I made this a few years back for my small canoe.
Here are 3 views of it assembled.
The wooden cart stays fixed under the bottom of the
boat when it is in the water, as it tries to float.
This makes it easy to remove the cart from the canoe
(and later reinstall it) while the boat is in the
water. Launching and retrieving at a ramp is thus
very easy. The first time I put a boat in the water
with such a cart, I got worried since I couldn’t
find the cart anywhere and worried that it had sunk
or floated off and would be lost under water somewhere,
then a child watching the launch pointed out that
it was stuck up against the hull. Boy, did I feel
The two ‘kickstands’ are important, as
otherwise you have an awful time trying to put the
boat on the cart when it is out of the water. The
kickstands should be toward the bow so that when you
lift the bow to roll/pull the boat, they are clear
of the ground.
On my cart, the plastic, and thus rustproof, wheels
are held to the wooden axle by lag screws that go
through the two sets of uprights before reaching the
axle. (If your wheels have large holes through them,
then they’ll need a large screw through them
which will in turn require that you have a fairly
large axle.) My wheels are recycled from a child’s
tricycle that was about to be thrown out.
The wooden uprights are connected to cross bars.
The white shock cord holds the foam noodle boat supports
to these crossbars. These supports are notched to
go onto the crossbars, and the crossbars are in turn
notched to receive them. The foam noodle supports
are also notched where the shock cord goes across
them. The shock cord continues back to the axle, back
to the other crossbar, and finally back to the axle
where it is secured to itself using an S hook.
It is important to strap the boat to the cart, as
it can easily fall off.
The whole thing folds up fairly compactly.
I often stick my collapsed cart in my canoe when
paddling, thus saving a trip to the car to drop it
off before I launch and another trip back to the car
to retrieve it when I’m done paddling. Also,
having wheels sticking up out of your canoe is an
interesting conversation starter when folks ask or
comment about it. Little kids, especially, wonder
out loud, “Why does that canoe have wheels?”
Other articles by Steve Lansdowne: