Contributed by Tony Lam
I have had my Wilderness Systems Ride 135 for about 3 years now. It is a great kayak and well designed to be stable and fast. It’s hull has pontoons on either side for primary stability and a keel that runs the length of the boat to help with tracking. The pontoons can provide somewhat of a challenge to a lot of kayak carts. Through trial and error I learned what aspects of a kayak cart work well and not so well for my kayak.
I have gone through 3 kayak carts. 1 cart I had bought off of amazon. This kayak cart did not fit the hull well. While it was light and had nice wheels, if the kayak was not placed on the hull properly it would slip off and possibly tip over with all of my gear. This cart had nice wheels and I liked that it was able to break down to fit into the hatch.
I then built 2 kayak carts to try to solve this problem. My first kayak cart I built from designs from Palmetto Kayak blog. This kayak cart worked pretty well. It was very strong and was almost completely made of metal. The metal added weight and strength and since the cart used pins for the wheels, I was able to break down the cart and stow it in the hatch. What I did not like about this cart was that the bunks tend to bend over time and when I stowed it in the front of my kayak, the added weight kept the front of the kayak lower in the water and made paddling more difficult.
This design worked and I was able to load up very quickly because I did not have to lift the kayak very high to slip the kayak on to the cart, but I ran into other challenges. I had to drill holes into the replaceable keel plate on my kayak and it added stress to the screws that held that plate in. Also since the cart was at the end of the kayak, you are carrying almost all of the weight of the kayak. It was also kind of wobbly.
Then I finally bought the Ctug cart and hoped that it was worth the money. The ctug cart is well designed. The quality of the components is solid and it is easily broken down into 5 pieces. The wheels are large and able to handle rough terrain pretty well. I like that the pads the kayak sits on can pivot to accommodate the hull. But I still had to modify the ctug to fit my kayak’s hull. I used a bigger size pool noodle and zip tied them to the ctug pads. I also inserted a 1” x 12” piece of pvc into the pool noodle to give it some strength and keep shape. The pool noodles provided enough grip to catch the kayak as I was loading it and the pads are wide enough to provide a secure base for my kayak and it’s 32” width. I try to tie the cart just behind my seat, this is approximately two-thirds of the length of the kayak, and makes the kayak seem much lighter and stable as I move the kayak along.
There is one problem that all kayak carts have. Placing a heavy (around 100lbs) loaded kayak onto a cart on an incline. The ctug is no different. But it has some design elements and construction that make it a pretty good kayak cart. My modifications on the cart are simple and non-permanent. The little kickstand helps hold the cart in place and the wheels are big and able to handle all sorts of terrain. I have heard people complain about the straps, I have not had any issues. I think the issue is the placement of the cart on the kayak and people are placing the cart toward the tapered end of the kayak. Overall, I think the ctug is worth the money it provides a good base for your kayak. The ctug’s issues are issues that affect all universal kayak carts, but it’s benefits in design and quality of materials out weight the cons. Look at how your kayak’s hull shape is and see if the ctug is the right kayak cart for you.