Enter the kayak cart: a pair of wheels to assist you in transporting your boat and gear to and from the water. All carts work on the same basic premise, but some are better than others, and getting the wrong cart will just make the whole experience ever harder. A sea kayaker, pulling their cart across the sand, needs their rig to be just a few simple things.
Paddling is an excellent full-body workout that improves flexibility, strength, and balance. It’s a sport that makes working out fun, but one place most paddlers don’t want a workout is the walk from their car to the put-in point. Hauling a 40- to 70-lb. boat on your shoulder can be painful and exhausting, and that’s before you even get to the fun stuff.
What Matters in a Kayak Cart?
A kayak cart should be tailored to your specific needs – no more, no less. You can buy a cart built from the most modern, lightweight materials, but who cares how little it weighs if you just need to wheel it through the parking lot? On the other hand, if you’re dragging your cart and boat down five miles of trail to reach a gnarly wave – yeah, weight is an important a factor.
A kayak cart should also be portable. Once you’ve reached the put-in, the last thing you want to do is take the cart back to your vehicle. Better if it can fold up inside the boat, and many of the models currently on the market do just that. Lastly, a kayak cart can take some of the strain out of launching your boat, but it’s not an item you want to spend a ton of money on. Some models can cost upwards of $200, and that’s just not necessary for the average sea kayaker.
So, what does the beach-going sea kayaker need in a cart? Traversing the beach will be a challenge if you don’t have the right tires. Narrow wheels sink into the sand, and will leave you swearing up a storm in no time. Large diameter wheels with a wide tread are best for sand. Additionally, sea kayaks are longer and heavier than their recreational counterparts, so it’s important to choose a cart that is strong enough to handle this extra weight and has a way to secure the lengthy boat.
The Best Kayak Cart for the Sand
While there are loads of kayak carts on the market, when considering which is best for the beach, the considerations are fairly simple: big tires, lightweight, easy-to-use, and not too expensive. The Malone Nomad fits those criteria perfectly.
- The wheels and tires are the biggest concern for pulling your cart across the sand. The Malone Nomad has 10-inch diameter, never-go-flat tires (a punctured cart tire is worse than no cart at all) that are a full three inches wide. These big tires are necessary for traversing soft sand at the beach. They’re also removable for storage, allowing the cart to broken down and stored in your hatch.
- Its aluminum frame is fairly lightweight at just under 8 lbs. Not only does that make it easier to roll across soft sand, it’s also advantageous since you’ll be carrying it around in your boat. Despite being lightweight, it’s still tough enough to carry 150 lbs., which is more than you’re ever going to need.
- It’s easy to load – once the cart is assembled, just place the rear of the cockpit onto the rack and attach the 1-inch cam buckle to secure it. The rack is covered in oversized foam padding to keep your boat in pristine condition.
- The Malone Nomad comes in at under $100, which is the most you’ll probably want to spend on kayaking equipment that won’t even being used once you’re in the boat.
Ultimately, the decision of which kayak cart to buy for your sea kayak will probably come down to ease of use and price. The whole purpose of using a cart is to save you the strain of carrying your boat on your shoulder across the beach. If the boat falls off the cart or gets stuck in the sand, it’s not going to feel very useful. Spending a bunch of money that could be better put towards gas for a far-away paddling trip won’t put you in a positive mood either. However, with its low price, maneuverability, and ease of use, the Malone Nomad will leave you feeling pretty good about your purchase and ready to take your kayak out in the ocean.