Best Kayak Cart

The 5 Best Kayak Carts Reviewed For 2017

Whether you’re hitting the water with a partner or by yourself, choosing the best kayak cart can help. Essentially you just strap them under one end of the boat and the cart does the majority of the work.

With wheels to roll the kayak and support its weight, anyone can get a heavy or bulky kayak from the parking lot to the water. No matter how far or inconvenient it may be.

There have been many times where I would have traded most of my gear for a kayak cart. It’s not uncommon to have to travel several hundred yards during portages, put ins, or other events between paddling.

They’re particularly helpful if you struggle to move the kayak by yourself! Let’s take a look at a few different kayak cart options for you.

For more of my top gear recommendations, have a look through these popular Outside Pursuits guide links: Recreational Kayaks, Kayak Paddles, Life Vests

Quick Answer: The 5 Best Kayak Carts For 2017

  1. Suspenz Smart Airless DLX Cart
  2. Malone Xpress Scupper-Style Kayak Cart
  3. Apex KC-DOLLY-SEAT Personal Watercraft Dolly
  4. Malone Clipper Deluxe Universal Kayak Cart
  5. TMS Cart-Canoe/Kayak

Here are my 3 favorite kayak carts with full reviews and our buyers guide below.

Best Kayak Cart

 Suspenz Smart Airless DLX CartMalone Xpress Scupper-Style Kayak CartApex KC-DOLLY-SEAT Personal Watercraft Dolly
editors choice
Attachment:StrapsScupper holesStraps
Weight Capacity:125 pounds200 pounds250 pounds
Features:Powder-Coated aluminum Frame and stainless steel hardware Variable width locking mechanism adjusts from 6.5 to 16.5 inchesCan also be used as a chair also has a built-in kickstand

Kayak Cart Reviews

#1 Suspenz Smart Airless DLX Cart

Suspenz Smart Airless DLX Cart

With a Dewalt inspired color scheme, this cart could be easily mistaken for a construction tool. That’s for the best because the powder coated aluminum frame and stainless-steel hardware of this cart make it the best kayak cart we review.

Two 10” airless tires provide the mechanical advantage for this beat of a cart. The padding on the frame is also a bit different from others.

They chose to use rubber pads instead of foam. I like this overall for its longevity over years of use compared to foam. Superb choice!

While it may be a tad more expensive than other options, the durability and reliability easily offset it. The build, look, and design of this kayak cart inspire nothing but confidence in the adventure!

#2 Malone Xpress Scupper-Style Kayak Cart

Just to be clear, this kayak cart is only suitable for sit on top kayaks or those with scupper holes. If you don’t remember, these are the self-bailing drain holes built in to most sit on top kayaks.

Built on a solid platform with two adjustable height scupper holders, it’s the best kayak carrier for any sit on top kayak enthusiast.

You’ll also be able to adjust the width from 6.5” to 16.5” so it should work with any sit on top boat. The width adjustment operates with a friction screw, so it can be infinitely adjusted within its range.

The simplistic design is almost entirely flat once you remove the wheels. Whether you have a traditional kayak or sit on top boat, this is a serious choice so long as your kayak has scupper holes.

#3 Apex KC-DOLLY-SEAT Personal Watercraft Dolly

While they didn’t pioneer any new concepts here, they did step out on a limb with one feature. Apex decided to use the V-shaped space of the dolly to create a tiny lawn chair!

Now, I’m a sucker for multi-use items and this takes the cake. I love it! Without a doubt, the biggest drawback is that it’s only a few inches off the ground.

Other than that, the rest of the built is a solid aluminum construction. Includes a 12ft strap, rubber bumpers, and the usual assortment of goodies.

I do like that they again went with the larger rubberized tires for mobility. By and large this is the best kayak dolly choice for those who appreciate the multi-use concept.

#4 Malone Clipper Deluxe Universal Kayak Cart

With an overall 200lbs carrying capacity you might even be able to transport a fully loaded canoe onto this kayak cart.

The universal design is similar to the TMS cart but features slightly more robust wheels making it easier transporting heavier canoes and kayaks.

These 10” tires are made to never go flat and their large diameter will help roll over obstacles making it on one of the best canoe carts as well.

The wheels are detachable and the cart can be folded flat. That makes it a good choice for most any size kayak, particularly if you plan to bring it in the boat with you.

Making sure you get the smallest dolly possible for portaging can be a decisive buying factor.

#5 TMS Cart-Canoe/Kayak

While this cart sports cast plastic wheels, they’re wide and large enough to meet our criteria for a great all terrain cart.

The solid metal frame and foam bumpers are a good combination for sturdiness and fitment to most any boat size. The frame is even spring loaded to help keep the dolly in just the right position for loading and unloading. Handy feature!

With a 120lbs capacity this dolly should handle any kayak, even with a load. There’s an included 12ft long tiedown strap that will definitely handle kayaks of any size range.

How To Choose the Best Kayak Cart for You

Best Kayak Carts

While kayaks carts generally serve the same purpose and mostly function the same, we’re going to review a few features that might get overlooked.

To make sure you get the right kayak cart for you, take the time to review these important considerations.

Remember, each of the details below can impact your decision on which to purchase. Be sure to consider all of the important aspects together, not individually. This will help you come away with the best pick for your needs.

Attachment Method

Mostly there are to major attachment methods for production model kayak carts. Of course, DIY and handmade kayak dolly can be made to attach any way you want.

First, there is the fold out strap version. These kayak carts fold up when not in use, and can be expanded when deployed under the kayaks.

To keep the whole contraption together you’ll have to use included cinch straps or ratchet straps. They fit nearly every model of kayak known to man.

Second, is the scupper drain hole model. These will only work on kayaks with scupper holes which are the holes in the bottom of some kayaks (mostly sit on top kayaks) where the boat self-drains.

If your boat has scupper holes, measure the distance on center between the two holes in the back of the boat. Make sure the cart you choose can adjust to fit the width of your boat’s drain holes.

Tire Types

There are two ways to go here. You can go cheap and roll with plastic tires. Or you can go big and find a model with wide inflatable tires. There is a major performance difference and the price different is minimal.

Plastic wheels tend to be small diameter, thin wheels. They’re like the little annoying wheels on your trash can that get stuck on everything. Avoid these unless you’re using the cart on primarily hard surfaces.

Thicker and larger wheels are usually inflatable and will help in a couple of ways. The larger diameter helps the wheels roll over bumps and objects without getting stuck.

The wider profile helps the wheels to float better in soft surfaces such as sand. Thin wheels will simply sink and get stuck in sand.

Frame Material

It probably need not be said, but I might as well cover it. Make sure that the kayak cart you choose has a frame that can stand up to some abuse!

You’re paying good money for this kayak cart so opt for aluminum. It’s lighter than steel and much more durable than plastic. You’ll regret your decision if you go with a cheap plastic one that breaks on your first trip.

Strap Types

It might be tempting to go with upgraded ratchet straps by I think most of the time you’ll be just fine with quick straps.

Ratchet straps are usually only necessary for heavy duty work like tying down a car, or a heavy load of logs on a trail. Not really necessary on a lightweight kayak cart.

Quick straps just pull down snug and you’re done. No need to ratchet them.

Conclusion

All said, there are plenty of options for any needs. If you’ve got scupper holes, a scupper dolly can be a real convince.

Otherwise there are options from ultra-durable to ultra-cheap. I encourage you to assess your needs and choose the kayak cart that is best for your unique situation. Consider every aspect and then choose the one you need!

A final note – sometimes paying more today for your equipment means less need to replace it later. A good investment today can save you money down the road! (or down the river).

I hope this guide was helpful for finding the best kayak cart to fit your needs. If you want to comment or recommend a cart I didn’t include, please use my contact form to get in touch.

Have fun and be safe out there!

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About Casey Fielder

I am an avid outdoorsman with experience in naturalist education, outside adventure education, ski instruction, and writing. In addition to my outdoor hobbies, I’m a huge fan of punk rock. I have launched several start-ups. (or business ventures) When exploring the backcountry, I usually carry less than 10 pounds of gear. Years of experience have taught me to pack light. I enjoy sharing my experiences of backcountry education teaching and guiding through writing.