Cart for canoe

I’ve used a regular cart on one end but the weight is straining, so I’ve thought of a cart for the middle position. Mine is like the regular kayak cart displayed below and I’m afraid it won’t stay put on the flat bottom. I’m thinking of the WIDE RIDER or HEAVY LIFTER, whichever is better.

The wide rider seems like a better option, but the heavy lifter says it’s made for canoes.

Do you think that’s the way to go? Is oil canning to be expected? Thanks!

De very rare times ah’ use a cart…
ah’ use dis here contraption. Used ta be called a “Canadian Boat Walker”. Portaged a big OT Tripper wit a weeks worth o’ goods an’ had a solo canoo on top o’ dat.


I woldn’t load that much weight. 400# is the max befor it collapses.

Kayaks rated for 300# will usually carry 350# (to avoid a lawsuit by someone who maxed the boat) but carts don’t.

One suggestion is to tie the straps to the thwarts of the canoe to stop it from sliding back.

I found that necessary on my kayak because no matter how tight I strapped it down, the first time the wheels got bogged down in dirt, sand or a small rock, the cart stopped and the kayak kept on until I pulled it off the thing.

Adding anotehr strap to tie the cart to the boat thwart or pad-eye helped a lot.

Then don’t overload the boat.

Take Elmo’s advice
The other carts carry much inflated ratings. Might hold that on smooth level pavement.

The cart Elmo suggests is one i have used for over 10 years and have portaged everything from tandem canoes to a 20’Grumman war canoe over close to 100 miles of Adirodack carries.

Any end mounted cart is misery with a loaded canoe. YOU have to support half the weight, the cart only supports one end and thats never more than half the weight. A center mounted cart hauls the weight, you just propel it and steer.

Use 4 straps for the most security, run from each corner of the cart to a thwart. A single strap does little to keep the cart tracking straight when you hit anything with either wheel. I have 4 straps attached to the cart and each strap has a Fastex buckle in the middle. The canoe ends of each strap can stay attached to the thwarts and just be unbuckled from the cart end at the put-in.

We use this set-up for the 90 Mile Adirondack Classic canoe race to speed up our portages. I have used it tandem twice, a war canoe once, and a C-4 four times. We have never had a mechanical failure of the cart wheels or frame, only strap issues till we settled on the 4 strap method.

We have witnessed many failures of the axle-less carts, and the end mounted carts. On rough carry trails the larger the wheel diameter, the better the cart handles roots, ruts, waterbars, rock, and stumps. The typical end mounted carts have way too small a wheel and get stuck on obstacles, usually pulling the cart off the end of the kayak or canoe.


I have been using the older version of the nemo (yedo)for several years. Works great. Use it for canoe or kayak. Comes apart easily and can go in the boat with you. Can’t imagine any benefit of the wide rider for a canoe…or the heavy lifter for that matter…do you actually bring 400 lbs of boat+gear?

"to tie the straps to the thwarts"
sounds like a good idea. I think a hook on a loop will make the job easier, right?

Mighty Mite
I’ve got something similar to that one, and my issue is not the weight but the width of the bar. 30" covers the whole bottom of the canoe, but the solution with the thwarts seems reasonable.

sewn loops at each end of strap
We tried coated metal hooks at the ends of the straps, but you need a very wide open hook to go over the thwart and then the hook is right at the gunwale and they seemed to alway lie at an odd angle over the gunwale. And the straps with 4 metal hooks added weight.

The sewn loops allow the strap to conform to the thwart/gunwale intersection and lie flat along the side of the canoe. Since the strap is actually two pieces, each end is easy to loop through itself around the thwart. And they don’t come off while paddling when the strap is loose on the canoe.


Fat boy
Look for Paddleboy’s Fatboy. It is a stern cart with a strap to the thwart. Easy on. Easy off.

But if you want to mount the cart near the center of your canoe, check out this

Item 32211 or 32210.

different brand, same cart
as the one FE uses. I’ve only had to use it a few times, but it works well on loose surfaces and hard one - potholes included. It’s a bit heavy, but that really isn’t a problem with a canoe, right? If the trail is bumpy and your canoe is flat-bottomed, the hull will flex some. Best to center the gear over the cart as much as possible.

My loaded boat.

Wickerbutts load.

Yup you can break them.

And still use them!

We used the “Canadian Boatwalkers” on our Umbagog to Rangeley trip last October. On road portages they are nothing short of luxurious smooth rollers. The Rapid River portage, a fireroad notorious for trashing 4wd trucks, put our carts to the test. The solo canoes with one persons gear had little difficulty. But the tandems with two peoples gear were too pushing it. Mike and Al got the big Explorer 17 through OK. Jim and Bill bent a wheel about half way up. OUCH.

As bad as the wheel was, Jim managed to bend it back enough to haul his unloaded boat on the road portage over to Rangely.

As heavy as the Boatwalker is, it ought to be tougher. In fact I’d bet you could build something much tougher and lighter using the basic design and modern materials.

For a hundred bucks though it’s still the best canoe hauler I’ve seen.


"sewn loops at each end of strap"
Thank you. I think that’s the perfect solution using what I have.

So it would be 4 straps in loop, right?

I’ve the UR from Spring Creeks
so probably that’s anoter route I can follow. Just add the adapter and tires.

Will it be sturdy enough though?

I would have to worry about rusting because I deal with sea water. Something that’s not aluminum must be good stainless steel.

The superwide cart seems like a good option for a loaded canoe and waterproofness?

Not Stainless
It’s mostly painted steel tubing and chrome on the wheels and spokes.

I used it on a salt water trip with no rust but I

was careful to rinse it when ever I could.


Everything figured out
Just used the dolly in the middle with 2 straps in loop to the thwart and the other strap around the whole canoe. It was a breezy and didn’t notice any wobbling.

Thanks all!

Of course
The best option is to get a canoe light enough to carry w/o a cart. Try Bell, Hemlock, Swift and WeNoNah, all ,coms, for light tandems that can be carried. Their are others.

"a canoe light enough"
Sure enough, but at the same time any such canoe still needs to be carted when walking 3 or more blocks.

I’m considering a light, but not superlight to the point of being fragile. Maybe a Minnesotta II in fiberglass when I get a trailer.

superlight MN-II is not fragile
and is definite light enough to carry for long distances. On the weekend after Labor Day you can stand along many portages in the Adirondacks between Old Forge, NY and Saranac Lake and see dozens of Minnesota IIs being carried for distances over a mile, nonstop. Even Minnesota IIIs and IVs. Its not a superhuman feat.

There are a lot of Kevlar Minnesota IIs in rental fleets that survive that duty just fine. The Ultra-light layup will do just fine anywhere you can paddle without a helmet. It does not need to be babied, just not abused.


I guess “need” is a relative term
How light a canoe “needs” to be to be portable, or how badly you “need” to put it on a cart for longer carries depends on your perspective. Certainly it’s not at all rare for middle-weight canoes to be carried pretty long distances by people who have never consider using a cart in the first place, or in places where carts are not allowed, or where the trails are too rough.