Save Your Back and Your Kayak: Learn How To Use A Kayak Cart

kayak cart

One of the great things about kayaking is that you don’t need much equipment to enjoy the watersport. One piece of equipment that many kayakers overlook is the important and convenience of having a kayak cart.

We will discuss how to use a kayak cart, the benefits of owning one, and give you a brief tutorial on how to make one if you don’t want to purchase one.

What Is A Kayak Cart?

If you’ve never used a kayak cart or seen one, you may be thinking about a kayak rack; a rack and cart are both great items to have but are entirely different.

A kayak cart has a simple design and is an easy apparatus to use. Start browsing online stores like REI for a kayak cart and you might notice that kayak cart designs vary quite a bit.

While each one may look a little different, the design concept is similar; they consist of two wheels, a place to rest the bottom of the kayak, and some straps for securing the kayak to the cart. Some people describe a kayak cart as a sort of dolly cart for kayaks.

The primary purpose of a kayak cart is to move your kayak in and out of the water more efficiently. A cart is also a helpful piece of equipment to have when you need to carry some extra gear or have to walk a few miles to get to the water.

TMS CART-CANOE/KAYAK-KY001 Boat Kayak Canoe Carrier Tote Trolley

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The Benefits Of Having a Kayak Cart

kayak cart benefits

You might be wondering if you really need to have a kayak cart. There’s lots of kayaking gear that you can live without, but a cart is an asset, and you should give it a little consideration. Need a bit more convincing? Here are some of the benefits of owning a kayak cart:

Evenly Distribute The Weight Of Your Kayak

Some kayaks are more lightweight than others, and the weight can vary anywhere about 20 to 80 pounds, and that’s not including other gear. Even if you have the lightest weight kayak, it can be awkward to carry, and it may be hard to evenly distribute the weight (especially if you’re carrying your kayak by yourself).

ABN Universal Kayak Carrier – Trolley for Carrying Kayaks, Canoes,...

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Reduce Your Chance Of An Injury

If you’ve ever carried a kayak while walking on a trail or even the beach, you might agree that it can be difficult to maintain stable footing and it can also be a little difficult to see where you’re going.

When you carry your kayak, and some of your view is blocked, you’re just one tree root or rock away from tripping and falling. Depending on the size and weight of your kayak, a cart can reduce your chance of straining your back. Learning how to use a kayak trolley, which is another name for a cart, can help your back in great shape for kayaking.

Extending The Life Of Your Kayak

A high-quality kayak is built to last and can handle typical wear and tear. Even though many kayakers drag their kayak a short distance or in and out of the water, why risk causing damage that you could prevent?

A kayak is often a bit of a financial investment so it’s important to take care of it so you can continue to enjoy it for years to come.

A Great Tool To Have When Your Energy Is Zapped

If we haven’t sold you on why you need a kayak cart, consider this; you’ve spent the whole day paddling on a challenging river. Your legs are tired, your arms feel weak, and the summer heat has zapped any remaining energy.

Do you think you have it in you to carry your kayak back to your car all by yourself? Probably not. A cart can help you preserve any remaining energy, so you can use it to lift your kayak on to your roof rack.

How To Use A Kayak Cart

how to use a kayak cart

Now that we’ve discussed a few benefits to owning a cart for hauling your kayak it’s time to explain how to use one. Keep in mind that it may take a few tries to get comfortable with the cart, so it’s best to practice a bit a home (if you have space) before you head out on a kayaking trip.

Starting at the stern (or back) of your kayak, lift up the stern and lift it on top of the cart. Once the kayak is on the cart, you can raise the bough (front) of your kayak and pivot it until it’s straight with the stern.

It’s important to find the place your kayak on the best point of balance. You will know that you’ve found this point when the bough doesn’t tip forward.

Many people assume that the balance will be in the center of the kayak, but depending on any extra gear and other factors, the balance may be farther back and near the seat. It’s always important to consider the width of your kayak when finding the balance as well.

After you have balanced your kayak on the cart, find the leg (not the standing leg) that are attached the wheels of the kart. If you have a ratchet strap, attach one end to the leg, wrap the other end around the other side and secure the strap. Strapping your kayak to the cart will help keep it balanced, and you’re less likely to lose gear.

Want to double check that you’re loading up your kayak onto your cart correctly or are having a hard time getting it right? There are several YouTube videos that can help you walk through the process.

Remember, some carts have different designs, so you might need to search for directions that pertain to your cart. The key to any cart is balance and securing the kayak.

ABN Universal Kayak Carrier – Trolley for Carrying Kayaks, Canoes,...

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Features To Look For In A Kayak Cart

Before you go out and buy the cheapest kayak cart you can find, here are some features to consider when choosing the right one.

Do You Need A Multi-Purpose Cart?

Some people who own canoes and kayaks want a cart that works for both. Before you try to put a canoe on a kayak cart, make sure the cart is large enough.

Lightweight

As you browse your kayak cart options, you may want to look for carts that are lightweight (aluminum is a great option). If you take your kayak everywhere from the beach to off the beaten path, you want a cart that won’t be extra weight.

Tires

Depending on where you go with your kayak, you may require a special kind of tire for your cart. If you have a sea kayak, you will probably want some tires that are specifically designed to roll easily across the sand.

If you go on various terrains, look for a wide tire with good tread; a No Limits kayak cart is a good example of the type of wheels you may want. If possible look for a cart that has never-go-flat tires.

Ease Of Use

While kayak carts have a relatively simple design and are easy to use, you want to make sure you know how to use it (and like using it) before you commit to buying a particular kayak cart.

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Want To Build Your Own?

Kayak carts can be a great investment, and you should buy one that you love. If you don’t have the funds to afford a cart right now or just haven’t found the right one yet, you can spend less than $50 and make your own.

While a DIY kayak cart probably won’t hold up as long as the one you buy, it’s sturdy enough to haul a kayak until you find the perfect one for you.

Materials That You Need

To make your own cart, you will need one 10-foot piece and one 2 foot length (with three-quarter diameter) of PVC. You will also need PVC joints, two 6-inch hand truck wheels, washers, locking split washers, nuts, all-purpose cement, and a pool noodle; all of these items should be available at your local hardware store.

While this cart is easy enough to build on your own, you may benefit from having an extra set of hands, especially when assembling the cart. As with all projects, don’t forget to measure twice and consider wearing safety goggles.

For a complete list of materials and full directions, check out this DIY kayak cart step-by-step project.

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