Wondering which is the best kayak cart for portaging and for loading. I’ve heard SeattleSports but some of the reviews are wanting. What about the C Tug?


For loading
what - boat from the cart onto the car rack? I take boat off the cart before doing that, so cart height etc doesn’t matter. Some people, I’ve heard, are cartoping the boat with the cart strapped on - can’t say why, so can’t comment.

Or “loading” a kayak onto the cart? I guess this task is easy with any cart.

For portaging - on what terrain, how far and how heavy (i.e. kayak with 2 weeks gear or kayak alone)? Some terrains need wide and soft tires like Wheleeze balloon carts, other terrains are OK with any kind of wheel, and some will destroy any inflatable wheel so solid rubber becomes the best option. On long portages with heavy loads and difficult terrains some kind of bearing or bearing-like bushing is almost mandatory, and most carts don’t have it.

Seattle Sport is a so-so cart, no bearings. Paddleboy Nemo is better and folds more compact, though you need to add straps. C-Tug - don’t know, doesn’t look like it has bearings but it does require a sort of assembling (more than Nemo or Wheleeze with twist-cap, anyway). I can understand metal frame with solid rubber wheels, or metal frame with inflatable wheels, but plastic frame with inflatable wheels (C-tug) is an unusual choice.

kayak cart
I’ve seen the Ctug and I have a Wheeleez kayak/canoe cart with pneumatic tires that are about the same size as the Ctug’s tires and they are good for firm surfaces.

They will bog down and turn into skids in sand.

You will use foul language with the Ctug sized tires in soft sand and you will be worn out from dragging your boat and cart through the sand.

Get the biggest balloon tires you can for sand, especially unpacked beach sand.


Paddly Boy vs C-Tug
I have a Paddle Boy http://www.ems.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3668993&emssrcid=GoogleBase:PS3668993

which I really dislike, nay despise. It’s main vice is that it refuses to stand up straight. Even if you carefully center it on your kayak, it will eventually tilt over on its side and won’t go straight. Another real problem is that it is placed so far back on the stern that you will be lugging the full weight of the kayak with one hand. That position also keeps the hull very close to the ground, so this specific model wouldn’t work on rough portages or really any kind of uneven ground. It barely works on pavement.

The only thing the Paddle Boy has going for it is that it’s light and foldable. In fact it’s so light that you can place it over the stern while the kayak is up on your vehicle, which facilitates unloading the kayak over the rear window—you slide the kayak down halfway, secure the cart’s bungee to something in your cockpit, and then slide the kayak the rest of the way to the ground, where it lands smoothly on the Paddle Boy.

I also have a C-Tug. This is installed just behind the cockpit, so that the bulk of the weight is carried by the cart rather than by you. Lugging the kayak up and down hills and over slightly rough ground feels featherweight compared to the Paddle Boy. The pneumatic tires help a lot.

Some disadvantages of the C-Tug: Expensive. Fairly heavy. The strap system is complicated to assemble. The straps tend to slide off a slippery kayak that narrows quickly behind the cockpit. It can’t be used to unload your kayak like the Paddle Boy. It can be a bit difficult to get the kayak centered on the cart in the right place. Still, I would say the C-Tug is definitely superior to the Paddle Boy. It’s just a question of getting used to how it works.

PaddleBoy Air
I have a PaddleBoy with the air tires.Last week I used it on several portages in the Adirondacks. I did have to stop and reposition the cart several times on some gnarly rutted trails. The cart seems to want to fold up when a wheel catches on something. What I don’t like about the Paddleboy is that is does not fold up in a convenient shape and I found the hitch pins that hold the tires on were difficult to remove. I like the C Tug but am not sure about it’s durability.

C-Tug solid wheels
has anyone tried the solid wheels on the C-Tug? I paddle at Ft. Fisher, NC and there is a rock and concrete wall that offers portage to the Cape Fear River, which is a wonderful place to paddle. The problem is that there is about a 6 inch crack in the rocks that you have to hump over. I have found nothing will hump the crack without the cart being yanked off any cart. Solve that problem and I think I would order it this morning!

Kayakboy, the Paddlelogic Trailtreker might work well for your purpose. I’ve never seen them anywhere else but on ebay. They always seem to have one up as a “buy it now”, but you can get them cheaper when they put them up for auction. I have one, and the only complaint I have is the difficulty in inflating the tires. It is an end cart, not center mounted, so you will carry more of the kayak’s weight.


Will C-Tug fit in your kayak hatches?

– Last Updated: Aug-26-11 3:20 PM EST –

I ordered one and found that the (detached) wheels would not fit through my largest hatch opening even when slightly deflated. The tires are made of a stiff plastic-like material, not rubber. They might've gone through if completely flat but since I already knew I wouldn't want to carry an air pump AND the cart, it was a moot question. The frame pieces were also quite long. (Maybe somebody could make a take-apart frame member that doubles as an air pump!)

The C-Tug was also heavy at around 10 lbs. However, no question that it felt solid when carting a kayak on it--I tested it on an unpaved surface.

I ended up buying a Quantum kayak cart that is useless on sand/soft ground but fine for hard surfaces. It can be disassembled quickly and the parts all fit in my hatches. The wheels are only 7" diameter so they will even fit into my day hatch. I would not use this cart for a loaded boat, though. The wheel track is narrow and wheels are hard (no give). Though it feels tippy, I've never tipped the kayak on it. Looks like you could use it as rooftop loading wheels also.

My husband opted for the Sea To Summit kayak cart, which carries the kayak closer to the belly and thus is MUCH lighter to pull than the Quantum, which carries close to the end. The Sea To Summit uses air-filled tires that have a QR fastener. Easy to disassemble but the pieces are considerably bigger than the Quantum's. This will not be a problem unless you have a low-volume kayak and/or small-diameter hatch openings. His Tempest 170's huge oval hatch easily swallows up the pieces of the Sea To Summit (and also fits the C-Tug).

BTW, these cart wheels are just cheap generic 7", 8", and (usually) 10" wheels that you can find at hardware stores and the like. It *might* be possible to retrofit 8" wheels where 10" air-filled wheels came with the cart. That's one possibility, but I don't know if it's workable.

Also, we were able to compare the SeattleSports directly with the Sea To Summit on the shop floor. The former looked poorly made.

PaddleBoy folders: PUSH, not pull
I still have an old one with hard wheels and use it if I don’t need to put the cart inside my kayak. As you mentioned, it folds up into an awkward size and shape.

Anyway, I found it way easier to PUSH the kayak on the cart rather than pull it. Load near the stern as usual, but then turn it around to push. It tracks better and you can SEE where the kayak is going before the wheels can hit a crack or bump.

I do this with both the Quantum and the Paddleboy carts, since both carry near the stern. However, it’s especially helpful with the Paddleboy folder because you can avoid the veering/folding effect.

C Tug solid wheels
"has anyone tried the solid wheels on the C-Tug?"

On my recent paddle trip to Adirondacks I stopped into the Outfitter and he had C Tug with the solid wheels which eliminates the problem of a flat. The portage trails in the Adirondacks tend to be rocky and have lots of roots. He showed me how the solid wheels tend to wear on the outside portion of the wheel on the rental units.

Don’t get the LL Bean cart unless
I would not recommend the stowaway cart from LL Bean, unless you have one of the touring or recreational sit-in kayaks from LL Bean or a kayak with a very narrow v-shaped hull. I had followed the instructions for my Emotion Comet and now matter how I tied it to the cart it would slip off and thud to the ground. Thanks to the not-so-well thought out product description and design that implied it was universal, I now have brand new scratches on my kayak.

To add insult to injury after returning it and telling them why I was annoyed, the cashier chuckled after he asked me that if I owned an LL Bean kayak and said no. He said that there was nothing they could do for me. Well needless to say I just e-mail LL Bean corporate HQ and waiting for a reply, because I am pretty ticked by the whole experience. I am hoping that they will change their product description to state that it should only be used with narrow v-shaped kayaks and canoes.

Anyway, sorry for the slight tangent, but I just want to forewarn anyone considering getting that cart, before its too late. The actual materials are pretty good, but its not meant for boats with wide hulls like mine. Anyway, I hope this helps.

  • Technofox

C Tug with new solid wheel
I have just learned of the C Tugs new wheel and I have already ordered it.

It is a solid surface with center spokes that will keep clearing sand from the wheel interior.

It is fool proof (I hope).

It should work fine on hard surfaces too.

FYI, I dug out my cart with pneumatic tires. They are flat as usual and they do not have tubes so they are hard to reseal.

I also found out that the balloon wheels I suggested earlier in this thread don’t have tubes, go flat often and puncture easier than they should.

C Tug and solid wheels for me.

I’ll post how I like them the first time I use them.

Quantum cart
Quantum makes a cart with larger diameter and width wheels that I use on the harder packed sand of Daytona beach

The Quantum cart owner on this topic may be able to upgrade to these wheels


– Last Updated: Sep-18-11 4:48 PM EST –

Here's an interesting minimalist cart from the UK called Pull-Over. It's much smaller than any cart I've ever seen so if size is an issue this one takes up very little space inside your hatch. Straps keeps it on the yak pretty straight. Wheels are basic but I've rolled over grass with it no trouble. Site doesn't mention US shipping but I contacted them and they shipped to USA no trouble.


It’s almost like a cross
…has the small size of the Quantum kayak cart and the crisscrossed folding resin frame members of the C-Tug. Looks interesting, and maybe it’s rustproof.