KAYAK CART INTRO
While the term “Kayak Cart” may be unfamiliar to some of you that are new to the world of kayak fishing, let us assure you that this family of products is one that you should become familiar with early on. That’s why we have written this Kayak Cart Ultimate Guide. Simply put, a kayak cart is a piece of kayak fishing gear used to help a kayak fisherman transport a fishing kayak by hand and without third party assistance.
KAYAK CART ULTIMATE GUIDE
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At this point we have dedicated several seasons to researching the cart products on the market. In this Kayak Cart Ultimate Guide, we list all of the important details and features of a kayak cart, with an eye towards kayak fishing. For convenience, we divide these important details and features into separate categories, including cart basics, cart designs, and which cart is right for you. Finally, we include a link to one of the best types of kayak cart near the conclusion of this guide!
Parts of a Kayak Cart
Kayak Cart Basics
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These kayak fishing “cart” products involve the balancing or attachment of a fishing kayak upon a frame and wheels. This essentially functions as a type of simple machinery known as a “lever”, just like the one you learned about in grade school! While the placement of the cart under the fishing kayak will vary from middle, towards the back, or even all the way at the end of the fishing kayak, the concept is going to be the same: To help the kayak fisherman transport his or her fishing kayak in the most efficient and practical manner.
KayakFishingCorner.com highly suggests that its readers put serious thought into buying a cart along with the purchase of their first fishing kayak. Most are actually priced very reasonably. Their impact on the kayak fisherman in terms of comfort and enjoyment makes it a savvy investment. This results in a positive experience in initial kayak fishing outings. Don’t wrestle with the weight of your fishing kayak by trying to transport it by hand, let the cart do the work for you! KFC is sure that one of the models highlighted in this post is certain to meet your kayak fishing needs!
What is a Kayak Cart?
What is a kayak cart? A fair question, and this Kayak Cart Ultimate Guide provides an easy answer. It is a kayak fishing accessory used to help a kayak fisherman transport a fishing kayak by hand. These products work by balancing a fishing kayak upon the sturdy frame, which sits atop the cart’s wheels. Look at the example of the cart located underneath the fishing kayak shown below:
We all know that fishing kayaks are irregularly shaped, dense, long, and are usually without easy places where you can get a good grip. Recall that kayak fishing destinations usually require transportation of the fishing kayak along treacherous paths upon which the unassisted transportation of a fishing kayak can be very precarious.
This is why the cart was invented. What a life saver it has become! Over time, because of the quickly increasing popularity of kayak fishing, these products have become available with greater prevalence. This increased availability has resulted in an increase in types of designs, as well as a decrease in the cost required to buy a high quality cart. This Kayak Cart Ultimate Guide includes a thorough discussion of cost below.
How to Use a Kayak Cart
- Assemble the cart into its transportation mode per the cart instructions.
- Visually inspect the moving pieces to ensure the connections are tight, the joints sound, and the pieces are in good working order.
- Safely lower your fishing kayak and rest it upon the cart.
- Adjust the position of the fishing kayak to ensure an appropriate distribution of weight. This is usually accomplished by placing the hull over the center of the cart.
- Loop the straps around the fishing kayak, ensuring that they aren’t tangled or twisted.
- Tighten the kayak straps by tension, ratchets or elasticity.
- Confirm that the fishing kayak is safely attached to the kayak cart by pulling and pushing from front and back, and by rocking the cart from side to side.
- It is normal for the fishing kayak to move slightly, but only just an inch or so, before it returns to its original resting point. If the kayak moves any further than an inch, check your weight distribution or the tension of the kayak straps.
- After the kayak is secured to the kayak cart, and all of the components are in good working order, you are all set to use the cart to navigate to the water!
Sit-On-Top vs. Sit-In. Which one is which? Sit on Top fishing kayaks come with “scupper” holes. Scupper holes are intentional holes located in the hull of the fishing kayak that permit water that may have splashed into the fishing kayak to be efficiently drained out:
Scupper holes also serve as the point of attachment for cart products which have specifically been designed for insertion into the scupper hole. Attachment of the fishing kayak by its scupper holes is probably the most “stable” of all methods of transportation by hand. You’ll need to ensure that your fishing kayak’s scupper holes align with the connection prongs of your cart (don’t worry, most are adjustable, as we explain below):
“Sit In” fishing kayaks have their own cart products. A kayak cart designed for a Sit-In fishing kayak is constructed of two wheels and a platform, kind of like what you see above, but without attachment prongs. Instead, the fishing kayak is secured to the product by either a velcro or ratcheting strap, which many times is included with the cart directly from the manufacturer. An example of a model built for a Sit-In fishing kayak is shown below:
What other important features should we look to find in a cart? There can be a lot to learn about kayak fishing, even aside from all of the gear and accessories that are associated with the sport. Where do we start?
Let’s keep going through KFC’s list of the important features to find on the Kayak Cart Ultimate Guide. How about starting with an easy one, since we learned about it above. KFC calls this the “type of attachment”. If you own a Sit-On-Top fishing kayak, you will want to buy a sit-on-top cart that fits with your fishing kayak’s scupper holes. We’ve discovered a style with adjustable attachment prongs that we showcase below.
Sit In or Sit on Top Kayak Cart
If you have a Sit-In fishing kayak, you will not have scupper holes by which to attach your fishing kayak to your cart. Don’t let this dissuade you, attachment for the sit-in fishing kayak is done similarly to the scupper hole concept. You do this by using heavy duty ratcheting straps.
One bonus of this style is that it can be moved up and down along the hull of the fishing kayak to be attached to the location of your preference.
The sit-in model shown at the beginning of our Important Features list provides a good illustration of both the attachment straps and the padded cradle into which the fishing kayak comfortably sits:
Kayak Cart Wheels
We’ve mentioned enough about attachment points. What else has KayakFishingCorner deemed important in authoring this Kayak Cart Ultimate Guide article? Perhaps you’ve noticed in the products we’ve showcased above, that nearly every cart will come feature two wheels, and these wheels are usually very large!
The wheel size on a cart is critical because the size of the wheel is going to impact what kind of terrain your kayak cart can efficiently and safely handle. Make sure to avoid a model with small wheels unless you’ll only be accessing less difficult pathways. Likewise, the width of the wheel of the product is critical. Take a look at the detailed image of the wheel below:
Avoid the mistake of buying a cart with narrow wheels. Narrow wheels will dig into soft earth, sand, or gravel, making pushing or pulling the cart very difficult. Get a cart that has wide and stable wheels that disperse the weight of the fishing kayak and will allow it to traverse across any number of surfaces.
What if you kayak fish at the beach, requiring you to traverse soft sand? Many KFC readers take their fishing kayaks to the ocean and this Kayak Cart Ultimate Guide section is written for them. Fortunately for our beach goers, there are products on the market for ocean kayak fishing as well. Here is an example below:
See how the wheels on this cart are different from the wheels featured on the carts shown above? This manufacturer built its frame around wheels designed to travel along a sandy beach with ease.
Regardless of the type of terrain, the wheels of your cart are very important because they are the foundation upon which the rest of the fishing kayak load will sit. KFC has intentionally included frame strength in this Kayak Cart Ultimate Guide as an additional important feature. Take a look at the model below. Think about the amount of weight applied against the frame of the cart. Its not a light load.
Kayak Cart Frame
KFC has come across a number of carts with frames built of plastic rather than metal. Do not purchase a cart constructed of anything other than metal. The durability is simply not there. There is only one exception to this rule. The cart first shown above is built of a high quality, non-corroding polymer, and rests upon stainless steel reinforced axles.
You will be traversing your cart over rough terrain. Be sure the frame of your kayak cart is built of high strength material. This is the only way to be sure that the frame of the cart will hold up to the weight of the fishing kayak load and the tough terrain over which you will be traveling. What other specifications are important to consider in this Kayak Cart Ultimate Guide? Let’s discuss height and width. What size is right for you?
The cart shown above is representative of the “average” size of a cart, though there are carts on the market today that come in much larger and much smaller sizes. The height you want to consider is the distance from the cart’s axle to the ground. This measurement is going to determine the amount of clearance when moving your fishing kayak over rocky terrain. Make sure to buy a cart with enough clearance to get you over large rocks and other obstacles on your path!
When referring to the “width” of the product, the important measurement, aside from the distance between the wheels (which of course is important relative to the stability of the product) is the width of the kayak cradle into which the fishing kayak is placed.
Make sure the kayak cradle aligns with the hull of the fishing kayak, allowing for an efficient displacement of weight throughout the cart. The better distributed the weight of the fishing kayak and the lower the amount of pressure on the cart’s wheels, results in the greater stability and control of the cart itself. Be sure your cart has padded cradle supports. This keeps the fishing kayak centered, preventing needless scratches to the hull. This wouldn’t be much of an Ultimate Guide without discussing the storability component of a cart:
Kayak fishing is a very “bulky” hobby. While a number of kayak fishing products have recently entered the marketplace aimed at increasing the “flexibility” of various fishing kayaks and pieces of kayak fishing gear, we’ll still take all the help we can get!
Many carts will “fold flat”, or at least collapse to a size where they can be stored under the bed, in the garage, or the trunk of your car. For KFC readers concerned about the space required by adding more kayak fishing gear to their collection, you can rest easily knowing that many of these cart products are built in a “space preserving” manner. What else is important? Load Capacity:
We hope that the only time your kayak cart is empty is when you are out on the water or when your fishing cart is safely resting at your home, garage or fishing dock. When the product is loaded, you’ll want to be able to rely on the load capacity of the particular model. Typically you’ll see that weight capacities vary from ~150 pounds to ~400 pounds.
Do not overload the stated weight capacity of your particular cart. While ~150 to ~400 pounds is usually enough to handle the weight of the standard fishing kayak, and even some kayak fishing gear added to the hull, the last thing you want to do is to push your limits and your luck. Collapsing your cart in a precarious location is very dangerous, and would also be an expensive mistake.
Buy the Best Kayak Cart
Why is this model our favorite? We love this kayak cart’s “flexibility”. When we use the term flexibility, we are referring to the ability of this kayak cart to adapt to fishing kayaks with many different shapes and sizes of hull.
Another nice feature? The adjustable arms are comprised of a rubberized padding. This padding is sticky enough to prevent your fishing kayak from moving forward or backward while you are moving it from location to location.
Another favorite feature? The included heavy duty strapping will make certain the fishing kayak doesn’t slide too far! Take a look at the close up image of the strap above. It is strong enough to keep your kayak safe and sound!
OK, but what about price? Kayak fishing is an expensive hobby, but this kayak cart is a piece of kayak fishing gear that isn’t going to empty your wallet! A high quality kayak cart will typically cost between ~$50 and $200. This kayak cart is usually priced somewhere within that rage. Don’t let the cost of a kayak cart dissuade you from buying one for yourself. KFC can tell you from experience that it has saved us at least $200 worth of sore joints and tired legs! Oh, and if you are looking for a related page with some more detail, check out our detailed write up on the cart showcased above.
I decided to buy a cart for my kayak after a friend had an accident when attempting to move her fishing kayak along a rocky and steep embankment near Swan Lake in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Given some recent rainfall, my friend slipped on some mud and almost badly injured herself. She was forced to drop her fishing kayak to escape without major injury! Fortunately, she was not hurt, but her fishing kayak was badly damaged:
We wouldn’t risk injury to ourselves (or further damage to our fishing kayaks) by attempting to move our fishing kayaks by hand any longer. Especially when we were aware that there were products like these carts that would make kayak transportation so much safer. A lot of the research we did when making our decision about which kayak cart to buy has been incorporated into this guide, so we hope you have enjoyed!
I hope that this guide has helped you learn more about the different types of kayak cart. At some point during your kayak fishing career, you’re going to have to move your fishing kayak “by hand” over a long distance. Move your fishing kayak with your kayak cart. Let it do the work for you! This is the best way to accomplish the task.
Use this Ultimate Guide and consider the method of attachment, the wheels, the frame, the height and width, the flexibility, the weight capacity and the cost, all of which has been written about in great detail above. Only then will you be prepared to buy a kayak cart for your self! We’d love to hear which kayak cart you decide to go with and why. Be sure to write in to KayakFishingCorner.com and share your story with us! If you have any questions about the kayak cart in general, please post a comment at the bottom of this page or message me! Oh, by the way, if you’re local water way has a boat ramp, we would suggest using it with your kayak cart – just make sure you’ve learned the rules first!
Take your kayak fishing to the next level by attending, or even competing in, a kayak fishing tournament!
Do you have any questions the kayak cart or kayak fishing in general? Please share with the rest of the KayakFishingCorner community by posting in the Comments section below.