By Mike Pehanich
Getting a kayak from your vehicle to the water can sometimes be the toughest challenge of the day. Save time and energy for the fish by outfitting your kayak with a set of wheels!
One of the kayak angler’s most important accessories seldom reaches the water.
The kayak cart!
Wheeled kayak carts enable the angler to transport the craft from vehicle to remote launch areas with tackle and accessories already aboard.
Tire options enable the kayak owner to match cart selection to land surface. Carriage design will vary, too. Some carts are specifically made for kayaks while others double as transport devices for canoes and other small craft as well.
Some kayak manufacturers design or recommend specific carts to fit scupper holes in their kayaks. This style of cart generally simplifies mounting and transport.
Some carts require straps to secure the kayak during transport.
A cart functions as a fulcrum. If you select a cart designed for variable positioning, you may have to adjust cart location to the size, weight and locations of your load for best results. Positioning the cart near the center of the cumulative kayak mass is a safe and generally effective strategy.
Wheeling ‘em in
Airless wheels eliminate a major cart maintenance concern, but inflatable wheels offer advantage over soft terrain.
“The inflatable style wheels are great for soft mediums, especially sand and mud,” notes Kevin Nakada of Hobie. “They spread the kayak’s weight and load over a larger surface area. You may want some bounce to your wheels when you are hauling a loaded kayak over sand dunes.”
Hobie’s Trax 2-30 Plug-in Kayak Cart has pneumatic tires and small diameter rims that prevent pinching and valve damage under heavy loads. The cart has a 242-pound capacity. Tires can be deflated, too, for better performance on soft terrain.
Hobie’s standard cart is economical and efficient when hauling the kayak over a range of ground conditions. But hardcore kayakers concerned with durability and reliability over paved launch areas or hard, coarse gravel or rock terrain might opt for a tougher, more durable set of wheels. Hobie’s Heavy Duty Plug-in Cart fills the bill and offers a 225-pound load capacity, too.
“We also have a stowable fold-up style called the Hobie Fold and Stow Plug-in Cart,” says Nakada. “It’s compact, so you can take it on the water with you. It comes with a storage bag you can fit in your front hatch so you don’t have to walk your wheels all the way back to your vehicle if you’ve had a long haul to reach water.”
The Plug-in carts are all designed to fit the scupper holes of Hobie kayaks for quick and easy set-up and transport. Wheels are detachable on all models.
Some specialty manufacturers also make carts to fit kayak scuppers. Make sure any such cart choice adapts to your kayak before making the purchase.
Odds are you’ll love your set of wheels!