Kayak Carts: A Comprehensive Guide

Kayak Cart


Are you tired of struggling to transport your kayak to and from the water? A kayak cart can be your new best friend, making your life significantly easier. In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about kayak carts, including their types, benefits, and how to choose the perfect one for your needs. So, let’s dive in!

What is a Kayak Cart?

A kayak cart is a specially designed device used to transport kayaks over various terrains with ease. They are typically lightweight, portable, and have two wheels that support the weight of the kayak. The cart can be strapped or plugged into the kayak, allowing you to wheel it around effortlessly.

Types of Kayak Carts

There are several types of kayak carts available, each with its own unique features and benefits.

Plug-in Carts

Plug-in carts are designed to fit into the scupper holes of sit-on-top kayaks. They offer excellent stability and support, and their straightforward design makes them easy to use. However, plug-in carts are only compatible with sit-on-top kayaks with scupper holes.

Strap-on Carts

Strap-on carts use straps to secure the kayak to the cart. They are versatile and can be used with various kayak styles, including sit-on-top and sit-inside kayaks. Strap-on carts are a popular choice due to their adaptability but require careful strapping to ensure a secure fit.

End Carts

End carts are designed to support the kayak at one end, with the other end resting on the ground. They are lightweight and compact, making them ideal for transporting kayaks over short distances. However, they may not be suitable for long distances or rough terrain.

DIY Kayak Carts

If you’re feeling creative, you can build your own kayak cart using PVC pipes, wheels, and straps. DIY kayak carts are an affordable alternative to store-bought options and allow for customization to suit your specific needs.

Benefits of Using a Kayak Cart

Using a kayak cart offers several advantages:

  1. Easier transportation: A kayak cart makes it much easier to move your kayak from your vehicle to the water, reducing strain on your body.
  2. Protects your kayak: By using a cart, you can prevent scratches, dents, or other damage to your kayak that can occur during transportation.
  3. Saves time and energy: With a kayak cart, you can get your kayak to the water faster and with less effort, leaving you more time and energy to enjoy your paddling adventures.
  4. Increased accessibility: A kayak cart allows you to easily navigate various terrains, making it possible to access more remote or challenging launch sites.

How to Choose the Right Kayak Cart

To select the perfect kayak cart for your needs, consider the following factors:

Weight Capacity

Ensure the cart can support the weight of your kayak, as well as any additional gear you plan to transport.


Choose a cart with the appropriate wheel type for the terrain you’ll be navigating. Some carts have air-filled tires suitable for soft surfaces like sand, while others have solid tires designed for hard surfaces.


Consider how compact and lightweight the cart is, as this will affect how easy it is to transport and store when not in use.


Make sure the cart is compatible with your kayak’s design, whether it’s a sit-on-top, sit-inside, or another type of kayak.

Ease of Use

Look for a cart that’s easy to assemble, disassemble, and attach to your kayak, making the transportation process as seamless as possible.


Finally, consider your budget and choose a cart that offers the best value for your money without compromising on quality or functionality.

Top Kayak Cart Models

Here are some popular kayak cart models worth considering:

  1. CTug Kayak Cart: This cart is known for its durability and ease of use. It features puncture-free wheels and can handle up to 120kg (260 lbs) of weight.
  2. Malone Auto Racks Clipper Deluxe: This universal cart is suitable for various kayak styles and offers excellent stability with its adjustable width and airless tires.
  3. Suspenz Smart Airless DLX Cart: This cart is designed to prevent hull distortion and features airless tires, making it suitable for various terrains.
  4. Seattle Sports Scupper Swift Sit-On-Top Cart: A plug-in cart specifically designed for sit-on-top kayaks, offering easy installation and removal.
  5. Yakima EasyRider High: This cart is designed for larger, heavier kayaks and canoes, with a weight capacity of up to 200kg (440 lbs).

How to Properly Use a Kayak Cart

To ensure the safe and efficient use of your kayak cart, follow these steps:

  1. Assemble the cart according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  2. Place the cart in the correct position on your kayak, whether it’s a plug-in, strap-on, or end cart.
  3. Secure the kayak to the cart using straps or the plug-in mechanism, ensuring it’s stable and won’t shift during transportation.
  4. Carefully wheel your kayak over the terrain, avoiding sharp turns or sudden movements that could cause the kayak to tip or fall.
  5. Once you’ve reached your destination, carefully remove the cart and disassemble it for storage or transport.

Maintenance and Care Tips for Kayak Carts

Proper maintenance and care will prolong the life of your kayak cart:

  1. Regularly check and tighten any nuts, bolts, or other hardware.
  2. Keep the wheels clean and free of debris.
  3. Inspect the cart for any signs of wear, damage, or corrosion, and address any issues promptly.
  4. Store your cart in a dry, cool place when not in use to prevent rust or other damage.

Additional Accessories for Kayak Transportation

In addition to a kayak cart, you may want to consider these accessories to further simplify your kayak transportation process:

  1. Roof racks: Roof racks allow you to transport your kayak on the roof of your vehicle, making it easier to carry multiple kayaks or free up space inside your car.
  2. Kayak straps and tie-downs: High-quality straps and tie-downs ensure that your kayak is securely fastened to your cart or vehicle during transportation.
  3. Paddle holders: Paddle holders can be attached to your kayak or cart, making it easier to transport your paddles along with your kayak.
  4. Carrying handles: Installing carrying handles on your kayak can make it easier to lift and maneuver, especially when loading and unloading from your vehicle.

Tips for Using a Kayak Cart on Rough Terrain

Navigating rough terrain with a kayak cart can be challenging, but these tips can help you manage the process more effectively:

  1. Choose the right wheels: Select a cart with wheels specifically designed for rough terrain, such as large, air-filled tires or all-terrain wheels.
  2. Balance the load: Ensure your kayak is evenly balanced on the cart to prevent tipping or instability on uneven surfaces.
  3. Move slowly and carefully: Take your time when navigating rough terrain and avoid making sudden movements or sharp turns that could cause the kayak to tip or fall.
  4. Consider a two-person carry: If the terrain is particularly challenging, having a second person help carry the kayak can provide additional stability and support.
  5. Scout the path ahead: If possible, walk the intended path before transporting your kayak to identify any obstacles or hazards that could cause problems during transportation.

How to Transport a Kayak Without a Cart

If you don’t have access to a kayak cart, there are alternative methods for transporting your kayak:

  1. Carry by hand: For short distances, you can carry the kayak by hand, using the built-in handles or attaching carrying handles to make it easier to grip.
  2. Shoulder carry: If your kayak is lightweight, you can lift it onto your shoulder, balancing the weight evenly across your body.
  3. Use a tarp or blanket: Lay a tarp or blanket on the ground and place the kayak on top, then drag the kayak across the ground. This method is best for short distances and soft surfaces, as it may cause damage to the kayak on rough terrain.
  4. Team carry: For larger, heavier kayaks, enlist the help of a friend to carry the kayak together, with one person at each end.

Safety Tips for Kayak Transportation

Following these safety tips can help ensure a smooth and secure kayak transportation process:

  1. Secure your kayak properly: Whether using a cart or vehicle, always double-check that your kayak is securely fastened and stable before moving.
  2. Protect your back: Use proper lifting techniques when loading and unloading your kayak to prevent strain or injury to your back.
  3. Be aware of your surroundings: Always be mindful of other people, vehicles, or obstacles when transporting your kayak, especially in crowded or busy areas.
  4. Follow local laws and regulations: Some locations may have specific rules or regulations regarding kayak transportation. Be sure to familiarize yourself with these requirements to ensure compliance and avoid potential fines or penalties.

With careful planning and the right equipment, you can safely and efficiently transport your kayak to and from the water, making your paddling adventures more enjoyable and accessible.


Kayak carts are an essential tool for any kayaking enthusiast, offering a convenient and efficient way to transport your kayak over various terrains. By considering factors such as weight capacity, terrain, portability, compatibility, ease of use, and budget, you can find the perfect cart for your needs. With the right cart and additional accessories, you’ll be able to spend less time and energy on transportation and more time enjoying your kayaking adventures.


Can I use a kayak cart for other types of watercraft?

Yes, many kayak carts are also suitable for transporting canoes, paddleboards, and other small watercraft, provided they meet the weight capacity and compatibility requirements.

Do I need a special cart for a tandem kayak?

Some carts are specifically designed for larger, heavier kayaks, like tandem kayaks. Ensure that the cart you choose has the appropriate weight capacity and compatibility for your tandem kayak.

Are kayak carts easy to assemble and disassemble?

Most kayak carts are designed to be user-friendly, with easy assembly and disassembly processes. Some models may require tools, while others are tool-free.

Can I use a kayak cart on sand?

Yes, some carts feature air-filled tires or specialized wheels designed for use on soft surfaces like sand. Be sure to choose a cart with the appropriate wheel type for the terrain you’ll be navigating.

Is it possible to build my own kayak cart?

Yes, DIY kayak carts can be an affordable and customizable alternative to store-bought options. You can build your own cart using PVC pipes, wheels, and straps, tailoring the design to suit your specific needs.