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You gotta ask yourself: “Am I strong enough?”
Mentally and emotionally, maybe. But physically… Chances are: You’re not. And let’s face it, my friend. We’re not getting any younger.
But kidding aside…
Kayaks come in a variety of sizes and shapes. Each one has different weights. And when you go kayaking, you don’t just bring a boat, do you?
What else? You need to ask yourself Should I Get A Kayak Cart?
Your gear. You have to have your kayak seat, your paddles, repair kits, fishing gear if you’re into fishing too, your lunch, and whatnots. Sometimes, you even want more than one of your kayaks to bring with you to the water.
These things load up quickly. And before you know it, your back’s aching. Your shoulders are on fire. And when you get to the water, there’s nothing else you want to do but enjoy the breeze on the water’s edge. Paddling can wait another day.
These carts have stands that will help with the easy loading of your kayak onto the water.
Kayaking is so much fun. We both know that. But not when your back already kills you just an hour into paddling. My verdict comes from experience…
So hold tight.
Things are about to get bumpy!
Do You Really Need Kayak Carts?
To answer this question…
Yes, you need a kayak dolly! I highly recommend that you get one. Its benefits are more than just about carrying your boat for you. It keeps your kayak secure. And it gives you more time on the water – by reducing travel time and the risk of back pain.
There is a lot to choose from on the market. Kayak trolley carts can be classified based on capacity, material, attachment method, etc. There are foldable or collapsible. Some have adjustable width, like the Seattle Sports trolley. Some carts need to be plugged in scupper holes or drain holes. And many more…
So, you might wonder:
What kayak cart should I buy? That depends on multiple factors. As you read along with Boat Priority, I’ll help you decide what kayak dolly suits you best!
What Type of Kayak Do You Have?
Aside from whether there are scupper holes…
This is important to note because your kayak cart has a limited weight capacity. Different kayaks differ in weight because of the size and the material used for them.
So what type of boats are out there?
Here are the types of the kayak in terms of weight:
Single – 25-50lbs
Tandem kayaks – 55-85lbs
Inflatable – 15-55lbs
Fishing – 45-130lbs
But there’s more…
The list above shows the lightweight ones. They’re typically made of composite materials or plastic. Those in the medium weight range are of either thermoform or fiberglass.
There are rotomolded kayaks – melted plastic pellets – and they’re the heavy ones. Other brands also put in some aluminum in their construction, like the Malone Clipper Deluxe. A heavy kayak can weigh up to 250 lbs!
Now imagine having to carry all that – plus gear!
Even for the light sit-on-top kayaks, or tandem, I still recommend getting a kayak cart. For the inflatable, not so much since it’s made for easy transportation – except if you’re bringing two kayaks with you.
So, in choosing your kayak dolly…
You need to think about the weight capacity of the cart. It should accommodate the weight of your own kayak.
Also, you have to consider the shape of your boat’s hull. The best kayak carts on the market vary in the form of their arms. It’s where you place the hull. You can look for an almost custom-fit. But some are universal.
Some carts also are more fit for a kayak with scupper holes. These are the plug-style carts.
There are more factors to consider.
We’ll go along to discuss each one in detail. While at it, you’ll find out what type of cart you should get.
Tail Dragger or Center Loading Kayak Dolly?
Let’s differentiate between these two types of the cart.
Tail Dragger kayak dolly
The tail dragger is the canoe cart you use under one end of your boat. Once your kayak or canoe is secured, you get the other end and then – pull! So this type carries only a portion of the weight for you. Add that to your dragging responsibility.
These carts have a lighter weight limit.
Center-loading kayak dolly
The center-loading cart, as the name suggests, is placed under the center of your boat. It carries the whole weight of the boat and your gear. Now, all you have to do is tow it. So this type has a heavier weight limit.
Which one should you get?
This choice depends on two factors: the kayaking site and you.
Is the water too far from the parking lot? Do you have to walk all the way? Does your back ache a lot? Do you quickly get tired? If your answer’s yes for all, then the center-loading type is best for you.
But if not, a tail dragger is enough. By the way, this type is better on uneven terrain. It will be easier to drag up and down sloped areas.
We’ll elaborate on that later…
Do You Need a Collapsible Kayak Cart?
The main benefit of a collapsible kayak cart is its easy storage and portability. So you need to consider again how far the water is from your boat storage place.
Is the site crowded? Would you be comfortable just leaving the cart onshore? More paddlers think that the best kayak cart is one that they can fit inside their boat hatch. A foldable cart, like the Bonnlo kayak cart, is made for that.
Collapsible carts are more expensive. They’re usually made of a solid aluminum frame, stainless steel fasteners, and a spring-loaded stand. And most are made of inflatable wheels rather than solid wheels.
They have to be made of these materials to be as sturdy and durable as the welded ones.
But don’t overthink it…
If you don’t find the necessity of this feature, you can just get a large backpack for storing your cart.
What Type of Terrain do You Plan to Traverse?
This factor is more for deciding what type of wheels you need.
To get to your paddling site…
Do you have to go through flat asphalt? Or rocky ground? Or a rather pebbly one? How about a sandy beach? Maybe you have to go up a hill on tree roots and down again? In much simpler words: Is it difficult to get to the water?
Here’s what I recommend:
For uneven terrain…
…the best kayak cart would be one with large wheels. They’re sturdier and much more stable when going over pebbles and tree roots. Large rubber tires also have that shock-absorbing quality that’s very useful on bumpy rides.
For rocky terrain…
…the one with airless tires or foam-filled is best. They’re puncture-free wheels that are much safer than inflatable tires. They don’t run the risk of getting flat along the way.
For even ground…
…without many obstacles, any type of wheels would do. But if you’re going through sand, the big wheels are recommendable. Ones like on the Wheeleez Beach cart. They don’t dig into the ground and get stuck.
Aside from the wheels…
Another terrain concern is for the cinch straps. Some carts come with ratchet straps. They’re better than most because they’re more sturdy and secure. So on bumpy terrains, better get carts with ratchet straps.
The Suspenz Smart Airless DLX cart even comes with buckled straps if you want security.
Keep an eye also for the foam bumpers. Bumper pads keep your kayak safe from possible scratches from the cart itself.
Don’t worry. Rubber padding and straps are staples in the kayak cart industry.
Conclusion: Should I Get A Kayak Cart
In a nutshell…
In deciding what the best kayak cart for you is, you need to take note of these things:
There are more brands on the market aside from the Suspenz Smart Airless DLX Cart, Attwood kayak trolley, and the Bonnlo kayak cart.
There you have it!
The kayak cart is a must, even if you only have a single sit-on-top kayak that’s light enough on your shoulders. I believe you’d instead save that energy for more hours of paddling.
I’m not going to keep you longer now.
Go ahead and upgrade your kayaking adventures – with your new kayak trolley, dolly, or cart!
Related: Best Kayak Seat (2023)