Kayak Cart: Is this Common?

I saw this recently: I paddler left his kayak in the water, emptied any water in the cockpit, then attached his cart wheels under the boat/under water…then pulled the entire thing onto the sand and to his car. I suppose he did this to eliminate having to wash or wipe down the hull before putting it up on his roof.

Anyone else do this? I’m wondering if I’m missing out on some efficiency!

I don’t do this, but most carts are made some sort of hollow tubing, so water will get in there if the cart is submerged, and it would probably take a long time to dry out. But a cheap cart is around $50, so convenience might be worth replacing the cart a little more often. Of course, salt water would be much worse. I’d also remove the wheels after submerging to let the axles dry out.

I do roll my kayak on a cart right up to the back of my trailer and slide it right up with the cart still attached. But I remove the cart before I travel.

I don’t use a cart, but I always put the boat back in the water if possible before picking it up to carry to the car, to prevent sand and debris from getting on the car.

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If using a cart and by myself I’ll usually put the cart in the water and then haul it back to the car. If with other people I’ll usually put the cart on the grass beyond the sand and two of us will carry the kayak with gear to the cart. The tubeless tires on our carts do not do well in loose sand anyway. They make sand tires for these carts, but they are bulky if you need to carry them in the kayak.

When landing on a beach, I’ll always put the boat back in the water to get the sand off of the hull before putting it on a cart or car.

My wife and I have a 15 year old aluminum frame Wheeleez carts with pneumatic tubeless tires and salt water has not affected them at all. More of an issue is rinsing off the roof of the car if the kayaks have been in salt water. We lost our old Subaru when the roof rusted out around the rails and the windshield cracked on my old Toyota Tacoma due to rust around the windshield frame.

For a tip on making life with a kayak cart easier check out THIS. Works for many kayak carts.


Great idea on the cart strap modification. I gotta try it.

I still hand carry by boat. A few years ago, I could refloat the kayak to clean iff the sand, then pull it and hoist it on my shoulder. Now I’m lucky to get ot up in my shoulder, and the sand is grinding my aluminum rack. Its hell getting old-er!


worse not getting older. :scream:


A lot of people in my local club use the small kayak carts to get the boat to/from the car. They never have to ask anyone for help, so it seems to work for them.

Ditto that. The paint job on my car is beginning reflect a bit of my diminishing strength. A slip of the grip here… Dropping the boat too soon there… Have not lost a $500 plus side mirror yet tho’ as I did with my previous car. Back then I was able to cartop a 85 lb fiberglass canoe on my own… Until I couldn’t.

Carbon/kevlar… carbon/kevlar with vaccuum lay-up. Good for the back (and the car). Not so much for the wallet.



I do something similar.

When using a kayak dolly with a canoe that is much wider it is hard to know when the canoe is centered side to side and with being older and getting down on my knees on a muddy ramp trying to get straps around the dolly frame isn’t much fun as well. I added 4 short ropes with loops on the ends that were all the same length. I then use two short hook cam straps. It all comes along when on the water and several times I found use for the two hook cam straps while on the water.

As to a muddy or sandy boat most of the time mine is mud. When I use my ladder ramp loader I stop half way up to the roof and use that position to take a wet rag and wipe the hull down.

Sometimes when traveling short distances I just leave the dolly attached to the canoe it makes it that much quicker when I get where I’m going.

The two photos show how it gets attached and where it is positioned when I clean the hull.

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I’m hyper critical about damage to my car, but I’m far more inclined to ignore damage caused by a boat slipping off the rack. It’s a simple matter of saying whoops, that had to hurt . . . No harm done except to the paint. After all, I bought the truck to transport the kayak. All the other uses are icing on the cake.

Besides, nothing worse than a “pristine” work truck - it lets people know you’re from the suburbs.


If you had a very heavy kayak, like some of these fishing barges I see around that are upwards of 100 lbs, I could see where that might be a good way to get the kayak on there without having to lift it or unload it.

I do this to get a fully loaded kayak from the water to my car after a camping trip. The alternative is four or five trips with gear from shore to car—not fun. My cart has inflatable rubber tires, which are difficult to get under the kayak in the water. I remove one wheel, put the axle under the kayak, and attach the wheel to the other side, as suggested in this forum years ago. And yes, this does have the advantage of being able to wash the kayak in the water and never having it touch the ground. Obviously you need a boat launch in good condition to do this, so it’s not always possible.