Boat Carts

I’ve been researching carts for canoes and many of them seem very similar. I’ve had zero past experience using carts.

I would haul the cart in the canoe with a total weight to be carted of about 200lbs. Mud and sandbars should be the softest terrain, but no dunes or ocean beaches. Convenience of use is a big factor due to my immature emotional state.

I’d appreciate hearing which carts suck and why, and which ones have worked well for you.

I can’t help you on brand since…
mine is home built, but make sure you get one with at least fifteen inch wheels.

From experience on the portages in the ADK 90 miler, the little wheels are useless.



Two hundred pounds is a lot of
weight for a canoe cart. Also, I’d be worried about that much weight being inside the canoe (100 lbs plus) when it’s carted since you could possibly damage the canoe when bouncing it over rough terrain?

You’ll have to be careful on how much maximum weight is specified for the cart and add a safety margin especially if you intend to take it on rough trails. I had problems with my first cart breaking down on the Bowron canoe circuit. What a pain. On the Bowron they weigh the baggage you intend to take in the canoe and limit the weight to sixty pounds so you don’t damage the portage trails. My total weight would have been around 120 lbs. I returned the cart and got one that uses 18 inch bike tires and should be OK for the Bowron.

I’d suggest the wider tires if you intend to use it on the sand. My present cart with the skinny bike tires wouldn’t work too well on the beach. Skinny tires roll easier but will bog down in sand.

I seen some substantial canoe carts that would be OK for you; however, the beefy ones don’t usually fold up and are fairly large. On my first trip on the Bowron I rented a cart and didn’t have any trouble with it. I bought the cart when I thought I’d go solo and didn’t want such a rented monster in my canoe.

The cart will get a lot of abuse on a rough trail.

I use this

This ebay seller claims it has a 300lb capacity. Cabelas sells the exact same cart under their name, but they claim only 200lb capacity - and they charge $40 more for it.

this is what I know about it…it has 16" bicycle wheels. It has a “kickstand” to hold it upright while loading. The pump that comes with it works. The cart pulls easily over hard rough surfaces, but not so easily over sand or deep pea gravel. It does seem built to last.

As was mentioned above, I would hesitate to carry much of a load in the canoe while on a cart, unless it was centered over the cart and the distance to be traveled was short and smooth. There is no suspension on any of these carts, and the flex of the canoe and the tires can get it to bouncing, which in a loaded canoe is probably not a good thing.

Anyway - I have used this cart over some very uneven surfaces, and it works great for that.

It’s the same one I used to
replace the cart I returned to REI. It seems like it can take a beating. I used it but so far not on portage trails. It uses 18 inch bicycle tires. Skinny tires that roll easier than the thicker ones. It is made by a Schwinn subsidiary – or at least the one I bought. Realistically, I can’t imagine you pushing anything weighing over two hundred pounds except on a fairly level trail.