This is the first gear review to appear on the blog. I hope to post occasional reviews in the future, so here's a bit of context:
I consider that I'm a fairly average user of outdoor equipment whilst hillwalking, kayaking and other outdoor activities, and my gear does get regular use. Inevitably, although I try to look after gear, given that I'm out regularly in Scottish conditions, things do sometimes get used to death - usually by simply wearing out.
My preferences are for uncomplicated items which do a particular job well; if a piece of gear can perform more than one function, so much the better. Durability and useability are more important to me than saving a few grams. Function is much more important to me than the latest colour or version.
Unless otherwise stated, I don't have any connection with the manufacturers or retailers of the kit I use other than being a normal customer/consumer.
A sea kayak trolley is a really useful item to move a loaded boat, for example when the launch point is some way from the nearest road access, when the tide goes out a long way (like here at the head of Loch Hourn), for getting a boat onto a ferry or for a portage between two pieces of water. A trolley can open up all sorts of possibilities!
The Lomo Kayak Trolley is a folding design made of anodised aluminium tubing with stainless steel fittings. Lomo recommend a maximum loading weight of 60kg; the construction is both solid and of good quality. You need to supply the straps for securing the boat to the trolley; I use the same straps which are used for securing the boat to the car roof. The Lomo trolley retails at £37.99, which is very good value compared to similar designs.
So, is it any good?
In a word, yes. Loading and using the trolley is easy and it has proved robust and practical. The trolley has foam pads on the upper tubes to prevent movement when loaded. Once secured (I found that just aft of the cockpit was a comfortable position for balance and ease of pulling along), there is little or no movement even over bumpy terrain.
The wheels are 26cm "wheelbarrow" type plastic wheels with pneumatic tyres. The tyres have Schraeder valves for inflation. In typical use it's best not to inflate the tyres too hard in order to find a balance between performance on soft sand and rocky ground.
The 26cm wheels won't fit in a typical round kayak hatch, but fit easily into an oval hatch. The body of the trolley folds flat for storage or transport - it's unlikely that this will fit into any hatch. When carrying the trolley on a trip, I detach the wheels and put the folded trolley with wheels into a waterproof bag on the back deck, secured with one of the straps.
A folding arm helps with solo loading of a boat onto the trolley. Once loaded, this arm is swung back up out of the way.
The wheels secure to the frame using gate hinge pins. The ones supplied (left) seemed a bit fiddly, so I replaced them with larger items bought from my local hardware store for 80p each. The larger pins will catch the Schraeder valve on the wheel, to avoid this simply mount the wheels with the valves toward the inside of the trolley.
I've used the Lomo trolley for about two years without problems. It's a comparatively simple design and like just about all Lomo products is solidly built. The fittings and tubing look like they will last for a good long time. In use, the trolley has performed well on a variety of terrain and has gone easily over some really challenging rocky ground. If you're looking for a trolley, I can recommend taking a look at this one.