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How To Use A Kayak Cart

Mark Armstrong
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A kayak cart can be an essential piece of equipment in terms of transportation. It can help you move your boat from your car to the water and back again. But you might be wondering if it’s worth getting one, and if it is, how do you use it?

There are plenty of options out there which can make narrowing down your choices a little difficult. To help you learn a bit more about the types of carts and why you might want one, we’ve put together a quick guide.

How To Use A Kayak Cart - PinterestPin

​What Is A Kayak Cart And Why Use One?

​Transportation Aid

kayak cart is a tool that can let you transport your kayak to and from the water by pulling it along on wheels. Generally the carts have two wheels. The wheels can help to take the weight of your kayak, meaning you can pull a heavier load than you’re usually able to lift.

This could potentially prevent injuries.

Another benefit to using a kayak cart is that you can load your kayak with your gear straight from the trunk of your car. This could eliminate the need to make multiple trips to bring your equipment down to the water, meaning you could get out on the water quicker.

​Fishing Kayaks

Fishing kayaks, with all their additional features, tend to be heavier than standard recreational kayaks. While they are often designed to be stable and easy to maneuver on the water, maneuvering them on land can often be a struggle.

A kayak cart can help to take the pain out of moving your heavy fishing yak between the parking lot and the water’s edge, letting you pull it along rather than carry it.

​Solo Paddling

Whether you’re kayak fishing or simply heading out on a paddling adventure, moving your kayak can often be difficult if you’re on your own. A kayak cart can be essential for solo paddling trips, as it means you can get your kayak from A to B by yourself.

​Wheel Types

The types of wheels on your kayak cart may impact its performance on certain types of terrain.

Some models will have puncture free wheels, which can be better if you’re looking for durability and reduced maintenance. These will often be in the form of foam filled rubber tires or hard plastic wheels.

Both of these puncture free tires will usually have some type of tread on them to provide added traction over various surfaces.

Foam filled rubber tires and hard plastic wheels can both be suitable for crossing sand, as well as rocks or gravel. But some may have tread that is better designed for one over the other.

You’ll also find some carts with inflatable rubber tires. These can be suitable for crossing a parking lot or grass but they can be susceptible to punctures, which could cost you extra paddling time if you have to stop to repair the tire.

​There Are Two Different Types Of Kayak Cart…

​Strap Style Cart

A strap style kayak cart is probably what you think of when you imagine a kayak cart. This type of cart has some sort of platform, usually with padding, where your kayak can sit.

It also features straps that can then wrap around the hull of your boat to secure it to the cart. Generally, the cart will be centered under the hull of your kayak so that it has a more even weight distribution. This will usually be towards the back of the kayak, at or behind the seat back.

It can also be positioned towards the center but you may find that the back hits the ground when you lift it if there’s too much of the hull behind the wheels.

Strap style carts can be ideal for a range of kayaks and can also often be used to transport canoes or other similar vessels, so they can be pretty versatile.

  • ​Can fit a range of vessels
  • ​Straps to secure the boat to the cart
  • ​Padded platform

​Plug Style Cart

Plug style carts are designed to be used with kayaks that have scupper holes. They feature two long plugs that slot into the scupper holes on your kayak. This helps to keep the kayak secure and in place while it’s on the cart without the need for additional straps.

Unlike strap style carts, plug style carts don’t have a platform. This means that if your vessel does not have scupper holes for drainage then you probably won’t be able to use a plug style cart.

These types of carts can be ideal for sit-on-top boats that have suitable scupper holes, usually in the seat area or storage well. These will usually not work for sit-inside kayaks or canoes.

  • ​Secures through scupper holes
  • ​Two plugs slot into your kayak
  • ​Not ideal for sit-inside vessels
Video: Kayak Trolley Types

​How To Use A Kayak Cart

​Strap Style

​Step 1: Set Your Cart Next To Your Kayak

Position your cart next to your kayak so that it’s convenient for loading.

​Step 2: Start At The Stern

Standing at the back of your kayak, lift up the stern and slide it onto the top of your cart so that it’s resting on the padded platform.

​Step 3: Bring The Bow Into Line

Lift up the bow of your kayak so that your boat is positioned in line with the stern and the cart. You may have to adjust the angle slightly if you think one side of your boat is closer to the edge than the other.

​Step 4: Check The Balance

Ideally, your kayak should have an even weight distribution over the cart. This will usually mean the cart is positioned under the kayak near the back of the seat or cockpit. When you lift the kayak from the front, the back should remain on the wheels and not tip backwards.

​Step 5: Strap It In

Now that your boat is correctly in place on the platform of your kayak cart, it’s time to secure the straps.

​Video: How To Choose ​And Use A Kayak Cart

Take your strap and secure it around the leg of your cart – ideally the one that is attached to the wheels, not the one that is moveable.

Take the strap over the top of your kayak and secure it to the cart leg on the opposite side. Making sure the buckle is on the top of your kayak you can then tighten and secure your strap with the buckle.

​Plug Style

​Step 1: Grab Your Cart

Bring your plug style kayak cart over to your kayak so that you’re ready to load.

​Step 2: Tip Your Kayak

Tip your kayak on its side so that you’re able to access the bottom of the hull. If you have scupper plugs in your scupper holes, you should remove these beforehand so that your kayak can be loaded onto your cart.

​Step 3: Lift Your Cart

With your kayak on its side, lift your cart and secure the plug poles into the relevant scupper holes on the bottom of the hull. This should be close to the back of the kayak, near or behind the seat.

​Step 4: Turn Your Kayak Back Over

Now that the plugs poles from your cart are securely in the scupper holes on your boat, carefully turn the kayak back upright. Hold on to the cart while you do this so that you don’t dislodge the plugs.

​Step 5: Check The Balance

With your vessel safely loaded onto the cart, check to make sure the balance is correct and that you’re able to lift the bow safely to pull it.

The plug poles on your cart should keep your boat securely in place.

​Final Words

Hopefully you’ve found this quick tutorial helpful and maybe it’s inspired you to try out a cart. A kayak cart can be a useful tool for getting your boat to and from the water’s edge. It can even give you more paddling freedom, as you can go out on your own without requiring a second person.

Let us know if a kayak cart has improved your paddling trips. And don’t keep it to yourself; your fellow paddlers could probably use some wheels, so remember to share this with them to help them out.

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