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If you’re going to transport a kayak, you’re going to need the right tools. To get a kayak onto the roof of your car you can buy a rack specifically designed for that purpose- but once you’ve driven your kayak to the water, how do you get the vessel to the shore?
Kayaks can be rather heavy, which makes it especially difficult if you have to carry it over uneven terrain. Luckily, carrying it will no longer be a necessity if you buy a kayak cart.
These are carts designed to hold kayaks, so you don’t need to lug them all the way to the water. The following article will break down how to use a kayak cart, and everything else you might need to know.
Table of Contents
The Different Types Of Kayak Carts
There is more than one type of kayak cart, and the right cart for you will depend on your needs. Here are the most common types of carts designed for kayaks.
End-cart carry kayak carts fit on the back of the kayak. Some come with straps that you can use to secure them to the kayak, but if not, you can buy a ratchet strap or something similar and this will do the job.
This cart won’t take all the weight of the kayak (some you’ll have to manage on your own), but it does make the process of shifting one far easier and faster. To use one of these carts, simply strap it to the back of the kayak, pick up the front of the vessel, and pull it along on the cart.
A more popular cart than the end-cart carry, the center-cart carry supports almost all of the weight of your kayak. If it’s a more lightweight kayak, the cart might carry all of the weight. It’s designed with balance in mind- the cart carries the kayak by the center, not by the end or by the front.
The cart will have a harness on either side, which allows you to rest the kayak on the cart and strap it over both its front and its back, without fear of it slipping free.
Some carts of this variety have foam on their side bars instead, while others have a plastic platform designed to prevent hull damage. All you need to do to move the cart is pull the handle and wheel it along.
This type of kayak cart comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. Some of the handiest carts will allow you to fold them up and place them in your kayak when you’re on the water.
Scupper Hole / Plug In Carts
Designed specifically for sit on top kayaks, these kayak carts have upright rods that can slide into the scupper holes of your kayak (as long as it’s, like we said, a sit on top kayak)- the scupper holes being the holes through which the hull drains water. It’s a very handy cart, but you won’t be able to use it for kayaks that aren’t sit on top kayaks.
You don’t need to use a strap to secure kayaks to these carts, but some do use them anyway just to be safe.
How To Attach Your Kayak To Your Kayak Cart
The process of attaching your kayak to your kayak cart differs depending on if it’s a strap cart or a plug-in cart. So, first thing’s first… how do you properly strap a kayak to a cart?
Strapping A Kayak To A Cart
It’s worth noting that, depending on the manufacturer, this process may differ. But for the most part, strapping your kayak to the cart will involve first laying your kayak on the ground beside your cart, and then prop up the cart beside the part of the kayak you’ll be strapping down.
This tends to be around two thirds of the distance between the bow and the stern of the kayak, but it depends on if your cart is a center-cart carry or an end-cart carry.
Next, grab the stern handle and lift the kayak onto the cart. If you’re concerned about scratches, you can cover the kayak’s bow with a towel or two.
If the cart appears to be under the correct section of the kayak, you can start strapping it in. A tie-down, hatch, or coaming can be used to ensure that the kayak remains secure and doesn’t slip back and forward.
Attaching A Kayak To A Plug In Cart
As we’ve established, these carts are only designed to be used with sit-on-top kayaks. Like with strap carts, the process for attaching your kayak to one of these can differ depending on the manufacturer, but the following is generally how it goes.
With your kayak on the ground, locate the two scupper holes closest to the back. Turn the kayak onto its side. You might be able to hold it like this yourself, but for heavier kayaks you might want to lean it against something, like your car.
Pick up the kayak cart and insert the poles into the scupper holes at the back of the kayak. Hold the cart firmly in place, and return the kayak to its original position.
Once this process is complete, you may want to add a strap to further ensure that the kayak is secure, but it should be attached pretty tightly to the cart.
Conclusion: How To Use A Kayak Cart
The procedure for attaching a kayak to a kayak cart differs depending on the type of kayak, and the type of cart. If you’re strapping a kayak to a cart, it’s all about strapping it to the right place on the kayak.
Plugging a cart into a kayak (or… plugging a kayak into a cart?) tends to be simpler; just insert the upright rods into the scupper holes nearest the back of the kayak.
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