Kayak & Canoe Trolley Guide

Kayaks and canoes are not the easiest of things to move around off the water. A trolley makes life a lot easier when it comes to getting your craft to and from the water. There are a range of trolleys available on the market and not all of them are suitable for every craft. This guide takes a closer look at the most popular trolleys out there, and their suitability for use with various types of kayaks and canoes.

Types of Kayak and Canoe Trolleys

There are many different trolley designs and some are better than others as far as design and durability goes. The other important issue is getting a trolley that is suitable for your particular kayak, canoe or SUP. Some cheaper (budget) trolleys may look similar to more expensive ones but have flimsy designs made from weak metals that really aren’t up to the job - you won’t find these in our stores. Cheap trolleys also tend to have pneumatic wheels which are prone to puncturing and may perish as the years go by.

You don’t have to pay much more for a better quality trolley with a much stronger metal frame construction and with puncture-proof wheels which won’t leave you feeling deflated. Pay more again and you can get very strong and robust plastic designs which are suitable for a whole range of kayaks and canoes.

There are also scupper hole trolleys with a two pronged approach rather than a cradle. These are only meant for use with kayaks with reinforced scupper holes such as the Hobie Range. Using a scupper hole trolley with a kayak with non-reinforced scupper holes can cause damage inside the scupper holes which will eventually lead to leakage if used incorrectly. A damaged scupper hole is very difficult to repair and a leaky kayak is a danger to life. We do not sell this kind of trolley.

Riot Kayak Trolley

This trolley is great for just about all single-seater Sit-In Kayaks, such as small recreational touring kayaks up to longer day touring kayaks and sea kayaks. It is also a good option for small to medium-sized Sit-On-Top kayaks. The trolley is a ‘drop-on-top’ cradle style design, where-by the kayak hull is placed on top of the trolley and secured in place using a strap. The trolley can be placed anywhere along the hull, but is best placed approx. 2/3rds of the way back along the hull.

Riot Kayak Trolley

The Riot Kayak Trolley has a robust design and uses foam rubber grips on top of the trolley to help hold the hull of a kayak without damaging it. Puncture-proof solid PU wheels are suitable for all-terrains and the trolley has a small leg to hold the trolley upright whilst you load on your kayak. Some hulls shapes have more contact with the rubber grips than others, and on some hulls the trolley may want to slip down the hull during use. This is easily stopped by running the strap through your deck-lines so that the strap rests against a deck-fitting (one holding the deck line in place on the hull), or perhaps around the bow-side lip of a stern hatch. This prevents backwards movement of the trolley if slipping is a problem.

Riot Large Kayak and Canoe Trolley

This trolley is wider than the 'Kayak Trolley' above, it is suitable for taking heavier loads and has a dual foot stand so it is more stable both when loading and when moving your watercraft. The extra width also makes it suitable for wider hulls such as Canadian canoes, stable fishing kayaks, larger sit-on-top kayaks, tandem kayaks, SUPs and twin cockpit kayaks.

Riot Large Canoe and Kayak Trolley

As can be seen in the above image the trolley features a strong metal frame design with rubber hull grips, solid puncture-proof PU wheels and a fold-out dual footed leg to hold the trolley upright whilst you load on your craft. We recommend the use of a roof-rack strap, or even two on rougher terrain, to secure your craft down onto the trolley. Again, some hull designs hold onto the rubber grips better than others. If the trolley wants to slip backwards during use then pass the roof rack strap through some deck fittings, or through a side handle to trap it and prevent backwards slipping. 

Railblaza C-Tug Trolleys

The C-Tug trolley is a premium trolley made from high quality engineering grade polymers which ensures that it is durable, practical, light-weight and reliable. This trolley is great on smooth or rough terrains and will last many, many years. The standard C-Tug is the preferred kayak trolley for sea kayakers, kayak anglers due to its massive load rating of 120kg and rugged build. It is also very popular with open canoe paddlers as it is ideal for long portages between waterways and can cope with a canoe loaded with camping kit.

The C-Tug has a cradle design with large supportive pads which self adjust to fit many different hull types including Canadian Canoes, Sit on Top Kayaks, Sea Kayaks, Hobie Kayaks etc. The pads tilt and adjust automatically to the hull shape of the craft on the trolley. The pads will even go completely flat making it suitable for use with SUPs, surfboards and wind surf boards too!

There are two versions, one has the puncture proof 'Kiwi' wheels (on the left in the image below) designed primarily for hard or rough surfaces but also fine on all but the softest of sand. The other kind are the 'Sandtrakz wheels (on the right in the image below) designed specifically for soft sand but also fine on hard surfaces. These have a flexible outer rim which spreads the load over a wider surface area to reduce the effort needed to trolley your kayak over soft sand.

C-Tug trolleys

The pads are the same on both trolleys and feature a rubberised surface which provides an excellent grip against the hull of the craft on the trolley. The trolley comes complete with a strap and cam buckle for adjustment. Once the hull is secured down onto the rubberised pads, and tightened firmly with the strap, the C-Tug holds very well to the craft and slipping of the trolley is rarely, if ever, an issue. 

The construction of the C-Tug is carefully thought out as far as on-board storage goes. If you have large hatches you might just need to whip the wheels off and load it up. If you have smaller hatches, such as the round ones on some sea kayaks, you might need to remove the pads too which only takes a few seconds. If you are packing for an expedition and need to maximise the use of your storage space then the whole trolley can be dismantled into its component parts in less than 30 seconds. A full breakdown can make it easier to fit around other kit so maximising the use of your on-board storage.

The C-Tug also has an adjustable kick-stand which keeps the trolley upright whilst you load your craft onto it. The C-Tug is a great trolley for all sorts of kayak and canoes. A range of examples are included below, showing the Railblaza C-Tug Trolley in use:

a range of kayak types on C-Tug trolleys

 

C-Tug carrying a Candian Canoe

Another benefit of the C-Tug is that they are very durable and serviceable - every part can be replaced incase you break or lose a piece, so once you have one you can keep it for a life-time of paddling.

The image below shows how the pads self adjust to fit a wide range of hull types.

C-Tug trolleys fitted to a range of kayaks

Storing some trolleys can be quite difficult, however the C-Tug break apart design really comes into its own when you want to take the trolley with you on a paddle. This is far easier than walking back to stow it in the car, then having to go get it again after your paddle. The C-Tug breaks down to a surprisingly small size. The pads detach by folding them upright, the wheels can be taken off by unclipping an integrated locking pin, the frame can then also be broken down into 2 halves, although you usually just need to remove the wheels and pads. The C-Tug will then fit into the bow or stern hatch of most kayaks.

Stowing a C-Tug in storage hatches

If the kayak/canoe doesn’t have a hatch or a large enough hatch, then the C-Tug can usually be stored on deck or in a tank-well, secured down with some bungees.

Stowing C-Tug in sit on top tankwell

The first video below shows you how to use the C-Tug with Kiwi Wheels. The one below it will show how the Sandtrakz wheels work. It is possible to fit either kind of wheels to the same trolley frame so if you use your kayak in a variety of locations you might want to buy the Sandtrakz version and order a set of Kiwi wheels as well for longer portages over hard ground.


 The C-Tug is the go-to trolley for Canoe Shops UK staff, has proved its worth over time to many of our happy customers and is used by paddlesports enthusiasts of all disciplines around the world. 

Small V-Hull Trolley

If you are planning an expedition using a sea kayak, or just want a very compact trolley, we have the Small V-Hull Lightweight Kayak trolley for transporting kayaks with a narrow V style hull at the bow or stern of the boat and up to 30kg in weight. This trolley is designed to fit under the hull of a sea kayak or other touring kayak and comes with a strap to secure it to the kayak.

This trolley is small enough to fit into most storage hatches with ease. You will have to take it slowly on rough or soft ground as it is quite narrow and has small wheels but is ideal if you are very limited as far as space and weight goes.

Compact V Hull Trolley

Summary

The table below simply summarises which trolley is the most suitable for various styles of kayaks and canoes. The Small V-Hull trolley is very much specialist for sea kayaks so is not on the table.

Trolley Comparison Table

Our staff are happy to advise if you have any questions as to which trolley would best suit your particular watercraft and paddling locations - drop us an email or give us a call.

Trolleys Available to Buy

View all
Riot kayak trolley available from Canoe Shops UK online or in-store
Sale price£59.95
Riot Kayak TrolleyRiot Kayaks
Riot Canoe Trolley for large kayaks and canoes
Railblaza C-Tug Ideal for transporting most Canoes and Kayaks over smooth or rough terrainRailblaza C-Tug in use on sand hauling a Hobie Revolution Kayak
Sale price£114.95
Railblaza C-TUGRailblaza
Railblaza C-Tug Sandtrakz Trolley available to buy fromCanoe Shops UK in-store or onlineRailblaza C-Tug Sandtrakz Trolley Wheel showing flexible outer rim
Small V-Hull Kayak Trolley