A kayak is certainly lightweight compared to other types of boats, but that doesn’t mean kayak transport is a cinch. Getting a heavy fishing kayak & gear from the garage or the yard to the car, then from the car to the water—and then back again, after a long day of paddling or fishing—you’ll need a kayak cart. Kayak transport is one of the biggest concerns for paddle anglers, and the latest kayak wheels are at the top of the list of essential kayak accessories.
What to Look for in the Best Kayak Cart
The best kayak cart (also called kayak dolly) is sturdy enough to handle the weight of a heavy fishing kayak, and has a wide, adjustable saddle that will accommodate tunnel hulls and V-hulls. To cross rough terrain and sand, the best kayak cart can be fitted with low-pressure balloon tires.
After rolling the kayak to the water, many anglers pack their cart into a hatch or strap it to the tankwell. For the ultimate in portability, look for a model that breaks down easily so you can stow it on board without taking up a lot of room.
All-Around Best Kayak Cart: Railblaza C-Tug
Compact, Tough, Easy to Use
Load it with 200 pounds of kayak and fishing gear, offload the kayak, and pack it in a hatch. RAILBLAZA
To be the best kayak cart, a set of wheels has to be tough, light and easy to load. The C-Tug by Railblaza checks all of these boxes.
Constructed out of reinforced plastic with a stainless steel axle, the C-Tug has no parts to rust or take on dust and grime. Instead of ball bearings, the C-Tug hugs uses replaceable bushings to keep the wheels spinning smoothly.
Thermo-bonded, elastomeric pads on the saddles hold the kayak in place while a wide strap and cam buckle keep the boat connected to the kayak wheels. With a weight limit of 260 pounds, but only weighing 10 pounds, the C-Tug can handle the heaviest kayak loaded down with equipment, food, and water, and still fit undetected in a bow hatch or stern tankwell. The cart breaks down in seconds, unique latches release the wheels, and the saddles and cross bar can be separated.
The C-tug sits low to the ground, making it easy to lift the boat and load it on the saddles. The light, strong and easy to use C-Tug has become one of the most popular designs among experienced kayak anglers.
Do you need a kayak cart to get across sand and rough ground?
One of the biggest advantages to kayak fishing is taking the small plastic boat to an isolated stretch of water other anglers can’t reach. Among kayak anglers, this is called a commando launch. To get the kayak to the water often requires rolling it through rocky or sandy terrain, which means you need a kayak with oversized low-pressure tires.
The Best Kayak Cart for Rough Terrain: Suspenz Deluxe Balloon Sand Cart
Low-pressure balloon tires distribute the kayak’s weight, roll over obstacles, and absorb shock. Suspenz
Like four-wheel drive for your kayak, the Suspenz Deluxe Balloon Sand Cart will take almost any kayak almost anywhere.
The 12-inch balloon wheels distribute the kayak’s weight so the trolley will float over sand and soft ground. The big wheels also provide more ground clearance to cross logs and rocks without hanging up.
Even with the oversized wheels, the cart’s saddle is low to the ground to make loading easier. Padded rails keep the kayak in place and prevent damage to the hull. The DLX Beach Cart comes with a large strap and metal cam buckle to secure the cart. Suspenz includes two lengths of strap to fit large boats or a SUP.
Our favorite feature is the sturdy, dual arm kick stand that holds the dolly in place while loading the kayak. Nothing is more frustrating than lifting a heavy kayak only to have the cart collapse or slide out before the boat is secure.
The Suspenz DLX is bright yellow and jet black for a sharp look. Quick release hubs allow the wheels to be removed so the frame can be folded for transport and storage. The cart even comes with a tire pump to keep the tires inflated to the optimal pressure.
Do you need to carry a tunnel hull or a tri hull kayak?
Standup kayaks and pedal boats often have a tunnel or tri hull that can be hard to fit a regular kayak cart. For these, a kayak trolley that has adjustable bunks is best, since you can customize the saddle to the kayak hull.
Best Kayak Cart for a Tunnel Hull or Tri Hull Kayak: Malone ATB Large Kayak Cart
The rails can be moved in and out to accommodate the hull shape. Malone
The best kayak cart for an odd-shaped hull is Malone’s WideTrak ATB Large Kayak Canoe Cart with an adjustable saddle to fit any boat. Two padded rails running parallel with the tires can be moved in and out to cradle a tunnel hull, V-hull or anything in between. Remove the rails to pull a flat hull. The rails are padded to keep the boat in place and two large straps with a metal cam buckle secures the boat to the cart.
For the best ground clearance to cross parking blocks and curbs, 12-inch never-go-flat plastic tires keep the heaviest kayak rolling. Stainless steel components and an aluminum frame are corrosion resistant and strong for a lifetime of service.
The Malone WideTrak has 250 pound capacity to shoulder the biggest full-feature and full-size kayaks. The construction and materials are tough enough to handle the weight.
Do you want a lightweight design?
Not everyone needs a heavy-duty kayak dolly. Anglers with a smaller boat, or less storage space, may want a small kayak cart that can be packed away or stowed onboard, and won’t add a lot of weight.
Best Lightweight Kayak Cart: Harmony Gear Boat Cart
Grab and Go
It rolls a small kayak or SUP to the launch, then packs up and stashes in a hatch. Harmony Gear
Built out of thin-walled aluminum, the Harmony GearBoat Cart is lightweight, while still maintaining enough rigidity to support a 150-pound load. Dual kickstands keep the kayak dolly in place while loading. When it’s time to roll, the kickstands fold up. The kayak wheel cart is low to the ground for easy loading. Use a cam strap to secure the boat to the cart.
We like the grippy pneumatic tires. Unlike never-flat plastic tires on many carts, the air-filled, lugged Boat Cart tires absorb bumps and roll over obstacles with ease. They also make less noise when you are sneaking to a hidden fishing hole.
The compact Boat Cart’s size is easy to pack into a kayak hatch or throw in the car trunk, and comes apart in seconds to store in a hatch or strap to the paddleboard.
Budget Kayak Gear: What You Get for Less Than $70
If you need kayak transport only occasionally, you can get a cheap kayak cart that will get the job done. It won’t have balloon tires or be the easiest trolley for loading and unloading, but it will save you from lugging the kayak & gear by hand from point to point.
Best Cheap Kayak Cart: Ascend Sit On Top Kayak Cart
Small and Mighty
Ascend’s Sit On Top Kayak Cart gets your boat to the water on a budget. Ascend
The Bass Pro Shops kayak cart, the Ascend Sit On Top cart, uses a simple operation to save time and trouble at the launch.
Instead of straps and a kayak saddle, this set of kayak wheels uses two poles that fit in a sit-on-top kayak’s scuppers. To load the kayak, turn it on its side, slide the poles in the scuppers, and turn the kayak upright. At the launch, lift the kayak and the cart falls out of the scuppers.
The wheels have adjustable crossbars to accommodate various sizes of kayaks. Rubber pads on the supports prevent sliding and protect the hull. The heavy-duty steel frame won’t bend or twist under pressure. Airless wheels roll the boat easily and never go flat.
Not only is it the lightest and most compact cart in this review, but the Ascend Sit On Top model costs less than half other carts, proving you can get carried away without giving your money away.
Kayak Cart FAQ: People Also Ask
How do you put a kayak on a cart?
When arriving at a launch, pull your vehicle into a parking space instead of blocking the launch ramp. Then, unload the kayak from your vehicle onto the ground, and place the cart beside the kayak adjacent to the seat. Lift the kayak from the stern and pivot it onto the cart so the kayak’s seat is above the cart. Strap the kayak to the frame. Fill the kayak with tackle, rods, electronics, life vest, and paddle, and roll the kayak across the parking lot to the launch. Unload the kayak equipment, return the cart to the car or stow it in your kayak, and paddle off like John Wayne into the sunrise.
What wheels for kayak cart are the best?
There are three main choices for kayak cart wheels: pneumatic, never-flat, and balloon.
Pneumatic tires are rubber and filled with air. Large knobs on the tires offer more traction and the air-filled wheels absorb shock and vibration. Air-filled tires are quieter, too.
Never-flat tires require no maintenance, aren’t affected by temperatures or sharp objects, and are always ready to go.
For rough terrain and sand, nothing beats oversized, low pressure balloon tires. These wheels look like a large beach ball and spread out the kayak weight so the tire doesn’t sink into soft surfaces. The low-pressure tires absorb shock and vibration for a smooth roll to the kayak launch. Even large logs and rocks won’t stop the all-terrain balloon tires.
What do you do with your kayak cart when you launch?
After you roll the kayak to the water, what do you do with your kayak trolley when you launch? If it’s convenient, return the cart to the car. Some anglers take apart the cart and stuff it in the kayak hatch (see our kayak cart recommendations above for models that break down easily). Other anglers strap the cart to the tankwell behind the seat. Another option is to cable-lock the cart to a tree.
It’s wise to invest in a kayak cart so you won’t damage your kayak by dragging it across pavement and rocky ground. Using a cart requires a lot less effort than carrying a kayak—and you can use that energy to paddle farther and fish more.