The 8 Best Kayak Carts to Make Transporting Your Boat Easier – Save Your Energy & Time

Video best kayak dolly

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.

And trust me when I say it can be difficult, tiring and time consuming carrying kayaks yourself, especially over rough terrain. In step the kayak cart; the best option for transporting your boat to and from the water without any hassle – every kayaker should own one!

In this post, we are going to review some of the best kayak carts on the market right now – explain the different kayak cart types available – the features to look out for and those to avoid – all so that you find one that best fits your needs.

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Your Comprehensive Guide to Kayak Carts

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.

They’re not only useful and energy-saving, but they’re also really handy. Every paddler should have one in their paddling arsenal.

But seriously, they are so useful and energy-saving that every paddler should own one.

Types of Kayak Carts

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

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.

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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

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 sit-on-top kayak 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)

The Taildragger 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.


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.

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They might be on a more expensive side, but are well worth the price!

See different types of kayak carts for yourself:

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

Pneumatic 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

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?

This answer is inseparable from the question: Which type of kayak cart do you use?

I will briefly explain how to use each type of kayak cart that 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.

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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:

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: Top 8 Picks Reviewed and Rated

Final Verdict – What Is The Best Kayak Cart?

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 eight 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!

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>