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June 29, 2022  |  Outdoors

How to choose a great beach wagon

Which beach wagons are best

Instead of struggling across a beach with a bag of towels in one hand, snorkel gear in the other and a cooler in the crook of your arm, load all your gear into a beach wagon for a smoother trip. Naturally, you want a wagon that will make the walk easier, not harder, so choose carefully. 

Decent wagons have large wheels to roll smoothly over sand and are spacious but not too heavy. 

What to look for in a beach wagon

Some wagons labeled as "beach wagons'' aren't great for use at the beach. Some struggle on the sand, while others are difficult to pull, don't hold enough or are hard to pack up in the trunk of your car. However, once you know what to look for, it's easier to choose a wagon that's genuinely useful on beach trips. 

Size

A good beach cart is spacious enough to carry everything you need but not so large that it's overly heavy and sinks into the sand. One that measures around 36 inches long and 18 to 24 inches across is usually large enough to carry everything for a group of four to six. 

Weight capacity

You should also consider the maximum weight capacity of a wagon. Most carry up to 100 to 150 pounds, which is more than enough for an average day at the beach. However, you can find versions that hold up to 300 pounds. With that much weight, any wagon is tough to pull in loose sand, so a huge weight capacity isn't necessary. 

Foldability

Unless you're lucky enough to live within walking distance of the beach, you'll probably need to pack your cart in the trunk of your car. That's why folding ones are best for beach use. They should fold up small enough to fit in your car, along with all your beach gear. Plus, they should be easy to fold and unfold so your beach trip doesn't end in frustration. 

Telescoping handle

A telescoping handle makes a wagon comfortable for people of varying heights to pull. It's especially important for anyone significantly taller or shorter than average. The handle should also adjust upward and downward for more comfortable use. 

Materials

Wagons for use at the beach should be made from materials strong enough to withstand regular use. However, since heavy carts are tougher to pull on loose sand, materials must be relatively light. 

  • Fabric: The body of most beach carts is made from fabric. Nylon, canvas or Oxford cloth are all durable choices. 
  • Aluminum: Aluminum is a lightweight frame material, but it isn't always the strongest unless made from a quality aluminum alloy, which can be pricey. 
  • Steel: Steel isn't known as a light metal, but it is strong. However, steel-framed wagons aren't excessively heavy because they're made from steel tubes, not solid steel. 

FAQ

Which wagons roll best on sand? 

A. Most wagons work well on wet or densely packed sand, but many struggle on soft, deep sand. Large, wide wheels roll better on this type of sand than smaller, thinner wheels. However, the best wagons for loose sand are those with inflatable balloon tires. These roll much more easily over all types of sand. 

The weight of the cart also makes a difference. You'll find it much harder to pull a lightly-loaded cart over loose sand than one packed to its maximum weight capacity. 

How do you use a beach wagon? 

A. You simply unfold it, pack it with your belongings and pull it along using the handle. It's best to pack the heaviest items first to create a solid base for everything that goes on top of them. Once you're back home or at your car, unpack it and fold it back up for easier transportation. 

Best beach wagons

Sorin Outdoor Foldable Beach Cart

Sorin Outdoor Foldable Beach Cart

Thanks to its balloon wheels, this wagon rolls easily over soft, loose sand as well as wet and densely-packed sand. It is spacious but folds small enough for easy storage. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

Alumacart Big Kahuna Aluminum Beach Wagon

Alumacart Big Kahuna Aluminum Beach Wagon

It might be pricey, but you can't beat this cart for its durability and ability to roll over all types of sand easily. It feels sturdy and is made in the USA. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

MacSports Folding All-Terrain Utility Beach Wagon

MacSports Folding All-Terrain Utility Beach Wagon

Its large, wide wheels let it roll relatively smoothly over all types of sand, though it can struggle on loose sand if it's especially full. It is well-constructed and folds easily. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

Portal Folding Utility Wagon

Portal Folding Utility Wagon

Thanks to its all-terrain wheels, this wagon is a great choice for the beach. That said, it can be challenging to haul over deep, loose sand.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

Patio Watcher Collapsible Utility Wagon

Patio Watcher Collapsible Utility Wagon

With a maximum capacity of 150 pounds, this large, deep wagon can fit lots of gear. Its wide, all-terrain wheels are great for most sand, but it can struggle on deep sand if fully loaded. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Lauren Corona writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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