Submitted: 06-25-2012 by Tony Roberts
The C-tug is well-conceived and generally well-executed piece of work. In a area where most offerings are home-grown or cottage-industry in scale, it's a pleasure to come across a professionally produced piece of kit at a reasonable price. I have now owned 2 of these over a period of years, and would heartily recommend them for non-serious use. There are just a few minor things to watch out for, based on my experience:
In short, this is a superb bit of kit, provided you buy the version you can fit in your boat, spend a few hours replacing the strap, keep a watchful eye on the wheel bearings, and don't use it for anything serious!
- The wheels have pressed-in (plastic) bearing sleeves. In our recent descent of the Rhine (with dozens of portages) one of these sleeves fell out and by the time we noticed, we had damaged the wheel and both axles beyond repair. For good measure, the tire valve failed. We managed to complete the trip, but only just.
- I subsequently upgraded to the new "sandhopper" one with solid wheels. This is a major improvement! The wheel bearings can still fall out, but punctures are a thing of the past. One minor downside for me is that the wheels have been made fractionally too large to fit through a standard 10-inch sea kayak hatch (being the same size as the pneumatic ones, but without the ability to deflate). They also don't float, so can't be carried in the cockpit. Hence this version is no use for my current boat, and indeed many classic sea kayaks (NDK Romany, Explorer etc). Luckily, I'm always looking for the opportunity to spend money, so this is a golden opportunity to replace the boat itself.
- The strap arrangement on both versions is pretty ineffective, as others have pointed out. You can't tension it properly, even if you follow the instructions carefully. Luckily it's only a few hours work to make up something decent using a standard 35mm cinching strap and some marine-grade stitching.