The 8 Best Kayak Carts to Make Transporting Your Boat Easier – Save Your Energy & Time

Transporting a kayak requires the right tools. And while I mentioned kayak roof racks in one of my earlier reviews, you still need to get your vessel to the water from your car.

And trust me when I say it can be difficult, tiring and time consuming carrying kayaks yourself, especially over rough terrain. In step the kayak cart; the best option for transporting your boat to and from the water without any hassle – every kayaker should own one!

In this post, we are going to review some of the best kayak carts on the market right now – explain the different kayak cart types available – the features to look out for and those to avoid – all so that you find one that best fits your needs. 

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In A Rush? The Winner After 35 Hours Of Research

TMS Kayak Cart

TMS Kayak Cart

Our Rating: ★★★★★

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Why is it better?

  • Universal Kayak Carrier with a large capacity (150 pounds)
  • Suitable for both a kayak and canoe
  • Fitted with secure tie-down straps
  • Heavy-duty metal frame material 
  • Added foam padding for protection
  • Folds down for transport
  • Excellent for any kind of terrain

Your Comprehensive Guide to Kayak Carts

kayak on a cart

While kayak carts do not belong to the minimal required equipment, as stated by the U.S. Coast Guard (which is expected), I always joke that they are the minimum required gear, in my opinion.

But seriously, they are so useful and energy-saving that every paddler should own one. 

Types of Kayak Carts

Formally, a kayak cart is “a transport device for wheeled carriage.” While the core of the definition remains true, kayak trolleys have developed a lot over the years. Now, you can find them in many shapes and sizes.

Based on the position of the loaded yak and the attachment method of the cart, we can differentiate between three types of kayak carts:

The Taildragger Cart

The Taildragger Cart

As the name suggests, you place these carts at the end of your kayak. Then you lift your yak at the other side and simply roll it down to the water.

Now, that position brings about the fact that it supports only a small portion of the yak’s weight, although the wheels do help you a lot in the transport.

For the obvious reasons (you use a significant amount of your strength), this isn’t my favorite type of cart but can come in handy if you’re transporting the vessel over short distances. Taildraggers are also the cheapest.

Scupper Cart

Scupper Cart

The second type, scupper cart, is only compatible with sit-on-top kayaks.

Why is that so?

Well, they use the scupper holes (sometimes known as scupper valves) for adjustment, which is pretty convenient and well-thought of.

To load a sit-on-top kayak on a scupper cart, you need to turn it sideways and simply put its poles through the scupper holes. 

Of course, the position and number of these holes vary with different kayaks, so it’s of utmost importance that the cart’s width is adjustable.

The Platform Cart (aka the Standard Cart)

The Taildragger Cart

There are many versions of the final type, but they all have one thing in common. Namely, you can position them wherever you want on the boat. Then you use the straps and secure it.

I prefer to set it up somewhere near the center so that the weight is balanced nicely, but this is all really up to you.

Platform cart is my favorite type of cart.

Why?

Ultimately, I believe your energy should be directed towards the sport, and not transporting your kayak from and to the vehicle.

I tend to go to some really hard-to-reach places, so I have to wheel a lot before coming to the water, and the platform carts undoubtedly help in those situations a lot.

They might be on a more expensive side, but are well worth the price!

See different types of kayak carts for yourself:

ACK Product Focus: Different Types of Kayak Carts

Wheel Type

To choose the appropriate wheel type for your kayak cart, you first need to ask yourself: Which terrain will you conquer?

For example, if you’re going to be carrying your kayak to the beach most frequently, some wheels are strictly adapted to the sand and gravel.

On the other hand, if you are dealing with all kinds of terrain, some well-rounded wheels can adapt to multiple surfaces.

Solid Wheels

Pneumatic Wheels

This kind of wheel is constructed entirely with a form of rubber layer, and it isn’t filled with air.

The most prominent advantage of solid tires is that they cannot go flat. Therefore, they require less maintenance and generally last longer. That’s why kayak carts with this kind of wheel tend to be more expensive.

When to go with solid wheels?

In case you bring your kayak over asphalt or similar hard surfaces often, as well as some places where there’s the risk of puncture, the solid wheels are for you.

Pneumatic Wheels

Pneumatic Wheels

On the flip side, pneumatic wheels are filled with air, weigh less than the solid wheels, and, as a rule, are cheaper.

Besides the obvious disadvantage (they can get punctured), pneumatic wheels are a better choice if you are carrying your yak across uneven surfaces, offering better shock absorption.

How to Use a Kayak Cart?

kayak on a cart

This answer is inseparable from the question: Which type of kayak cart do you use?

I’ll answer briefly for each of the types I described above.

When dealing with the taildraggers, the whole process is straightforward – place it underneath the tail of your vessel, secure it, roll.

With the scupper carts, you need to put your yak on the side when loading and unloading (this is a bit inconvenient if you’re carrying some gear), and then just push it through the holes. Flip it back and voilà.

The platform carts are firstly positioned wherever you want, and then you ought to secure it with straps. While this takes a bit longer than with the former two, I’ve already explained why it is much better.

Check out a visual presentation of how to use the latter two types of kayak carts:

How to Use a Kayak Trolley

What Should I Do With My Kayak Cart When Kayaking?

In all honesty, I had my share of bad purchases, and I can tell you my mistakes so that you don’t repeat them.

A couple of times, I bought carts that weren’t foldable for transportation that took a lot of space and bothered me on the ride.

I also did not want to leave carts somewhere on the shore or walk to my car to bring them back (leaving the kayak on the coast is even worse).

That’s why all of my picks on the list are foldable and easy to store. Thus, you won’t have trouble fitting them in the kayak itself and taking them with you!

Best Kayak Carts: Detailed Reviews

1. TMS Kayak Cart

TMS Kayak Cart
  • Best Kayak Cart
  • Rating: ★★★★★
  • Price: ★★★★★
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The TMS Kayak Cart delivers everything that you need of a kayak trolly: reliability, ease of use, and durability.

It consists of a stainless steel frame that has foam bumpers on each side to protect your valuable canoe.

Besides, the top-notch all-terrain tires roll smoothly on anything you throw under them (I tried them out on sand, mud, gravel, grass, and road), allowing you to get your kayak to the water trouble-free.

I also liked how this kayak cart breaks down very easily for convenient storage during transportation. And when you need to take it out and carry the kayak, you just attach the wheels, and it’s ready.

Technical Specs

  • Platform cart
  • 150-pound weight capacity
  • 12-feet long tie-down straps
  • Additional padding for protection
  • Aluminum anodized stainless steel pipe frame
  • Tires 9-½ inches in diameter
  • Foldable frame

Pros

  • High-quality materials
  • Removable wheels
  • Compact
  • Secure mounting hardware
  • Quick assembly
  • Easy loading
  • Tires appropriate for any terrain

Cons

  • There is a distinct smell to the tires (will disappear after a couple of uses)
  • Unnecessarily complicated instructions

The TMS Kayak Cart comes with many killer-features, all at the right price. That’s why it stands at the top of its class.

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2. RAILBLAZA Ctug Kayak or Canoe Trolley Cart

RAILBLAZA Ctug Kayak or Canoe Trolley Cart
  • Best Kayak Ever
  • Rating: ★★★★★
  • Price: ★★★★
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The RAILBLAZA CTug Kayak Cart scored high on my list because the whole C-Tug system is carefully designed and constructed for effortless transportation of your kayak or canoe.

It consists of two C-Tug hull pads that support the kayak and the C-Tug strap kit that feels secure. 

Another useful thing is that the rubberized pads are adjustable and fit most of the hull shapes.

The wheels are a bit different than what we are used to seeing with a kayak cart. They are “rubber-tread,” which means they don’t have regular tires, but rather a rubber layer.

This feature can be seen both as a pro and a con. On the one hand, you cannot get a punctured tire, but on the other, there will be a bit of shaking when going over pebbles and similar surfaces.

Technical Specs

  • Platform cart
  • A 4-feet and 5-feet tie-down strap with a buckle, two ladder locks
  • 300-pound weight capacity
  • Puncture-free rubber treaded, plastic wheels
  • Thermos-bonded elastomeric hull pads

Pros

  • Durable construction
  • Larger weight capacity than most of the kayak carts
  • Easily dismantles
  • You don’t have to worry about getting a flat tire
  • Rust-resistant

Cons

  • A little unstable and shaky on uneven surfaces
  • A bit pricey

The C-Tug technology specially designed by RAILBLAZA pumped up this kayak cart above many others. I highly recommend it.

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3. Wilderness Systems Heavy Duty Kayak Cart

Wilderness Systems Heavy Duty Kayak Cart
  • Best Trolley Cart for Heavy Kayaks
  • Rating: ★★★★
  • Price: ★★★★
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The Wilderness Systems Heavy Duty Kayak Cart won the Paddling magazine’s 2018 award in the best transport category, so naturally, I had to lay my hands on it and see what the fuss is all about.

After testing it out, I’m happy to report that it completed all the tasks with flying colors.

Firstly, the manufacturers constructed it to carry the heaviest kayaks (with added gear) with its load capacity of up to 450 pounds. Incredible!

Due to its versatile design, you can adjust both its width and height. There are two height options – higher, for oddly-shaped hulls, and the lower one for the regular shape.

Technical Specs

  • Platform cart
  • 450-pound load capacity
  • No-flat wheels; 12 inches in diameter
  • Adjustable width
  • 18-inch & 16-inch height settings

Pros

  • Easy to store
  • Incredible weight capacity
  • Fits most kayaks
  • Sturdy and stable
  • Doesn’t require a kickstand for load

Cons

  • A bit longer assembly time
  • The wheels roll smoothly over sand, but there is some difficulty on other surfaces

Do you need a kayak dolly that can carry the heaviest vessels? If so, then this is the one.

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4. Bonnlo Scupper Hole Kayak Cart

Bonnlo Scupper Hole Kayak Cart
  • Best Sit-On-Top Kayak Cart
  • Rating: ★★★★
  • Price: ★★★★★
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Do you own a Sit-On-Top Kayak? Then the Bonnlo Scupper Hole Kayak Cart might be the best choice for you.

An essential factor In assessing carts for sit-on-top kayaks is the width, as the position of the scupper holes varies with different vessels. 

So, the more space to adjust the width, the better – and with this one, you can modify it from 6.5 to 16.5 inches, which is perfect especially if you own a fishing kayak.  Also means it com

The rubber bumpers on the no-flat tires protect them from wearing, and they can withstand a lot of abuse (yeah, my durability tests are pretty harsh)

Technical Specs

  • Scupper holes cart
  • Aluminum frame
  • Rubber bumpers
  • Puncture-free PU tires
  • Adjustable width (6.5-16.5 inches)
  • 165-pound load capacity
  • Folds down for transport

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • You can remove the tires for transport
  • Sturdy frame
  • Loads easily
  • Great value for the price

Cons

  • The picture that came with the instructions is confusing
  • A bit of difficulty moving on the sand because of wide tirese

If you prefer dropping your kayak into the scupper holes to fastening it with straps, the Bonnlo Scupper Kayak Cart is for you. Just make sure that the yak is a sit-on-top type!

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5. Bonnlo Big Beach Balloon Tires Kayak Cart

[Bonnlo Big Beach Balloon Tires Kayak Cart
  • Best Kayak Cart for Sand
  • Rating: ★★★★
  • Price: ★★★★★
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Here’s the second pick from the Bonnlo assortment of kayak carts, the Big Beach Balloon Tires Kayak Cart. This time around, Bonnlo has done away with the standard shape and tires, achieving a unique design – yeah, you guessed it – for the beach.

The manufacturers designed the 12-inch low-pressure balloon tires exclusively for this line of kayak carts, built for handling sand and pebbles – making it the ideal product for transporting sea kayaks to the shore edge

And what about other terrains?

Well, it is okay, as it fulfills the crucial requirement of platform carts – secure ratchet straps will hold your kayak into place.

Still, if getting your yak over the sand is not your primary focus, I recommend you search elsewhere.

Technical Specs

  • Lightweight Aluminum frame
  • Foam bumpers on each side
  • 165-pound load capacity
  • Two 7.75-feet ratchet straps
  • Big beach balloon wheels, 12 inches in diameter

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Secure mounting hardware
  • Tires are perfect for rough terrain such as, sand or grit
  • Doesn’t take up a lot of space
  • Additional padding to protect your yak
  • Excellent value for the price 

Cons

  • Low ground clearance
  • Not the best for asphalt

Are you paddling somewhere where there are a lot of beaches? The Big Beach Balloon Tires Kayak Cart is a must if you do!

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6. Seattle Sports Paddleboy Peanut Kayak Cart

Seattle Sports Paddleboy Peanut Kayak Cart
  • Best Budget Kayak or Canoe Trolley
  • Rating: ★★★☆☆
  • Price: ★★★★★
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It might be cheap but the Seattle Sports Paddleboy Peanut Kayak Cart made it to my list because of its functionality. This is the perfected and upgraded version of their taildragger cart that made its debut in 2017 and remained an incredibly popular choice since then.

At such a low price, you can hardly find a kayak cart with such a quality set of flat-free wheels. There is no vibration, regardless of the surface, and the Minicell foam allows the cart to float.

Securing your yak with the bungee cord instead of a tie-down strap takes some time and patience. 

Also, as I explained, the taildraggers do not support the whole kayak. If you’re going to be carrying it over long distances, it might be a problem.

Technical Specs

  • Taildragger
  • 150-pound load capacity
  • Rubber tread
  • Thermal-molded wheels
  • Minicell foam
  • Folds down for storage

Pros

  • Corrosion-resistant frame
  • Stable
  • High-quality tires
  • Reduced vibration
  • Low price

Cons

  • You still need a lot of strength to support the kayak
  • No padding

The Peanut is a functional kayak cart that doesn’t aspire too high but can be a valuable accessory if you need to transport your yak every now and then.

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7. Suspenz Smart Airless DLX Beach Cart

Suspenz Smart Airless DLX Cart
  • Best Trolley Cart for Lightweight Kayaks
  • Price: ★★★★
  • Price: ★★★★★
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My next pick is perfect for transporting smaller kayaks – but we’ll get to that in a second. First, I’d like to talk about the Suspenz Smart Airless DLX Cart’s frame and features:

The kayak cart is made from powder-coated aluminum, complete with stainless steel hardware, and comes fitted with 10-inch airless tires with quick-release locking pins, designed never to go flat. What’s more, it features an arched axle to ensure better ground clearance.

Furthermore, it’s equipped with rubber bumpers that should protect the hull of your kayak from any dents and scratches during transportation. You’re also getting a dual-arm kickstand, which adds to the cart’s stability when loading and unloading.

The cart’s frame is foldable, but that’s not even the best part. The cart comes with a mesh bag for storage, which is super convenient.

I do have to warn you that it has the lowest weight limit of all kayak carts on my list and can only support loads of up to 125 pounds. That’s not necessarily a deal-breaker, but as I said, it works best for lighter kayaks.

Technical Specs

  • Powder-coated aluminum frame
  • Stainless steel hardware
  • Foldable frame design
  • 10-inch airless tires
  • 125-pound load capacity
  • Rubber pads

Pros

  • A foldable frame that fits into the included mesh bag
  • A dual-arm kickstand adds stability while loading the kayak
  • The arched axle ensures better ground clearance
  • Rubber bumpers protect the hull from dents and scratches
  • Airless wheels feature quick-release locking pins

Cons

  • This cart has a relatively low capacity compared to my other picks
  • The included rubber pads could be a bit bigger

Sure, it doesn’t have the most impressive capacity, but the Suspenz Smart Airless DLX Cart is an excellent solution for transporting smaller kayaks.

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8. Malone Clipper Deluxe

Malone ClipperTRX Deluxe
  • Best Kayak Ever
  • Price: ★★★★
  • Price: ★★★★
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Last but not least, you have the ClipperTRX – Malone’s kayak cart with proven performance and a design that works perfectly for transporting kayaks with traditionally designed V-style hulls or tunnel hulls. 

This cart is constructed out of marine-grade aluminum, boasts a foldable design and a relatively high load capacity of 200 pounds. Additionally, it comes with dual cam-style load straps and two kickstands for improved stability when loading and unloading your kayak.

The airless Never-Go-Flat tires are among this cart’s strongest suits. I find them incredibly tough and durable, with the push-button wheel release further adding to the convenience. What I don’t like about it is the not-so-stellar performance on sandy beaches:

The high-grip rubber treads work fantastic on rough and rocky terrain but could do better on the sand.

The ClipperTRX Deluxe may not be the cheapest cart available, but it’s far from overpriced. So, I wouldn’t necessarily count that as a downside, but keep in mind that cheaper alternatives are available.

Technical Specs

  • Marine-grade aluminum frame
  • 200-pound load capacity
  • TRX Never-Go-Flat tires with rubber tread
  • 10-inch diameter tires
  • Push-button wheel release

Pros

  • Outfitted with dual cam-style load straps
  • Kickstands for stability during loading and unloading
  • All terrain tire with high-grip rubber treads
  • Push-button wheel release for maximum convenience
  • Quick assembly and easy-to-understand instructions

Cons

  • The cart’s performance on sand isn’t that great
  • Larger than most kayak carts
  • The cart’s a bit hard to store due to its size

ot yourself a kayak with a V-shape hull, Malone’s ClipperTRX Deluxe might be one of your best bets. The cart’s designed with your type of kayak in mind!

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Final Verdict – What Is The Best Kayak Cart?

The easy solution to transporting your kayak to the water across long trails in the woods, a huge parking lot, or a field, is to wheel it. 

The eight best kayak carts I’ve listed above are the most useful piece of gear that you can get for that matter.

After carefully considering all the kayak carts I’ve reviewed, the TMS Kayak Cart is my recommendation for best kayak cart.

It is affordable without skimping on the quality and can handle even the most challenging terrains that may cross your path to the water.

Until the next time, may you have a pleasant paddling journey!