Kayak Cart/Dolly

I can carry my sea kayak on my shoulder a short distance but one of the ramps I frequent requires about a 75 yard walk from the car park. I’m thinking I might want one of those dolly thingies. There’s one that seems ubiquitous for about $40 but it looks a bit cheap. Then several others in the $80-120 range.

Can I get recommendations for one that’s good enough to be reliable and last but doesn’t have to be luxury quality?

What kind of terrain?

I have 3 different types, but only really use 2 of them now.

The type I use the most is like this: https://www.rei.com/product/738003/thekayakcart-stern-wheels-cart. It straps under the stern of the kayak, so only supports part of the weight (the ones which strap in the center can carry most of the weight). The clips are secure, so you can roll it forward or backward and over some bumps without it getting knocked loose. Small enough that it fits in the hatch of my kayak (wheels off in one case, fully assembled with another boat). Rolls well on solid ground. Works well on sea kayaks, but may not work on SOTs or some rec boats if they have a flat, wide stern.

For sand, I use a Wheeleez Beach Kayak Cart with low pressure tires (https://wheeleez.com/product/wz1-kcb/). It straps in the middle, so can carry most of the weight of the kayak. Rolls over sand, but in soft sand there is a bit of grab. You have to strap well to keep in so the wheels aim straight, and if a wheel grabs something, the wheels may try to turn sideways. Best if you use 2 sets of straps to hold it on (one at front of cart, he other at back), so that t is more likely to stay straight and not fall over if you back up (the Wheeleex does come with 2 straps, where most cheaper versions don’t - you can use the same straps you use for roof topping).

I also have a generic one that mounts under the center, but has small tires (like this: https://amzn.to/2LIoY4F). I rarely ever use it any more. Same strap issues as the Wheeleex sand cart, but non extra benefits (like being able to run on sand).

@Rookie said:
What kind of terrain?

Packed gravel/dirt path, your typical double-track dirt road that might not even require a 4WD vehicle to drive on.

I also have a Suspenz SD airless cart like the one Rookie is about to recommend and it works well for my needs and I have a much longer walk than you. $149 with free shipping on Amazon. Be sure to get the 16 inch heavier wheels. It’s made in China and not too luxurious but seems sturdy. I’ve used mine about 20 times and it looks like it will provide years of service. Also nice that it sits up by itself on a kickstand which is nice for loading and also nice for transporting it in your vehicle.

I like the C-Tug cart but it is expensive for what it is. I appreciate it for its design and all-plastic construction; the other cheaper carts I used started rusting after just one season of saltwater use.

Suspenz and Wheeleez both make good carts. Well built and reliable. I have a Wheeleez mini cart and a sand cart which were fine with my thermoform boats but when I got a kevlar kayak, the higher off the ground the better so I went with a Suspenz Mag-Lite airless cart with 16" tires, as Tom noted. Super cart.

@AlwaysWet Have you ever tried using T-9? https://boeshield.com/marine/ No salt here on the Fresh Coasts but I do use it on my cart as well as the antenna of my PLB as a rust deterrent.

@Rookie good tip! Never thought to. My PLB antenna could probably also use some protection.

@AlwaysWet said:
@Rookie good tip! Never thought to. My PLB antenna could probably also use some protection.

I give all the credit to Greg Stamer, who first mentioned T-9 here. It’s really good stuff.

I have tried quite a few types of carts, the only one I have kept using is the NRS Yak Yak (the small one, not the XL) Its wide wheels work well on sand and rocks, and are ok in brush. The tread pattern on the wheels do not pick up much mud or debris. It is easily broken down and fits in every one of my boats, (my widest boat has a beam less than 22"). It uses 2 cam straps to fasten the boat to the cart and is super easy to secure. The cart is made of aluminum and has plastic wheels so it is corrosion free.
he only downside is the wheels do squeak if not siliconed periodically .

I have two carts.

The first one I bought, the Kayak Cart stern cart, is good on pavement and hardpacked surfaces if you have a narrow boat. I like it because it is the smallest cart made and, with wheels removed, will fit inside most kayaks’ hatch. However, its wheels are too narrow and hard to work well on softer surfaces. The cotter pin wheel removal system also is hard to work with cold hands, the pins rust, and the little bushings are easy to lose. Take a good small bag to put the wheels and hardware in.

The second cart, a Wheeleez Kayak Cart Mini with the Tufftire solid polyurethane wheels, works well on both hardpack and dirt with a shallow soft surface. In deep sand, you would need the mini balloon tires—which require the slightly bigger Beach Cart Mini. The two Mini frames are specifically sized for the Tufftires and the balloon tires, respectively. Wheeleez also makes analogous full-sized (non mini) frames and wheels in both Tufftire and balloon tire frame dimensions. The wheel removal system is easy to use and parts can be replaced.

For a few years I portaged my sea kayak to the launch about half a mile from my house each way. The surface included pavement, gravel road, dirt path, and beach sand. It sufficed for all but was sketchy in the sand. I literally put hundreds of miles on that cart, even replacing the frame once when the contact areas with the bushings wore thin. More miles later, I finally just bought a whole new cart. But I got my money’s worth from that cart. It cost $89 at the time, about the same as the first cart did.

Now I just use the first cart, because we have to drive to paddle and the water is far from the parking area. All pavement, and I do not bother taking any wheels off or putting the cart in my hatch. I just walk back to the vehicle and stow it in there.

The above comments apply only to unloaded kayaks. For loaded ones, something like the C-Tug cart would work far better.

Suspenz all the way. Considering everything you’ve spent on this sport a few dozen dollars more or less is a rounding error; buy the best, you get what you pay for!