Never Drag Your Kayak Again!

Never Drag Your Kayak Again!

Never Drag Your Kayak Again!

Abigail ScottByAbigail Scott
Updated on 6/23/2022

Kayak transport requires multiple tools. It takes a kayak roof rack or kayak trailer to get your kayak to the lake, river, or beach, but you still have to get it from your car to the water.

“I can just carry my kayak,” you may think. Should work, right?
Both.
The answer is yes if you park close to the water and your kayak is light.
But what if the kayak is full of fishing gear? What if the road to the beach is bumpy or uneven? What if you have to go along a trail while carrying your paddle and PFD?
Here's where a kayak cart can help.
Below, we'll review the best kayak carts on the market to make towing a snap.
We'll teach you about kayak cart types, features, and which one is perfect for you.
Find the right kayak-transporting gadget.

Top Kayak Cart

RAILBLAZA Ctug Kayak or Canoe Trolley Cart
4.5/5
94%
Light weight
92%
Easy to assemble
86%
Maneuverability
86%
Easy to use

  • Rubberized pads fit most kayak hulls.
  • No-punch rubber tires
  • 300-pound capacity
  • Strong and durable
  • Disassembles easily
  • Rust- and water-resistant

Kayak Cart Guide

Kayak carts aren't as essential as kayak roof racks or storage racks, but they're helpful.

My 14' Azul Riot touring kayak is a beast. Even on the best of days, hauling it alone to the water is a hassle.

Since buying a kayak cart, no longer. The Railblaza makes carrying my kayak much easier. I can now roll it to the water and back!

While not a “must-have,” kayak carts make the pre- and post-paddling routine considerably easier.

I love mine and recommend it to every paddler.

Kayak Cart Types

Three types of kayak carts are available:

Platforms

Platform carts are elevated cradles positioned on an axle and two wheels. The kayak sits on the cradle, is secured with straps, and is then hauled. Platform carts are affordable, adaptable, and compatible with most kayak types (fishing, recreational, sit-on, sit-in).

Tail-dragger Carts

Tail-dragger carts support the load at one end of the kayak (bow or stern). You clip your kayak to the tail-dragger cart (straps aren't always provided) and wheel it around. They support less weight than platform carts, therefore they're excellent for short trips. However, they are the cheapest choice and fit virtually every kayak.

Trolleys

Scupper carts are ingenious. The cart's upright support beams slip into kayak scupper holes. You can use them for kayaks without scupper holes (flip it sideways and tie it down), but for sit-on-top kayaks, the beams inserted into the scupper holes are enough to keep it secure while you wheel it. Remember that scupper holes' width, position, and quantity vary from kayak to kayak. The greatest scupper carts are adjustable to fit the kayak's width and hole placement.

Choose a kayak cart based on the type of kayak you own.

Which Materials Should I Pick?

Kayak cart frames are commonly composed of either aluminum or steel.

Steel

Steel is a tried-and-true metal that will not break easily, even while supporting the weight of a heavy kayak. To maximize the durability of steel, ensure that it is coated with a powder coating or rust-resistant paint. Steel is another excellent material to explore. Steel carts will be more expensive and heavy than other materials.

Aluminum

Aluminum is lightweight, rustproof, and has high tensile strength, so it will not break under the weight of your boats. It is also generally less expensive than steel. The weakest points of aluminum frames are often the welds, but all of the aluminum-frame kayak carts we recommend have a reputation for being manufactured from sturdy metal that has been welded together securely.

Some kayaks will feature plastic or carbon composite components, but the frame (at least on the types we recommend) will always be constructed of metal.

Features to Consider

Wheels

Your kayak cart's wheels will either be pneumatic or solid.

Pneumatic (air-filled) rubber tires installed on metal or plastic rims will typically have more traction, be more suitable to traversing sandy, rugged, or uneven terrain (such as beaches covered in scrub-grass or forest paths), and provide a smoother ride for your kayak. However, they are more expensive, susceptible to puncture or deflation, and frequently require more care.

Solid wheels can be built from rubber or plastic, and they often contain a tread pattern designed to give grip on uneven or rugged terrain. They lack the shock absorption of pneumatic tires, thus your kayak will experience a rougher ride. However, they are ideal for transporting your kayak on solid surfaces (such as a parking lot or a hard-packed dirt trail) because they are both puncture-resistant and maintenance-free.

Straps

Scupper carts often lack restraints since they are unnecessary. The sit-on-top kayak will be kept firmly in position by the support beams inserted into the scupper holes. If you purchase a tail-dragger or platform cart, however, you will need straps to attach your kayak. If the cart does not include straps, you should absolutely purchase your own.

Adjustable Width

Consider this element if your kayak is extra-wide or extra-deep. Carts are normally "one size fits all," but for kayaks that are larger/wider/deeper than ordinary, you'll need a cart with an adjustable frame or cradle.

Weight of Vehicle

The purpose of a kayak cart is to facilitate the loading and unloading operation. You'll need a lightweight, agile cart that is easy to load and unload from your vehicle.

Carrying Capacity

Consider this aspect in relation to the size and weight of your kayak. The weight capacity of the majority of kayak carts exceeds 100 pounds, which is sufficient for even the heaviest kayaks. However, it is always a good idea to consider kayak carts with a higher weight limit to ensure that they can take the weight of tandem kayaks, canoes, and all your stuff.

Storage

In a perfect scenario, you would want a kayak cart that folds up small enough to fit in one of the kayak's built-in storage compartments or that doesn't take up too much space in the back of your vehicle when not in use. If the foldable choices do not meet your needs, be sure to choose a kayak cart that will fit in the trunk or baggage compartment of your vehicle.

Bumper Pads

Consider including this function on your kayak cart! Rubber or foam cushions help protect your kayak from scratches, dents, and hull damage during transit by providing cushioning and reducing impact.

RAILBLAZA Ctug Kayak or Canoe Trolley Cart
4.5/5
94%
Light weight
92%
Easy to assemble
86%
Maneuverability
86%
Easy to use

Wilderness Systems Heavy Duty Kayak Cart
4.8/5
98%
Easy to use
98%
Sturdiness
96%
Easy to assemble
94%
Stability
88%
Value for money

Suspenz Smart Airless DLX Cart
4.6/5
96%
Easy to assemble
92%
Maneuverability
90%
Easy to use

Malone Clipper Deluxe Universal Kayak Cart
4.3/5
82%
Easy to assemble
74%
Maneuverability
68%
Easy to use

TMS CART-CANOE/KAYAK-KY001 Boat Kayak Canoe Carrier Tote Trolley
4.2/5
92%
Easy to assemble
80%
Maneuverability
74%
Easy to use
72%
Scent

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a kayak cart cost-effective?

It depends on the parking distance from the water. If you can pull up directly to the boat launch or dock and unload your kayaks directly into the water, you do not need a kayak cart. However, if the parking area is several hundred yards (or more!) from the water's edge, it is well worth the cost to purchase a kayak cart. The vessel can be towed directly into the water with a fraction of the effort.

Who ought to utilize a kayak cart?

Anyone unwilling to carry the kayak over their head! Solo carrying a smaller, lighter kayak is not too difficult, but you may still struggle with the weight and balance. And if you're attempting to transport a heavier, larger kayak to the water, it can be too much for a single individual to handle without a cart. If you do most of the heavy lifting, it may be worthwhile to purchase a kayak cart to facilitate loading and unloading.

What do you do with a kayak cart while kayaking?

You have three fundamental choices: 1) Store it in your vehicle, 2) strap it to the back of your kayak with a bungee cord (included or purchased separately), or 3) if it's foldable or disassembles into a small enough size, slide it into the hatch of your sit-in kayak.

Can a single individual transfer a kayak from a cart to a roof rack?

Absolutely! Using a kayak cart makes it easier to slide a kayak onto a roof rack without ever having to place it on concrete, mud, or grass. Simply roll the kayak up behind the vehicle, raise the end you are carrying, and place it on the rack. Then, detach the kayak from the cart and slide it into position. Quick and simple!

*Disclaimer: Board and Kayak earns a commission from qualifying purchases.

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