As much fun as you have when out on the water in your kayak, carrying it from your car to the water and back again is never the most fun part.
A kayak cart is an awesome way of making this part of your adventure easier and more enjoyable as you will no longer need to struggle under the weight and awkward shape of your boat.
In this article, we look at the best kayak carts out there as well as lend a hand in your decision of which one is best for you by offering some advice about what to look for when choosing the best kayak cart.
Types of Kayak Cart
One of the first things you will have to bear in mind when choosing a kayak cart is that there are three different types to choose from.
The three types are plug-in, strap, and end carts.
Each type has some key differences that can make one type better suited to you than others. For example, plug-in kayak carts will be better suited to sit on top kayaks whereas strap kayak carts can be used with a range of kayak shapes and sizes.
End kayak carts make moving most kayaks so much easier, but they may not be suitable if you have a wider kayak model.
Knowing which type is best for you and your kayak will help you in your decision-making process.
This type of kayak cart fits into the tailor-made scupper holes already in the body of your kayak.
You slide your kayak onto the cart and it “plugs in” to the hole to hold it securely in place without the need for additional straps or other tie-down devices.
Plug-in kayak carts don’t usually have a platform for your kayak to sit on and rely solely on the scupper hole for attachment – this makes them unsuitable for some kayaks but very effective for sit on top kayaks.
If you picture a kayak cart in your mind, it will likely be a strap cart that you imagine.
These have padded platforms where your kayak sits while straps then hold it securely in place.
This type of cart is very useful for lots of kayak models and is more versatile than some of the other cart types out there.
Strap placement is important with strap kayak carts. The straps should be placed around the middle of your kayak when looking at it lengthways. If the straps are too far back, your kayak may hit the floor when you lift the front end of the cart to begin moving so you do need to be careful the first few times you use it to avoid this happening to you.
As the name suggests, end carts attach to the end of your kayak!
This type of kayak cart requires the least setup as you simply slide the end of your boat into the cart and you are ready to go.
You will be carrying more weight with an end cart than the other types so they are better suited to lighter kayaks but in terms of ease of use – end kayak carts are very good.
Best Kayak Cart: Quick picks
Made from hard-wearing plastic, this kayak cart is budget-friendly but will travel over rough terrains in a similar fashion to more expensive models.
Ready to go straight out of the box, the C-Tug Kayak Cart is quick and easy to use too.
If you want peace of mind that your kayak cart is well-made and will perform well – you can’t go too wrong with Hobie gear.
The tires can travel through sand and other uneven terrains without issue so the Hobie Trax Kayak Cart is a good choice if you like versatility and flexibility.
This is one tough kayak cart with big durable tires to comfortably tackle many types of terrain.
The Wilderness Systems Heavy Duty Kayak Cart is a highly versatile kayak cart that can carry up to 330lbs with its beach wheels attached.
Best Kayak Carts: Full Reviews
Wide inflatable tires make the Hobie Trax Kayak Cart comfortable on all terrains, but it is particularly effective on soft and uneven terrains such as sand.
It has a very strong stainless steel frame and is a very durable cart.
An all-round kayak cart that is well-made, simple to use, and has a weight capacity of 176 pounds.
- Wheels are removable for easy storage
- Cart keeper and cart clamps keep your kayak in place to prevent damage or deformities
- Welded stainless steel frame for durability and longevity
Made in New Zealand, the C-Tug Kayak Trolley Cart can carry kayaks up to 260 pounds over pretty much any terrain you can think of.
It is a lightweight cart with puncture-free wheels so there is never any need to have a tire pump with you on your kayaking adventures.
Putting the cart together is very quick and it can be stored inside your kayak when not in use for easy storage.
- Very lightweight at only 10 pounds
- Axels are reinforced with stainless steel for added durability and strength
- The strap is nine feet long and has a heavy-duty buckle to keep your kayak secure
The ABN Universal Kayak Carrier can fold up for easy storage and transportation.
It has a 12-foot tie-down strap as well as a spring-loaded kickstand for ease of use and stability.
Made from anodized steel, it is a heavy-duty kayak cart with a 200-pound weight capacity.
- Lightweight at only eight pounds with a 200-pound carrying capacity
- Foam bumpers protect your kayak from knocks and bumps
- Removable tires for easy and convenient storage
The Suspenz Smart Airless DLX Kayak Cart has an aluminum frame and stainless steel hardware which makes it one of the strongest and most long-lasting kayak carts on our list.
It has 10-inch airless tires that will never go flat and foam bumpers that protect your kayak from dents and scratches.
The cam buckle straps hold your kayak securely in place even when traveling over rougher surfaces.
- Weighs a little over 11 pounds but has a weight capacity of 150 pounds
- Mesh storage bag is included
- Dual-arm kickstand for increased stability when loading your kayak
A 12-foot strap and foam bumpers make sure your kayak is secure and protected while on the TMS Kayak Cart Carrier Trolley.
Its frame is made of aluminum tubing and anodized stainless steel so it is a very durable cart that can take a bit of a beating.
Although it only weighs a little over eight pounds, it has a load capacity of 150 pounds.
- Quick assembly with included stainless steel fasteners and chrome lynch pin
- Large puncture-free wheels are effective over uneven terrain and very comfortable on soft sand
- Spring-loaded stand for convenience and practicality.
The Malone Clipper Deluxe Universal Kayak Cart is larger than other kayak carts on this list but that does mean it can handle larger kayaks comfortably.
It has an oversized padded frame that makes sure your kayak is protected, even when traveling over rough and uneven terrain.
The solid metal frame and airless tires can handle pretty much anything your kayak adventures can throw at them so this is a very durable kayak carrier.
- Stabilizing kickstand to help load and unload your kayak easily
- 10-inch airless tires can move over rough terrain comfortably
- 200-pound load capacity
If your kayak has scupper holes, the Malone Xpress Scupper-Style Kayak Cart will be able to carry it.
It has an adjustable width locking control that allows you to carry kayaks with widths from 6.5 inches all the way up to 16.5 inches.
The aluminum frame is non-corrosive which makes this a very long-lasting kayak dolly.
- Suitable for any sit-on-top kayak with scupper holes
- 200-pound weight capacity
- Variable width locking control makes sure you can carry kayaks no matter how wide they are
The 12-foot straps on the Best Choice Products Kayak Carrier Cart will keep your kayak safe and secure as you take it from your car down to the water.
It has 10-inch PU foam wheels which provide good levels of stability and control over different terrain types.
A lightweight canoe cart with a carrying capacity of 150 pounds.
- PU foam wheels
- Stores in your kayak for ease and convenience
- 150-pound weight capacity
The aluminum frame of the Malone Nomad Standard Universal Kayak Cart is built to last and can even withstand saltwater or ocean air.
Airless wheels mean you don’t have to worry about punctures on any terrain.
There is also a kickstand to increase stability during loading and unloading.
- Compact and lightweight design
- 150-pound carrying capacity
- Airless wheels to prevent issues caused by punctures and flat tires
The Seattle Sports Paddleboy Kayak Cart is ideal for heavier kayaks and larger vessels such as john boats and dinghies.
The airless wheels are similar in design to those you would find on a mountain bike and have vibration-reducing properties for comfort and a smooth ride.
Large kayaks and heavy loads are no issue thanks to the 300-pound load capacity.
- The heavy-duty frame can be broken down for easy storage
- Cinch straps are included
- 300-pound weight capacity make sit suitable for heavy kayaks and loads
Carrying up to 150 pounds over soft terrain is easy thanks to the balloon tires on the Malone Xpress Kayak Cart With Beach Wheels.
The beach wheels are taller wheels than those on the standard express model from Malone Auto Racks giving you the ability to roll over sand with ease.
It has a non-corrosive frame that is a good choice for transporting sea kayaks as it can handle saltwater comfortably.
- Weighs only 10 pounds but can carry loads up to 150 pounds
- Manufactured by a well-known brand – Malone Auto Racks
- Adjustable width control
Solid tires, rubber bumpers, and a solid aluminum frame make the Bonnlo Kayak Cart a tough and durable kayak cart.
It can carry kayaks up to 165 pounds over most terrain types including sand and gravel.
Storage is convenient as it can be broken down without the need for any tools/
- Rubber bumpers prevent wear and tear
- Spare tie-down straps are included to keep your kayak safe and secure
- Rubber tread on the wheels make sure you have plenty of grips
This is one of the most heavy-duty kayak carts on our list.
It can comfortably carry even the heaviest kayaks all the way up to 450 pounds.
The Wilderness Systems Heavy Duty Kayak Cart is an award-winning cart that uses dual strap attachments to make sure your kayak is always securely held in place.
- Two height options
- Heavy-duty and can carry a heavy kayak effortlessly all the way up to 450 pounds
- Plastic wheels that will never get a puncture
The Seattle Sports Sit-On-Top Kayak Cart is ideal for carrying kayaks up to 150 pounds in weight.
Vibration-reducing tires help make the ride smooth and easier to control while the anodized frame can handle the odd bump and scratch nicely.
The cart can be broken down for easy storage.
- 150-pound carrying capacity
- Solid urethane tires
- Adjustable width axle
What You Should Consider When Buying A Kayak Cart
To make sure you choose the best kayak cart for you, there are certain things you need to think about.
We have put together some of the key things you need to consider when looking at kayak carts in the hope they will help you find the best one for you.
The type of cart you use for carrying kayaks will depend on the type of kayak you need to carry.
Plug-in carts are quick and easy to use which can be important if you need to get out of the water and back to your car during bad weather, for example.
However, without scupper holes, plug-in carts won’t be suitable.
A strap cart tends to be more of a universal kayak carrier as it can carry different shapes and sizes of kayak so it may be a better match for you.
Ultimately, you need to think about how each type of cart can be stored, how easy they will be to use, how stable they will be, and how secure they will keep your kayak.
Larger and wider wheels will work very well on sand.
Taller wheels tend to give a more stable platform for carrying kayaks.
As well as the size of the wheels, you need to think about what the wheels are made from too. Some wheels are foam-filled or made from molded plastic. These prevent punctures but may not be as smooth over rough terrain as inflatable tires.
On the flip side, inflatable tires are better over uneven terrain but can puncture. Carrying kayaks on flat tires is not something you will want to be doing so this is something to keep in mind.
Kayaks come in a range of widths. While your kayak cart may be fine for your current kayak, you won’t necessarily want to replace it each time you have a different kayak to take out to the water.
Being able to adjust the width of your cart can be very handy. Some of the carts on this list have a width that is adjustable by around 10 inches which can make them suitable for a wide range of kayaks.
You can also get carts that can accommodate paddle boards that have a flexible saddle for this purpose.
If you are heading out into the sea with your kayak then you will want a cart that is corrosion-resistant due to the saltwater.
Plastic or powder-coated aluminum work well in this situation but you will need to make sure they have a suitable carrying capacity for your kayak.
A heavy-duty cart might sound good but you need to consider how much the cart itself will weigh. Not only that but you need to add the weight of your kayak onto the weight of the cart to work out exactly how heavy the load you will be moving will be.
Some carts can be quickly broken down for storage when not in use.
You need to think about storage while you are out on the water too. A cart that can be stored comfortably in your kayak will make sure it is safe and you have access to it whenever you need it.
As with most things, the price will play a huge part in your final decision on the best kayak cart for you.
There are some very good, high-quality carts out there that are budget-friendly so you might be surprised what you can get for your money.
Do some research and shop around so you can find the best deals.
Final thoughts on the best kayak carts
Kayak carts are extremely useful and a worthwhile investment.
The ones on this list are all good choices so hopefully, after reading this article, you are now in a position to go out and buy the best one for you.