A Guide To The Best Kayak And Canoe Carts
Kayak and canoe carts are often overlooked. But they could be the thing keeping you from the water. If you haven’t had to carry your kayak over 50 yards before, are you really a kayak angler? Just kidding, but the struggle to haul your kayak around is real especially if you’re going to remote areas.
I started writing this article on kayak carts because I was in the market for one. I had heard great things about the C-Tug but once I started looking, there were so many options.
Depending on the terrain you’re going into, the type of cart matters. But let’s start with the basics.
This heavy-duty kayak cart is award-winning and can transport up to 450lbs. While it is on the expensive side – if you’re pulling a $1500 kayak (or small skiff) with another $300+ dollars of gear a long way, why would you look anywhere else? Get one of the best out there to pull your cart to the water.
- Paddling Magazine’s 2018 Winner for Best Transport
- Completely collapsible for easy storage in most kayak dry wells and storage areas
- Easy to use
- Carries up to 450lbs
- Higher setting can make it hard to load your kayak
- Little pricey
Built for both canoes and kayaks, the C-Tug is a monster and deserves recognition. With the option to add in beach wheels, this cart can take you anywhere and can hold up to 260lbs. It is UV resistant and is built from non-corroding plastics and stainless steel.
- Very lightweight cart
- Breaks down for easy storage inside your kayak
- It will never rust
- You don’t have to pump up or replace the rubber and plastic tires
- Sand wheels are available which swap in very easily for beach launches. These also are stated to double as suspension wheels for hard surfaces
- C-TUG sells a double up bar which literally lets you connect two of these together for a more stable platform that can hold more weight
- Comes with a 5-year warranty
- All parts can be bought separately for easy replacements if lost or damaged
- Price, it is in the top tier for kayak carts
- The stock hard plastic wheels are nice, but they won’t bounce over anything substantial and offer little cushioning for bumps or steps. Consider upgrading to Sandtrakz tires for different terrain
- Included strap is complicated and frustrating to assemble – Just use a spare kayak cinch strap to secure it to the cart
This kayak cart is built for more than just kayaks. You can pull canoes, jon boats, dinghies, your brother strapped to a piece of wood. Anything! It will hold up to 300lbs has a spring-loaded kick frame and has solid urethane tires.
- Flat-free, vibration reducing, solid urethane tires
- Heavy-duty powder-coated steel frame
- Cart frame breaks down for low profile storage
- Spring-loaded, extra stable kickstand
- Adjustable padded top bars
- Cinch strap included
- Maximum load capacity is 300 pounds
- Skinny wheels can lead to it getting caught in the sand
- On the expensive side
- Only works at its best with flat or slightly rounded hulls
- Can get heavy on top of all your other gear
The Suspenz DLX airless cart was designed for everyone to use. While it may not be a heavy-duty as the Wilderness Cart or as great for the beach as the C-Tug, it is an all-around great kayak cart that will do the job well. It also makes up for the difference by being a little more affordable.
- Easy assembly and break down
- Rigid tires
- Rubber bumpers on the kayak dolly protect the hull from dings, dents or scratches
- Dual-arm kickstand for extra stability while loading kayak or canoe
- 150 lbs weight capacity
- Additional wheels available
- Not well suited for the sand
- Bumpers that your kayak sits on can be slick which makes it hard to keep your boat on top.
Those four carts above will work for 99% of anything you are looking for. They’re durable, dependable, and will get the job done. But what if you don’t have all that extra cash to spend on a cart after you bought the kayak of your dreams?
You might need to look specifically at the type of terrain you will be pulling over.
How To Choose The Best Kayak/Canoe Cart
There are many factors to consider when you’re buying a kayak cart. One of the most important is the most common type of terrain you’re going to be pulling cart over. Are you close to beaches? Woods? Boat Ramps? Here’s a quick rundown:
Best Kayak Cart For Sand Or The Beach
The best-suited kayak carts for sand and the beach will have bigger/wider wheels and are often inflatable. This makes for an easy pullover all types of sand.
- The ABN Universal Kayak can carry 200lbs (plenty for 90% of kayaks and gear) and will fold up for easy storage once you make it to the water.
- The WheelEEZ® Kayak Cart has some of the widest wheels we’ve ever seen. This is really great when it comes to sand and tough terrain and you won’t even notice that you’re pulling over sand.
- The C-Tug is also a great beach cart if you go for the addition of the inflatable wheels.
Best Kayak Cart For Rough Terrain
The best-suited kayak cart for rough terrain has durable wheels that can take a beating. You don’t want a stray rock or sharp tree root to ruin your day on the water before it even starts.
- The C-Tug is far and away the best kayak cart for rough terrain. The big durable wheels will get you over rocks, stumps, and other fishermen who got in your way on the way to the water.
Best Kayak Cart Roads And Boat Ramps
The best-suited kayak cart for long hauls comes down to the wheels. Just like a bicycle with taller wheels, the taller the wheels, the easier the handle over long distances.
- The Seattle Sports Paddleboy Kayak Cart is great for the long haul, roads, and boat ramps. With it’s big/tall wheels, it’s an easy pull no matter how far you’re going. You can think about all the fish you’re going to catch on the way to the water and not how much your back is going to hurt.
What To Look For In A Kayak or Canoe Cart
Kayak and Canoe Cart Types
- Strap Cart – this is the most common type of cart. It is basically like strapping it onto the roof of your car. Place your kayak on the cart, strap it in over the top, and get on your way to the lake, river, or ocean.
- Scupper Plug Cart – These carts have two “plugs” that go into the scupper holes of your kayak. These are for sit-on-top kayaks and are very secure. However, they will not hold canoes or sit-in kayaks.
Kayak and Canoe Cart Features
- Frame Material – The frame material will play a large role in the overall weight of the kayak cart. If you’re planning to fold up or disassemble the cart to put into your kayak, you’ll want to look for light materials, like plastic or aluminum.
- You will also want to consider if you’re pulling your cart to salt or freshwater. If salt, make sure you get a material that won’t be worn away by the saltwater.
- Wheels – The two main types of wheels you will be looking for are plastic or inflatable wheels. If you’re pulling on anything other than pavement or rocks, you’ll want to lean toward inflatable wheels.
- Weight Capacity – How heavy is your kayak going to be? Most kayaks are around 50-90lbs. But sometimes people forget about all their gear! After you add in your anchor (or stakeout pole), rods, milk crate, seat, water, food, and maybe a live well, you can easily get past 140lbs. Make sure you know what kind of gear you’re bringing on your kayak.
- Storage – Are you planning to take the cart back to your car after you walk it down to the water? Or will the kayak cart fold up in a hatch? Or is it going to be bulky and in the way? Take a look at these options before you make this purchase.
Cart Your Kayak or Canoe To The Water
There are many options when choosing your kayak cart. But when it comes down to it, here’s what you need: a cart that will hold the weight of your kayak and will roll on whatever surface between your kayak at the water.
It’s that simple!