Kayak Wheeler: Stop Dragging Your Kayak And Use Kayak Carts [2023 Guide]

Kayak Carts

Kayak Carts

Abigail Scott

Abigail Scott
Mother, Professional Kayaker, and Software Engineer

Updated on 12/6/2022

Some kayaks are pretty heavy. Transporting heavy kayaks requires multiple tools. It takes a kayak roof rack, kayak trailer, or kayak cart to get your kayak to the lake, river, or beach, but you still need to get it to the water. You may think, "I can just carry my kayak." And actually, you can do both, carry your kayak or use transportation.

If your kayak is light and you park close to the water, yes. What if the kayak is loaded with fishing gear? What if the road to the beach is bumpy or uneven?

Can you carry your paddle and PFD while walking along a trail? A kayak cart can help here! Listed below are the best kayak carts on the market for easy towing and how you can make your DIY kayak carts. 

Learn about kayak cart types, features, and how to choose the right kayak cart for you. Make kayak transportation easier with a suitable gadget.

TMS CART-CANOE/KAYAK-KY001 Boat Kayak Canoe Carrier
Summary
Easy to assemble9.2
Easy to assemble
Maneuverability8
Maneuverability
Easy to use7.4
Easy to use
Scent7.2
Scent

Here Are The Top Kayaks Carts

RAILBLAZA Ctug Kayak or Canoe Trolley Cart
Summary
Light weight9.4
Light weight
Easy to assemble9.2
Easy to assemble
Maneuverability8.6
Maneuverability
Easy to use8.6
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

RAILBLAZA Ctug Kayak or Canoe Trolley Cart
Summary
Light weight9.4
Light weight
Easy to assemble9.2
Easy to assemble
Maneuverability8.6
Maneuverability
Easy to use8.6
Easy to use

Kayak carts aren't as essential as kayak roofs or storage racks, but they're beneficial. My 14' Azul Riot touring kayak is a beast, and it's a hassle even on the best days to haul it to the water alone, but since purchasing a kayak cart, that's no longer an issue.

Kayak carts are not a "must-have," but they make the pre- and post-kayaking routine much more accessible. It is my favorite, and I recommend it to every paddler.

Kayak Cart Types

Wilderness Systems Heavy Duty Kayak Cart
Summary
Easy to use9.8
Easy to use
Sturdiness9.8
Sturdiness
Easy to assemble9.6
Easy to assemble
Stability9.4
Stability
Value for money8.8
Value for money

There are three types of kayak carts available:

Platforms Carts

Platform carts consist of an axle and two wheels mounted on an elevated cradle. Kayaks are placed on the cradle, secured with straps, and hauled. Platform carts are affordable, adaptable, and compatible with most kayak types (fishing, recreational, sit-on, sit-in).  

Tail-dragger Carts

Kayak tail-dragger carts support the load at one end (bow or stern). The kayak is clipped to the tail-dragger cart (straps aren't always provided) and wheeled 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 Carts

It is ingenious to use scum carts. Kayak scupper holes fit into the upright support beams of the cart. 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. Excellent 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?

Malone Clipper Deluxe Universal Kayak Cart
Summary
Easy to assemble8.2
Easy to assemble
Maneuverability7.4
Maneuverability
Easy to use6.8
Easy to use

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

Kayak cart frames

Kayak cart frames

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. Another excellent material to explore; is steel carts, which 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 kayak. It is also generally less expensive than steel. The weakest points of aluminum frames are often the welds. Still, 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.

Some Features To Consider

Suspenz Smart Airless DLX Cart
Summary
Easy to assemble9.6
Easy to assemble
Maneuverability9.2
Maneuverability
Easy to use9
Easy to use

Kayak Carts Wheels

Pneumatic Kayak Cart's Wheels

Pneumatic Kayak Cart's Wheels

Your kayak carts' wheels will either be pneumatic or solid.

Pneumatic Kayak Cart's Wheels

Choose pneumatic (air-filled) rubber tires installed on metal or plastic rims. You will typically have more traction, be able to handle sandy, rough, or uneven terrain (such as beaches covered in scrub grass or forest paths), and give your kayak a smoother ride. However, they are more expensive, susceptible to puncture or deflation, and frequently require more care.

Solid Wheel Cart For kayak 

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. Your kayak will experience a rougher ride since solid wheels lack the shock absorption of pneumatic tires. Since puncture-resistant and maintenance-free, they are ideal for transporting kayaks on concrete surfaces (such as parking lots or hard-packed dirt trails). 

Straps

kayak carts straps

kayak carts 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. However, if you purchase a tail-dragger or platform cart, you will need straps to attach your kayak. If the coach does not include straps, you should buy your own.

Adjustable Width

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

The Weight of kayak

The Weight of kayak

The Weight of kayak

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

Carrying Capacity

Consider the carrying capacity aspect of the size and weight of your kayak. The weight capacity of most 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 gear.

Storage Capacity

Ideally, you want a kayak cart that folds up small enough to fit into a kayak's built-in storage compartment, or that doesn't take up a lot of space in the back of your vehicle. If the foldable choices do not meet your needs, choose a kayak cart that will fit in your vehicle's trunk or baggage compartment.

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.

Types Of Kayak And Canoe Trolleys

Kayak And Canoe Trolleys

Kayak And Canoe Trolleys

There are many ways to make a trolley, and some are better in design and durability than others. Another important thing to consider is getting a trolley that works with your kayak, canoe, or stand-up paddleboard. Some lower (budget) trolleys may look similar to more costly ones but have flimsy designs manufactured from soft metals that aren't up to work. You won't find these in our stores because they aren't sufficient for the job. In addition, low-cost carts frequently include pneumatic wheels, which are prone to punctures and have a higher risk of degeneration as time passes.

The price of a high-quality trolley with a metal frame that is much stronger and wheels that can't be punctured and won't leave you feeling flat is not much more than the price of a regular trolley. Suppose you are willing to spend a little bit more money. In that case, you can select plastic designs that are extremely durable and sturdy, making them suitable for a wide range of canoes and kayaks.

Instead of a cradle for the object being moved, scupper hole trolleys also use a two-pronged method. These are designed to be used exclusively with kayaks that have reinforced scupper holes, like the Hobie Range of kayaks. If the scupper hole trolley is not utilized correctly with a kayak with non-reinforced scupper holes, it might cause damage inside the scupper holes, eventually leading to leaking. Scupper holes that have been damaged are exceedingly difficult to fix, and a leaky kayak risks the paddler's life. This model of a trolley is not one that we sell.

Riot Kayak Trolley

Kayak And Canoe Trolleys

Kayak And Canoe Trolleys

This trolley works very well with virtually any single-seater sit-in kayak, from shorter recreational touring kayaks to enormous day touring kayaks and sea kayaks. It is also an excellent choice for transporting tandem boats, and it is also suitable for sit-on-top kayaks that range from small to more significant. The cradle-style construction of the trolley is known as a "drop-on-top" design. This means that the kayak's hull is dropped on top of the trolley and held in place with a strap. It is possible to position the trolley in any part of the hull; however, the optimal location for it is approximately two-thirds of the way back along the hull.

The Riot Kayak Trolley features durable construction and has foam rubber grips on the top of the trolley. These grips are designed to help retain a kayak's hull without causing any damage to the kayak. The wheels for kayaks on the trolley are made of a material that is resistant to puncturing and suited for use on all terrains. Additionally, the trolley has a little leg that you may use to hold the trolley upright while you load your kayak onto the trolley. Some hull forms have more significant contact with the rubber grips than others. Therefore on some hulls, the trolley may try to slip down the hull when used. Other hull shapes have less contact with the rubber grips. Run the strap through your deck lines so that it rests on a deck fitting (one holding the deck line in place on the hull), or even wrap it around the bow-side lip of a stern hatch to prevent this from happening. This can be accomplished quite easily. If there is an issue with the trolley slipping, this will prevent it from moving backward.

Riot Large Kayak and Canoe Trolley

Riot Large Kayak and Canoe Trolley

Riot Large Kayak and Canoe Trolley

This trolley is longer and broader than the one referred to as the "Kayak and Canoe Trolley" above; it can support heavier loads; it includes a dual foot stand, which makes it more stable when loading and transporting your watercraft; and it can carry heavier loads. Because of its increased breadth, it is also appropriate for canoes from Canada, sturdy fishing kayaks, larger sit-on-top kayaks, tandem kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, and dual-cockpit kayaks.

As shown in the image displayed above, the trolley has a sturdy metal frame construction with rubber hull grips, solid puncture-proof PU wheels, and a fold-out dual-footed leg to hold the trolley upright as you load it onto your vessel. When securing your craft onto the trolley, we advise using a roof-rack strap, or perhaps two of them on more rugged ground. In some hull designs, the rubber grips stay on better than in others. If you notice that the trolley is trying to slide back while it is being used, you may avoid it by passing the roof rack strap through some deck fittings or a side handle. This will trap the trolley and prevent it from sliding backward.

Railblaza C-Tug Kayak Cart: Best Wheels For Kayaks And Canoes

Railblaza C-Tug Kayak Cart

Railblaza C-Tug Kayak Cart

The C-Tug trolley is a high-end trolley made from high-quality engineering-grade polymers. This makes it strong, functional, light, and reliable. Tugboat-shaped, it gets its name from its shape. This trolley performs admirably on both flat and rugged terrains and is built to last for a long time. The regular C-Tug is the best kayak cart for sea kayakers and kayak fishermen because it can carry a lot of weight (120 kg) and is built to last. It is also trendy with people who paddle open canoes because it is suitable for long portages between bodies of water and can handle a canoe full of camping gear.

The C-Tug features a cradle design with huge supportive pads that automatically adjust to fit a variety of hull types, such as Canadian canoes, sit-on-top kayaks, sea kayaks, Hobie kayaks, and others. The pads will automatically tilt and adjust to the hull shape of the vessel being transported by the trolley. The cushions can even be entirely flattened, making it appropriate for usage not only with stand-up paddleboards but also with surfboards and wind surfboards.

There are two different variants. One of the features of wheels called "Kiwi" is resistant to punctures and made to be used mostly on hard or rough ground. However, they work fine on most types of sand, even the softest. Sandtrakz wheels, shown on the right side of the image below, are another type of wheel. These wheels were created specifically for driving on soft sand, but they work just as well on hard surfaces. These have a flexible rim around the outside that spreads the weight over a larger area. This makes it easier to pull your kayak over soft sand, requiring less effort.

Both of the trolleys have pads that are the same and include a rubberized surface that offers a great grip when pressed up against the hull of the vessel being transported by the trolley. The strap and cam buckle needed for adjustability is included with the trolley purchase. Once the hull has been fastened down onto the rubberized pads, and the strap has been tightened to a solid position, the C-Tug will hold extremely well to the ship, and slipping of the trolley will be an issue that occurs very infrequently, if at all.

Railblaza C-Tug Kayak Cart

Railblaza C-Tug Kayak Cart

When constructing the C-Tug, onboard storage was significantly considered during the design process. You may only have to take the wheels off to fill up your vast hatches. You may need to take the pads off as well, but doing so will take a few moments if the hatches on your sea kayak are smaller than the round ones on some of them. It takes less than a minute to disassemble the entire trolley into its component parts, which is convenient if you are getting ready to go on an expedition and need to make the most of the space you have available for storage. A comprehensive disassembly can make it simpler to fit around other pieces of equipment, allowing you to make the most of the storage space on board.

While loading your craft onto the C-Tug, the kickstand on the back of the trolley can be adjusted to keep it upright. The C-Tug is an excellent trolley that can be used for a wide variety of canoes and kayaks. Several illustrations of the Railblaza C-Tug Trolley in action are presented in the following list of examples:

Another advantage of the C-Tug is that it is extremely long-lasting and serviceable. Each component can be changed individually if damaged or misplaced, which means that once you buy one, you can use it for the rest of your paddling days.

The C-Tug break-apart design truly shines when you want to take the trolley with you on a paddle. Storing some trolleys can be fairly challenging; however, this design shines regarding portability. The convenience of putting it away and grabbing it when you've finished paddling is much better than walking back to the car. The C-Tug may be folded up into a remarkably compact size. The pads can be removed by folding them into an upright position, and the wheels can be removed by unclipping an incorporated locking pin. Following these steps, the frame can also be split into two parts. However, you will only need to remove the wheels and pads in most cases. After that, the C-Tug can be stored in most kayaks' bow or stern hatch.

 Railblaza C-Tug Kayak Cart

Railblaza C-Tug Kayak Cart

If the kayak or canoe doesn't have a hatch or if the hatch isn't large enough, the C-Tug can typically be kept on a deck or in a tank well by securing it down with some bungee cords in any of those locations.

The first video that you'll see below will instruct you on how to operate the C-Tug while using Kiwi Wheels. The one that comes after it will demonstrate how the Sandtrakz wheels function. Because it is possible to attach either type of wheel to the same trolley frame, you may want to purchase the Sandtrakz version and order a set of Kiwi wheels if you use your kayak in various locations as well for longer portages over hard ground. This will allow you to transport your kayak more easily.

The C-Tug is the go-to trolley for the employees at Canoe Shops UK, and it has proven its worth over time to many of our pleased clients. Additionally, the C-Tug is used by paddlesports enthusiasts all over the world who participate in a variety of disciplines.

Kayak Dolly Cart!

Kayak carts, kayak trolleys, or kayak dolly cart, as they are sometimes referred to, are mainly used to reduce the effort it takes to move your kayak from point A to point B while on dry ground. I can imagine that you may have a bad back, a tender shoulder, a beginning of arthritis, or simply not have the strength or agility to carry it yourself. 

Trolley With A Small V-Shaped Hull

Trolley With A Small V-Shaped Hull

Trolley With A Small V-Shaped Hull

The Small V-Hull Lightweight Kayak trolley is ideal for transporting kayaks with a narrow V-style hull at the bow or stern of the boat and can support a maximum weight of 30 kilograms. The trolley would be ideal for expeditions using sea kayaks or for those who prefer compact trolleys. This trolley comes with a strap that may be used to secure it to a sea kayak or any other touring kayak. It is designed to fit underneath the hull of these types of kayaks.

This trolley is of a size that enables it to squeeze into most storage hatches easily. It is pretty narrow and has small wheels, so you will need to move it gently on rough or soft terrain, but it is perfect for when you have minimal space and weight to work with.

Is A Kayak Cart Worth It?

Kayak Cart

Kayak Cart

Should You Spend Your Money on Canoe or Kayaks Carts? If you plan on using your cart to help you transport your canoe or kayak to the water from your vehicle (parked nearby) and the terrain is relatively friendly (such as a boat ramp, grass, gravel, some sand, etc.), then it is worth the price to make your life easier. If you do not plan on using your cart to help you transport your canoe or kayak to the water from your vehicle, then it is not worth the price.

Where Do You Put Kayak Cart When Kayaking?

In addition, it comes with straps that can be wrapped around your boat's hull to attach it firmly to the cart. The cart will often be centered under the hull of your kayak so that it has a more level distribution of weight. This is done for safety reasons. In most kayaks, this will be located near the rear of the craft, either at or behind the seat back.

How Do You Load A Kayak Trolley?

Load A Kayak Trolley

Load A Kayak Trolley

In order to load the kayak trolley, you must first tilt the trolley so that it is positioned alongside the center of your vessel. Take hold of the back end of your yak and set it atop the cart. At this point, you should use a tie-down strap to fasten your kayak to the trolley. Every one of Bay Sports' platform trollies comes complete with its very own set of tie-down straps!

What Do You Do With A Kayak Cart While Kayaking?

You can pack up the cockpit of your kayak with all of your equipment and tow it to your destination in only one trip if you pull your kayak behind you on a cart. "The fact that my cart can be broken down quickly and folded up into such a compact space is one of my favorite features. It eliminates the need to make additional excursions to and from the vehicle."

RAILBLAZA Ctug Kayak or Canoe Trolley Cart
Summary
Light weight9.4
Light weight
Easy to assemble9.2
Easy to assemble
Maneuverability8.6
Maneuverability
Easy to use8.6
Easy to use

Wilderness Systems Heavy Duty Kayak Cart
Summary
Easy to use9.8
Easy to use
Sturdiness9.8
Sturdiness
Easy to assemble9.6
Easy to assemble
Stability9.4
Stability
Value for money8.8
Value for money

Suspenz Smart Airless DLX Cart
Summary
Easy to assemble9.6
Easy to assemble
Maneuverability9.2
Maneuverability
Easy to use9
Easy to use

Malone Clipper Deluxe Universal Kayak Cart
Summary
Easy to assemble8.2
Easy to assemble
Maneuverability7.4
Maneuverability
Easy to use6.8
Easy to use

ABN Universal Kayak Carrier – Trolley for Carrying Kayaks, Canoes, Paddleboards, Float Mats, and Jon Boats
Summary
Easy to assemble9
Easy to assemble
Stability8
Stability
Sturdiness7.4
Sturdiness
Scent7.2
Scent
Maneuverability7
Maneuverability
Easy to use6.4
Easy to use

Bonnlo Kayak Cart Canoe Dolly Fishing Kayak Accessories
Summary
Light weight9.6
Light weight
Easy to assemble9.4
Easy to assemble
Maneuverability8.8
Maneuverability
Easy to use8.4
Easy to use

Wilderness Systems Heavy Duty Kayak Cart | Inflatable Beach Wheels | 330 Lb Weight Rating | for Kayaks and Canoes, Model Number: 8070167
Summary
Maneuverability9.8
Maneuverability
Easy to assemble9.4
Easy to assemble
Sturdiness9.2
Sturdiness
Value for money8.4
Value for money

Bonnlo Scupper Kayak Cart Carrier Trolley with NO-Flat Airless Tires Wheels Transport for Sit-On-Top Kayaks
Summary
Easy to assemble9.4
Easy to assemble
Light weight9.2
Light weight
Easy to use8.2
Easy to use
Maneuverability8
Maneuverability
Sturdiness6.6
Sturdiness

TMS CART-CANOE/KAYAK-KY001 Boat Kayak Canoe Carrier
Summary
Easy to assemble9.2
Easy to assemble
Maneuverability8
Maneuverability
Easy to use7.4
Easy to use
Scent7.2
Scent

Frequently Asked Questions