Monday, June 12, 2006

You got wheels, I got wheels...

A few years ago I blew out my right elbow while throwing hay bails into our hay loft. The elbow seemed fine to paddle with, but lugging my boat to and from the car and the water was a serious problem. I'd heard about canoe carts, but most of them were big and I didn't want to have to stow the thing on my deck. I spent a few minutes in the local hardware store's wheel section and realized I could make a single wheeled 'cart' which I could use to push my boat like a wheel-barrow.
As you can see in the picture, it's made of 4 basic pieces. First is the wheel assembly, which I screwed onto a piece of 2x4 scrap. I cut a 'V' shaped groove into the wood for the keel and added some plastic covered hooks. These help to keep the wheel unit from slipping off sideways when underway. Finally I used a piece of webbing with a clip attachment to hold the unit onto the kayak stern.

Here is the unit attached onto my Boreal kayak, ready to head off to the water. Under way, the kayak wants to tip sideways, so one is obliged to hold it upright. It will work pushing or pulling, however pushing seems to work better (much as it does with a wheel-barrow). To be honest, I have not used it much. It turned out using it didn't seem to help my elbow. I have also not used it with a fully loaded boat, which may be problematic. I don't know.

Having seen Rodem's wheel unit, makes me think the idea could be developed into something quite workable and it being small, it takes very little storage space and can easily be stored below deck.
Now I also have a roll-up plastic sled which I want to try. It slips under the hull and allows one to pull the boat across wet grass, sandy beaches, through shopping malls, airports, symposium parking lots... well you get the idea!


Anonymous said...

I'll have to try that the roll-up sled idea. Last week I scratched my hull up badly dragging it over rocky beaches. Sometimes I'll take my PFD or sprayskirt off and put it under one end of the kayak, then swing the other end 180 degrees to move a loaded boat. Repeat the process if necessary. The best method though is to make a path with several pieces of driftwood and slide the kayak over them. I know it's crazy -- wooden boat owners go to all kinds of trouble to avoid scratches.

Anonymous said...

wow what a cool idea, and easy to make...sure beats the expensive kayak carts. I'll let you know how it goes

clairesgarden said...

good idea, they all seem touse expensive two wheeled ones here, I get a right shoulder thing if I carry too many boats, on a club night it seems I carry six boats and only paddle one? where are the other five people?
how does your one wheel go over gritty or sandy beaches?

Michael said...

I haven't used it that much but intend to take it on an upcoming trip to see how it goes. I'll post the results.