Articles, Skills

How To Use a Kayak Cart (Strap and Plug Style)

When it comes to transportation, a kayak cart can be handy. It can assist you in moving from your kayak to the water and back. But you might be asking how do you correctly use it?

Different carts can have unique features to them and unique straps but in general, they all are used in the same manner. Here, we’ll give light on how to use a kayak cart the proper way.

Why Should You Use a Kayak Cart?


Manufacturers made kayak carriers and trolleys to lessen your burden. They make getting your kayak to and from your location more accessible. Everyone moves their kayak over various distances and has a distinct level of comfort transporting it. A cart is an excellent option if you have to move your kayak more than a few yards to and from the launch.

The average kayak can weigh between 20 and 60 pounds, that’s not something you want to be caught moving alone!

Kayaks are troublesome to transport. The wind can really push them, and if you’re alone, you have to transport them unfilled. The possibility of losing control of the boat or colliding with something is even more concerning. Vessels made of fiberglass and some thin plastics are easily cracked or scratched. (1)

Of course, if you utilize a kayak cart, your back will thank you. Kayaking is a low-impact sport overall, but lugging a huge boat around can strain a muscle or two. Basically, a cart decreases the probability of an injury. (2)

Strap Style

kayakcart strapstyle

Strap-style carts are the most frequent that you will encounter, and they also have the convenience of accommodating various kinds of boats. You may put these beneath any kayak, canoe, or paddleboard. They help vary loads depending on the tires and the frame’s durability. While you can get by with one designated for only your boat’s bare weight, it’s advisable to get one that’s just a bit tougher.

Carts make it simple to load all of your equipment into the car and then transport those to the launch. You might be lugging a lot more than just your bare kayak. Coolers filled with ice, camping equipment, and all sorts of other stuff can mean your kayak weights a lot which all gets added to the basket.

Strap-style carts all contain some form of a cradle that your vessel sits in. Then, to restrict the cart from moving one way or another, a strap is used to hold it. You can add tie-down points or a coaming to make the strap even more sturdy if your boat has them.

Steps to Strap Your Kayak Down

The actual technique for using a cart will differ from one manufacturer to the next. Read the instructions that came with your cart at all times. Here’s a quick rundown of how it works:

Step 1: Place Your Cart Alongside Your Kayak

placing kayak cart

Lay your cart beside your kayak so that loading can be straightforward.

Step 2: Begin at The Stern

Lift the stern of your kayak from the back of your kayak. And slip it onto the top of your cart, lying on the padded platform.

Step 3: Straighten Out the Bow

Raise the bow of your kayak so that it is parallel to the stern and cart. If one side of your boat appears to be closer to the edge than the other, you may need to change the angle gently.

Step 4: Balance

Typically, your kayak should have an even load distribution over the cart. This means you should set it under the kayak towards the back of the seat or cabin. When you raise the kayak from the front, the back should hold the wheels and not tip backward.

Step 5: Secure It

Now since your boat is properly in place on the deck of your kayak carrier, it’s crucial to fasten the straps.

Use your strap and tighten it around the leg of your cart – usually the one that you can find linked to the wheels, not the moveable one.

Secure the strap to the other cart leg by crossing it over the top of your kayak. Next, you may tighten and secure your strap with the buckle by assuring it is on top of your kayak.

Plug Style

kayakcart plugstyle

They are less adaptable since manufacturers develop plug-in-style carts for certain kayak models only. They only function with sit-on kayaks, which usually have scupper holes to drain the water in the cockpits.

As these carts have pipes that fit into the self-bailing suction holes on the kayak’s bottom, they appear to be simpler. It’s a reasonable technique, but it only works on boats with the same size scupper holes in the same positions.

Some carts are universal in design, with poles that swing to accommodate different boat widths. These carts will operate with any boat with scuppers as long as the pole diameter fits inside the scupper holes. The concern is that these designs are more likely to be frail. And lastly, how well the poles lock in place needs to be highly secure.

It’s also a little more challenging to set up a plug-in-style cart. The kayak must be wrestled up and onto the poles because these carts do not stand on their own. Remember that the cart is trying to roll in every direction, and you’re lifting from the kayak’s heaviest point.

Steps to Plugin Your Kayak

Each cart works a bit differently, so refer to the instructions that came with it for the precise process you should employ. However, you will see a guide below on how kayak owners commonly do it:

Step 1: Take Your Cart

Take your plug-style kayak cart across to your kayak so you can start loading it.

Step 2: Flip Your Kayak

Turn your kayak over on its side to access the hull’s bottom. If your scupper holes have scupper plugs in them, you should remove them before loading your kayak into your cart.

Step 3: Raise the Cart

Raise your cart and fasten the plug poles into the correct scupper holes. Ensure that it is on the hull’s bottom with your kayak on its side. It should be at or behind the seat and close to the back of the kayak.

Step 4: Adjust the Position of Your Kayak

Turn the kayak back upright gently now that the plug poles from your cart are firmly in the scupper holes on your boat. To avoid dislodging the plugs, hold on to the trolley while doing this.

Step 5: Balance

kayakcart balance

Once you safely mount your vessel onto the cart, double-check the balance so that you can safely lift the stern to pull it.

Your kayak should be secure in place thanks to the plug poles on your cart.

Strap or Plug-in: Which Is Best for You?

Kayak carts differ in terms of how they attach to the kayak. Both varieties are relatively similar in appearance, and practically all of them have two wheels. You should position these carts in the kayak’s center or back half. Strap-style carts use ratchet straps to secure the kayak. And, for plug-in-style carts, you will need to use the scupper plugs on your kayak as connection points. Here’s an article guide on the best scupper plugs in the market these days.

Generally, they are all reliable kayak carts depending on the model of kayak you own. Overall, the best kayak cart kind for you will always depend on what kayak you have. I highly recommend getting to know your kayak model deeper and verifying if it is ideal for strap style or plug-in style kayak cart.

Here’s a kayak cart guide for you to check so you will know more about how to take care of your kayak cart. Other articles you have to bookmark are below. Until our next article!

(1) fiberglass –
(2) strain a muscle –

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About Julian Thompson

cb787c59d2808e1f609076e790ca977e?s=90&d=mm&r=gCertifications: Certified Kayaking Instructor (AKA)
Education: American Kayak Association
Lives In: Denver Colorado

I am a kayaking expert/instructor who has been fishing for over 15 years. Fishing is my passion, but kayaking keeps me on the water. I love to share my knowledge of techniques and tips with others. I live in Colorado with my wife and two kids and own a small kayak rental business On Grand Lake where I rent and instruct.