The 5 Best Kayak Carts & Dolly Carriers [Reviewed]
Kayak carts are used to transport heavy kayaks long distances from your vehicle to the body of water you will be kayaking in. These carts allow the kayak to sit on top of them.
You are then able to pull the kayak with the handles on your kayak. Kayakers are then able to pull their kayaks over very long distances and rough terrains.
Table of Contents
- 1 5 Top Kayak Carts / Kayak Dolly
- 2 Top 5 Kayak Carts in 2018
- 3 How to Buy a Kayak Cart or Dolly
- 4 Our Final Review for the Best Kayak Cart
Malone Auto Racks Xpress Scupper Kayak Cart
6 ½ inches to 16 ½ inches
Not good in sand
Malone Nomad Standard Universal Kayak Cart
Paddleboy Peanut Kayak Cart
23 ¼ inches
Concrete, Asphalt, Level Dirt
Seattle Sports Scupper Swift, Black
Trailtrekker kayak cart
24 inches 27 inches 29 inches
Kayak carts are often difficult to purchase. They come with a variety of features and can handle very different situations. Each of the kayak carts on this list are universal kayak carts.
This means they can haul almost any type of kayak on them. Below you will find specific details on each cart, including their portability, their weight capacity, their width, and their ability to handle different terrains.
Top 5 Kayak Carts in 2018
1. Malone Auto Racks Xpress Scupper Kayak Cart
The Malone Auto Racks Xpress Scupper Kayak Cart was designed for sit on tops kayaks. However, as long as your kayak has scupper holes, it will be compatible with this kayak cart.
The Xpress Scupper has ten inch airless tires. These wheels allow it to handle most terrains fairly well. The Scupper does struggle a bit more on loose sand, so if you primarily plan to cart your kayak across sand, be aware of this before you purchase.
Because the tires are airless, there is a smaller chance of the tires becoming damaged. This means you should not have to pay for replacement parts.
Should your kayak cart break down due to a manufacturing error, Malone will replace the parts or the entire cart due to their limited lifetime warranty guarantee for all carts and racks.
A feature which is unique to the Xpress is its variable width. You can change the width of this kayak cart, allowing for kayaks of many sizes to be carried on it. It can expand from 6 ½ inches out to 16 ½ inches.
Though this is a wonderful feature, the cart can also break more easily at this point on the crossbar. Be cautious of this, and if you have it stretched to the greatest width, do not take it over extremely rough surfaces.
Another perk to this kayak cart is its load capacity. This cart can carry up to 200 pounds, which means your kayak and gear should fit on it very well. This cart would be ideal for carrying a small kayak and gear for camping or hunting and fishing.
Keep in mind that the Xpress is made from aluminum, but has padding to protect your kayak. A foam block sits on the lower crossbar and there is upright padding as well. All of this is removable.
This kayak cart does not break down easily. Its smallest size is 10 inches by 18 inches by 22 inches. If you cannot fit this in your kayak once you get to your launch point, you will have to haul it back to your vehicle.
- Adjustable width
- Foam padding
- 200 pound capacity
- All terrain
- Airless tires
- Limited lifetime warranty
- Difficult on sand
- Does not break down
Another kayak cart by Malone, the Nomad is similar to the Xpress, but has some unique features. It is not designed specifically for sit on tops, which means that it comes with straps to tie the kayak onto it. Your kayak does not need to have scupper holes to work with this cart.
Like the Xpress, the Nomad has 10 inch airless tires. However, this cart handles the sand much better. This is because it is approximately 5 pounds lighter than the Xpress.
Again, as these tires are airless it means that they will not pop or be easily damaged. The tires also pop off easily, making this kayak cart even easier to store.
The load capacity is smaller for the Nomad. It can only haul 150 pounds, but this should still be enough weight capacity for your kayak and your gear. Remember--your kayak rests on top of kayak carts, so you are able to place your gear inside the cockpit for transfer.
The Nomad also comes with a kickstand. This makes it much easier for you to load your kayak onto this particular cart. It also has 1 ¾ inch padding on the cross bars, keeping your kayak safe from scratching against the metal.
Unlike the Xpress, the Nomad does not vary in width. Its frame size is 24-by-14-by-12. If you feel your kayak would be too wide for this, consider the Xpress instead.
Another difference from the Xpress, is that this kayak cart breaks down very quickly and easily and can be stored in most kayak hatches. This is a major perk, as you do not have to haul this cart back to your car and leave your kayak unattended.
Finally, the Nomad comes with a limited lifetime warranty. This means that if the cart breaks down due to manufacturer error, Malone will replace the parts. If it breaks down due to being overused or used improperly, the parts will not be replaced.
- Limited Lifetime Warranty
- Ten Inch Tires
- Broken down easily for storage
- 150 pound weight capacity
- Comes with straps
- Lighter than the Xpress
- Width is not adjustable
The Peanut Kayak Cart designed by Paddleboy is a smaller version of the Original Large Boat Cart.
If you like the perks of this cart, but prefer a larger cart, you can purchase a larger size. The larger size can haul most small boat types, which makes it more versatile for you and your family.
The wheels on this Peanut are rubber tread wheels. They are inflatable, which means they can pop upon being used. However, the Peanut still handles most terrains with ease. The tires on the Peanut do not pop off. It can be tricky to store this cart due to this feature.
This cart is also very difficult to pull across various terrains. It really does best on concrete, asphalt or very level dirt. It is not recommended for use in the woods or in the dirt.
The Peanut can still haul 150 pounds. This means you and your gear and safe to make it down to the water.
Like the Nomad, the Peanut folds up very easily, meaning you can put the cart inside of your kayak hatch. Again, this means no trip back to your car leaving your kayak unattended.
Another benefit here is that it does not pull apart into pieces, but it folds up. Many kayak carts actually come apart in pieces. These pieces can be easy to lose or make the cart less stable. A folding cart is a major perk.
For dimensions, the Peanut has a width of 23 ¼ inches and a height of 23 inches. This gives your kayak nice lift and should support the width of most kayaks.
It does have a foam rest for your kayak as well. This foam piece has another major benefit--this kayak cart floats! Should your kayak tip and all of your possessions spill out, the cart will not be lost to you. This is a major advantage for many kayakers.
- Folds up for storage
- Fits in most hatches
- Good Wifth
- 150 pound weight capacity
- 10 inch wheels
- Comes in a larger size
- Wheels are inflatable
- Wheels are not removable
- Not all terrain
The Seattle Sports Scupper Swift is another kayak cart designed to carry sit on top kayaks. That being said, any kayak with Scupper holes can be carried on this cart.
Much like the two kayak carts made by Malone, this kayak cart has airless tires. It is difficult to damage these tires and they are equipped to handle very rough terrains.
It also has a 150 pound weight capacity, like the Peanut and Nomad. This means you can easily bring your gear with you and your yak.
Once you get to the water, this cart breaks down to fit inside your storage hatch. Unlike the Peanut, it does not fold, which can be a disappointment for some.
The other kayak carts on this list have had a cross bar covered in foam which the kayak rests on for its journey. This kayak cart has two upright posts with rubber pieces on the ends.
Your kayak balances on these two rubber ends on the upright posts. This may not sound very secure, but when you add in the scupper post, this kayak can rest very safely.
The Scupper comes in at twenty-eight and a half inches wide and twenty-two inches in height. This should be more than wide enough to fit any kayak extremely well.
You do not need straps for this kayak cart. It merely attaches to the Scupper post, which fits inside most Scupper holes and away you go!
- Airless tires
- Breaks down for storage
- Rubber connectors
- 150 pound weight capacity
- All terrain
- Only for Kayaks with Scupper holes
Trailtrekker has designed a kayak cart which comes in at twenty-four inches in width. That being said, you can purchase a twenty-seven inch or a thirty inch kayak cart of the same model.
The kayak cart comes with air filled tires, which means they can be damaged. However, Trailtrekker has a reputation for replacing these car wheels at no cost to the purchaser.
They are rather narrow for a tire, but the diameter is twelve and a quarter inches. This is a very wide diameter and allows the tires to traverse any terrain, with the exception of a very soft sand. Most kayak carts will struggle with a trip over soft sand, though as the sand sinks too quickly for the tires to compensate.
This kayak trailer is easy to pull--for any size kayakers. Women or small male kayakers can feel confident pulling their own kayaks on rough terrains, with or without help from other kayakers.
As seems to be the standard, this cart can haul 150 pounds of kayak and gear. This lets the kayaker make on trip down to the water.
Speaking of one trip, this cart breaks down very interestingly. The wheels come off and the rest of the cart fits down into the wheels. This means that it stores vertically, which can save you extra space in your hatch.
On the axle of the cart are two foam rollers, which protect the kayak base. These foam rollers can wear down fairly easily, so they may need to replaced. This is a very inexpensive repair, however.
- 150 pound weight capacity
- Foam rollers
- 24 inch, 27 inch, or 30 inch width
- Breaks down for storing
- Wide tire diameter
- All terrain
- Tires will be replaced by company
- Anyone can pull their kayak easily.
- Foam rollers can break down
- Tires can deflate
Kayak carts are crucial for many kayakers. Often kayakers choose to travel with their kayaks and hope to traverse many different terrains.
This means that the kayak cart you choose needs to be able to handle the surfaces you hope to venture across.
To assure that your kayak cart can do this, you want to make sure it can accommodate the weight you need it to, has the proper width for your kayak, can store well inside your kayak, and can cross the terrain needed.
Most kayaks weigh between 40 and 80 pounds. Many kayak carts can haul up to 150 pounds. It may seem that that will be more than enough weight capacity for you, but it is also important to consider what type of gear you may be bringing.
Some kayakers camp and carry all of their camping gear in the kayak with them. If that is the case, you will need a kayak cart which can carry a large amount of weight. On this list, the most ideal kayak for heavy gear is the Malone Xpress.
There are three main types of kayaks. Sea kayaks, sit on top and recreational kayaks, and hunting or fishing kayaks. Most kayaks fit in the width of these types of kayak.
Sea kayaks are the most narrow, often between twenty and twenty-five inches. Recreational and sit on top kayaks tend to be between twenty-five and thirty inches in width. Hunting and fishing kayaks are over thirty inches in width.
Each of these kayak types vary in width based on the stability needed for the activity which they are designed for. This means that your kayak cart must be wide enough to meet the needs of your kayak.
If you choose a cart which is too narrow support your kayak width, you run the risk of tipping the cart. LIkewise, if you choose a kayak cart which is too broad for your kayak, you may find the kayak not fitting or slipping off of the cart.
Choosing a cart which is too narrow or too wide can damage your kayak. Make sure you measure your kayak before purchasing a kayak cart and make sure that the cart fits well with your kayak. Ensure that it has scupper holes, if need be.
Storage ability is also crucial. You must be able to store your kayak in your vehicle and in your kayak hatch. There are three types of carts: ones that break down, ones that fold, and carts that do not do either.
If you purchase a cart that breaks down, it is almost guaranteed to fit in your hatch. This is of great benefit, because you are guaranteed to not have to make a trip back to your car. For kayak carts which break down, you are often left with extra room in your hatch to store gear as well.
However, if the cart breaks down you have many pieces. These pieces can very easily become lost in the various transitions made with the kayak.
If you purchase a cart which folds, you do not face the possibility of losing pieces of your cart. However, it is not guaranteed that the cart will easily fit in your kayak hatch. This may also mean that you will not have room for extra gear in your hatch.
You will know for sure, however, that the cart can easily fit in your vehicle. Most of these carts can lay mostly flat, although the tires cannot be removed typically.
This may mean a trip back to your vehicle, if it would not fit in your hatch. Additionally, kayak carts which fold tend to have weaker joints and may break. Many companies will replace these parts, but some will not. Be cautious with choosing a kayak cart which folds.
Finally, there are many kayak carts which do not fold or break down. This almost guarantees you will have to make a trip back to your vehicle after bringing your kayak to the waterfront.
For kayakers who choose to take long trips to get to the shoreline, this is not a wise purchase. You would have to leave your kayak unattended for a significant period of time. This could allow your kayak to be damaged or even stolen.
Finally, a kayaker purchasing a kayak cart absolutely must consider the terrain they hope to use the cart on. For many, they only need to haul their kayak across sand. If this is the case, you may not need to purchase a kayak cart, as many of them do not do well on loose sand.
However, as kayakers begin to kayak more frequently, they may find themselves journeying to rivers or oceans. It becomes very exciting to use your kayak in different places and on different bodies of water. This can mean crossing woods, wetlands, or rough shorelines.
Choosing a kayak with airless tires is ideal for these types of coastland. If you are crossing rough terrains, you often need to pull your kayak over sticks and stones. These types of obstacles can very easily damage your kayak tires. Airless tires mean that those tires will not pop or begin to leak.
If you are crossing a wetland, you will want to make sure your kayak cart is has a very large width and is extremely light weight. This allows for the weight to be more easily dispersed. The kayak and kayak cart then run a lower chance of sinking into the muck and mire.
Finally, if you hope to take your kayak across a stretch of loose sand, you want to be sure that your cart can be stowed inside the kayak hatch. You would more than likely want to pull your kayak across the sand instead of trying to use the cart.
Our Final Review for the Best Kayak Cart
Choosing a kayak cart is simply not an easy decision. Many kayakers begin thinking they will not travel very far with their kayak. However, it becomes very exciting to try new adventures and take your kayak to new bodies of water.
With this in mind, it is incredibly important to purchase a kayak cart which can handle many different terrains and meet all of your carrying needs.
It may seem like you do not need to purchase an all terrain kayak cart when beginning your kayaking experience, but over time it becomes absolutely necessary.
Make a long lasting purchase now instead of making multiple purchases down the line. And, if you're in the market for a new fishing kayak, check our review for Hobie kayaks.