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Top Kayak Carts Guide for 2020

Updated On July 11, 2020

We are pleased to bring you another guide article, this year we have put together a list of some of the best kayak carts on the market to bring you a overview of kayak carts, including and informative guide. We have tested these carts and found some subtle differences and some drastic differences in quality. Read on to see our top list and helpful cart tips.

Best Kayak Cart this year

Our Top Pick
The Easyhaul Forldable cart is perfect for most kayaks. The only little learning curve was determining how you are suppose to utilize the included strap. Straps were very helpful compared to the scupper hole styles. 
It rolls well and it is a lifesaver because my kayak is thick for me and it is difficult to take it more than 20 feet. I only wish it could fit in my kayak stern bulkhead. The opening is just small enough to the cart to not make it completely through.

Suggestion: When placing on the tires, make sure the valve is facing the inside. The valve will hit the pin and make an annoying clicking sound and can damage the valve too.Yep, the tires smell bad, but that's pretty much the only con and you know when the smell of rubber is the only con this is a good product.

I highly recommend this to anyone looking for a cart its very rugged and easy to use and clocks in at half the price of some of the competition. A great tool for any kayaker!
Runner Up
That much money for a plastic cart is a tad off-putting, BUT make no mistake this is a great cart. It compares to an aluminum frame, pneumatic tire, folding-type cart which you attach to the kayak with two straps.
The problem with the other cart is that it is difficult to specify a loaded kayak on it with no cart gearing up and collapsing. The tires could go flat without notice. If one of the straps loosened, the kayak could rotate off itself the cart and then dump everything.

This C-Tug simplifies everything. The cart can easily be placed so that you can lift and place a fully loaded kayak directly on the cart. And also the kayak stays put. The only strap system works very well. The wheels are tall and manage rough ground nicely. Assembly and disassembly is fast and simple.

Potential negatives- There are no wheel bearings, so that it squeaks today and then if in motion.  Also the price tag is fairly hefty for most buyers. The orientation of this buckles well, as does the routing of the straps. This is a wonderful product: does what it does very well.
Also Good
We used this Chicago Sports Plug In Cart to carry our thicker kayak through soft sand, grass and over things like gravel and roots. It functions really well, this is a real improvement over the smaller original hard wheel variant.
The cart is inexpensive and the quality is excellent. Best solution for distributing the bigger kayaks over sand. My only criticism, and I’m being nit picky, is there is not a very clean looking choice for stowing the brakes on the deck if u have a livewell set up over the scuppers.


I just strapped down with a bungies. This cart is a very great option for those that are looking for a well priced scupper cart, its got some of the best materials for a scupper and performed very well in our tests.


If you are opting to purchase this model we recommend you consider your kayaks size, since some larger tandem versions wont be a perfect fit for this one.

Also Good
When it comes to more premium kayak carts, the Suspenz Smart Airless is one of the best picks. It’s built really well, it takes quite a heavy kayak, and it comes at a reasonable price. 
First things first, the dimensions are pretty reasonable. At 27 x 13 inches, you can store it pretty much anywhere without it taking up a lot of space when it’s not in use, which is a nice thing. It also comes with a mesh carry bag, to make things even easier.

The entire cart is made of aluminum, which ensures that it’s lightweight, but stiff. Even if you were to put a heavier cart on it, it’s not going to bend it or in any way damage it. There’s also steel hardware, which does add a bit of durability to the cart itself. The total carrying load? 125lbs. This not only means that you can put a pretty large kayak, but it also means that you can have a bit of gear in or on it if you don’t have anywhere to store it.

It’s worth noting that the frame has been powder coated, so you won’t be able to scratch it all that easy. And you won’t be scratching the kayak either, because when you set it up it’s going to rest on rubber pads that last a good while.

Last but not least, you’re looking at airless tires, so you won’t have to bother with a flat tire on your cart if you take it over rough terrain. This might not be too much of a problem if you only carry it on asphalt roads, but rougher terrain can easily puncture a tire.

All things considered, even though it’s not the cheapest cart out there, it’s definitely worth its price if you’re after a compact model that can carry a heavier load. 
Also Good
If you only need a basic kayak cart that you won’t be using for heavy kayaks, the KC-Dolly-SEAT by Apex could be a great budget pick. It won’t set you back too much, yet it’s built rather nice and checks all the boxes. 
To begin with, you’re looking at a pretty compact cart that can even fold down in an even more compact shape. The built in kickstand also allows you to use it as a chair, but note that it doesn’t support all that much weight. The grip pads are pretty nice, but the shape of the construction itself makes them more suitable for kayaks that have wider hulls. However, you can fit just about any kayak on it. You won’t be scratching the kayak because the grips are pretty thick, so that’s not something you should be worrying about.

The wheels themselves are decent, but nothing to write home about. There are no issues, but they can be tricky in some rougher terrain. We did, however, love the 12 foot tie-down strap for boat attachment, as it adds to the versatility of the KC-Dolly-SEAT. Overall, it’s a great choice for many. 

Do I Really Need A Kayak Cart?

As a kayaker, you should very well know that kayaking as a sport requires some pretty good fitness. Therefore, you’ll want to save up as much of your strength as possible before you get into the water. You don’t want to be tired the minute you get in your kayak, do you?

This is the first issue that a kayak cart will solve. You just put the kayak on the cart and drag it, and you’ll have a much easier time. With some of the more high quality models, you’ll even be able to attach your kayak to your car and drag it with you – but not with all models, so choose carefully.

The second big thing is that many hard shell kayaks, especially larger, tandem models, are large and heavy. You can’t just carry them around by yourself, and you do need all the help you can get in this kind of scenario. A kayak cart does make this a lot easier. It’s basically a tool that allows you to carry around your kayak by yourself, regardless of whether it’s a smaller one or a larger one.

To sum things up, unless you’re using an inflatable kayak, yes, you do need a kayak cart. Some are cheaper than others, so the price is the next thing we’ll be discussing. 

Kayak price

Factor number one that most people consider before purchasing a kayak cart is the price. Even though the price is important, pay attention to other features that might jeopardize your kayak transportation experience. For instance, a S Cart costs $110, and M Cart costs about $98. Even though the latter is cheaper than the former, it is more stable, long-lasting and less complicated.
The thing to keep in mind is that sometimes, cheap is expensive in the long term. But that is not always true. You could save up some money on purchasing a cheaper cart but with great features that just suit your kayak.

Kayak type

Different Kayak types require different kayak carts. You ought to make sure that your kayak type fits the trolley or cart that you intend to use. otherwise, you might end up with a kayak that can’t sit on the cart.

For instance, for kayaks that are supposed to plug into the kayak carts, you need a plug-in cart.

For kayaks that sit on the kayak carts, you might need an Strapped cart.

Some other kayak types are simply designed for strapping on the cart.

plug in vs end cart

Kayak weight

For a long-lasting kayak, you will need to consider the kayak weight. The last thing you want is to find out that the cart cannot withstand your kayak. A heavy kayak will eventually mess up the ball bearings on your kayak cart. Be careful because once the bearings are messed up the cart will develop a bend. It is difficult to remove a bend from a cart.


Kayak wheel structure

Depending on the terrain of your path to the river, or lake, the wheel type is important to consider. For rough and rocky terrain, you will need wider wheels and tires to protect your kayak from the bumpy ride. For sandy or muddy terrain, you will need thinner wheels and tires. That way it doesn’t get stuck while riding. For any terrain, you need tougher wheels to avoid puncture or tear while riding, ending up ruining your kayaking experience.

Design

Consider also the design of the kayak cart. The best designs to look out for are stable, solid and strong. This will improve the reliability of your cart. Carts are supposed to transport your kayak to and fro without any problems.

Some poor designs are made of rusting materials. After a short period of time, they develop a screeching noise that ends up locking up your wheels. Therefore, a good quality design will assure you of reliable drives or rides and care for your kayak.

kayak cart wheels

Storage

For good care of your kayak, storage matters. Some kayak carts are large and cumbersome, hence difficult to store. That means they might end up being stored outdoors. Therefore, you need a foldable kayak cart for ease of storage.


Frame

The frame of your kayak cart should be built in such a way that it protects the body of your kayak from flying loose rocks and other substances. That means you need the frame to be elevated above the ground. Also, a well built cart frame protects the kayak from mud splashing on it and dirt getting into the kayak. Lastly, ensure that the cart is equipped with good springs to protect from the banging of the kayak against the cart.

Is it a DIY attach-friendly?

Whenever you are getting a kayak cart, be sure you are a DIY kind of a person. Therefore, what you need is to realize is that while most carts are DIY, some a difficult to assemble than others. Therefore, all other factors withstanding, be careful to go for user easy DIY friendly Kayak cart. It doesn’t need to be complex in the manner of attachment. It should be easy to assemble.

Compatibility with kayak

More than size and shape of the kayak, you need to ensure that your kayak carrier is compatible with the kayak. Compatibility is key because it determines the number of other things. It determines the security of the kayak while on the road, and it does also affect the usefulness of the cart. If the cart is not compatible with the kayak, for one it will not fit properly. Secondly, it will not be useful to the owner in the long run. Lastly, it is a waste of money, as these carts are not cheap.

Conclusion

Kayak carts are designed to help make your work easier in terms of getting your kayak to the water. You don’t want to get tired before you can start your kayaking or canoeing. What makes all the difference? It’s the decision you make before purchasing. Therefore, this is an experience you want to enjoy.

There are various kinds of carts on the market to choose from. You need to ensure that you make the right choice. Your choice is not only informed by price, which is important, but also a number of others.
The size of your kayak, wheel size, and type, the frame of the kayak, compatibility with your kayak, among ought to be considered. All factors matter and this shopping guideline should help you.

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About the author 

Andrew Bell

Andrew is a seasoned kayaker with 15 years of experience under his belt. He began kayaking as a way to reduce work stress but quickly became an avid kayak fisher and lure expert. He currently enjoys both lake and ocean kayaking and loves to write and share his experiences.


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