How to Use a Kayak Cart (And How To Choose One)

There are several items that make your kayak complete. One of such is your kayak cart; it’s a piece of equipment you use for transporting your kayak. It enables you to transport your kayak from your car to the water and vice-versa. However, most people don’t think it’s necessary to acquire a kayak since they can pull their kayak.

In this write-up, we will look at why you should invest in a good kayak cart, the different types available, and how to use a kayak cart in the right manner. We understand that several options are available when choosing a kayak cart, and narrowing your option can be difficult. Nevertheless, we also provide a quick guide on how you can easily narrow your option and get the best cart for your kayak transportation.

Kayak being transported on a cart

What is a kayak cart?

Sometimes called a kayak trolley, a cart is a tool that kayakers use to move their kayak or boat through different terrain. In terms of design, it has a frame with two wheels secured to an axle. Furthermore, there is a strap-like mechanism to hold the kayak during transportation. Primarily, the cart makes it easy for you to move your kayak from land to water and back to land. Secondly, you can also use the cart to carry any additional gear you might need during a trip instead of using a second kayak.

Importantly, kayaks are designed for at least one or two paddlers. If you are going for an excursion, it might require you to move a particular distance before dropping your kayak in the water. In this situation, you will need a kayak cart that has wheels to roll through grass, sand, or rough terrain.

Types of Kayak Carts

For a newbie, it’s hard to differentiate the different types of kayak carts available. Carts come in different sizes and kinds. Importantly, you have to determine the best cart that suits your need. It can be hard picking one with different kayak cart styles to choose from. To simplify things, we will provide a detailed feature of the popular types of kayak carts to enable you to decide what might suit your need.

End-Cart Carry

The name gives you a clue as to what the cart does. It is carefully designed to fit your kayak back. Nowadays, with the advancement in technology, you will find straps attached to them to make the kayak cart remain secure. Alternatively, you might find a ratchet strap if it doesn’t have any secure strap attached to it.

Uniquely, the end-cart carry cart makes mobility faster and easier. It doesn’t matter if it has some weight attached to it. Immediately you strap the cart to your kayak, you can pick your kayak’s front end to move it properly.

Center-cart carry

It’s a common option you will find as it supports most of the kayak weight. The center-cart carry cart is designed to carry your kayak in the center, thereby providing support and balance for the weight on your kayak. This particular kayak cart supports your kayak using a harness strap connected to either side of the trolley. Some center-cart carry comes with foam on your cart sidebars that allow your kayak to be on top while preventing damage to your hull.

Center-cart carry is available in different styles, sizes, and shapes. You can find a foldable style that fits your kayak while fishing or paddling. The positioning of the cart is different as it is strapped over the front and back to ensure it is secure. In addition, you don’t have to support yourself with any weight device because you can hold your kayak handle.

Scupper hole carts

Finally, the scupper hole cart is designed specifically for top kayaks. The frame comprises upright rods, which slide into the scupper that holds your boat hull. The scupper holes are out of the water. Like the center cart, the scupper hole carts are convenient and straightforward to use. It’s not essential to have straps since, when plugged in, it can hold firmly.

How to choose Kayak Cart for a terrain

Kayak carts are available with different tires to suit a particular terrain. Whether it’s wood, gravel, or sand, the type of tire you select plays a key role. The cart is designed to make transporting your kayak easy. Therefore, the right tire configuration is critical. You can’t buy any cart you want to use in any terrain. Let’s look at different tire types for your cart and the best terrain that suits them.

Balloon tires

This set of tires has low air pressure that makes your kayak bounce. If you want to transport your kayak to the beach, they are the best option. You can use them for shorelines and beaches. However, they move poorly on rocks and other terrains, which is something you won’t want when you want to invest in a kayak cart. In addition, the balloon tire cart is prone to rapture. Notwithstanding this, they are costly.

Foam Tires

The foam tires offer the best option if you want a multi-purpose kayak cart for any terrain. Since they are foam filed inside and come with reinforced rubber, it’s hard for them to go flat. Nevertheless, they are used mainly by those, particularly in sporting activities, and are expensive, like balloon tires. If you want to invest in a kayak cart for the long term, it is preferable to look for a kayak cart with foam tires.

Plastic Tires

You might come across another set of tires when looking for a kayak cart. The plastic tires are convenient and lightweight; they are prevalent and suitable for several terrains. One unique feature about plastic tires is that they don’t get flat after use for a long time. Unlike the previous kayak cart tires, plastic tires are cheaper and widely used by fishermen. Nevertheless, they perform poorly on beaches and sandy ground.

Pneumatic Tires

Lastly, the pneumatic tires are another set of kayak cart tires you will find. It shares similar similarities with a car tire as they come with an air-filled inner core. Most fishermen prefer to use kayak carts with pneumatic tires because of their durability. Nevertheless, they are prone to puncture and become flat by a sharp object. Besides these, these tires are the best option for your kayak transportation because of their superior capability and usability on different terrain.

Advantages of using Kayak Cart

There are several benefits attached to using a kayak, ranging from protecting your back to conserving energy. Besides these, it enables kayakers to carry heavier and bigger kayaks while avoiding any damage to their kayak. Let’s explore some benefits of using a kayak cart for your kayak.

Carry loads easily

When transporting your kayak from land to the water, you don’t have to rely on people to assist you. Besides this, carrying the kayak on your own can result in injuries and potential strain on your body. Kayaks are awkward in their girth and length, and on a smooth surface, it is hard for them to grip.

Nevertheless, kayak carts, especially those with tires, make it easier to pull around and avoid straining yourself. Nowadays, most kayaks weigh up to 100 lbs, and because of their shape, they can cause injuries if not properly handled. A kayak cart enables you to pull the kayak without much effort from your end.

Prolong a kayak’s life

Pulling your kayak across pavement, rough terrain, and gravel isn’t something you should indulge in as it will minimize your kayak lifespan. With the expensive nature of the kayak, you won’t want to put much pressure on your kayak to damage it. In addition, transporting through these rough terrains can reduce the value of your kayak if you want to resell it.

Furthermore, it can make it non-seaworthy, thereby making you invest in another kayak. Nevertheless, a kayak cart comes in handy here as it helps prolong your boat and reduce the straining of your body.

Heavy Kayas

Kayaks are available in different sizes, as we’ve already mentioned. While fishing kayaks are longer, they require several pieces of equipment. Some fishing kayak boats have molded areas to hold a milk crate or cooler.

Regrettably, fishing kayaks can pose a significant challenge when loading on your car. More challenging is when you want to transport it alone to the water. Nevertheless, a kayak cart can make it easier to pull the kayak from a far distance, whether it is heavy or not.

How to use a kayak Cart

You’ve heard about the benefits and importance of having a kayak cart that is not enough. You need to know how to use a kayak cart. What use it is after purchasing a cart and not using it. This section will explore two ways to use a kayak cart. The first method is the strap style, while the second is the plug style. It is a step-by-step approach, so you don’t have to consult anyone to help out. Let’s get started.

Strap Style – How to use a Kayak Cart

Step One – Get your new cart

After buying the cart, take it closer to your kayak. Ensure it is in a good position that is convenient for loading your kayak.

Step Two – Starts from the stern

While standing at your kayak back, lift the stern upward and slide it towards your cart top. Ensure it rests on the padded platform before you release it.

Step Three – Lift the bow

Lift your kayak bow so that it is well-positioned and in line with your cart and stern. If you think the boat is one-sided or closer to the edge, you can readjust the angle slightly.

Step Four – Check if it is balanced

Normally, your kayak should have a level weight over your cart. It means the kayak cart is positioned beneath the kayak, close to the cockpit or seatback. The back shouldn’t tip backward when lifting from the front but remain on the wheels.

Step Five – Strapping it inside

Lastly, after correctly placing the cart in your kayak, you need to secure the straps. Secure it through your kayak cart legs. Normally, use the one that gets attached to the wheels instead of the moveable ones. Furthermore, take the strap and secure the other cart leg. Ensure the straps are tight enough and secured.

Plug Style – How to use a Kayak Cart

Carry your plug style cart to your kayak once you are ready to connect it. Tip the kayak on its sides to enable you to access the hull bottom. Assuming you have scupper plugs, ensure you remove them before starting to load the kayak into your cart.

With the kayak on its side, you can lift your cart and put the plug poles into the scupper holes on the hull bottom. It should be closer to your kayak back or near the seat. Furthermore, it would help if you turned your kayak back again. With the plug poles securely positioned inside the scupper holes, you can carefully turn the kayak. When doing this, ensure you hold the cart, so you don’t dislodge or remove the plugs.

Finally, you can check if the kayak cart and kayak are well balanced. If everything is in its rightful position and well secured, you can pull your kayak to the water.


There are several options when it comes to picking a kayak cart. These are available in different materials, sizes, and designs. This article has looked at several things about your kayak cart, including the different types of carts, the particular cart to choose based on terrain, and how to use a kayak cart.

If, after reading this post and you want to invest in a cart, it is important to consider your needs and what suits your kayak. You want something that offers flexibility and durability. With a good kayak cart, you can eliminate the strain of transporting your kayak from the road to the shoreline.

Vanessa Hopkins

Hi, I'm Vanessa. Long-time kayaker who's proud to be part of this community. I strive to provide our visitors with insightful guides with the aim to improve their kayaking experience. I've been working with SunshineKayaking for over 5 years, providing world-class services.

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