Kayaks feel light and free when they're in the water, but they can be downright cumbersome on land. In fact for many paddlers, getting their boat to the water is the hardest part. That's where portage wheels come in. At Canoe & Kayak, we've been using a pair of Wheeleez kayak carts to negotiate the soft beach sand and cobblestones at our local launch beaches.

The Kayak Cart Mini is a compact and rugged wheelset that breaks down small enough to fit in most standard sea kayak hatches. The quick-release balloon tires snap on to the axle in seconds, and a handy kickstand steadies the cart. Tighten the included cam straps, and your kayak becomes a kind of all-terrain wheelbarrow. The 9-inch balloon tires handle rough terrain with ease, even when the cart is loaded to its 121-pound capacity.

For bigger boats and the toughest terrain, we step up to the Kayak Cart Beach. Its 12-inch polyurethane balloon tires float over pumpkin-sized rocks, down stairs and across ankle-sucking sand. The aluminum frame stands up to the saltiest environments and carries the 165-pound capacity with ease.

— Check out C&K‘s field test of five popular portage carts.