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Nothing works out the whole body quite like a combined cycling and kayaking adventure. Your glutes and quads get everything they need from the cycling on the bike trip, and your upper body and core get a workout from the paddling.
The challenge for anyone who has tried this type of workout (or multi-day trip) is figuring out how to carry a kayak with your bike. So we’ve found a few solutions.
You can transport a kayak with your bike using purpose-built kayak trailers for bikes, or a combination of tow bar and conventional portage cart, or a suitable cargo trailer with an extension arm that provides enough clearance for the front of your kayak.
In this post, we’ll show you a highly recommended product for each of these three solutions. Choose whichever is best for you and you’ll always know how to carry a kayak on a bike.
3 Ways To Carry a Kayak With a Bike
Kayak Trailer for a Bike: Rambo Canoe/Kayak Trailer
This bicycle trailer is designed for Rambo bikes and to be attached to the Rambo rear luggage rack, but it certainly looks as if it could be attached to any heavy-duty rear luggage rack using strong bungee cords or appropriate hardware.
We reached out to Rambo to ask about this, and they assured us that with the right hookups and connections, it can easily be made compatible with other bikes.
With the trailer attached, you mount your boat on its foam rollers and secure it in place with ratchet straps. Two solid wheels with a tread that’s suitable for either pavement or light off-road use give your kayak a smooth ride.
The trailer is 8-10 feet long and three feet wide, and adds an extra 28 pounds to your load (not include the weight of your kayak).
Cargo Trailer With Extension: Carry Freedom Y Large Trailer
Carry Freedom’s Y Large Trailer is an excellent choice. This is an all-purpose aluminum-frame bike cargo trailer with great 20-inch wheels. It’s wide enough to carry a kayak, and Carry Freedom sells an extension arm separately that provides plenty of clearance between the front of your kayak and your rear wheel.
The special lollypop trailer hitch attaches to your rear axle, which means a low center of gravity for the weight that you’re towing.
Throw in some cargo straps or bungees, and this trailer really gets the job done. Avid kayakers have used the Carry Freedom trailer to kayak near the Alps. What a way to travel!
We particularly like this trailer’s versatility. It works for surfboards and an entire canoe. Outside of paddling season, you can remove the extension arm and use it as a grocery trailer or to carry just about any kind of cargo. Its carrying capacity is 90 kilograms, which is huge.
Tow Bar and Portage Cart: The Dumb Stick
Our third solution is a product called the Dumb Stick used in combination with a conventional portage cart that has good wheels for cycling.
The Dumb Stick is a tow bar that you attach to the seat post of your bike. It extends from the rear of your bike, and then you use a clamp to dangle the front of your kayak from the Dumb Stick. Secure your kayak to a portage cart and you’re ready to tow.
The Dumb Stick weighs only about three pounds and is made of a durable aluminum. It attaches easily to your bike and stays in place without swaying.
Finding the Right Portage Cart
Portage carts are typically used to make it easer to drag your kayak by hand over a short stretch of land from one body of water to another. In this case, the Dumb Stick and your bike are replacing you and your hand.
For a portage cart to be successful in towing a bike, you need to pay attention to the wheels. Some come with rather cheap wheels that wouldn’t hold up well on the highway or at high speeds off road. You want big wheels with nice rubber tires.
Here are three that we can suggest, in approximate order of quality:
If you can get it, the Wike Kayak Portage Cart will probably offer you the best wheels for this purpose.
When choosing a setup for transporting your kayak on a bike, keep in mind that not all trailers for kayaks, portage carts or towing bars will be able to accommodate your particular kayak. Make sure you know the size and weight of your kayak and ask the retailer some questions before you buy in order to ensure that you get a suitable bike trailer or other option.
Towing a kayak on a bike does present some challenges, but these technologies have made it easier. There are few limits to where you can take your kayak in today’s world.
So grab your kayak—and your bike—and have some fun! Cycling and kayaking in one fantastic trip sounds a lot like freedom to us. (And in case you get thirsty while hauling that kayak, make sure you have a hydration pack to keep yourself topped up with!)