5 DIY Kayak Cart You Can Actually Build

The kayak is the ticket to the great outdoors. Whether bird-watching, exercising or grabbing some much-needed solitary time, the kayak allows it all to be done. 

Yet, hauling the kayak across the land to water or portaging it isn’t easy, especially given its weight and size. You either need to carry on a shoulder, as a team, or drag it.  

A far better option to save your back and preserve your kayak is to roll it on a cart. Fortunately, you can build your DIY kayak cart easily and very inexpensively. 

Diy Kayak Cart

Kayak Cart Uses

The primary purpose of a kayak cart is to get the kayak to and from the water easily.  

Secondarily, you can load your kayak with the extra gear that would otherwise require a second trip. It is important to note that kayaks are designed for one or two paddlers. They are boats intended for natural waterways and lake or ocean excursions.  

The benefits of using a kayak cart are plentiful, from conserving energy and protecting your back, allowing kayakers to go alone on treks, bringing along bigger and heavier kayaks, and avoiding damaging the vessel during transport.  

Once you know their details and characteristics, learning how to use a kayak cart is relatively simple. 

Follow these steps for a seamless kayak experience: 

  • Set the cart aside the kayak on the ground. This eases lifting and loading the boat. 
  • Begin at the stern (rear), lift it to slide the kayak on top of the cart so it rests comfortably on the (usually padded) platform 
  • Move to the bow, lift, and set it up in a straight line across the cart. Check to ensure it is centered and that one side is not too close to the cart’s edge. 
  • Check the balance. Aim for even weight distribution so the cart acts as a fulcrum on a see-saw. Usually, it does not mean the dead center lengthwise for kayaks, but more toward the rear of the seat or cockpit. 
  • Strap it down. Secure the strap to one leg of the cart. Then wrap it up and over the top of the kayak, securing it to the leg on the opposite side.
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DIY Ideas

One of the challenges of owning a kayak is transporting it from your car to the water’s edge. This could mean that you will have to carry your kayak quite a ways.  

Even with the Pelican Mustangs, some of the lightest kayaks in the industry, it will still tire you out if you need to carry it 0.5 miles or more.  

As we started looking into kayak carts, we realized that they could get costly. Luckily, we figured out how to build a DIY kayak cart that is not only inexpensive but very easy to build as well.   

PVC Kayak Cart 

The PVC kayak cart is lightweight, compact, sturdy, and affordable. Some cheap PVC pipe and a couple of hand truck tires are all you will need to build your cart.  

No more lifting and carrying the kayak over your head and down to the water. Just load it onto the sturdy homemade cart and roll it wherever you want it.  

PVC pipe can be purchased at any home supply center, and it is an accessible material to work with.  

Measure, cut, and glue the threaded joints to create the desired size. Use a foam pool noodle to provide cushioning so the plastic PVC pipe would not scratch your kayak and small wheels to make the cart mobile.  

These free kayak plans use hand truck wheels, but recycled reels from a lawnmower or tricycle would work also.   

Recycled Golf Bag Cart 

If you have an old golf bag cart that has seen better days, you can salvage it and recycle it into a usable homemade canoe cart.  

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Finding a cheap one with a good frame at a thrift shop will be easy if you do not have an old golf bag. Perhaps someone you know may have one they will gladly give to you to get it out of their way.   

Walker Cart

The granny walker has all the needed components to make a homemade canoe cart, like the lightweight metal frame and two wheels. All you have to do is disassemble the walker and reassemble it in a different configuration to create a functional and affordable kayak cart.  

This walker cart will provide you with a method of transporting your kayak with very little out-of-pocket expense. Used walkers are easy to find and cheap to purchase at a thrift store, or you may want to upgrade granny with a new walker and recycle her old one.   

Canoe Cart

If you own a canoe, you require a canoe cart. Carrying a heavy canoe from the vehicle to the water and back again can be a daunting task and cause you not to go out on the water as often as you would like. Change that and enjoy floating on the water more often by building yourself a DIY canoe cart.  

Allow a homemade cart to do all the heavy lifting and carrying for you to enjoy the water without the muscle train. Step-by-step instructions make this DIY project easy to complete, and the project is budget-friendly.   

Paddle Frame Cart

A kayak needs two paddles to propel it forward and guide it through the water, so why not use those two paddles as part of the DIY kayak cart frame?  

Training wheels from a child’s bike, a block of wood, and the two kayak paddles are about all that is needed for this DIY project. The paddles are easy to put into place and use to stabilize the kayak when it is being moved. Then, the paddles are easy to remove when it is time to get in the water.   

Kayak Recommendations

In case you don’t have a kayak, here are the recommended kayaks available in Amazon:

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Oru Kayak Foldable Kayak

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No trailer hitch for a boat? Just stowe your kayak in the trunk of your car. Live in the city, or don’t have a garage? Simply stash your kayak in the closet or under your bed until the next time the wilderness calls. Wherever your next destination is, your Oru Kayak is ready to go the distance.

Intex Challenger Kayak Inflatable Set with Aluminum Oars

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Intex Challenger is a nimble, durable kayak is made of durable welded material with eye catching graphics for added safety on the lake or slow moving river. It’s cockpit is designed for comfort and maximized space, and inflatable I beam floors add stability. Removable skeg provides exceptional directional movement.

Perception Hi Life 11 – Sit on Top Kayak

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The Perception Hi Life is the most versatile boat ever built, featuring a sit-on-top design that can be paddled like a kayak or a stand up paddleboard. It offers maximum stability and unique features to create an experience that’s unlike anything else—and is perfect for sharing the water with kids and pets. The low-profile rear swim deck with handles makes it easy to get back on board after swimming.


There are so many different kinds of kayak carts for you to choose from once you decide to look for one. They range in the different materials they are made from, whether plastic or aluminum. They are small and easy to store until you are ready to use them.  

It is very easy to learn how to build your own kayak trolley. Aside from making your life so much easier when transporting to and back from your access site, especially in those areas where you have to walk down a trail or across a beach to get to, these DIY ideas are not costly to build. 

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Donald Miller

Hi, I am Donald Miller. I love spending time outdoors backpacking and camping with my family and friends. I enjoy writing about my experiences and sharing them with others through my blog at gociety.com. It's great to meet you!