Kayak Cart Design Project

Hi everyone! I’m an engineering graduate student at Purdue University engaged in redesigning the venerable kayak cart. The emphasis is ease of use for elderly persons, but we feel like the resulting design will be useful for general kayaking enthusiasts as well.

Feel free to answer any mix of the questions below and add comments as you see you relevant! We’re focusing mostly on kayak carts, but open to SUP and canoe suggestions also.

Questions for everyone:

1. How satisfied are you with current kayak cart options available?

2. What design features are most important to you in a kayak cart? (big picture - i.e. weight limits)

3. Are there any features you particularly like or dislike in kayak carts? (smaller picture - i.e. wheel type)

4. Are there any features that are lacking or misunderstood by manufactures in the current cart market?

If you own or use a kayak cart:

5. How much weight do you put on your cart?

6. Would the option to tow a primarily hand towed cart with a light vehicle (i.e. golf cart or ATV) be useful?

7. Have the kayak carts you’ve used placed any limits on your kayaking experience? For example: bulky and awkward to stow, wheels unsatisfactorily traversing certain terrain, support systems unable to hold kayak, etc.

8. What do you do with your cart once you’ve gotten your kayak cart close to the water?

9. If you own a cart, how much money did you spend? Do you feel like you got good value for your money?

If you do not own, or do not use a kayak cart:

10. Why not?

11. Is the price of current cart options a limiting factor? If so, approximately what price range would make you reconsider?

12. Are there any particular features that would make purchase and/or use more appealing?

Note: If prototyped, said kayak cart will not be manufactured for profit - this is purely an academic pursuit - so I don’t think I’m violating any of the forum policies :slight_smile:

  1. pretty satisfied, there seems to be a wide variety to meet various needs.
  2. For my use, being able to balance the kayak fully, ie, cart under the middle of the kayak, so it is easy to walk it along. Storability inside my kayak would be desirable in some situations, but I have not needed that yet, and my cart will not stow inside my kayak.
  3. Tires that do not need to have air checked, wheels that can be replaced with wider sand useable wheels, being able to be stowed inside the kayak, easy to rinse off sand, lighter weight the better.
  4. Not that I can think of.
  5. About 50 lbs, ie one kayak, unloaded is typical for me. I have though about camping, and then the weight would be higher, as it would potentially be loaded.
  6. My typical use is to drive within walking distance of the launch, then use the cart to carry the kayak if the walk is long. I am having trouble thinking of a situation when I would want to attach the kayak on its cart to my vehicle.
  7. Only that I need to be able to leave them in the car, or left at the launch, so only back and forth trips are doable if the cart is needed.
  8. Sometimes I take it onto the beach and unload the kayak into the water from the cart, mostly we lift the kayak off a distance from the water and carry the kayak the last bit to the water. The cart, in either case goes either to the side of the launch or back in the car until we return.
  9. This is the cart we have. Heavy Duty Kayak, Boat and Canoe Pull Cart | Suspenz

I haven’t really looked at the vast assortment of carts available but something light that easily comes apart and fits inside the hatch of my 22 inch wide boat would be a requirement. Compact, light and able to fit through a small hatch.

My ideal would have an option to tow the kayak behind a bicycle which would allow launches from more remote put-ins that are a long way from any roads. The cart should be able to handle top bicycle speeds (long downhills) with occasional bumps and curves without flipping over.

"Justin_Lenhart, post:1, topic:105238
Questions for everyone:

*1. My newest one is a Malone. Works good. Non-pneumatic tires. Straps on d-rings to the cart. Long straps to move narrow and wide boats. Most comments will be on this cart.

*2. Sturdy but light. Carry 75#e boat and gear. Could be 200#.

*3. non-pneumatic wheels…center of the boat use…

*4. carts placed at the back of the boat are smaller easy to store but force you to carry the majority of the weight of the boat.

If you own or use a kayak cart:

*5. normally boats that weight 50, 62, 75 pounds

*6. towing cart with light vehicle…generally no…If it takes that much I have big trailers and big vehicles.

*7.carts I’ve owned…limited my kayaking…no

*8. put it back in the truck…disassemble put in boat…tie to boat…lock on sign/tree/etc. at ramp

*9. there have been many… they have ranged from Free to $150.

If you do not own, or do not use a kayak cart:

10. Why not?…If you can carry it why not?

11. Is the price of current cart options a limiting factor? If so, approximately what price range would make you reconsider?…NA

12. Are there any particular features that would make purchase and/or use more appealing? …a. light wieght
b. center position of boat, “Vee” cradle
c. straps attached to frame
d. dissembles for carry on the boat.
e. no air pressure to maintain in tires
f. cost… I’m going to leave it unlocked in the back of the pick up at boat ramps, shopping centers, restaurants, etc… Loss should be an annoyance not a financial disaster.

Purdue 70, 72

  1. I have a 20 year old Wheeleez cart that still works fine, but there are several carts with the same design that are less expensive. Very happy with it and see no reason to buy another.

  2. Should be able to carry the weight of the kayak and a reasonable amount of gear. I prefer those that carry the kayak in the middle, not the stern.

  3. Don’t like the stock strapping system. Takes too long and if not done correctly the cart can collapse or the kayak can twist on the cart. Devised this modification. Prefer pneumatic tires for best all round use. Handle uneven ground well, although sand tires needed for very soft ground. Solid tires can’t go flat but are often narrow and relatively heavy. Best on smooth hard surfaces.

  4. Being designed to fit in a hatch.

  5. 45-80 lbs. Listed capacity 176 lbs.

  6. No.

  7. No.

  8. If relatively close to the car, carry them back to the car. If not, store them in a hatch. If kayak camping with a lot of gear and portages, store the wheels in a hatch and bungee the frame to the rear deck. I’ve had two friends have carts stolen when they left them unlocked at the launch for a short paddle.

  9. Don’t remember, but they have lasted 20 years. Think they were a lot less expensive than what they are selling for now.


Justin, Call me! I’m a Purdue Industrial Design grad, am 70, have a kayak, and live 1.5 miles from campus on the Wabash! And, if that wasn’t enough, I’m designing a “wheeled launching solution” for my Eddyline. 765-497-0150

I once owned Pungo 140’s: I found a lawn spreader and converted it into a kayak cart that lasted about 13 years until it fell apart; it was fine for transporting from the Bar Harbor Town Dock parking lot to the beach and even over rougher terrain in the backchannels.
I saved the wheels, recently made an axle (from a 2x3, 2 lag screws) and attached it to the bottom of a milk crate. Now I have to design some sort of saddle that will accommodate my Pungo 120 and Tsunami 140.

Ctug meets all my needs!