Can I Use A Kayak Cart To Transport My Canoe Or Kayak?



If you’re an avid paddler, there’s a good chance you’ve asked yourself this question before: can I use a kayak cart to transport my canoe or kayak? It’s a common dilemma many outdoor enthusiasts face when looking for a convenient and efficient way to transport their vessels. Well, the good news is, you’re not alone. Many paddlers have wondered the same thing, and today, we’re here to give you all the information you need to make an informed decision. So grab your life vest, pack your sense of adventure, and let’s tackle this question together!

Benefits of using a kayak cart

Ease of transportation

Using a kayak cart provides a hassle-free way to transport your canoe or kayak. Instead of struggling to carry the weight of your watercraft on your shoulders, you can easily load it onto the cart and effortlessly roll it to your destination. This not only saves you from physical strain but also allows you to enjoy your water adventures without the burden of physically carrying your kayak.

Reduced strain on your body

Carrying a heavy kayak for an extended period can put a significant strain on your body, especially your back and shoulders. By using a kayak cart, you can distribute the weight of your watercraft onto the wheels, saving yourself from the risk of fatigue and potential injury.

Versatility for different terrains

One of the key advantages of using a kayak cart is its versatility in handling various terrains. Whether you’re navigating through soft sand, rocky terrain, or uneven surfaces, a well-designed cart will have no trouble smoothly rolling over these obstacles. This feature makes it easier for you to transport your kayak across different environments, allowing you to explore new water bodies without limitations.

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Compatibility with different kayak types

Sit-on-top kayaks

A kayak cart is a fantastic tool for transporting sit-on-top kayaks. These kayaks typically have a flat bottom, making them stable and easy to load onto the cart. The cart’s adjustable straps or cradles secure the kayak, preventing it from shifting during transportation. With the right kayak cart, you can effortlessly transport your sit-on-top kayak to and from the water.

Sit-inside kayaks

Sit-inside kayaks, with their enclosed cockpits, require careful consideration when choosing a kayak cart. Opt for a cart with a design that accommodates the kayak’s shape and size. Look for carts with adjustable pads or support bars that can securely hold the kayak’s hull and prevent any damage during transport. With the right cart, you can easily maneuver your sit-inside kayak to and from the water.


Kayak carts are not limited to just kayaks. They are also highly compatible with canoes. Canoes have a distinct shape and weight distribution, which requires a cart specifically designed for their unique structure. Look for a canoe cart that offers a wider base and adjustable support points to ensure a secure and stable transport.

Can I Use A Kayak Cart To Transport My Canoe Or Kayak?

Factors to consider before using a kayak cart

Weight capacity

When choosing a kayak cart, always check its weight capacity. Ensure that the cart can safely support the weight of your watercraft. Consider the weight of your kayak or canoe, plus any additional gear or accessories you may be carrying. Opting for a cart with a higher weight capacity than your immediate needs is advisable, as it allows for flexibility in the future.

Wheel type

Different wheel types perform better on different terrains. For solid surfaces like pavement or smooth terrain, pneumatic (air-filled) wheels provide a comfortable and smooth ride. However, if you plan to traverse rougher terrains, solid foam-filled wheels are more durable and less prone to punctures. Consider the terrains you will encounter most frequently and choose a wheel type that suits your needs.

Size and portability

Consider the size and portability of the kayak cart, especially if you have limited storage space. Look for carts that are collapsible or have removable wheels, as they are easier to store and transport. Additionally, check the weight of the cart itself to ensure that it is manageable for you to handle when not in use.

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Choosing the right kayak cart

Type of cart

There are various types of kayak carts available, each with its own benefits. The two main types are scupper hole carts and deck carts. Scupper hole carts are designed specifically for sit-on-top kayaks, as they fit directly into the scupper holes, providing a secure attachment point. Deck carts, on the other hand, are more versatile and can be used for both sit-on-top kayaks and sit-inside kayaks. Consider the type of kayak you have and choose a cart that complements its design.

Material and durability

Durability is a crucial factor to consider when selecting a kayak cart. Look for carts made from sturdy materials such as aluminum or stainless steel, as they offer excellent strength and resistance to corrosion. It is also wise to choose a cart with a powder coating or protective finish to enhance its durability and longevity, allowing it to withstand frequent use and exposure to the elements.

Attachment options

Consider how the cart attaches to your kayak or canoe. Adjustable straps, support bars, or cradles are common attachment methods. Ensure that the cart provides a secure and stable connection to your watercraft, minimizing the risk of slipping during transportation. Additionally, consider the ease of attaching and detaching the cart, as you want a hassle-free experience while loading and unloading your kayak.

Can I Use A Kayak Cart To Transport My Canoe Or Kayak?

Steps to properly use a kayak cart

Secure your kayak or canoe

Before attaching the kayak cart, make sure your kayak or canoe is securely fastened. You can use straps or bungee cords to ensure it is tightly secured, preventing any movement during transportation. This step is vital to maintain the stability of your watercraft and reduce the risk of damage.

Attach the kayak cart

Once your watercraft is secured, attach the kayak cart according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Ensure that the cart is properly aligned and centered with the kayak. Adjust any straps or support bars to fit snugly around the hull or scupper holes. Double-check all attachments to ensure a secure connection.

Ensure proper weight distribution

When loading your kayak onto the cart, make sure to distribute the weight evenly. Placing excessive weight on one side can cause imbalance and make it difficult to maneuver. By evenly distributing the weight, you ensure stability and ease of transportation.

Tips for using a kayak cart

Avoid steep or rough terrains

While kayak carts are designed to handle various terrains, it is best to avoid excessively steep or rough paths. These conditions can strain the cart’s wheels and compromise its performance. Stick to flatter, smoother terrains whenever possible to ensure a smooth and efficient transport.

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Use proper lifting techniques

When loading or unloading your kayak onto the cart, it is important to use proper lifting techniques to prevent injuries. Bend your knees, keeping your back straight, and lift with your legs, not your back. This technique reduces the strain on your back muscles and minimizes the risk of strain or injury.

Regularly inspect your cart for wear and tear

To ensure the longevity and reliability of your kayak cart, regularly inspect it for any signs of wear and tear. Check for loose bolts, damaged wheels, or any structural issues that may compromise its performance. Addressing these concerns promptly will help maintain the cart’s functionality and ensure your safety during transportation.

Can I Use A Kayak Cart To Transport My Canoe Or Kayak?

Alternative methods of transporting your kayak or canoe

Shoulder carry

Shoulder carrying involves lifting the kayak onto your shoulder and walking with it. This method is suitable for shorter distances but can be quite physically demanding, especially for larger or heavier watercraft. While it doesn’t require any additional equipment, it may put strain on your back and shoulders.

Car roof rack

Using a car roof rack is a popular method for transporting kayaks or canoes. It involves attaching special racks or saddles to the roof of your vehicle to secure the watercraft in place. While this method requires additional equipment and potential lifting, it provides a secure and stable option for long-distance transportation.

Towing with a bike trailer

For those who prefer an active approach, towing your kayak or canoe with a bike trailer can be a fun and efficient way to transport it. This method involves attaching a trailer specifically designed for transporting watercraft to the back of your bike. It offers a hands-free option, but keep in mind that it requires both a bike and suitable cycling conditions.


Using a kayak cart provides numerous benefits when it comes to transporting your kayak or canoe. It offers ease of transportation, reducing strain on your body, and versatility across different terrains. Coupled with the compatibility with various kayak types and the factors to consider before choosing a cart, a well-selected kayak cart can greatly enhance your water adventures.

By following the proper steps for using a kayak cart and adhering to helpful tips, you can ensure a safe and convenient transport experience. However, it is essential to be aware of alternative methods of transportation, such as shoulder carry, car roof racks, or towing with a bike trailer, which may better suit your needs or preferences.

Ultimately, whether you choose a kayak cart or explore other options, the goal is to make your kayak or canoe transportation hassle-free, allowing you to fully enjoy the wonders of the water. So, go ahead, choose the best method for you, and start exploring new water bodies with ease and convenience!