Most kayakers will agree that kayaks are not great when it comes to portability. With the exception of inflatables, kayaks are heavy, oddly shaped and unwieldily that make carrying them hard work and not kind to your back, especially if you’re on your own and don’t have another pair of hands to help.
But, there is a solution which is getting a kayak cart or trolley to bear some of the weight on the way down to the water’s edge.
In this post, we’re going to review some of the best kayak carts on the market and give you our recommendations of which ones to go for.
How To Choose A Kayak Cart or Trolley: A Buying Guide
The average kayak weighs 35lbs but some of the larger ones can get closer to 80lbs in weight! If you’re dealing with those sort of numbers then we’d strongly suggest getting a kayak cart, not only for the ease of transporting it but to save your back.
So, before we take a look at our list of the best kayak carts, let’s first cover some of the features you need to look at when choosing the best one for you.
The first feature and one of the most important things to consider is how you’re going to attach your kayak to your cart. You don’t want it slipping off and getting damaged. There are two common types of attachment methods to look at.
As the name suggests, a plug in kayak cart is one that you attach to your kayak by plugging it in to the scupper holes on the under side of your kayak. This is one of the best options for stability as it will prevent your kayak sliding around when transporting it.
This type however, is only suitable for kayaks that have scupper holes and not every kayak does. It tends to be sit-on-top kayaks that have these holes to allow the water to drain away. Make sure you check yours before purchasing this type of trolley.
The other type of kayak cart is one that uses straps to attach the kayak to the trolley. This option is similar to the way you’d attach a kayak to a car roof rack and you essentially tie it down tightly to prevent it slipping.
These types of kayak carts are much more flexible and will fit a wider range of kayak models and so if in doubt go for this type.
Nowadays, most kayak carts will be made using strong steel or aluminum. As long as you’re not over loading the kayaks weight capacity (which we’ll look at next) your cart’s frame should be fine and hold up.
The one thing about the frame to watch out for is where you’re going to be kayaking in. If you’re kayaking in the sea and saltwater it can cause frames to rust or corrode so we’d recommend going for one that has an aluminum power coating to protect it and prevent damage.
When it comes to the wheels on the cart, there are two common types: Airless and Air-filled. Each have their pros and cons, but which one is better for you will depend on what type of terrain you’ll be covering.
Airless wheels are better for crossing difficult terrain. They don’t contain any air so won’t get a puncture if you’re going over rocks or obstacles which can cause damage to a fully loaded kayak cart.
Air-filled tyres on the other hand do contain air and so can suffer punctures and may need topping up with a pump from time to time if they deflate. They’re better at crossing gravel or sandy terrain though.
Some carts will come with both types meaning you can change them depending on what ground you’re covering but if in doubt we’d suggest going for larger, airless tyres as these are more forgiving and will work well in most scenarios.
The other thing to consider is the width and size of the wheels. The general rule is the larger and wider the wheel, the better. Big wheels will make it a lot easier to cross rough terrain and won’t sink in sand. But, smaller wheels are better for tight turns.
One thing you need to be aware of before purchasing your cart is how heavy your kayak is. For most people, this won’t be an issue, but every kayak cart can only handle a certain amount of weight and some larger kayaks can be very heavy.
You also need to be aware of the extra gear that you’re adding on top of the kayak’s own weight. This can all add up and if over loaded, will cause your cart to break.
Storage and Portability
Another thing to think about is how easy the cart is to assemble and disassemble. Not only that, you probably don’t want to leave it on land and so it should fold up and be easy to take with you on your kayak for use when you get out.
Thankfully, most of the top kayak carts fold down making them very easy to transport and store when not in use and will save your arms from all the heavy lifting.
Best Rated Kayak Cart Reviews
Now we’re going to move on to our kayak cart reviews and dive into some of the features and benefits that make a good kayak trolley.
#1. Wilderness Systems Heavy Duty Kayak Cart
- Paddling magazine's 2018 winner in the "best transport/storage/launching' Category
- Engineered to transport the heaviest kayaks - up to 450 pounds
- Easy to load and unload the kayak – no kickstand or scupper posts required
Our favorite kayak cart is easily the Wilderness Systems Heavy Duty Kayak Cart here. It was voted Paddling magazines best product in the transport and launching category and for good reason. It’s a high quality, durable and easy to use kayak cart that can transport a wapping 450lbs of yak taking the load of you to make launching a breeze. It’s frame is built with marine grade, heat treaded aluminum alloy that means it’s incredibly strong (it’s able to carry 450lbs!) while still being very lightweight and easy to carry on its own.
The 12″ wheels make covering difficult terrain easy and are no-flat wheels so you can never get a puncture, an important feature to look for. It also comes with another set of beach wheels that are designed for covering sand. It also has an adjustable height option that means you can raise or lower the kayak depending on the size that you’re carrying.
The only downside is that it’s a little bit pricier than some of the other options on the market but as you’ll see by reading the reviews it definitely is worth the small additional investment.
#2. Suspenz Smart Airless DLX Cart
- Copied by Many Matched by None
- MID-V PLATFORM | 3" Depth prevents boat from rocking & load shifting like no other cart on the market
- EASE OF USE | No "tool" assembly required, just unfold and go with quick release wheels - Dual leg kickstand assists for easy...
Up next we have the Suspenz Smart Airless DLX kayak cart that’s made for kayaks not as heavy as the Wilderness Systems one above. It’s able to transport up to 125lbs which is more than enough for most kayaks. It’s made with a great looking yellow frame that’s made with lightweight and durable powder coated aluminum to ensure it doesn’t corrode and lasts for years to come.
Where the kayak sits on the cart are durable rubber pads to prevent scratches or damage. The tires are also really good and don’t contain any air so they can never go flat when traversing different terrains. Also, when not in use, it fold up and packs into an included carry bag for easy storage and transport.
#3. RAILBLAZA C-Tug Kayak and Canoe Cart
- Tool-free assembly and dismantles in as little as 20 seconds and fits inside the kayak hatch to take to your next destination....
- Puncture-free wheels with high grip rubber tread. Never worry about getting a flat tire on your kayak and canoe cart. Includes...
- Durable Construction: The C-Tug is made of Reinforced composite material, thermos-bonded elastomeric hull pads, and stainless...
Another kayak cart worth looking at is this one from RAILBLAZA, an outdoor brand from New Zealand. Their trolley is another high quality and high capacity cart that has a max capacity of 300lbs so plenty for transporting kayaks. It’s made with durable composite stainless steel that’s powder coated to prevent it rusting and able to take the brunt of carrying heavy kayaks.
It’s very easy to set up and requires no tools and when you’re finished it dismantles in under 20 seconds to store easily for when you next need it. It’ll keep your kayak safe too with rubber pads that can be adjusted to fit the shape of your kayak and avoid scratches. It also has high grip rubber tread wheels that are airless so can’t get punctures.
#4. Bonnlo Kayak Cart
- ►Practical: Use the Bonnlo Universal Boat Carrier to cart your kayak, canoe, paddleboard, float mat, or jon boat
- ►Durable: Has a 150-pound weight limit, constructed from high-strength anodized steel to ensure longevity while also keeping the...
- ►Airless tires: No chemical smell, large NO-FLAT airless tires (10"D x 3"W) won't go flat under the heaviest of loads, will roll...
In at number four we have this great, inexpensive kayak cart from Bonnlo. It’s got a weight capacity of 150lbs and is built using high strength anodized steel to prevent rust and longevity.
It’s another kayak cart with airless tires so you’re never at risk of suffering a puncture, a great feature when carrying your kayak over rocky and uneven terrain. Again, when you’re done transporting your yak, simple disassemble it and pop it in the storage hatch for when you next need it. It’s considerably cheaper than
#5. RAD Sportz Kayak Trolley
- ►RUGGED: With a 150 pound weight capacity, your RAD Kayak Trolley will haul even the largest kayaks or canoes with ease to and...
- ►SAFE AND SECURE: With the included tie down straps, you don't need to worry about your kayak falling off the trolley.
- ►CONVENIENT: Compacts down to a compact size for easy storage or transport.
Lastly, we have another great kayak trolley, this time from RAD Sportz. It’s the cheapest cart on our list but that doesn’t mean it’s not up to the job. It’s able to take 150lbs and is built with highly durable, lightweight aluminum frame that’s powder coated to prevent rust and that it’ll last for years.
It has 9.5″ pneumatic tires (filled with air) so it does have the risk of getting a puncture but RAD Sportz claim they’ll never go flat. Some customers have reported receiving plastic tires however so check yours when it arrives. When you’re done it folds away very compactly so makes for easy storage. Definitely one to consider if you’re on a tight budget.
So Which one Should you get?
That’s it for our list of the best kayak carts, we hope it’s helped you make a better decision about which one to buy. Once you’ve got one, you won’t ever want to go back to not having one and you’ll save your self a lot of energy and your arms will thank you.
As you can see from the reviews above, there are a lot of good options on the market and you can spend a wide range of prices. It’s hard to say which one is the best kayak cart for you but we’d suggest going for the Wilderness Systems Heavy Duty Kayak Cart. The quality of the frame, high weight capacity, ease of use and amount of five star reviews all point to it being a solid buy, and an easy product to recommend.
If you’re interested, you can check it out more information about it and read some of the reviews by clicking the button below.