As an avid canoeist or keen kayaker, I’m sure you’ve discovered that the cart/trolley/dolly is almost as vital as your paddle….almost.
Whether transporting your “boat” from the tarmac in the parking lot, over smooth beach sand or rough terrain, the cart saves you time and hassle. As we become more “experienced” or to put it bluntly….older, saving energy is top priority. But age aside, you want to be paddling not pulling!
Kayak carts are not new to the market but the choices are overwhelming. The 5 carts under review have been chosen to give you the best option to suit your specific needs.
Before You Buy Your Cart of Choice Ask Yourself These Questions
- How often do I kayak?
- Where do I most often kayak?
- How far is the launching site from my vehicle?
- What sort of terrain am I crossing most often?
- How heavy is my canoe/kayak (include the packed weight)
- What length is my craft?
The Cart Criteria Checklist
Based on the questions above you will need to consider the following criteria to buy the cart that will serve you best.
- Is it light enough to load?
- Does it disassemble into a compact size?
- How quickly can it be disassembled and reassembled?
- What is the loading capacity?
- Will your cart carry a variety of different sized craft?
- Is it suited to all terrains? This is where it is vital to check out the quality of the tires. You don’t want to hold everyone up if you are in a group and your cart can’t handle the weight of your kayak or canoe in soft sand.
- Is it tough enough to take the knocks and bumps during transit? White water rafters know how treacherous some terrain is along the river, waterfalls that can’t be ridden mean some rocky hiking at times. So your cart needs to be made from tough materials with reliable components.
- Are the components going to let you down with wear and tear, and can they be replaced?
- How much do you want to spend? Fortunately, the prices of carts range widely enough so there is something to suit everyone’s pocket. And in comparison to the cost of all the other gear you need, carts are very affordable. As with all things in life, you do get what you pay for, so cost should be the last factor to consider. If the cart you purchase isn’t going to accommodate your needs even the cheapest cart will end up costing you.
Top 5 Kayak and Canoe Carts Review
– Heavy duty, great versatility, built-to-last.
C-Tug’s catchy motto is Tow, Stow, Paddle, Repeat. This says it all about their product. Made and designed in New Zealand, their canoe/kayak carts are built from polymers that are anti-corrosive, and designed for heavy duty conditions.
This specific model comes out tops because it has the heaviest load bearing capacity, puncture free tires with good grip and is priced, middle of the range.
Weight: 10lbs (4.3kg)
Loading Capacity: 300lbs (120kg)
Wheels: Puncture-free tires with hi-grip rubber tread. If you already own a C-Tug, old-style pneumatic tire cart, it can be upgraded as wheels clip off and can be replaced with these new style tires.
Wheel dimensions: Height:10”(260mm) Width: 3,5” (90mm) – no side-wheeler extensions are needed.
Preferred Terrain: All-terrain suitability
- Width: 650mm
- Free Span: 106mm
- Height: 314mm
- tool free assembly
- disassembles in under 30 seconds, very efficient
- compact, fits into most kayak hatches
- made from non-corrosive polymers
- thermo-bonded, elastomeric hull pads offers complete protection from “dings” over rough terrain
- 7.5’ (2.4m) strap with cam lock buckle
- adjustable kickstand
Versatility: This is the kayak cart for angling, touring and white water rafting alike. It can take anything from an 8’ white water kayak to a 14’ pro-angler (PA).
C-Tug carts come with a 5 year warranty against manufacturer defects and spares are available if individual parts get lost or damaged.
TMS is not a specialized kayak/canoe/boating goods company. Rather, it is a huge enterprise that sources and supplies a wide range of transport management systems (like kayak carts) at budget prices. They therefore specialize in fast and efficient delivery across the globe.
Their kayak carts are designed to carry kayaks and canoes over short distances. Ideal for most terrains and well suited for the novice or part-time canoeist.
The TMS brand of kayak carts has been well received, thanks to the cart being fully functional and by far the most economical buy available. The quality meets all the criteria needed to get the job done.
Weight: 8.3lbs (3.8kg)
Loading capacity: 150lbs (68kg)
Wheels: Inflatable tires that will not puncture and are wide enough to lend support in soft sand. Stainless steel fasteners and a chrome lynch pin for convenient disassembly.
Wheel dimensions: Height: 9:.5” Width: 3.5”
Preferred terrain: Suited to gravel and hard-packed sand. May prove challenging in very soft sand, over a longer distance. Great for carting your boat from parking lot to water’s edge. May not manage very rocky terrain well, but handles trail paths well.
Assembled dimensions: 13” x 22” x 9.2” (l x b x h)
- Quick Assembly – for convenient and easy transport
- Solid metal frame
- Foam bumpers on each arm to protect hull
- Made from anodized stainless steel and aluminum pipe (20mm x20mm)
- 9.25’ high support stand with spring loading stand, offers solid support for better loading in and out of the water.
- 12’ tie-down strap
Versatility: Not suited for very large, heavy craft.
The KY100 Deluxe differs from the KY100 above in weight, loading capacity, price and tire. It costs a slight bit more than the KY100 yet is only suited for short distance transporting. It will not manage over rough and rocky terrain or deep sandy areas. It is however ideal over concrete surfaces, from the car park to the lake shore, for example.
Weight: 9lbs (4kg)
Loading Capacity: 120lbs (54.4kg)
Wheels: Plastic wheels with stainless steel fasteners and chrome lynch pins – travels well over concrete and tarmac. And cannot puncture (obviously).
Wheel Dimensions: Diameter: 9.5’ Width: 3.5”
Preferred Terrain: Concrete and other hard surfaces.
Assembled dimensions: 13” x 22” x 9.2”
- 12’ long tie-down strap
- Easy assembly
- Solid metal frame
- 3.5” thick foam on each arm to protect hull
- Aluminum piping (20mm x 20mm)
- Anodized stainless steel
- Cradle arms are held taut by 13’wide nylon straps
Versatility: A simple, no-fuss design, affordable and practical. Ideal for lightweight craft only.
The SKY 1251 is designed for lightweight, small canoes and kayaks.
Best Choice is another “branding” company like TMS, that stocks a wide range of many products, where the focus is on providing functional, durable products at budget prices.
Weight: 9lbs (4kg)
Loading Capacity: 150lbs (68kg)
Wheels: Pneumatic styled wheels filled with PU (polyurethane) foam. This makes them lighter and able to withstand conditions that would cause regular tires to puncture. PU foam also increases the lifespan of the tires.
Wheel Dimensions: Diameter: 10” Width: Not available
Preferred Terrain: Almost all terrain – this cart may not manoeuvre too well in very soft sand but it is a sturdy cart that can handle, rough, rocky trail paths just as well as paved trails.
Assembled Dimensions: 29” x 14” x 7”
- 12’ strap
- Made from aluminum – lightweight and non-corrosive (to a point)
- 9.25” spring loaded double stand, makes for easy launching, except in deep mud conditions.
- Solid steel frame
- Stainless steel fasteners and chrome cotter pins
- 3.5” thick foam bumpers to protect and support hull in a V-shaped cradle.
- Folds up as opposed to having to disassemble – for convenient transporting and storage.
Versatility: Small, lightweight craft only.
In 2008 New River Gear and Salamander Paddle gear merged. It is a company that carriediverse range of paddle gear from safety accessories to rigging and paddles. They offer products for white water, high impact rafting and cater for the more laid back SUP (stand up paddling) enthusiasts.
This cart’s stand out feature are the balloon tires which make it ideal when navigating entry points where thick mud or soft sand are your only options.
Weight: 11.5lbs (5.2kg)
Loading Capacity: 150lbs (68kg)
Wheels: Heavy duty 12”, all terrain, detachable balloon tires.
Wheel Dimensions: N/A
Preferred Terrain: Will puncture so only suited to soft sand or deep mud.
Assembled Dimensions: 35” x 16” x 14” (axle length x height x bed width)
Folded Dimensions: 35” x 16” x 4” – Wheels detach for easy folding and compact storage
- Made from lightweight aluminum tubing
Versatility: Can transport lightweight to medium weight canoes and kayaks with ease.
We hope this short guide will assist you in finding just the right cart to get you to the water as fast and efficiently. Happy kayaking!