the 7 inch bolt you got.

  • Mark the 45 degree bracket 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch from the lip on the 25 1/2 inch length side.
    • Drill all the way through both sides. A drill press or drill with a level on the butt is helpful to get a vertical hole.
  • Repeat for remaining three brackets.
  • On the 39 inch length, mark 25 inches from the open end.
  • Drill a hole parallel to the 11 inch lengths at your mark.
  • Run a bolt through a 45 degree bracket, 39 inch length, and second 45 degree bracket.
  • Finger screw nut onto bolt. Leave loose.

Step 4: Second Glue Sequence and adding strap

  • Glue the 90 degree bracket onto the 25 inch lengths.
  • Glue the end caps onto each of the remaining exposed ends of PVC.
  • Set up your strap. Mark where you want to screw it to the U bend and the cap on the 39 inch length.
  • Drill Pilot holes for your screws. This will help prevent the PVC from cracking.
  • Cut your strap into two 40 inch segments
  • Screw the strap to the PVC. I used two screws on the U bend and three on the cap, two on the side and one on top to prevent the strap from falling to the side. See images below if uncertain.
  • Tighten nut to desired tension.
  • Try out your new Kayak Sling.
Image of strap placement to wrap the U bend
I chose to place the strap so it would wrap around the U bend
An image of the completed kayak sling.
The completed kayak sling.
I Secured the strap to the U Bend so it would wrap around.
I Secured the strap to the U Bend so it would wrap around.
I secured the strap through the top of the cap so it would not slip off the side.
I secured the strap through the top of the cap so it would not slip off the side.