The 5 Best Kayak Carts [Ranked]
A kayak cart (aka a “canoe dolly” or “canoe dolly”) is a device that allows you to transport your kayak easily from your vehicle to the water.
It’s made with two wheels and a locking device to secure your kayak so you can pull it to the destination.
How do they work?
Trolleys to transport your kayak are usually made from metal tubing onto which are attached two wheels, although some DIY devices are made of PVC pipe. Strap your kayak to the kart and pull it to and from the water (Source).
While there are two types of kayak transporters you can buy — platform and scupper — many experts recommend the platform variety because the kayak loads flat, while a scupper trolley requires you to lay your kayak on its side to load.
Also, if you’re going to be on sand, you should invest in special sand wheels to make pulling easier. (Source).
Comparing The Options
How Do They Compare
In this section, we’re going to look at five different devices to transport your boat.
- The Malone Auto Racks is a scupper trolley and is designed to fit most standard kayaks that include scupper holes. It features a locking control that adjusts to the width, and adjusts from 6.5” to 16.5”. Your boat is protected thanks to a thick foam pad that can be removed if needed. This device holds up to 200 pounds, and this model got good reviews from those who used it.
- The Best Choice Products dolly is a platform dolly that’s made of durable aluminum tubing. This dolly holds up to 150 pounds and comes with a 12 ft. strap to secure your boat during transportation. Most users praised how easy attaching their kayak to this dolly was, and said the aluminum construction is ideal for saltwater conditions.
- The C-Tug is another platform trailer. It features puncture-free wheels that are good for solid ground, but not suited for sand. While this device is lightweight at only 10 pounds, it holds up to 300. Also, other carts are constructed with metal components, but this one is high-grade polymer all around, save for the axels. This helps prevent corrosion and makes it long lasting.
- Next, we have the ABN trolly carrier, which is another platform carrier. This carrier has a 200-pound weight limit and is made of high-grade anodized steel. Inflatable knobby tires give good traction on both solid ground and sand. This unit folds down for easy storage in your car, SUV or even your backpack.
- Last up is the TMS canoe/kayak dolly. This unit holds up to 150 pounds and comes with a 12-foot tie down strap for securing your kayak. It also features large, inflatable tires that perform on the sand and solid terrain. This unit is constructed of both aluminum pipe and anodized steel for strength and corrosion resistance. Loading your kayak onto this model is made easier thanks to the inclusion of a double-leg kickstand that keeps the dolly from rolling around (Source).
Best Canoe Carts For 2018
Ease Of Use
This canoe cart offered by TMS is well-made, quick to assemble, and an excellent choice to transport your canoe to the lake. Users love the solid, metal frame, but some do note that they have issues with the straps.
The TMS canoe cart features a 12-foot long tie-down strap, 3/12” foam bumpers on the arms, which are great for protecting the hull, and a double-leg kickstand to make loading easy. What’s more, the large pneumatic 3-1/2” tires will roll across sand or gravel with no issue. The dolly has a weight capacity of 150 lbs, and you can quickly break it down for transport or storage.
A reviewer mentions that the canoe cart dolly assembles with no difficulties and that the frame seems strong and durable. He adds that the kayak trolley wheels were inflated upon delivery and that he is satisfied with the quality of the product.
Another happy buyer shares that the boat carrier dolly is sturdy and stable and that it’s never been easier to transport his canoe around. He highly recommends it as the best kayak cart available. However, one customer has noted that there are no instructions on how to adjust the straps and prevent the vessel from sliding down. Another user also complains that he received the package without the tie straps.
Ease Of Use
If you want to go canoeing and you’re looking at how to transport your kayaks, you might take a look at this universal canoe cart offered by ABN.
Users love the 9.5” knobby tires, which move smoothly across sand and gravel, but some do note that they stink awfully. The ABN kayak trolley features oversized foam pads to protect your boat from scratches or dents, a 12-foot strap to secure the canoe, and 200-pound weight capacity.
Another great thing about this product is that you get a spring-loaded kickstand to load your vessel easily. What’s more, the dolly folds for storage, and it’s made from anodized steel for durability.
A buyer shares that he had doubts when he received his kayak trolley, but when he used it, he found it to be light, durable, and sturdy. He adds that if you secure your vessel properly, you don’t have to worry about falling. Another reviewer mentions that he has a heavy canoe and that the dolly holds up remarkably well and does an excellent job. A user also states that he has tested the cart on different terrains and that it has performed beyond his expectations.
However, a couple of customers have pointed out that the universal canoe carrier doesn’t work well with one strap and that their vessel doesn’t stay in place. Some also complain that they had to modify it to fit their boat.
Ease Of Use
This simple kayak cart offered by C-tag is well-made, well-designed, and a product of high quality and price.
Users love that it breaks down quickly for storing, but some do note that they have problems with the kickstand. The C-tag canoe trolley features a 300 lbs. loading capacity, and it’s made of non-corroding polymer with stainless steel axles.
Another great thing about this product is the puncture-free wheels with high-grip rubbed thread, which are designed for all terrains. What’s more, your vessel will rest on rubberized pads to prevent scratching. And the C-tag dolly is light – 10lbs so that you can easily take you wherever you go.
As a whole, users have a high opinion of C-tag kayak trolley, and they praise its performance, design, and sturdiness. A buyer comments that this is one of the best canoe carts he has ever used and that it’s very well-made and durable. He adds that he has used it for months with no issues and that the straps are long and strong.
Another reviewer shares that he owns five kayaks and that the dolly works well with all of them. He also observes that the product is easy to assemble or break down and that he doesn’t have problems on rough terrains. A purchaser mentions that the C-tag instructions are not well-written, but you can get figure out everything on your own. However, a couple of customers have noted that while the wheels perform exceptionally on flat ground, they are useless when it comes to sand.
Ease Of Use
If you’re looking for an affordable kayak dolly, you might take a look at this trolley offered by Best Choice Products.
Users love the price, but some do note that it has a terrible smell. The Best Choice kayak cart features a 9.25” spring-loaded stand so that you can load your vessel quick, 10” PU foam tires, 12-foot straps, and a metal frame for durability. Another excellent thing about this product is that it has foam bumpers on each arm to protect your vessel from damage. What’s more, it doesn’t require any assembly, and it has a weight capacity of 150 lbs.
A user comments that he bought two kayak carts and that he was very surprised by their quality and sturdiness. He adds that they are easy to assemble and that the wheels go over bumps with no issues.
Another purchaser remarks that the this is one of the best kayak carts and that the tires don’t go flat. She shares that she can get her 40-pound canoe to the lake by herself. A buyer also shares that it takes a while to learn how to position the vessel correctly on the dolly, but once you get the hang out of it works wonderfully.
However, some customers have noted that the trolley is not well-balanced and that it’s easy to tip it over. Some also point out that they have problems with the wheels.
Ease Of Use
This kayak cart offered by Malone is well-made, easy to move around, and suitable for all standard canoes equipped with scupper holes.
Users love the design, but some do note that the quality is not what they expected. The Malone scupper kayak cart features a non-corrosion aluminum frame for durability, a 6” x 4” removable foam pad to protect your vessel from damage, and 200-pound weight capacity. Another excellent thing about this product is the 10” x 3” removable pneumatic tires in addition to the width locking control, which you can adjust from 6.5” to 16.5”.
A user mentions that this is he is impressed with the quality of the canoe cart and that it’s light, efficient, and easy to store. He adds that you can remove the wheels with no problems and that you can load your vessel in minutes. Another reviewer comments that he has used this boat dolly several times and that he hasn’t got any complaints.
He also shares that it rolls smoothly over grass and sand and that he highly recommends it as one of the best canoe carts he has ever used.
A buyer remarks that the construction is solid and that it’s holding well after two years. However, some customers have noted that the boat carrier broke very quickly and that the product arrived with missing parts and it’s not suitable for heavy canoes.
Over in the kayak fishing forum, one outdoorsman was searching for a cheap, homemade cart to pair up with his Trident 13. One fisherman had a do-it-yourself solution, suggesting that he use threaded PVC, washers and Harbor Freight Wheels to build his own.
Another suggested the C-Tug by Railblaza. This particular option is a little bit more expensive but it comes recommended as the best option one fisherman has ever used. He even says that after snapping off the kickstand the e-commerce retailer supplied him a replacement part in under a week.
Over in the kayaking subreddit, one poster asked the community what cart he should buy if he ended up purchasing a small, inexpensive kayak to transport to college with him.
He says that he’ll have dorm room storage accommodations and a short walk to a quiet and calm kayak slip nearby his college.
But, because it is somewhat bulky, he does want to have a mobile transportation solution that wouldn’t break the bank.
The top responders said that he was able to find some really inexpensive options looking on eBay- with shipping included it was pretty cheap.
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Another angler says that he lives close-by a stellar kayak launch and he was wondering the best method of transportation.
While he is an avid bike rider he was somewhat concerned that the carts he was looking at wouldn’t be able to handle the top speeds his bicycle would reach. One of the top responders says that, personally, he’ll walk a quarter-mile down and then uphill, back-and-forth, to his launch spot.
Depending on how far you have to travel and how rough the terrain is going to be you may want a sturdier transportation solution.
Another poster had an interesting perspective, saying that if you leave the stand assembled for a long period of time, you might want to consider using a silicone spray on the aluminum connections.
Maintenance considerations like this will increase the longevity of your product and make it a more cost-effective purchase, at the end of the day.
General Purchase Tips
Over at FishingPicks.com, there is a great article outlining purchase considerations. One of their top recommendations is to decide whether you want to build your own or purchase a new one or even purchase an old one from Craigslist.
A secondary consideration is selecting the appropriate tire material and size. This will come down to the type of environment the cart is going to be treading.
For example, rougher terrain, or lots of heavy sand, you might want to purchase a tire tread that is thicker and more robust for enhanced traction and maneuverability. Plastic is a popular option for tires – they are lighter weight, which means they are easier to transport as well as drag across paved surfaces.
However, they may not be ideal for sandy beach environments.
You can also go with a foam-filled tire cart – this is a dynamic option that avoids risks of flats, though the biggest downside is that the air tire pressure can’t be regulated.
There are also balloon tire carts – they are recommended for sandy surfaces, but they are more expensive than other options.
Pneumatic tire made carts are filled with air and are generally considered dynamic and adaptive options. You can also regulate the air pressure to accommodate different terrain textures.
Another option is a strap style– in this case, the kayak itself will be strapped down over the car’s roof rack.
How To Build One
Over at rei.com, they posted a DIY kayak cart PDF plan.
They say that their build makes it simpler to all boats out of ponds, particularly if you’re doing it alone. If you want to build it, they suggest purchasing a hacksaw and a PVC cutter.
You will need to buy a bunch of different materials including hand truck wheels, cut washers, locking split washers, PVC All Purpose cement, pool noodles, zip ties and different size PVC joints.
The finished product sits beneath the center of your kayak with sturdy wheels and padded support for simple, one-man transportation. Some wondered how well this particular DIY plan would work for pulling behind a bike. The website responded saying that you would need to supplement with a bunch of different extra parts to make it easily tow behind a bike.