Best portage wheels

-- Last Updated: Aug-26-14 12:30 AM EST --

I'll be paddling the entire lower stretch of the Colorado River this November (330 miles from Hoover Dam to Morales Dam at the US/Mexican border). There will be 6 dams that I will need to portage along the way. I've got a shuttel around the first 3 dams, but I'll need to hoof it around the next 3 dams.
I'll be carring a set of portage wheels strapped to my rear deck of my sea kayak starting when I reach Parker, AZ. The terrain around the dams will be rocky, sand, mud, and asphalt.
My question is what set of portage wheels does anyone recommend that is both durable and light weight that can be transported on the rear deck of a sea kayak? Also, would you recommend pneumatic tires, foam filled, or solid rubber tires?
Right now I'm leaning toward foam filled tires so that I won't have to worry about a flat tire and they are lighter than the solid rubber tires.

Pneumatic tires are problematical
First, I would be leery of transporting a cart on your rear deck due to issues with wind and loss of stability. Some can be disassembled and put in a hatch, but you probably need your hatches for your gear.

I have pneumatic tires (C-Tug) and find them very problematical. They leak a lot. It’s quite difficult to fit a pump onto the valve. The tubes are near impossible to change because the tires are very rigid rubber. I have to heat the tire with a hair dryer and manhandle it off and on. On the positive side, they roll very nicely over small obstacles and lighten the load considerably. You can’t use small tires like on the C-Tug over large rocks.

My least favorite cart is the Seattle Sports Paddle Boy. Anything that mounts on the stern rather than in the middle makes the weight on your arms very heavy.

Thanks and agreed.
Thanks and I totally agree about carring anything on my decks other than a spare paddle and map. I’m not a fan of having to haul the portage wheels with me, but I’m here on Pnet asking anyways since I’ve got some great info from these forums in the past.

Sometimes someone has a crazy hair brained idea and it works. I’m kinda hoping or that moment again.

C-Tug has now replaced their pneumatic tires with a rubber version. I do like the way the kayak sits on the platform of the C-Tug. It’s quite snug and balanced. You could disassemble the C-Tug and perhaps shove it way into your bow and stern?

I don’t know if there is a small, light cart that can be taken apart and that can also carry weight effectively and go over rocks. It’s got to have wheels and wheels take up space.


– Last Updated: Aug-28-14 10:50 AM EST –

I've been using off-road carts on an occasional basis, or been around when other people were using them, for practically my whole life. Most of these uses were in the woods, going over stumps, jagged boulders and logs (such heavy use that it took two people to pull the cart most of the time). The loads were sometimes less than 70 pounds, but usually more, and sometimes three-times as much as that. The tires? Old-fashioned 24-inch "balloon" bicycle tires. No tire ever got a flat, but if you know bicycles you know that fixing a flat takes less than 15 minutes using tools that can fit in your pocket.

I know there are some pretty crappy portage carts, but when it comes to tires, except on deep loose sand (not just patches of sand), it's tough to beat something similar to a bicycle tire, even in smaller sizes. Just remember that the tire size found on many carts is really too small to negotiate rough ground very well, and the only reason some people still swear by them for that purpose is that they've never used bigger tires. Of course, with a kayak, you're sort of backed into a corner about your choices.

Since you know which boat you'll be using and this is a trip-specific piece of gear, I'd be tempted to make my own cart. I'd make it to custom-fit that particular hull, so that attaching it would be quick and easy yet still very tight and secure. Generic, one-size-fits-all attachment methods really aren't very secure and are apt to shift a lot if you end up needing to pull hard on rough ground.

Speaking of rough ground, though end-mounted carts mean you need to lift more weight, they also require much less pulling force in the rough stuff (because there's proportionally less weight on the tires) and eliminate the problem of restrictive approach and departure angles (especially when smaller tires sizes are used). You also don't need to walk while stooped over just to keep the boat's tail from dragging (I've watched people using small, center-mount carts, and sure wouldn't want to have to walk far with that method). Obviously you can tailor the mount location to your needs, perhaps hedging slightly toward a middle-mount location and shifting some of your gear load toward the cart, as a compromise which minimizes the worst attributes of both methods.

I have a Wheelez
with the foam filled wheels and like it very much.

It is for center mount. (never have to worry about a flat)

Whatever you do, don’t get one that you put under the rear of the yak.

I have watched too many people with them in anguish while trying to pull over rough terrain in the Adirondack 90 miler. they just won’t stay attached, where the center mounts will.

Any one who worries about the stability of the yak with them on the back deck, is not a decent paddler.

My kayak is an 18 footer that is 20" wide, and I never even know it is there.

The wheels come off just by removing a pin from each, and with a couple of cross bungees, the frame and wheels make a low profile.

If you do get one, I would advise getting a couple of spare pins, (just in case). Although I have never lost one.

You can get them in Lowes or most hardware stores

Jack L

That works only if no Star Thistle
… in the area where one is portaging. Also check for potential cactus. But even a blackberry thorn can get you with a bike tire puncture.

I would research and see if the area(s) to be traveled has that stuff, and then select a cart tire based on that info. We gave up and went to solid tires for our local use. Yes, they are a bit heavier and more expensive, but they Do_Not_Go_Flat. Everything else does. There is a short period of time in the winter/very early spring where it may be wet enough to be less likely, then the growing cycle starts again.

On our bikes we did the “green slime” in all the tires, even though I mostly stay on pavement on the country roads around here, because agricultural tires from tractors and pickups can pick up dirt/detritus and drag those thorns out into the roads by every dirt road crossing on pavement. Also, avoid going through puddles if you can with unprotected unslimed bike tires, because rain can wash a lot of blackberry or other thorns into puddles and then you get more punctured tubes.

Right now, late summer, when I go on trail, I end up taking a pair of tweezers afterwards and pulling assorted thorn crap out of my socks and shoes that’s wormed its way in, even the soles of my “trail running” shoes can get punctured with this stuff. Yet I am on areas that look mowed down enough or dirt enough to be relatively safe. Hah ! I continued to be fascinated by how awful the natural and introduced dry land vegetation seedheads/thorns can be here in a semi-arid climate, and how determined it is to hitch a ride, either in the tires or a shoe or the pet’s paws or ears. Gaaaaaah.