A kayak trolley is one of the handiest pieces of equipment a paddler can own. If you own a kayak you will no doubt know how difficult it is to lift your boat onto the roof of your vehicle and take it down again to carry to the edge of the water. This becomes especially onerous if you practice your sport frequently. A kayak is very heavy and can be quite tough to move in areas where it is tricky to maneuver without wheels.
A kayak trolley is handy to transport your kayak over long distances a well as your other equipment and belongings, leaving more space in your vehicle for passengers and other important items that you need to take along on your excursions. Just as important as the factors were that helped you choose the right kayak, the same attention should be given to choosing the right kayak trolley.
Why you Need a Kayak Trolley
– For easy transport of your bulky kayak to and from your destination.
– To save time and effort.
– To reduce hard work and prevent injury.
– To easily maneuver your kayak on sandy or difficult terrain.
– To prevent damage to your kayak from dragging it on hard or rocky surfaces.
How to Choose the Best Kayak Trolley
The important factors you need to consider when choosing a kayak trolley include:
The first thing you need to do is check the weight of your kayak and the maximum weight capacity of the kayak trolley you plan on purchasing.
The Type of Terrain
The type of terrain you regularly access will determine the type of kayak trolley you need. Some terrain is rocky with sharp edges while others have clay or sandy soil. Your kayak trolley needs to be sturdy enough to prevent tipping over or getting stuck as you venture out to the water’s edge and to navigate difficult terrain.
The Right Size
The trolley size should match the size of your kayak for good balance over rough terrain and to prevent it from toppling over when unloading.
The Right Tire Size
The perfect kayak wheel size will make the job of carting your kayak easy. The right size tire will enable your kayak trolley to navigate difficult terrain and handle rough rides. A wider wheel is best for rocky terrain and larger kayaks while a narrower wheel will handle small kayaks better and more economically. Inflatable, “never-go-flat” tires are puncture proof and great on sand.
While plastic tires are the preferred choice of riverside anglers because they are cheap, lightweight, collapsible, and easy to store, they cannot be used on sand as they get stuck and tend to overheat. They are also not suitable for use on rocky terrain.
Pneumatic tires use an air regulation system that allows them to be inflated to a level that suits the terrain. The drawbacks are that they can puncture or lose air.
Foam-filled tires can be used on any terrain, however, inflation levels cannot be regulated.
Balloon tires are excellent for beaches and sandy terrain but run the risk of bursting on rocky areas with sharp jagged edges.
The Right Frame
Regular kayak trolley frames are made from normal steel which is fine for freshwater areas. However, for saltwater kayaking, a frame with anti-corrosive materials is a must. These frames are normally made of aluminum that is corrosion resistant, lightweight, and strong enough to support heavy kayaks and canoes.
The trolley you choose should be fold-able or easily disassembled with a space-saving design for easy storage.
If you have a kayak that is wider than the regular width, look for a trolley with an adjustable width function.
The Right Type of Trolley For You
There are three different types of kayak trolleys available on the market:
(1) Plug-In Kayak Cart
Designed to plug into the scupper holes in the seat area of the kayak these carts are most popular with sit-on-top kayaks. Note that kayaks have different plug-in sizes so check these to ensure they will fit.
(2) Strapped Carts
The kayak is strapped to the cart at different places. The more straps that are used the safer it is.
(3) End Carts
These carts are placed at the end of the kayak and designed to drag the kayak at the back. The kayak and the cart must be compatible and it is important that the kayak is not too wide for the cart.
New vs Used vs DIY
A new kayak trolley is obviously desirable and something to show off to your fellow kayakers, but if you can find a used one in good condition it will serve the purpose just as well. Just remember to keep the above features in mind. If you are a handyman and you trust your own workmanship you can design and construct the perfect trolley according to your exact requirements.