Lugging a kayak back and forth to the water can be a drag, especially if you are out boating often. Additionally, the last thing you’d want to do after a long day of paddling is haul your boat all the way back to the car. To make your life that much easier, we have researched the best kayak carts on the market. Whether you’re on a budget and just need something simple, or you are interested in top-dollar efficiency, we’ve got you covered.
When buying a kayak cart, it is important to consider the type of kayak which you own and what cart will work best for you. Just as there are a multitude of kayak styles, there is also a heap of different kayak carts to pick from, too! Choosing the right one will make every day you spend on the water way less work – and tons more fun.
1. Suspenz Smart Airless DXL Cart
Material: Aluminum frame with stainless steel hardware
The combination of durability, ease of use, value, and customer rating has deemed this cart the best! Airless wheels and a solid build make this cart a great option for those seeking more durability.
Airless wheels banish any heartache over flat tires – a comforting thought when traveling over rough terrain! Rubber padding along the undercarriage protects your kayak while securing it to the rig. The rubber bumpers protect the hull from any dings, dents, or scratches while loading and unloading.
This kayak cart also features a dual arm kickstand for some added stability while you load and unload the kayak. The attached cam buckle straps are also positioned in such a way as to make the process of securing your kayak to the cart that much easier to do.
With the ability to hold up to 125 pounds, this cart offers a long-lasting and reliable option for lighter and mid-weight boats. When your adventures are done and it is time to store, the Suspenz Cart comes with a mesh carry bag that all the parts will fit in.
2. OxGord Kayak Dolly
Material: Aluminum frame
This strap-style cart with all-terrain pneumatic tires offers an excellent budget-friendly option for use with both kayaks and canoes. It features a sturdy frame made of a durable and corrosion resistant aluminum material and an added kickstand make for easy loading and transport. The built-in kickstand is designed to hold the cart in place while the kayak is being loaded on and off the cart. Once the kayak is securely loaded onto the cart, simply kick the kickstand back up and roll the kayak cart to and from the water effortlessly.
Due to their stability and versatility, strap-style carts are the most popular cart out there, which makes this a great option for lighter weight boats. The durability won’t last forever, so consider the weight of your kayak and watch the wear and tear. Despite the low price point, this kayak cart can still carry up to 165 pounds. It also folds flat when it is not in use to make storing a breeze.
3. Ctug Kayak or Canoe Cart
Material: Reinforced composite material
The Ctug cart is one of the most versatile carts on the market. Carrying kayaks and canoes up to 300 pounds, this cart can easily tread over the most rugged of terrain, while only being 10 pounds itself. Puncture-free wheels, heavy-duty rubber tread, and a lightweight composite material design make this kayak cart a fantastic option for those who choose a wilder put-in. The puncture-free wheels mean you will never have to deal with a flat tire and the cat is made from UV-resistant and non-corrosive plastics and stainless steel to ensure its longevity and durability. Its tool free assembly means it can be put together in under a minute, so you can get your kayak to the water that much faster. It can also be taken apart easily and quickly and stowed away inside the kayak while you are out on the water. The adjustable pads also help ensure a much better fit for most kayaks.
4. Hobie Heavy Duty Plug In Kayak Cart
Material: Stainless Steel
Made for plug-style kayaks, this cart is simple to use and ideal for sandy put-ins. Hardy construction materials lend a hand in carrying up to 400-pound boats. Foam-filled tires? No need for an air pump!
The price is not for those looking for an immediate opportunity to make your lives eaiser – if you’re looking for a bargain, perhaps continue your search. But if you’re looking to hit the beach with your boat every weekend, this cart will blow the others out of the water.
The Hobie kayak cart has a higher capacity than other kayak carts and the foam filled tires also feature a deep tread pattern. Its welded stainless-steel construction ensures durability and longevity and the wheels can be removed easily for better storage capability. This purchase includes a cart keeper feature as well as cart clamps.
(Pro Tip: The vertical bars go through the scupper holes, so this cart will only work on kayaks with scupper plugs.)
5. Malone Xpress Scupper-Style Cart
Material: Anodized Aluminum frame
This plug-style kayak cart fits securely into the scupper holes of your boat and sports a foam pad for maximum hull protection. At a lower price point than the Hobie kayak cart, the Malone Xpress is an ideal option for boats weighing under 200 pounds. Quick release rubber tires with foam interiors make this kayak cart a breeze to pull through sandy areas—the perfect option for a lightweight ocean kayak. The aluminum frame design complete with stainless steel fittings speaks volumes for its durability and the adjustable width control allows this cart to fit a variety of different scupper style kayaks. It also features two cross bar assemblies for scupper hole fit.
6. TMS 2X Jon Boat Kayak and Canoe Cart
Material: Aluminum frame
Carrying boats up to 75 pounds, this strap-style cart offers versatility and durability, all at an affordable cost. This cart is compatible with kayaks, canoes, and small boats, making it a great option for someone with multiple vessels.
An aluminum build and spring-loaded kickstand make it lightweight and easy to use. Though this cart is listed at a very affordable price, it is important to note the inflated wheels. Those who are planning long hauls over rugged topography should consider a more durable option; shorter distances and mellow terrain are what this cart is made for.
7. Bonnlo Boat Kayak and Canoe Cart
Material: Aluminum Alloy frame
This cart is another versatile option for those on a budget. The strap-style carry and lightweight aluminum frame build make this cart easy to use and a bit more durable than the OxGord dolly.
A spring-loaded stand allows you to easily transfer your boat from water to cart. If you’re looking for a simple and affordable option for kayaks and canoes that weigh under 165 pounds, then this cart fits the bill.
8. Nixie Sports Deluxe Heavy Duty Cart
Material: Aluminum frame
Built for kayaks weighing under 132 pounds, this strap-style cart is surprisingly durable. A lightweight and premium grade aluminum build for durability and the inclusion of large foam padding make this kayak cart easy to use no matter how far you need to tow your boat and the padding allows for protection against the kayak becoming scratched or dented.
A spring-loaded kickstand allows for easy loading, while all-terrain tires navigate brilliantly though sand, gravel, and even wooded areas. Though this kayak cart is not suitable for heavier boats, it provides a hassle-free option for lightweight kayaks. It also includes a twelve foot strap so you can securely tie down your gear.
9. Pro Source Ultra Durable Boat Carrier
A great deal and the perfect option for carrying lightweight boats across mellow terrain – what more could you want from a kayak cart? Rubber padding protects your boat from wear and tear, but more importantly? Simple assembly. The Pro Source is a very user-friendly option. Its tool free assembly takes just five minutes, so you can get in and out of the water faster. Though this cart is very budget-friendly, note that the inflatable tires and simple construction will not offer as much durability over long distances and rugged surfaces as other options may. However, the inflatable tires have bike pump compatibility, so it is easy to inflate the tires whenever needed.
10. Seattle Sports Scupper Swift
Material: 35mm anodized frame
This Seattle Sports kayak cart is built with a plug-style carry system that secures into your boat’s scupper holes. An adjustable width axle makes this cart extra-versatile, able to carry almost any scupper-style boat under 150 pounds.
Airless flat wheels with cobalt accents and cushioned scupper plug-in bars allow this cart to move across rugged terrain without the headache of popping a tire. If you’re looking for both durability and versatility, then this cart is perfect for your light- to mid-weight ocean boats with scupper holes. This kayak cart can also easily break down for storage when it is not in use.
Never purchased a kayak cart before? There are a few things to keep in mind before making your decision.
Why should I purchase a kayak cart?
Kayak carts are designed to economize your trek to the put-in and back. But most importantly, they help to protect your boat as you travel across rocks, gravel, sand, and other rough terrain.
Types of kayak carts available:
Options for kayak carts are about as diverse as options for the boat itself. There are two main styles of carts to consider: strap-style carts and plug-style carts. Strap-style carts are built to work best with sea kayaks and larger boats. The hull generally sits on top of foam or rubber padding, and a strap securely fastens the boat to the rest of the cart.
Strap-style carts are often also referred to as platform carts, and you will want to position the cart in the center of the kayak; off to the side and at an angle. The cart will support more weight when you place it closer to the center. The kayak will lay down on the top of the cart and can then be strapped into place. Start strapping underneath the kayak and then wrap the straps around one of the posts found in the kayak cart.
These types of kayak carts have been found to be the most versatile; they can accommodate a wide variety of boat styles, including canoes.
Plug-style carts are designed to fit into the scupper holes of the vessel and are best used for ocean kayaks. A simple design makes these carts easy to use and tough to break. However, these kayak carts are not as versatile as strap-style carts; if your boat does not have scupper holes, this cart will not work for you.
Scupper holes are most often found in the cockpit, footwells, and tank wells of kayaks. The scupper holes are self-bailing which means that if there is any water coming in over the deck of the kayak, the scupper holes are designed to drain this water out.
Scupper holes are most often found on sit-on-top kayaks and were designed to be an additional safety feature for the kayaks to prevent capsizing or having to sit in water while kayaking. A platform cart is a good option for a sit-on-top kayak because you can just rest the kayak on top and strap it down. Platform carts for sit-on-top kayaks are especially useful if the kayak is fully loaded as well, and you will not be limited when it comes to where you can place it.
A Fold and Stow Plug-in Cart is a very lightweight option, and they tend to only come in at around five pounds in weight. Being able to break the cart down allows you to eliminate unnecessary back and forth trips to your vehicle and the cart can be reassembled in only a matter of seconds for convenience.
The frame is collapsible, and the wheels of this type of kayak cart are removable, and they have a load rating of about 175 pounds. Retaining bungee helps to keep the kayak cart frame in the collapsed position when not in use and post collar clamps help to reduce direct hull load on the cart by displacing the weight of the load at the scuppers.
C-tug kayak carts are often considered the ultimate kayak carts because they often come with tool-free assembly, a rugged and unique design, and the ability to assemble a c-tug cart in less than a minute. You can also store a c-tug kayak cart inside of the kayak or canoe while you are out on the water.
What type of wheels do I need?
One of the most important things to consider when buying a kayak cart is the type of wheels it has. The more durable carts will have puncture-free wheels, allowing you to confidently take them through rough terrain. Puncture free tires gives you the added peace of mind of not having to deal with your kayak cart getting a flat tire.
Many carts have rubber tires with foam inserts instead of inflatable tires that are likely to pop on sharp rock or other jagged items. These rubber tires are the most common and are best for use on beaches as they provide traction through sandy areas.
Some kayak carts, on the other hand, will have flat, plastic wheels that often add rubber lugs for added traction. These are the best for rough and rocky surfaces—there is no chance of a tire popping with these! If you are planning longer treks on land through rugged terrain, this is the best option for you.
Additionally, for those looking for a budget-friendly and affordable option, air-inflated tires tend to be the better choice. However, they may not prove to be as durable and reliable as other options. If occasional short walks to the put-in located in mellow areas are all you are planning, then a cart with inflatable wheels will get you by.
Weight and Durability:
Take into account both the weight of your boat and the weight of the cart itself. Heavier boats require sturdier carts, but lighter weight carts make the haul more efficient. Be sure to look at the maximum weight capacity on the kayak cart you are looking to purchase to ensure it can hold your boat.
Planning to take the adventurous route to the put-in? Be sure to find a cart with maximum durability. Consider carts made with rubber padding and tougher metals instead of foam and lightweight aluminum. For casual put-in’s at the beach or lakeshore, a simpler, lightweight aluminum cart will get the job done.
Storage and Transport Options:
Think about where you will store your cart when it’s not in use, and how you’ll carry it or stash it while you’re out on the water. Many carts collapse and fold up for convenient storage. However, if you plan to carry your cart with you on the water, look for a lighter weight cart that breaks down and packs up in a jiffy. Some carts may even come with a mesh bag for you to easily store it when it is not in use. Storage and transportation is also made easier with quick or tool free assembly.
Kayak Cart Accessories to Consider:
Many carts offer additional accessories like spring-loaded kickstands and extra-long straps. If you have a particularly heavy boat, a spring-loaded kickstand can make the loading process a breeze, requiring less heavy lifting. The kickstand also helps keep the cart securely in place while you load and unload the kayak.
Strap-style kayak carts often come with extra-long straps, or additional accessory straps. Want to make sure your paddles and life jackets are secured for the ride? Be sure to find a kayak cart with these features, and you will be good to go! If that just reminded you that you need a life jacket (which is mandatory), we have reviewed those as well here.
Whether you plan to take your vessel across a mellow beach or through rugged, rocky terrain, there is a suitable kayak cart option out there and available for you. Remember, it’s crucial to consider the weight of your kayak when selecting a cart; you don’t want to end up with something burlier than you need, or find your cart collapsing under the weight of your boat.
Thankfully, the array of kayak cart options that are currently available makes it possible to find the right kayak cart to get you to the shore and back with ease.
Finding the perfect kayak cart makes days out on the water more enjoyable, so you spend less time hauling and more time paddling!