If you’re like most kayak owners, all you want to do is set up your vessel and start having fun as fast as possible. And you don’t want to take hours to get from your car to the water.
Luckily, the invention of the kayak cart nearly eliminated the struggle to reach the water with your heavy kayak!
In this article, We put together over 9 hours of research to come up with a solid inventory of the best carts. The winner that we selected had some close competitors. In the end, our decision was the C-Tug with SandTrakz Wheels–the hands-down winner.
Picking the best kayak cart was no small task. In our selection process, we sifted through dozens of carts from all price points. The C-Tug with SandTrackz Wheels eked out the top spot for a few reasons. It had easy assembly, a portable size, and a beefy design.
However “1-size-fits-all” we tried to be in our selections, we understand that each kayaker has their ideal kayak cart. If you put durability at the top of your list, we’ve got a solution. Likewise, the best kayak cart for people who want easy storage and a trim profile also shows up here.
Now–there’s a lot to discuss in our tally of the top 10 best kayak carts. If you follow us below, we’ll go over all the relevant information to outfit you with a perfect model!
Top 9 Best Kayak Carts
Included below are my selections of the top 10 best kayak carts currently available on online retailers. Whether you’re looking for a light, indestructible, or affordable cart (or all of the above!), read on.
The Best Kayak Carts Go As Follows:
- C-Tug with Sandtrakz Wheels
- ABN Universal Kayak Carrier
- Rad Sportz Kayak Trolley Pro
- Malone Widetrak ATB
- Wilderness Systems Heavy Duty Kayak Cart
- Hobie Heavy Duty Plug-In Kayak Cart
- Suspenz All-Terrain SD Airless
- The Kayak Cart KC-7
- TMS Kayak Cart
1. C-Tug with Sandtrakz Wheels
- Weight: 10 Lbs
- Weight Limit: 170 Lbs
- Tires: Solid
- Frame: Reinforced composite
The C-Tug offers 100% tool-free assembly, a feature that many customers find a relief. The Sandtrakz Wheels got rid of any worries about punctures too. This was due to its clever design that includes a high grip rubber tread that works like bulldozer. The cart is smaller than most and fits in hatches, no problem.
Weighing in at only 11.5 lbs, this c tug kayak cart has a super light plastic hull that can carry up to 170 lbs. It’s great with kayaks, canoes, paddleboards, and surfboards with C-Tug snap and locks compatibility. It also includes a C-Tug Kickstand, Cross Beam, Strap Kit, and Hull Pad to further increase mobility.
With the SandTrackz wheels, it’s easy to move loads over soft sand and soil. While they’re designed primarily for soft surfaces, the compression tire feature also works with harder ground. Compared to similar carts, the C-Tug offers a great compromise between rugged design and portability. Seriously, this thing is so small and light you can stow it away like it’s a camp stove.
The verdict that we’ve discovered from our fellow customers is pretty consistent and even overwhelming. Its lightweight construction is ideal for crossing sand and not-so-heavy kayaks. The polymer inner hub and well-performing bearing have attracted the attention of lots of buyers. If you’re looking for a metal structure, you might want to check out other carts.
- Durable for a plastic design
- Easy storage
- Not ideal for heavy (200 lb +) kayaks
2. ABN Universal Kayak Carrier
- Weight: 7.7 Lbs
- Weight Limit: 200 Lbs
- Tires: Inflatable 9.5 Inch Grip Tires
- Frame: Metal/ plastic composite
This highly popular model features strong 9.5” knobby tires on a 22 x 9.2 x 13-inch frame. A super-light model, it clocks in just under 8 lbs. The ABN boasts massive foam bumper pads and 12 ft straps. Your kayak will be safe and secure on uneven surfaces.
Lots to say about this cart’s construction. Built from a metal and plastic composite, it easily shoulders 200 lb. The frame folds and the wheels are removable with a lynchpin which means you can ostensibly stow it in a large backpack.
The term “universal” gets thrown around a lot in the kayak cart world, but the ABN truly backs it up. This model is compatible with paddleboards, floating vessels, Jon boats, canoes, and kayaks. The oversized pads that come included and assure you won’t damage your vessel are truly what takes the ABN to another level for me.
It’s great at traversing sand and soft surfaces as well as gravel and lightly-wooded areas. Compared to similarly-priced products, this model has tires with integrity and a higher weight limit.
As we said above, the Universal Kayak Carrier from ABN is one of the most popular models available. Customers have high praise for its price-point and the knobby tires which are quite reliable to reinflate. However, some buyers had to buy stronger tie-downs for long vessels. While the ABN has a 200 lb limit, we agree with the customers that this cart is best as a beginner model. Heavy-duty pro kayakers may need a stronger cart.
- Includes a spring-loaded kickstand
- Metal-plastic construction has integrity
- Works with most watercrafts
- May need better tiedown supports
- Reportedly has a strong “plastic” odor
3. Rad Sportz Kayak Trolley Pro
- Weight: 9.9 Lbs
- Weight Limit: 150 Lbs
- Tires: Inflatable 10″ non inflation tires
- Frame: Aluminum
We included the RAD Sportz Kayak Trolley Pro in our top-10 for its tires at first. It has 10 ” No-Flat airless tires with the soft, springy feel of inflatable tire carts. We also noticed its 150 lb weight capacity. It also comes with tie-down straps and an impressive fold-down dimension (27 x 13 x 3”). It’s one of the more portable options.
For all its built-in features, the RAD is not lightweight. The cart weighs 9.9 lbs and shows its heavy-duty DNA in its wide base stance and thick (almost too thick!) rubber cushions. The bold yellow powder-coated aluminum build means business. NOTE: in person, the paint color is closer to orange.
We recommend the RAD for kayaks, canoes, and lighter watercraft (definitely don’t exceed the 150 lb weight limit). Using the tie-down straps that come with the kayak cart makes it easy to secure all sizes of kayak up to 11 ft.
Since this cart uses rubber tires with tubes, it’s generally forgiving for most terrains. Pavement, gravel, sand, and moderately flat woodland areas shouldn’t pose a problem.
How does the RAD compare to other carts in its price range, build, and weight tolerance? When you put together the strong aluminum frame with its heavy-duty cushioning bed, this cart works well for the general watercraft population. Other customers back me up when they comment on its versatility covering flat surfaces with crafts under 125 lbs. The tires can be susceptible to punctures. It might be smart to avoid wooded areas where punctures are more common. Finally, the customers and we agree that the RAD is a good all-around model with a lower-end weight limit but a top-quality aluminum frame.
- The aluminum frame will last forever
- 10” noninflatable tires offer a cushy ride
- Tip: replace the included tie-down straps
- Yellow frame coloration appears Orange in person
4. Malone Widetrak ATB
- Weight: 15 Lbs
- Weight Limit: 250 Lbs
- Tires: 12″ non inflation tires
- Frame: Aluminum
The Malone Widetrak ATB comes with two 12” Never-Go-Flat tires. Seeing these tires in person is certainly one of the big selling points for this cart because they are BIG. The fittings are corrosion-resistant. The silver and black anodized aluminum frame complement this heavy-duty model to a T. Add to that the 24” adjustable padded bunks. They make mounting troubles a thing of the past.
The kayak cart’s construction comes down to one word: beefy. With the aluminum frame and steel, you’ll get fittings and two 11′ cam buckle load straps that operate seamlessly with the frame. Keep in mind though, the cart requires some assembly after purchase. Thankfully, this is an easy task.
If you position the bunks to their widest position, this cart will hold the majority of canoes and kayaks of all sizes. The visual impression this cart gives is blunt–it’s a big cart for big watercraft. And we love it for that. The extra tall 1 ft tires add to the Malone’s durability (compare the Malone Clipper Deluxe). We wouldn’t have any trouble saying that the Malone can deal with about 95% of the ground you’re likely to encounter when pulling your craft to the water.
To compare the Malone Widetrak ATB with its competitors, you’ll have to take into account its wide wheels, weight (a hefty 15 lbs), and construction. Overall, we would rate it one of the more industrial models, designed for heavy loads–not lightweight tasks.
Turning to our fellow customers’ experience with the Malone Widetrak ATB, we find lots of support. The Malone is variously called a “beast,” “not a compact cart,” and “a very solid cart.” The build is often complemented (we agree, it’s a no-nonsense product with a heavy footprint). We like this cart for its durability and compactness.
- 12” rubber wheels are a clear stand-out
- Good stability for a heavy-load cart
- Removable bunks offer added versatility
- Portability isn’t its priority
5. Wilderness Systems Heavy Duty Kayak Cart
- Weight: 15 Lbs
- Weight Limit: 330 Lbs
- Tires: 13″ Inflatable Beach Wheels
- Frame: Aluminum
If you’re a kayaker with heavier vessels (up to 350 lbs) and not willing to make many concessions, this cart is almost the Rolls Royce of kayak carts. It has an adjustable width bunker bar with height options, too. It comes with two security straps as well. The Wilderness Systems Heavy Duty Kayak Cart lives up to all the fame.
This cart boasts a 13” diameter, 7.5” width, and an Olympian carrying capacity of 330 lbs, it’s no wonder professional kayakers and canoers use it. The construction of this beast (we use the term lovingly) only adds to its heavy-duty namesake. The body is a marine-grade, high-strength aluminum alloy. It has been heat-treated for optimal strength. As mentioned above, two height options adapt for different sized hulls.
The Wilderness Systems kayak cart is not only strong, but it’s also compatible with many vessels. Thanks to its easy loading system, you don’t need a kickstand or scupper posts.
With its balloon wheels or beach wheels, the Wilderness System manages soft sand like a dream. Other rough terrain types aren’t as traversable. We would recommend you use this cart primarily for softer surfaces.
Compared to other carts and trolleys, this model is best for heavy-duty loads in sandy areas. Its weight capacity puts it at the top of the list if you need a workhorse to lift your vessels.
Like us, buyers have lots of opinions on the Wilderness Systems Kayak Cart. While some people find assembly hard (instructions are at a minimum, for sure!). Others have talked about poor air pressure retention. If your vessel is as long and heavy as a 14′ Hobie Pro Angler or an Old Town Topwater, this cart performs well.
- Beach Wheels provide tank-like traction and comfort
- Aluminum construction is top-notch
- Cinch straps and rubber bumpers allow for a smooth ride
- 15 lb weight can be burdensome
- Retaining air pressure may be difficult with urethane tires
6. Hobie Heavy Duty Plug-In Kayak Cart
- Weight: 8 Lbs
- Weight Limit: 400 Lbs
- Tires: Foam Filled Tires
- Frame: Welded stainless steel construction
Industry leader Hobie delivers a solid kayak cart that will be able to carry vessels that exceed even the heaviest Hobie craft. This uniquely pared-down model of a kayak cart has removable wheels for easier storage. Trust us–this cart is one of the most low-key and stowable models out there. Also, the Hobie Heavy Duty Plug-In Kayak Cart features cart clamps and a cart keeper feature. If you’re a Hobie fan, this cart works with their popular Tandem Island.
With treaded, foam-filled tires that have a 200 lb carrying capacity, the Hobie cart includes some of the best trolley wheels in the market. The construction goes beyond the wheels though. Its welded stainless steel profile is handsome and long-lasting. This offering from Hobie is darn-near indestructible.
Now let’s talk about compatibility. The Hobie Heavy Duty Plug-In Kayak Cart is only made for Hobie kayaks. We recommend that you look for other 200 lb stainless carts if you’re not a Hobie-only household. The scupper holes are about 13 inches across, which means it has enough room for most Hobie vessels–but only Hobie vessels, mind you.
Since the Plug-In Kayak Cart boasts an impressive 200 lb carrying capacity, the wheels cover all terrains. From soft sand to harder artificial surfaces, you should have no trouble getting your vessel from car to water.
Compared to other carts, the Hobie stands out with its foam tires. They virtually guarantee a punctureless experience. The 11” span between vertical carrying posts shows that the cart is best for thin Hobie models, not larger crafts.
The customers think that the Hobie cart is strong and easily loads the 200 lb weight limit. The wheels float with the foam interiors and evenly distribute weight–an added feature that many customers approve of. The accessibility of this product restricts its usefulness to Hobie buyers. Steer clear of the Hobie HD if you’re not a Hobie-exclusive human.
- Airless tires easily clear rough terrain
- Hobie vessel owners will find this cart an all-in-one solution
- Buying a kayak cart for only one brand can rub some customers the wrong way
- It’s not a folding cart
7. Suspenz All-Terrain SD Airless
- Weight: 17 Lbs
- Weight Limit: 300 Lbs
- Tires: 15″ Thin Tires
- Frame: Steel Frame
The Suspenz All-Terrain SD Airless kayak cart is a stand-out product that’s sure to catch eyes on your next kayak visit to your favorite spot. It includes large (we can’t stress “large” enough…) 15” Mag-lite wheels with airless no-flat tires. The product comes with a dual-strap system for stable transportation. Even special hull types will fit in this cart. In a word, the Suspenz is ideal if your vessel has a unique hull that requires special support. You’ll find a spring-loaded kickstand included too.
The powder-coated steel frame is only the start of this cart’s offerings. The construction folds flat for easy storage–flat enough to stow in a personal bag. Keep in mind though: the Suspenz clocks in at 17 lbs. Ideally, you’d fold it flat and keep it tucked away in your stowables along with your fishing supplies or cooking utensils. Weight capacity in the Suspenz is a generous 300 lbs.
This cart lacks rubber pads and ratchet straps, so it may not be the best choice for vessels with sensitive surfaces. Terrain is another matter. Since the airless tires are skinnier than most, sand could present a challenge.
Let’s compare the Suspenz to other kayaking carts. Its weight capacity is one of the highest in our list. Its stainless steel body will outlast most plastic carts. The 15” tires are one of a kind. Put together with the thick foam pads, the Suspenz is a higher-end model ideal for paddling and kayaking.
Customer reviews lean on the Suspenz’s compatibility with all hull types, even large watercraft with heavy loads. The bunker bars adjust to five levels too! Whether you own flat hulled craft, V-shaped, or tunnel hulls, the Suspenz garners support all around. This canoe cart and boat-ready cart is a product that we find most useful if you own heavier vessels and don’t mind cart types that aren’t heavy.
- Airless tires mean you don’t have to worry about flats
- All aluminum frame material means serious strength (less wobbling!)
- Thin wheels aren’t ideal for sand terrain
- No ratchet straps
8. The Kayak Cart KC-7
- Weight: 3 Lbs
- Weight Limit: 120 Lbs
- Tires: 7″ co-polymer wheels
- Frame: Plastic
The Kayak Cart KC-7 is a distinctive kayak and canoe cart with a flexible cradle and dual strap attachments–buckles and hooks. The 7” polymer wheels are removable with quick-release pins. Together, the super-light 2.85 lb model supports 165 lbs. In a small 12.25 x 10 x 10 size, the Kayak Cart is a tiny frame with a mighty carrying capacity.
Made in the USA, this cart is great for casual kayakers. Its material make-up is a flexible plastic that allows for easy loading of personal watercraft. The wheels are puncture-proof. They have a rubber tread that eases your walks across bumpy surfaces.
With a 165 lbs limit, this cart works best with one sit-in vessel. The straps attach to the stern, so a longer craft (14′ and above, in our estimate) isn’t the ideal boat for the Kayak Cart KC-7.
The tires on the Kayak Cart KC-7 don’t have the knobs or tread of some of the bulkier carts. Consequentially, we recommend you check out this cart if you’re going to be traversing pavement and sand. For cross-country rowers, look for models with bigger tires and more durable frame material.
Compared to other carts, the Kayak Cart KC-7 is a lighter-weight, single-rower model. It’s perfect for manually unloading and managing a single vessel across terrain without obstacles. Other customers agree on the purpose of this product. The wheel construction and straps gathered a lot of praise, while stability under larger loads (100 lb +) dwindled. We recommend the Kayak Cart and its unique flexible design for smaller vessels with single rowers. The customers finally chimed in: the lack of foam padding desperately needs customization too. We think so too.
- Flexible carriage makes room for a variety of hull types
- Fits in your hatch with ease
- Minimal weight allows for onboard stowing
- Small wheels limit the types of terrain you can pass
- Stabilization is an issue under excessive weight
9. TMS Kayak Cart
- Weight: 8 Lbs
- Weight Limit: 150Lbs
- Tires: flat-free tires
- Frame: Aluminum with stainless steel
The TMS Kayak Cart includes 9 1/2” flat-free tires that attach to the frame via stainless steel fasteners and a chrome lynchpin. With a generous 3 1/2” width, traversing difficult terrain is easy. You’ll also get a support stand with spring-loaded capabilities to ease transport from your car and the water. The frame is aluminum pipe and anodized stainless steel. It’s perfect as a dolly for canoes and kayaks. In total, the product weighs a (relatively) light 8.18 lbs.
The V-shaped cradle that this dolly operates with means that it’s compatible with most kayaks and canoes under 150 lbs. Its foam bumpers go on both arms of the cradle with nylon. (Read: the TMS will not accommodate extra-wide vessels)
Thanks to the 3 1/2” wide tires, the TMS is a good middle-ground for clearing dense sand, gravel, and pavement. These tires aren’t as strong as other models on our list so we don’t recommend them for woodland or dangerous terrain.
We turned to customer reviews for more insight on the use and best contexts for the TMS Kayak Cart. We temper our expectations a little because the TMS is not at the premium price point. We noticed that people praised the quality of towing smaller vessels. The tires have caused some problems, with complaints ranging from their odor to losing pressure. If you observe weight limits and check tire pressure before each outing, we’re confident that you’ll like the TMS model in the end.
- Solid metal frame at an outlet price? Sign me up!
- Large wheels conquer sand and gravel
- Tire pressure issues
- Heavy compared to other 150 lb weight limit trolleys
How to Choose a Kayak Cart
Choosing a proper kayak cart doesn’t have to be so tough. Consulting the experts at your local Seattle sports outdoors store can help for example. In this article, we’ve put together over 50 years of experience here. What else are we going to use it for?
Unless you find it amusing to watch your kayak or boat fall off your trolley into the lake, attachment methods matter. We recommend you check out the different kinds before you buy a kayak cart.
Fold Out Strap Method
The strap-based method is the most common in American kayak carts. The cart will have a padded platform where you place the kayak. In these products, you’ll primarily use lateral straps to wrap your vessel around the hull.
Weight distribution is key in strap carts. Usually, you’ll have to position the vessel behind the seat back before you attach the straps. If you tie the bands near the middle, you’ll probably experience what we do, which is the stern hitting the ground.
Strap-based carts are good for fitting a wide variety of crafts snugly in a padded harness.
Plugin and Play Method
If your craft has scupper holes, you’re going to need a plugin and play style model. Scupper holes fit plugs in the cart that lock in the vessel without any trouble. No straps are necessary.
Commonly, carts with plugs don’t need a solid platform like strap-based models. For sit-on-top boats with scupper holes for drainage, there’s no option but to use these special carts. Kayaks and canoes that you sit inside aren’t designed for plugin carts.
Material of the Kayak Cart
Of course, the next element of a kayak cart that you’ll want to investigate is the simplest element–what it’s made of. The cart material can tell you almost everything about its construction, price point, and durability.
When it comes to the frame of a kayak cart, the materials matter. A dozen years ago, most kayak carts were aluminum. There are now lots of options, from high-quality polymers to stainless steel.
Polymer (plastic) shell frames borrow many properties from the types of plastics we meet and use every day. These qualities are flexibility and strength without added weight. Indeed, opting for a model with a polymer or polymer-composite frame is the best way to cut weight without compromising on strength.
Aluminum and stainless steel hardware frames keep the old equation alive–the old school is the best. Though they’re heavier on average than their plastic competitors (the difference is normally about 5-10 lbs), they make up for it in rigidity. Heavyweight metals permit heavier vessels. The ride can be a little jerky with these frames, but large tires can accommodate too.
Always opt for corrosion-resistant materials if you kayak in saltwater.
The Tire Types
Speaking of tires, let’s look at some of the options available right now. Essentially, your choice of tire will depend on the terrain you plan to traverse. Large, fat, and wide tires are ideal for soft surfaces like sand and sandbars.
The case with hard terrain is different. Then you’ll want an all-terrain tire. Keeping your craft stable is of the utmost importance as you approach the water, and you want to keep the cart stable (trust us!). With harder terrains, you’ll want puncture-proof tires. You’ll want a puncture-proof tire no matter what.
This one’s pretty straightforward. Just make sure you’ve purchased a cart for your boat or kayak that supersedes the weight of your vessel. One way to ensure you’ve got kayak cart types that permit the greatest weight capacity is to invest in one with high-quality frame material.
Adjustable vs Fixed Width
If the weight of your kayak changes from boat to boat, or you have to sit on top kayaks and carrying kayaks, odds are you’ll need a cart with adjustable width. If you have a favorite kayak that you’ve cherished from day one, there’s no need.
The best kayak cart to suit your needs depends on the types of kayak you own. Luckily, some of the more flexible carts on the market can adjust as much as 12”. You can fit a Railblaza Ctug kayak, Suspenz Smart Airless DLX, or other sit-on-top kayaks with that width.
We overwhelmingly like a compact kayak cart that goes with you on your kayak or stows away in the trunk of your car. The market has followed demand recently and delivered a wealth of kayak carts that fit in a sit-on-top kayak as well as a backpack.
Thanks to foldable materials, a trolley cart can now take up a place among the smaller components of a camping set (instead of weighing down the stern).
When it comes to picking between a kayak carrier, canoe trolley cart, or kayak cart options, versatility is the name of the game. Ctug kayak or canoe carts have led the market with a light frame and high weight capacity. But those are just two factors.
Do you own a sit-on-top kayak or a Suspenz Smart Airless DLX? Each kayak has its own ideal cart. Do you cross sand primarily, or are you into Seattle sports and rocky terrain is your purview? With terrain, look to tire width and foam bumpers. A trolley cart has many options–we hope our review has shed some light on that.
Buying an expensive canoe trolley cart or universal kayak model is thankfully less of a strain than buying a kayak canoe or bonnlo kayak. There are hundreds of dollars between a top-end scupper drain hole model and the best Malone Clipper Deluxe. Price-effective boat kayak models and a kayak cart are available without breaking the bank.
With our 10 reviews in the backseat, now we want to address some common questions about kayak carts.
How do I use a kayak cart?
There’s no real science behind it, but we put together some of the best techniques we’ve developed over our 50+ years of experience. This YouTube video also might help shed light on the process.
1. Place the kayak and canoe cart by the kayak
For easier loading, put your kayak carts next to the kayak.
2. Lift from the stern
Slide the vessel (CTug kayak or canoe, it doesn’t matter)into the padded cart seat.
3. Now Turn to the Bow
Go around to the front of the vessel and bring it in line with the stern.
Check the balance. Ideally, the best kayak position is 2/3 the way to the stern.
Attach your kayak canoe or other craft (a Suspenz Smart Airless DLX, for example) to the platform. If it has a friction screw or drain holes, secure the pegs.
What is the best material for a kayak cart?
This is a tough question to answer. If you’re dealing with heavier models for carrying kayaks like the Railblaza CTug kayak, we always recommend aluminum. If you’re looking for the best kayak carts for fast vessels (like those used for Seattle sports), a polymer composite will fit the bill.
Can you make your own kayak cart?
Absolutely! For a fraction of the cost of a kayak or canoe trolley, you can construct a cart yourself. Check out the DIY instructions online for more help.
A kayak or canoe trolley is an essential component in every watersports lover’s toolbox. Along with universal kayak options, there is scupper kayak cart and kayak canoe choices. Most of them offer durability without added weight. Balloon tires make sand terrains an easy chore, and sub-10 lb models can fit in a backpack.
We select the C-Tug as the best because it hit all the marks: durability, great tires, and a lightweight, portable design. With our top 10 list, we hope you find a model that suits your every need.