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Buyers Guide & Information

Best Kayak Carts, Wheels & Trolleys

Transport your kayak with ease with these top rated carts, wheels and trolleys.

by

Buyers Guide & Information

Best Kayak Carts, Wheels & Trolleys

Transport your kayak with ease with these top rated carts, wheels and trolleys.

by PITeam

by PITeam

Solo kayaking can be a great way to get out and enjoy a local body of water while the weather is warm. But getting your kayak to a nearby lake or river can be challenging on your own, especially if you have other gear to carry. That’s where the simple, yet innovative function of a kayak cart comes in.

A kayak cart is a specialized attachment that adds a pair of multi-purpose wheels to the hull or stern of your favorite watercraft. These wheels are temporary, allowing a prospective kayaker to transport their watercraft to a local body water with very minimal effort. Many contemporary models are adaptable as well, making them accessible to both adventure and fishing kayaks.

Simply put, no kayak owner who respects their equipment should travel without a kayak cart on hand. However, it can be challenging to know which kayak cart models are the best at first glance.

This guide will help you clear away that fog, allowing you to fully understand the features and specifications that go into a high-performing model. From there, you’ll be ready to dig into our reviews of this year’s top 9 best kayak carts, wheels, and trolleys before your next sea-faring adventure.

Types of Kayak Carts

Sit-in Trolley

Sit-in trolleys are distinguished based upon their use of straps to hold the kayak in place. While this cart type will work for most appropriately-sized kayaks, they are optimized for sit-in kayaks that lack scupper holes.

Plug-In/ Sit-on-Top

This cart type uses a specialized system of rods to secure an appropriately-equipped kayak by way of its scupper holes. These carts are known for being particularly stable and optimized for sit-on-top kayaks.

Strap Style Cart

While “strap style” may specifically refer to the straps found on sit-in trolleys, they may more generally refer to any kayak cart that uses straps as a primary or secondary method of securing its payload.

Folding Cart/ Taildraggers

As their name suggests, this cart type is exceptionally versatile because it can be folded up and stored away. In terms of securing a kayak, these carts attach to the hull or stern and allow the user to leverage their strength to roll the craft to its intended location.


Benefits of Kayak Transportation Tools

Strapping your kayak to your car and driving it to your local waterway is easy enough. But the real challenge arises when it comes to covering the so-called "last mile." Most folks carry their kayak on their back, which can be strenuous and challenging. A kayak cart simplifies the “last mile” by allowing the user to roll their kayak over any terrain without damaging its hull.

In addition, the benefits of kayak cart ownership and usage include:

  • A reduction in risk of overexertion from lifting and carrying the kayak
  • An easy method for teaching young people to transport their kayak safely
  • Speeding up the kayak transportation process substantially

Buying a Top-Quality Kayak Cart

Dimensions

Kayaks come in a variety of sizes, and so, too, do kayak carts. Most notably, kayak carts are differentiated, in terms of dimensions, based upon their width. An optimal cart model should comfortably attach to your kayak at either the hull or stern (depending on the type) without slipping or crushing the hull. Some carts even include adjustable straps for added versatility.

Frame Material

You'll likely be taking your kayak cart off the beaten path, so it is only proper that you choose a model with durable frame material. Models with a stainless steel core are best for strength, while aluminum core carts provide resilience with less weight. In any case, your chosen cart should include a corrosion-resistant outer shell that won't rust or scratch up your watercraft.

Terrain Rating

Certain carts are rated to travel over specific terrains only, so it is worth your time to pick a model with a variety of practical terrain ratings. Among others, modern kayak carts are often certified for safe and secure use over sandy, urban, or watery terrains.

Wheel Type 

In line with the terrain rating, wheel type and material composition will impact your cart’s functional durability and overall ability to tackle adverse terrains. Inflatable tires (like those found on landscaping cart) are best when it comes to resilience, while solid plastic tires tend to provide more traction.

Attachment Method

As noted, kayak carts are broadly differentiated based upon their method of attaching the watercraft to the cart itself. Some models use poles to physically connect the cart to the craft through its scupper holes. Other models use fold-out straps to bind the kayak to the cart (either as a primary or secondary method of security).

Max Weight Capacity

Like kayaks, kayak carts\are rated for safe performance only up to a maximum weight capacity. While comparing prospective models, be sure to choose a model that can bare your kayak's weight with some room to spare (for extra gear).

Storage & Transportability

Some newer models include a collapsible architecture that allows the kayak cart in question to fold up and store away when not in use. While this can be useful when you return home, it can also make it increasingly simple to keep your cart with you when it's time to embark out on the water.

Price & Warranty

Most keen shoppers already compare their kayak equipment based on price. But some forget to factor in details such as a product warranty. Though such an add-on could raise the cart's price slightly, such an investment can pay off if the cart breaks down due to a fault on the manufacturer's part.


9 Best Kayak Carts Reviewed

1. Suspenz Smart Airless DLX

Best Kayak Cart

Cart Type

Strap Style

Attachment Method

Straps

Max Weight Capacity

125 lbs.

Frame Material

Powder-coated Aluminum and Stainless Steel

Cart Weight

9 lbs.

Hands down, one of the best kayak carts on the market today is the Suspenz Smart Airless DLX. Across its entire construction, you can clearly see why this model is regarded as one of the most durable and most reliable. To this extent, this model’s powder-coated aluminum frame and stainless steel components really tell the tale.

This model’s airless 10” tires are not to be missed either, as they won’t ever go flat as you travel to your favorite body of water. In the same vein, this kayak cart’s straps won’t fray and fall apart due to an uneven distribution of weight across their surface.

Pros

  • Durable powder-coated aluminum frame and stainless steel components
  • Airless 10” tires pick up traction well without going flat
  • Collapsible body makes for easy storage, even on the water
  • Straps include loops that effectively distribute weight

Cons

  • Rubber padding is minimal, at best
  • An awkward fit for some popular kayak models

2. RAILBLAZA with SandTrakz Wheels

Best Kayak Cart for Sand

Cart Type

Strap Style

Attachment Method

Straps

Max Weight Capacity

170 lbs.

Frame Material

Reinforced plastics

Cart Weight

11.95 lbs.

Beach-goers will undoubtedly be looking for the best kayak cart for sand, which this year goes to the RAILBLAZA C-Tug. This model’s innovative SandTrakz tires are a stroke of productive genius and can easily outperform other inflated beach tires in their class. That's the kind of quality you've come to count on from the "Made in New Zealand" label on this model.

Despite their appearance, this model’s straps are surprisingly able to accommodate wider-than-average kayaks. After use, you’ll even be able to fold up this kayak cart and store it on your watercraft.

Pros

  • Innovative SandTrakz tires outperform balloon tires on beaches
  • Straps provide versatility when it comes to kayak width
  • Made in New Zealand with a patent-pending design
  • Stows compactly on craft

Cons

  • Cannot carry metal craft due to density
  • Kickstand is a little too short

3. YAK-Gear

Best C-Tug Kayak Cart

Cart Type

Strap Style

Attachment Method

Straps

Max Weight Capacity

300 lbs.

Frame Material

Reinforced plastics

Cart Weight

10 lbs.

This Yak-Gear C-Tug model is also a hidden gem in a busy market, especially for those with heavier-than-average kayaks. That’s because this model can comfortably tow up to 300 lbs. without complaint or excessive wear. That means that you’ll be able to take a load off by carrying your gear and kayak all in one location.

Also, this model is one of the best C-tug kayak carts because it is resilient in the face of saltwater (given its reinforced plastic components). Even the high grip tires give a little bit extra when your journey takes you over pavement and other smooth surfaces.

Pros

  • Ideal for saltwater use due to lack of rusting components
  • Impressive 300 lbs. weight capacity
  • High grip tire treads ideal for use on pavement
  • Can also carry extra gear without damaging frame

Cons

  • Sparse availability, sometimes at a high price
  • Wheel pins tend to loosen quickly

4. Bonnlo

Value For Money

Cart Type

Strap Style

Attachment Method

Straps

Max Weight Capacity

165 lbs.

Frame Material

Aluminum (with foam bumpers)

Cart Weight

Aluminum (with foam bumpers)
8.8 lbs.

Without a doubt, this Bonnlo model is one of the best kayak transporters available to consumers today. But that’s not all it can do! In fact, this model’s aluminum frame and foam bumpers can support canoes, Jon boats, and paddleboards as well. All of this versatility also comes at a 1/3 of the price of many of its competitors.

This model’s airless polyurethane wheels also deserve some recognition for their ability to tackle gravel, sand, and wooded areas without slipping. Even this model’s spring-loaded kickstand serves to support this model’s overall stability, especially when loading.

Pros

  • Aluminum frame and foam bumpers provide lightweight protection for craft
  • Spring-loaded kickstand makes it easy to load and unload
  • Airless polyurethane wheels can handle gravel, sand, and wooded areas without slipping
  • Designed also to carry canoes, Jon boats, and paddleboards

Cons

  • Not optimized for wider kayaks and canoes
  • Some slippage may occur when taking sharp turns

5. OxGord

Best Kayak Cart for Rough Terrain

Cart Type

Strap Style

Attachment Method

Straps

Max Weight Capacity

165 lbs.

Frame Material

Corrosion-resistant aluminum

Cart Weight

8.45 lbs.

Getting the best kayak cart for rough terrain can be essential to keeping your kayak safe on the way to the lake or river. Luckily, this OxGord model was built with this kind of durability in mind, as seen in its implementation of a corrosion-resistant aluminum frame. This model’s double-leg kickstand even adds an extra degree of stability while you unload upon arrival.

Speaking of stability, this OxGord can keep your craft in place without damaging it thanks to its V-shaped cradle. This model can also keep even an extra-wide craft from rattling about with its extra-long 144” securing straps.

Pros

  • Corrosion-resistant aluminum frame is ideal for use in all conditions
  • V-shaped cradle secures craft without pressuring the hull
  • Double leg kickstand adds double the degree of stability
  • Extra-long 144” securing straps ideal for wide craft

Cons

  • Rubber tires give off overwhelming odor
  • May not ship with “airless” tires as advertised

6. Best Choice Products

Best Budget Kayak Cart

Cart Type

Strap Style

Attachment Method

Straps

Max Weight Capacity

150 lbs.

Frame Material

Aluminum

Cart Weight

7.7 lbs.

Shoppers in search of the best budget kayak cart can count on this Best Choice Products model. Not only does this model provide an affordable price tag, but it also features 3.5" foam bumpers to prevent accidental hull damage as you travel. You'll also get an assortment of other standardized features in this model, including a spring-loaded kickstand 10" foam wheels. Combined, these make this model a cheap option that won't provide an inferior performance.

Pros

  • 3.5" foam bumpers on each arm provide extra protection
  • 10” wheels filled with foam material that won’t deflate
  • Spring-loaded kickstand holds firm on sandy beaches
  • Comes in both silver and black color options

Cons

  • Fairly low weight capacity
  • Difficult to pull in a straight line

7. Malone Clipper Deluxe

Popular Model

Cart Type

Strap Style

Attachment Method

Straps

Max Weight Capacity

200 lbs.

Frame Material

Anodized aluminum

Cart Weight

N/A

Another of the best kayak wheel cart options available today is the Malone Clipper Deluxe. This model has a lot to its credit, including an anodized aluminum frame that resists corrosion caused by saltwater as a set of proprietary "Never-Go-Flat" tires that live up to their name. In particular, this model is also very well-balanced, reducing the workload for those using it to transport a kayak or other watercraft.

Pros

  • Cart is well-balanced to decrease user’s effort
  • Anodized aluminum frame resists corrosion from rain and saltwater
  • Proprietary "Never-Go-Flat" tires live up to their name
  • Designed to support a wide variety of watercraft, including canoes

Cons

  • Central support band tends to wear out quickly
  • Cannot be pulled behind a bike

8. Wilderness Systems Heavy Duty

Best Rated

Cart Type

Plug-In

Attachment Method

Poles

Max Weight Capacity

450 lbs.

Frame Material

Marine-grade, heat-treated aluminum alloy

Cart Weight

N/A

The best rated kayak cart better live up to expectations! Luckily, this Wilderness Systems model has, as evidenced in its earning of Paddling Magazine's 2018 “Best Transport/Storage/Launching” award. With a 450 lbs. weight capacity and optimizations for all Wilderness Systems brand kayaks, you can certainly see why it took the top prize. All this is made possible by a marine-grade, heat-treated aluminum alloy frame that won't quit after a few kayaking seasons

Pros

  • Winner of Paddling Magazine's 2018 “Best Transport/Storage/Launching” award
  • Optimized to fit all Wilderness Systems kayaks
  • Can carry impressing 450 lbs. weight capacity
  • Marine-grade, heat-treated aluminum-alloy frame adds durability that won’t damage the craft

Cons

  • Does not work with non-scupper kayaks
  • On the expensive end of the kayak cart spectrum

9. TMS CART-CANOE/KAYAK-KY001

Best Kayak Trolley

Cart Type

Strap Style

Attachment Method

Straps

Max Weight Capacity

Straps

Frame Material

Aluminum pipe and anodized stainless steel

Cart Weight

8 lbs.

Finally, one of the best kayak trolleys available today is the TMS CART-CANOE/KAYAK-KY001. While this model's weight capacity is relatively average, you'll get more than your dollars' worth in this model's aluminum pipe and anodized stainless steel frame. Together with this model’s flat-shaped wheels, stainless steel fasteners, and chrome lynchpins, you’ll be able to count on this dolly to remain durable and structurally intact for trip after trip to the lake or river.

Pros

  • Aluminum pipe and anodized stainless steel frame make for durable construction
  • Flat-shaped wheels are stable even in sandy areas
  • Stainless steel fasteners and chrome lynchpins won’t bend

Cons

  • Tires carry a fair amount of smell
  • Average 150 lbs. weight capacity

Setting Up & Using Kayak Wheel Carts

As expected, precise set-up and usage procedures will vary from model to model. However, several key steps can help beginners put their new kayak cart to immediate use out of the box.

  • Assemble the Cart
    If necessary, assemble the cart and test it to ensure that it is prepared to bear weight
  • Find the Attachment Point
    Depending on your craft’s attachment method, determine where you will attach the cart to the craft. This may be at the direct center or on the stern end.
  • Attach the Craft
    Using the bars or straps (depending on cart type), secure the craft onto the cart proper. Ensure that the craft fits snuggly, without too much slack or pinching.
  • Move the Craft
    Test the cart’s capabilities on flat, even ground. If adjustments are necessary, make them before venturing onto uneven terrain.

If questions regarding set-up and usage remain, remember to consult your kayak cart’s manual or online documentation (when available).


Care & Maintenance for your Kayak Cart

Before and after each use, you should always check for the following to ensure that your new kayak cart remains in peak condition:

  • Inspect the exterior for damage that might affect the overall structural integrity
  • Inspect the wheels to check for wiggling and adjust accordingly
  • Wash off any excess debris, including sand and saltwater

Kayak Cart Accessories

Spring-loaded Kickstands

As on a bicycle, this type of kickstand provides an extra degree of support for a kayak cart while it is stationary. This accessory can be especially useful when loading and unloading your craft on an incline.

Extra-Long Straps

These straps are generally used to secure larger-than-average kayaks. However, some users prefer these auxiliary straps when it comes to doubling down on their craft’s security while moving over adverse and incline terrain.

Beach Wheel Conversion Kits

These kits are designed to make it easy to switch out standard kayak card wheels for a set optimized for use on sandy terrains. These kits typically include everything needed to accomplish this, including a set of broad, air-inflated tires.

Anchor Trolley Kits

While not an accessory for a kayak cart, these anchor trolley kits are handy for manipulating the position of fishing kayak. The H2o Kayak Canoe Anchor Trolley Kit is one particularly popular option that can be installed onto the side of any kayak and operated with just one hand.


Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of material are kayak carts made of?

Depending on their weight limit and foldability, kayak carts can be made from everything from stainless steel to impact-resistant plastic. Some lightweight models may also be constructed with an aluminum core. In all cases, a performance-centered kayak cart will feature some corrosion-resistant exterior.

Where is the best place to buy these kayak wheel carts?

Hands down, Amazon is the best place to pick up a kayak cart. Amazon’s business model allows them to stock and ship with incredible bulk rates. In many cases, this high volume methodology results in notable savings, which are passed onto the buyer. Often, Amazon’s prices even undercut the original manufacturer’s rates.

Where can I buy replacement parts for my kayak cart?

Replacement parts are often available from the kayak cart’s original manufacturer. This includes replacement wheels and straps, which are the most likely components to wear down after several years of regular use.

Do kayak carts come with a warranty?

Some do, some do not. Kayak carts that come with a warranty are preferable, of course, given the extra assurance they provide to the purchase. However, a model with a brief or difficult-to-activate warranty is as good as no warranty at all. Always check customer reviews to qualify a given model’s warranty.

What are the best kayak cart brands?

Today, there are a variety of brands that are continuously innovating on the kayak cart’s basic functionality. But a few brands currently stand out, based upon their overall quality and affordability. These brands include Suspenz, Railblaza, Bonnolo, and Malone.

Why do I need to find the center of gravity for my kayak cart?

Often, your owner's manual includes instructions for finding the center of gravity on your particular kayak cart model. However, the center of gravity can usually be ascertained by balancing your kayak (with assistance) on the cart while resting on stable ground.


Conclusion

Even out of these many great options, the best overall kayak cart remains the Suspenz Smart Airless DLX Cart. When taking its durable powder-coated aluminum frame and stainless steel components into account, you can't expect to find a better priced or better-performing option on the consumer market today.


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