Best Kayak Carts – 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.

That’s where kayak carts jump in.

I live for kayaking, but it’s sometimes quite energy-consuming. I found the best kayak carts that will help you save that valuable energy for paddling!

We may receive a commission if you click a link on this page and then go on to purchase something, but at no extra cost to you. Learn more here.

In A Rush? The Winner After 35 Hours Of Research

TMS Kayak Cart

TMS Kayak Cart

Our Rating: 5/5 Stars
★★★★★

Why is it better?

  • A large capacity (150 pounds)
  • Secure tie-down straps
  • Heavy-duty metal frame
  • Added foam padding for protection
  • Folds down for transport
  • Excellent for any kind of terrain

Your Comprehensive Guide to Kayak Carts

Man carrying a Kayak on shoulder

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

kayak on a cart

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

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

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 yak 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)

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

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

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?

Still, I’ll answer it 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

TMS Kayak Cart

TMS Kayak Cart
  • Award: Top Pick
  • Rating: 5/5 Stars
  • Price: 5/5 Starts

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’s some 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.

RAILBLAZA Ctug Kayak Cart

RAILBLAZA Ctug Kayak Cart
  • Award: Runner-up
  • Rating: 5/5 Stars
  • Price: 4.5/5 Stars

The RAILBLAZA C-Tug Kayak Cart scored high on my list because the whole C-Tug system is carefully designed and constructed for effortless transportation of your kayak.

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
  • 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.

Wilderness Systems Heavy Duty Kayak Cart

Wilderness Systems Heavy Duty Kayak Cart
  • Award: Best for Heavy Kayaks
  • Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
  • Price: 4.5/5 Stars

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.

Bonnlo Scupper Kayak Cart

Bonnlo Scupper Kayak Cart
  • Award: Best for Sit-On-Tops
  • Rating: 4/5 Stars
  • Price: 5/5 Stars

Is your kayak a sit-on-top type? Then the Bonnlo Scupper 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.

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 tires

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!

Bonnlo Big Beach Balloon Tires Kayak Cart

Bonnlo Big Beach Balloon Tires Kayak Cart
  • Award: Best for Sand
  • Rating: 4/5 Stars
  • Price: 5/5 Stars

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.

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 tires, 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!

Seattle Sports Paddleboy Peanut Kayak Cart

Seattle Sports Paddleboy Peanut Kayak Cart
  • Award: Budget-Friendly Pick
  • Rating: 3.5/5 Stars
  • Price: 5/5 Stars

Last but not least, 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.

Final Verdict

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 six 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!