Do you own a particularly heavy, cumbersome kayak?
Perhaps you’re thinking of purchasing one?
These days, many of the latest fishing platforms are built like tanks, and you need help getting them to and from your launch spot.
And a kayak cart is the best solution.
The real question is – what do you do with a kayak cart when you’re on the water?
We’ve got the answers coming up in this article, the pros and cons of each, plus tips and tricks for kayak cart storage in general.
Let’s fire in.
Kayak Cart Storage – At-a-Glance
If you don’t have time to scroll through this short article, here’s a brief summary on kayak cart storage when you’re out on the water.
You have three main choices:
- Take it with you – depending on the type of cart, and space on your kayak (more on this below).
- Leave it in your vehicle – if you’re parked close to your launch location.
- Secure it to a fixed structure – tips on how to do this are coming up.
Table of Contents
- Types of Kayak Cart
- Why Choose a Kayak Cart?
- Kayak Cart Storage while on the Water
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Types of Kayak Cart
Let’s explore the different types of kayak cart and their capabilities when it comes to storage.
It’s pretty straightforward, as there are only two versions available.
Strap Kayak Carts
A strap kayak cart is a platform or cradle that one end of your kayak sits in, with heavy-duty wheels on the base.
Typically made from an aluminum frame, or other lightweight, durable material, it’s either padded with material, has foam or rubber tubing wrapped around the frame, or features a rubberized cradle.
Then, as the name suggests, straps are used to keep your kayak secure and in place during transportation, by wrapping them around the hull of the craft.
Strap kayak carts are by far the most popular, and many are compact enough to bring with you on the kayak.
Depending on the model, they might also be folded down or disassembled for convenient storage and a lower profile.
Scupper Plug Kayak Carts
This type of kayak cart is identified by two upright arms attached to a frame on wheels.
These arms feed into a kayak’s existing scupper holes, and, as this makes them very secure, they don’t require straps as the kayak is already held solidly in place.
The main downside of scupper plug carts is your kayak needs to have scupper plugs in a convenient location in the first place, and the cart itself needs to be compatible with them.
Most scupper plug kayak carts are fully adjustable, but you can get models that are specifically designed to fit one particular model of kayak only.
Homemade Kayak Carts
There is, of course, a third option – if you’re handy with a bit of DIY.
There’s no reason why you can’t make your own kayak cart, and customize it to your needs, so that it can be broken down and stored in a specific place that’s perfectly compatible with your kayak and/or vehicle.
Check out the video below for a step-by-step guide to making your own kayak trolley.
If you don’t feel like spending the time and effort on such an endeavor, you can check out this review of the best kayak carts currently available, with a complete guide to point you in the right direction.
Why Choose a Kayak Cart?
- The Hobie weighs in excess of 128 lbs fully loaded – sometimes more depending on the model, refinements, and loadout.
- The Old Town is lighter at 77 lbs, but it’s still a weighty, bulky craft that needs support for safe and secure transitions to and from the water.
Even with the help of a buddy, it can be a tiring effort before you’ve even cast off.
So, why not let gravity and physics do the work for you?
If you take a look at the evolution of fishing kayaks, you’ll see that they’re getting larger and heavier all the time, and the lines of distinction between kayaks and other boats are becoming blurred.
For most of these cumbersome fishing platforms, you’ve no choice but to use a suitable kayak cart – most certainly if you’re on your own.
And aside from the help they provide with lifting and moving these weighty creations, they will also help protect your fishing kayak from damage, and are a significant improvement on simply dragging the boat across the ground.
However, if you’re still kayak hunting, there are alternatives to these fishing monsters.
Guaranteed no carts required.
Kayak Cart Storage while on the Water
So, you’ve got your fishing kayak, and you’ve got your kayak cart – but where do you store the latter while you’re out on the former?
Some kayaks, like this list of the best pedal fishing kayaks, or these awesome tandem fishing kayaks, or even these kayaks that are fit for larger guys and gals – offer an abundance of on-board storage potential.
There’s a good chance you won’t run out of space when piloting any of these fishing machines.
As such, if your kayak is large enough, with some good storage options, there’s no reason you can’t bring your kayak trolley along with you.
As mentioned, many strap kayak carts can be folded or disassembled, while scupper plug carts can be inverted and slotted back into the scupper holes from the deck side up.
There are two main advantages to this method.
First, you don’t have to worry about the security of your kayak cart back on the shore. There’s no need to purchase a chain or padlock, and you won’t always be wondering if it’s okay.
Second, this can be useful if you intend on landing somewhere else, as you can use your kayak cart when and wherever you decide to leave the water – conditions permitting, of course.
Finally, there’s no need to spend time locating a suitable structure on which to secure the cart, and you can simply pack up and go.
However, it’s not without its disadvantages.
Depending on your setup, you might find that the kayak cart gets in the way – particularly if it’s a scupper plug version, and you have invasive wheels sticking out from somewhere on your boat.
Even if this is behind you, rods, lines, and other gear and equipment can still snag and get caught on anything that’s even slightly raised up on a kayak deck.
You’ll also be adding extra weight to your craft, which may or may not have a detrimental effect on performance, and/or on your ability to catch fish overall.
If your vehicle is relatively close by, you can always return your kayak cart to the trunk or flatbed, lock it up, and it’ll be there when you get back.
Convenience and security are the main advantages of this method. Simply returning your kayak trolley to your car and locking it up means you can pretty much forget about it until you return.
You don’t need to purchase any extra security locks or chains, and nobody is even going to know it’s there.
And you’re not bringing any extra mass on board your kayak, which is adding weight, taking up room, and possibly making things a nuisance.
Alas, there is one huge disadvantage to this practice, in the fact that your vehicle has to be close by in the first place.
And when you’re kayak fishing, or any kind of kayaking for that matter, that certainly isn’t always the case.
When we go kayaking, our vehicle is typically left many miles from the point that we actually put in.
Many kayakers and kayak anglers prefer to paddle to a new location, rather than simply returning to the spot they launched from.
This is especially true if you’re fishing rivers, and you can check out this article on the best river fishing kayaks if that sounds like something you’re interested in.
And even if your vehicle is relatively close, it might still be an inconvenience to hike back to, deposit the kayak cart, and then return to where you left your kayak.
Then, of course, you’ll need to repeat this procedure when you’re tired and finished for the day – walk back to collect the cart, return to the kayak, and then back again to the vehicle with the kayak in tow.
I’m exhausted just thinking about it.
Secure Structure Storage
Your final option when it comes to kayak cart storage when you’re on the water, is to strap it to a fixed structure near when you put in.
I’ve done this many times with kayaks themselves, when enjoying cycling, kayaking, and camping excursions, and so far, have not had any negative experiences.
It goes something like the cat/mouse/cheese river crossing riddle:
- Secure kayaks at put-in point.
- Drop vehicle off at docking point.
- Unload bikes.
- Cycle back to kayak location.
- Secure bikes.
- Kayak to vehicle location.
- Secure kayaks.
- Drive to bike location.
- Load bikes.
- Drive to kayak location.
- Load kayaks.
- Drive home or to camp location.
We, therefore, secure our bikes and kayaks in different locations as we’re completing each leg of the adventure.
Whenever we make this kind of trip, we’re sure to use a good travel fishing rod that’s easy to transport and store – so we don’t have to leave expensive equipment with the kayaks.
And we also pack a waterproof anti-theft lock, which would be just as good for kayak carts as it is with the kayaks themselves.
As with the other two methods, leaving your kayak cart on shore does have its advantages and disadvantages, which you might be able to guess already!
If you’ve no room on-board your kayak, and your vehicle isn’t conveniently located, then this is simply the best option for storing your kayak cart when you’re on the water.
Alas, this is where the advantages end!
Of the three methods, this is the least secure, and you’ll need to purchase a good quality lock and chain, regardless.
Then, you need to find a suitable tree, fence, post, or other such structure on which to attach your kayak cart, so light fingers won’t be tempted to whisk it away.
And this isn’t always possible.
You could, of course, always leave it to chance, and simply leave the kayak at your put-in location, perhaps hiding it from view in some way.
This might be a good option if there isn’t any available structure, and/or you’re in a remote location where meeting a fellow human is unlikely.
On one trip, we couldn’t find somewhere secure to lash the kayaks, so we ended up hiding them under a bridge, and hoping for the best!.
It should be noted that someone stealing a kayak cart is a very rare occurrence, especially if you’re fishing off the beaten track.
But as infrequent as this strange crime may be, most thieves are opportunists, and if you are leaving anything on the bank, you should at least try to keep it secure – for extra peace-of-mind.
Personally, I have no problem doing this, as I like to have plenty of room on my kayak for extra gear, such as a good-quality kayak fishing cooler.
But where I leave my kayak cart depends entirely on the situation, and in the end, I suggest you adapt your method according to the circumstances.
If you can, leave the cart in the car, if not, take it with you, if not, leave it somewhere secure.
There’s no right or wrong method – just whatever works for you, your kayak, and the locations in which you fish.
Do I need a kayak cart?
It largely depends on the size and weight of your kayak. If you struggle to lift it and/or if you fish solo, it’s probably a good investment.
Almost all the larger fishing machines are going to benefit from a kayak cart – and you will too.
Is a kayak cart worth it?
I would say so, yes.
Don’t forget, aside from it being a big help in carrying all the kayak’s weight, it’s also going to assist in preventing damage, which will ensure your kayak lasts longer as a result.
I imagine that “use a kayak cart” is mentioned at some point!
How do I choose a kayak cart?
Good question. It will largely depend on the type of kayak you have. Check out this review of the best kayak carts available, which has a complete guide on how to choose the right one for you.
What is a kayak trolley?
The same thing as a kayak cart – it’s just a different name for it.
Where to keep fish on a kayak?
You’ve figured out where to keep your kayak cart, now you need to know where to put your catch!
This article on where to keep fish on a kayak has all the answers and more.
Kayak carts are useful contraptions for a number of reasons, but what do you do with your kayak cart while you’re on the water?
I hope this article has answered the question, and you know what to do the next time you take your kayak and cart for an adventure.
If you have a good kayak cart storage solution, or if there’s something we’ve missed, let us know in the comments.
Stay safe out there, tight lines, and happy kayak fishing!