Kayak trailers are nearly essential to transport today’s weightier fishing kayaks, but your boat isn’t the only thing to ferry back and forth. What about fragile and finely tuned fishing rods—can a trailer pull double duty? This custom rod locker mounts on a kayak trailer, allowing you to haul it all in a perfectly designed package. Read on for all the details of this unique fabrication.

Steps to Build a Custom Rod Locker

This project came about because I was unable to store my full length fishing rods inside my Old Town Predator XL when it was mounted on a kayak trailer. I replaced the center pod in my boat with a Minn Kota motor unit, expanding my range on the water but blocking interior access for rod storage and transport. I went to the drawing board to design a better solution.

fishing kayak on a kayak trailer with custom fishing rod storage locker
A custom rod locker is mounted underneath this kayak trailer. | Feature photo: Craig Hefner

As for the build, this is not something your average person could pull off in their garage. I deal with a metal manufacturing business in my day job and got this idea after visiting their plant. If you have similar ambitions, you might want to cultivate some closer friendships with the metalworkers in your life.

Specs for a Custom Rod Locker

First, I asked the manufacturers to take a sheet of 1/8-inch diamond plate aluminum to the shear and then press break one eight-foot section to shape the box. They also custom bent the drop door and then MIG welded the seams together along with two straps, leaving two-inch tabs hanging off each side.

I drilled 3/8-inch holes in the tabs and installed the T-bolts that slide into the tracks under the Yakima rails for an easy install. The only work I really did myself was mounting the door with pop rivets into the stainless hinge and adding a top-locking latch to keep the rods safe. I also added two-way taped foam to the interior of the box to provide a cushioned surface for the reels to sit on.

The finished locker is eight feet long by 18 inches wide. The top of the rod locker is sloped to make it more aerodynamic (2 inches high in the front versus 5½ inches high in the back).

Ferry Your Fishing Rods Securely

This custom rod locker holds up to five full length fishing rods. I’m currently working with the same manufacturers to build another locker for a local kayak angler. This version will install the same way under the Thule rack on his Ford F-150 pickup truck.

A custom rod locker is mounted underneath this kayak trailer. | Feature photo: Craig Hefner



  1. Been thinking about doing something like this with a metal bender and regular aluminum. Then coating with bed liner to help seal.


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