Getting kayak wheels properly fitted is perhaps one of the most important things you can do to make sure your new boat is waterworthy when you finally put it on the water. The wheels on your kayak serve a very simple purpose – to get you moving, whether that is across the water or on land. In other words, without wheels you have no hope of getting anywhere! So how do you go about making sure your wheels are the right width, length and strength for the job?
A good starting point is to start by looking at kayak wheels from top to bottom. At first glance you may not see much there – the frame and hull of the craft. But the shape and trolley boasts foam bumpers, support feet and plenty of other features that will help your new canoes handle better as they move through the water. Take a good look at this and the other parts of the frame to make sure these points are in line with your budget and personal preference.
If you are ready to move onto the different kayak wheels then it is time to turn your attention to what’s included. At this point you will need to think about whether you want a set of trolleys, three wheels or a hullless craft. In the case of trolleys, a good set can save you some money over having separate ones, so if you are on a strict budget these might be the best options for you. For hulls, the best kayak carts, wheels and trolleys will be found in trolleys designed specifically for this type of craft.
The next thing to check is the quality of the kayak wheels themselves. Quality is determined by a number of factors – how thick the foam pads are, the stiffness of the frame, the quality of the hardware, and the life of the axle. Some manufacturers use fiberglass or laminated foam in place of foam pads to improve strength. Some manufacturers use solid steel or aluminum frame which are proven to last longer than foam pads. Pads can sometimes become weak spots after constant use, so it is always best to purchase a well-known brand name with a solid history of durability to back it up.
Kayak wheels and kayak trolley come in different lengths, so before you purchase one it is a good idea to know what you will need inside your kayak. If you intend to store food and drinks as well as gear and supplies then consider the extra length that larger wheels require. Most 12-foot models are sufficient, but the most popular types can go up to 24-foot in length for ease of storage.
To save space, you may want to consider purchasing a wheel with a built-in basket, cooler, or rack. Portable kayaking and whitewater rafting requires carrying provisions, kayak supplies, and other gear. If you don’t have room for all of this inside your kayak, you may want to think about how you will transport your belongings when you’re not using your kayak. Many people choose to load their kayak with a rear cargo area that opens out when not in use and a forward cargo bay with tie-down straps and webbing to secure the items. A kayak tractor wheel is a popular option for transporting large loads in smooth and flat waters.