Why Does Your Kayak Keep Falling off Your Cart?

Carts are an excellent way to move your kayak around when you need to carry it long distances. It helps you travel over numerous surfaces and can help save energy for the paddling you’ll soon be doing. But if you experience issues keeping your boat stable, you may wonder why your kayak keeps falling off your cart. 

Your kayak keeps falling off your cart because you haven’t positioned or secured it correctly. The kayak must be lined up in the center of the support pads, and you should secure the straps tightly around the frame and your kayak. The kayak may also be overfull, so be careful of what you put in it. 

Read on to learn why your kayak keeps falling off your cart and some simple things you can do to ensure it stays in your cart. 

colorful river kayak on a folding cart in a driveway - river running shuttle concept

1. The Straps or Rope Isn’t Don’t Fit Correctly

The most common reason your kayak keeps falling off your cart is that you don’t haven’t secured the straps down. Typically, this happens if the rope is too loose, and this can occur for several reasons. 

If you notice that your kayak isn’t staying in place while moving around, you’ll need to check to make sure you have adequate support around the kayak. Here’s some that may have gone wrong: 

  • You used no straps or ropes in the first place. It is perhaps the most obvious problem, but it happens occasionally. If you notice that your kayak keeps falling off your cart, the very first thing you’ll want to check is that you tied straps around it in the first place. 
  • You didn’t use the right kind of strap. Tying your kayak with straps that come with the cart or will provide the tightest connection possible is essential. If you are using old ropes or belts that are too loose, you may not be able to get the proper tightness that’s needed. 
  • The straps were wet before you tried to apply them. If your straps got wet before you put the kayak on the cart, there’s a good chance that you won’t be able to pull them as taut as they need to be. 

How To Fix

Some easy solutions exist if your ropes and strap don’t fit correctly. I always like to have a backup set of ropes in my bag if the ones I’m using drop in the water. This way, I know there’s a dry option waiting for me in case I can’t get a tight enough connection.

Another way to ensure you have well-fitting straps is to use items designed for the kayak cart you buy. Most kayak carts come with straps. I love the RAILBLAZA C-Tug Kayak Cart (available on Amazon.com) because it has everything built into the unit and has a quick assembly to save you time. 

2. Your Kayak Isn’t Resting on the Support Pads

Another reason that your kayak keeps falling off your cart is that it is not sitting where it needs to be. A common reason your kayak moves around when you pull it on your cart is if it is not correctly resting on the two support pads that run along the inside. 

If you notice that your kayak is rocking around, you will want to look at the configuration of your kayak cart. If the kayak seems like it isn’t lying flat, there may be some work you need to do.

How To Fix

Luckily, there are solutions to the problem of your kayak not lying properly on the support pads. You may want to consider acquiring a new kayak cart, or you can do some D.I.Y. hacks to try to improve the one you have. 

This video from George Bowman on YouTube shows some things you can add to your cart to make the kayak lie the way it should on the sides of the padding: 

3. Storing Too Much in Your Kayak

If you have all your gear loaded up in your kayak, this could be why your kayak is falling off your cart. The support straps are built to handle heavy loads. But there’s a chance that if you overload your kayak, it could test the limitations of your rope or straps. 

This is most likely to happen if you use rope, as straps can often handle larger loads. But in either case. If you have bulky items in your kayak or carry too much weight, you might not get a proper tie around the boat due to obstructions, or the weight of the cargo inside may cause your kayak to slide off the cart. 

Some everyday items that may be causing your kayak to fall of your cart because they weigh too much or get in the way include: 

  • Fishing poles
  • Coolers
  • Backpacks
  • Lifejackets. 

As you can see, most of these items aren’t necessarily heavy, but they are often bulky and positioned near the edge of your kayak. There are some steps you can take to ensure this doesn’t happen. 

How To Fix

When I get my kayak ready to take on the cart, I first look around and make sure that everything is lying flat and out of the way. Have your coolers and bags on the bottom of the boat. And store your fishing poles away from the sides where you tie the straps to ensure that you have the proper setup for securing your kayak appropriately to the cart.

If your kayak is unstable, it might be because of weather conditions, how you use it, or its center of gravity. To solve the issue, you should first determine the problem. Read my guide to learn more. [Why is Your Kayak So Unstable? XX Common Reasons] 

kayak carts are an easy way to keep transport kayaks between water


Kayak carts are a helpful tool that should make your life much easier when hiking between bodies of water or moving your boat from one area to another. You reduce the effort you need to spend lugging it from one place to another, making it a more pleasant experience. 

But if you find your kayak shifting around or falling off the cart, there are a few things you’ll want to ensure, like having the proper straps or rope and checking that the kayak is resting on the side pads. You should also remove unnecessary items from the kayak.