Canoe cart

Hi all I need some info on canoe carts. I need to use it on a 60lb canoe and gear. Must be heavy duty. Will be using on carry trails in ADK park. Price not a problem, just need something that is not going to fall apart on the trail

All of them
are strong enough not to fall apart. Also, any of them will support 60 lbs canoe with some gear. I used one commercial and 2 home-made carts with 60 lbs boat and 20-80 lbs gear on different terrains, mostly sand and small boulders, and some dirt trails.

Impossible to suggest anything at that point. There are dozens of makers. Paddleboy and Wheelez come to mind. Google up “canoe cart” or “kayak center cart” (but not kayak end-cart). Then you will have enough info and will know better what additional info you need.

Center loader is best

– Last Updated: May-26-11 12:35 PM EST –

but be warned..that in my experience in the Adirondacks there is at least one portage that is loon shit and no cart will work. All it takes is one portage to ruin your experience.

I have a Cabelas Canoe and Kayak Carrier that works pretty well over rocks at home and not very well in muck. I suggest the steel.

I am not much of a carter on trips and the Adirondacks are probably the least rocky of any of them as they are the oldest mountains. I am usually out 70 days a year in Woodland Caribou or Temagami ( the latter stands for sharp pointed devil rocks)

Center mounted Cart with Bicycle wheels
Contrary to previous advice, there are many carts that are not up the rocky Adirondack carries. The carries in the Adirondacks are not the short stroll to the water from the parking lot that is smooth gravel or sand. They are rocky, they have mucky stretches, they go over large tree roots, they straddle boulder tips, they have stone water bars, stone steps, wooden bridges & boardwalks, and dips and peaks.

Avoid any cart where the wheel is only supported on one side, they will bend when you hit something solid, and you will. The taller the wheel the better. Not necessarily a big fat tire, but 16 -20" bike wheel diameter.

I have over 200 miles of portage experience in the Adirondacks. Wheeling everything from Kevlar Tandems to a 20’Grumman War Canoe with gear for 6. 18 separate trips across Raquette Falls Carry, 15 in a crowd of 249 other canoes and kayaks. What survives Raquette Falls is good stuff, what fails there is not what you want.

The bicycle tired Swedish Boat Cart/ Canadian Boat Walker is the best thing i have seen and used. The more expensive versions are aluminum framed and width adjustable. The lesser versions are steel framed and not adjustable for width, which is no problem with a tandem canoe. The bed rails are adjustable for angle and height which is the most important point of contact.

Securing the canoe to the cart is also very important. One belly strap is not enough. Rocks and roots will stop one wheel and the cart will shift a bit to that side, gradually starting to run doggy. Better a strap from each corner to a thwart or seat mount, keeping each side solidly anchored. Readjusting a cart under a loaded canoe on a rough trail is not fun.

End mount carts are the worst. They usually attach with one strap arount the boat and a bungee cord attached forward. When the little wheels hit an obstacle they can’t easily roll over (and thats anything over4") the cart stretches the bungee cord and comes off the back of the boat. And with any end mounted cart, YOU are supporting half the weight like you were double carrying the canoe and its load. Not what you want to be doing on a mile long carry. Center mounted carts carry all the weight, you just balance it and pull or push.

Also avoid carts that have an axle running from wheel to wheel. They limit what obstacles you can straddle, and there are a lot of rocks in the middle of the trails that you will want to straddle.

Mine came from Oak Orchard Canoe in Waterport NY and it is a very solid version of the original Swedish Boat Cart. It has well over 100 miles of Adirondack Carries under its wheels and has never had a flat or a frame failure; even carrying the 20’ Grumman and gear over Browns Tract Carry and Raquette Falls Carry.

In the Adirondack Canoe Classic we have seen some dismal carts coming off canoes and others breaking frame tubes and the wreckage blocking the trail for hundreds of other racers. The light aluminum carts that mount the wheel using a single bolt thru a hole in the aluminum tubing may carry 150# rolling around a paved parking lot at REI, but bouncing a 150# canoe over a 6" rock puts a whole lot more stress on that 3/4" aluminum tube that is weakened by a 3/8"bolt hole.

There are lots of other considerations to using a cart, but thats another nights writing.


Castle Craft
Take a look at Castle Craft dollies. Not cheap but solid as a rock. Customer service was excellent when I had a slight problem with one wheel after it was shipped to me. Frame is 2x4 aluminum and it would take a lot to break it. Great ground clearance which you need on a lot of the Adirondack portages. I use the slightly cheaper “kayak” dolly for both my canoe and kayak.

Are you handy?

I made this from a baby jogger that I got at a thrift shop for $12.

So far I have used it in four different ADK 90 milers. One of them was carrying a Minn3 tricked out as a Minn 4

It folds in half also.

If you can come up with one, drop me an e-mail and I’ll explain the simple procedure.

If not, go with what Plaid Paddler above says. I have seen his, and they don’t come any better then his

jack L

which trails ?
I’m the last thing from a cart expert as I’ve only ever used one once. Found it @ a landing in Temagami & tried it for the experience.

However I am very familiar w/ all the popular (& most of the other)carry trails inside Blue Line.

If you care to share your proposed rte I & others will be pleased to offer an opinion on the “cartability” of it’s trails.

For instance many (but not all) trails along “main line” rtes can be fairly cart-friendly (although a bit soggy now) Others, like the Low’s-Oswegatchie trail, the Moore trail above Wanakena, Cranberry-Grass pond trail & many along lightly used rivers are decidely not cart-friendly

Where ya going ?

On portages

– Last Updated: May-26-11 4:29 PM EST –

he'll have to portage. And better be prepared for that (i.e. for carrying it on the shoulders). Large or small wheels, if rocks are bigger than, say, 10", or slope uphill is to steep - no cart will work. Large diameter wheels won't help on uphill slope with heavy boat, btw - they only make job easier over obstacles on horizontal surface. But it's good to have them if there is enough room in the boat for 20" wheels and appropriate size frame. (Needless to explain that the higher is the wheel, the wider should be the frame, or it becomes too unstable on rough terrains).

I personally wouldn't take a 60 lbs boat on any route where portage longer than 50m is required. Something in 25-35 lbs range - may be, yes.

PS: Agreed on steel frame if wheel is attached by a short screw only. My home made carts have 1" tubular aluminum frame but the wheels are sitting on a steel 1/2" axle going through both sides. Frame doesn't go across the boat, so there is no bending load applied. Ground clearance is only 6" though, because wheels are 12" and axle is going through both sides. Weighs 6 lbs with wheels. But, since price is not a problem, the OP will have to buy.

About Castlecraft suggestted in another post - it is the same as in Sailboats to Go - don't know who is the original guy. Frame is aluminum, but square tubing is better than 3/4 round tube of other carts. Looks weird, to my taste - I just can't stand any angular shapes around the boat. But this is a matter of preference. Note that at the end of the video it suggests using it without straps - bad idea. Also note the comment at the beginning about competitor's carts with tiny wheels that are getting stuck in sand - their (or CC) cart has 12" wheels as a standard option, same as almost everybody else.
Well... I said already that the OP should've done his own research first; all this good suggestions here might save him time and thinking, but won't be a substitute for own common sense...

Canadian Boat Walker
Here be de one ah’ use on occasoon… an old Canadian Boat Walker.


Elmo’s boat walker looks like the current offering from LL Bean. I haven’t used one, but the one I didn’t win at the raffle seemed really well made and sturdy:

At least if you break a cart from LL Bean they’ll replace it or give you your money back.

Many of the carts on the market, even some of the better ones, have wheels without bearings or proper bushings. This is OK for short carries but if you walk a mile on a road enough heat builds up to melt the plastic bushing that rub against the axel. The Bicycle wheel carts that are recomended are the best on the market as far as I have been able to find.

They are a bit heavy and will not fit into a kayak hatch but they will far outlast the others. If you want to save weight you can remove the kick stand. If you plan on off roading with it you might want to bring a patch kit and small pump or co2 bottle.

As noted above don’t count on wheeling many of the more remote carrys in the ADKs. I use carts a lot but if I’m doing a trip with short carries I don’t bother bringing it, its just not worth the agravation and time setting it up. On long portages on smooth terrain the things are brilliant. I’ve done several trips with my daughter and when she was younger she rode along in the canoe along with the gear.

a good point. Both brands that I mentioned - Paddleboy and Wheeleez - have bearings on their center carts. Also, both brands offer puncture-proof non-inflatable wheels, though from my experience inflatable works much better. Pump is a must with inflatable wheels. A word of caution on bearings - some are not rust-proof.

Another distinction is whether it’s a “canoe cart” or a “kayak cart”. I understood that it was meant for a canoe - then the above frame from LL Bean with bike wheels will do. I see some weak points there, like welded spots, and my preference is not to have weak spots, but I never used this cart so can’t say. For a typical river or sea kayak the cart from LL Bean is too bulky frame, and too large wheels.

bike tires
if it dont have bike tires its one big piece of shit!!!

end of story!!!