Skip to content Skip to footer

Kayak Carts: Why You Need One & How To Choose It

The lightest weight kayaks can be difficult or awkward to carry as you may find it hard to evenly distribute the weight of the vessels. Carrying your kayak even becomes more stressful if you have to walk some distance from your car to the water. But there’s no need for you to keep stressing yourself when there are kayak carts available on the market.

Kayak carts are important kayaking equipment that most kayakers seem to overlook. Getting a kayak cart and enjoying the convenience it offers will make you realize what you’ve been missing out on. You get to move your vessel to and from the water with ease. A kayak cart will also come in handy when moving some extra gear or walking a few miles to the water. Also, a cart reduces your chances of injury and helps extend the lifespan of your kayak.

The design concept of kayak carts is similar – they all have two wheels, a place to put the kayak as well as straps that help secure the vessel to the cart. However, variations in the design by different manufacturers mean some kayak carts are better than others. Here, you’ll learn all you must put into consideration before buying a kayak cart. This will help you make an informed decision and ultimately help you pick a cart that meets all your needs.

Why Use A Kayak Cart?

Kayaks are generally bulky thereby requiring some heavy lifting to transport them from your car or campsite to the waterside. You may even find out that carrying your kayak is more stressful than the actual kayaking you set out to do.

A kayak cart thereby provides a quick and convenient way to transport your vessel from to the waterside without feeling like you just hit the gym.

Carrying a kayak on a beach or trail has some risks as you might not be able to maintain a stable footing or have difficulty seeing where you are going.

And you may be a rock or branch away from falling if Lady Luck isn’t smiling at you. You can get injured, the seriousness of which will depend on the size of the kayak you are carrying.

A kayak cart also extends the lifespan of your vessel as the chances of it falling when you are manually transporting is eliminated. Some kayakers also drag their vessels when they are tired of carrying them. This can be avoided by using a cart.

Your kayak is an investment and it makes sense for you to buy equipment that will extend its longevity.

Types of Kayak Carts

There are three basic types of kayak carts which will be discussed below:

Plug-in Cart — You essentially ‘plug’ your kayak into the cart through the bottom scupper holes as the name suggests. Lading your kayak into this type of cart is straightforward enough as you need to just slide the vessel on. There is the drawback that some kayak models can’t be used with plug-in carts as they are more suited for sit-on-top kayaks.

Strap Cart — The most common type of kayak cart. You use straps to secure your kayak to the cart. This type of cart can be used for almost any model of kayak. As long as the straps are kept tight and nice, you have nothing to worry about amigo.

End Cart — As the name implies, you attach this type of kayak to the end of your cart. By doing this, you are basically converting your kayak into a wagon as you pull it along with you. However, End Carts most often cannot be used for wider kayak models.

Best kayak carts - guide
© Can Stock Photo / PixelsAway

How to Choose Your Kayak Cart


You have to consider the material used to manufacture the frame of a kayak before buying it. This is because this material will determine the overall durability and sturdiness of the cart. The most common materials used are steel and aluminum, two very strong metals. It’s becoming common to see manufacturers using alloys to enjoy the best of both worlds.

While steel is very durable and sturdy, it also tends to be heavy. Aluminum is the most popular choice because it is lightweight in addition to being tough. Also, aluminum performs better in saltwater conditions than steel as it does not corrode. A steel kayak cart should be used only in freshwater.


The wheels are another part of a kayak cart you must put into consideration. Generally, cart wheels come in two types – airless/solid and inflated wheels. Airless wheels have the advantage of never going flat, are suited for a wide range of terrains, and require little to no maintenance. However, airless tires are more likely to cut into soft sand especially when transporting heavy kayaks.

Inflated wheels on the other hand tend to be larger and more suited for transport over loose sands, dunes, or on the beach. They will need to be pumped after some time as the air pressure inside the tire will slowly decline.

You also have to put the width of the wheels into consideration. The wider the wheel of your car, the better it’ll be able to handle uneven and difficult terrains. Pulling the cart along may become difficult if the wheel is too large. Most manufacturers use 10” and sometimes 12” wheels which work great.

Weight Capacity

The weight capacities of kayak carts are always clearly specified by the manufacturer. Find out the weight of your kayak while also including that of your gear and choose a cart that can handle it. If your kayak is heavier than what your cart can carry, then that cart is already doomed for destruction.


Always go for kayak carts that come with additional accessories like bumper pads as they protect your vessel from scratches, scrapes, and other damages. Also, bumper pads act as a cushion against impacts.


You probably won’t want to leave your cart at the shore when you are about to go on the water. Cart manufacturers understand this and design their products to be collapsible or foldable with the wheels sliding off comfortably after removing a hinge pin from either side. Most carts are also very compact taking very little space thereby allowing you to store them comfortably in the hull of your kayak.


The width of some kayak carts can be easily adjustable. The result of this is a versatile product that can be used to haul multiple kayaks.

Final Thoughts

Your strength when going kayaking is supposed to be saved for paddling as you enjoy the views around you and rule the waters. These kayak carts will redefine your kayaking experience with the convenience they provide.

You have a list of the best kayak carts now and a buying guide to help you choose the right one. It’s time for you to say goodbye to lifting heavy kayaks on your shoulders, head, or back. Feel like lifting something? Hit the gym!

Header image credit: © Can Stock Photo / PixelsAway

Leave a Comment