This page provides answers to this and other common questions about the Trekker’s Friend hiking trailer.
What is the Trekker’s Friend?
A hiking trailer / travel cart / two wheel cart / trekking trailer / hiking cart / backpacking cart / backpack trailer. It consists of the following components:
- An axle, with cords or straps that allow it to be attached to your backpack. The axle has components that allow trekking poles to be attached to it and, of course, wheels fit onto the ends of the axle.
- A top piece, that is attached to the top your shoulder straps. The top piece has components that attach to your trekking poles.
- The Trekker’s Friend is supplied in a day pack. This is made to be easily attached to the axle and your backpack to allow you to balance your load so that only a few kg is on your body.
- A harness consisting of shoulder straps and a waist strap – you can distribute the weight that is on your body between your shoulders and waist as you walk.
How does the Classic version differ from the Lite version?
The Classic version differs from the Lite version in that the Classic version is attached to the user’s backpack using webbing straps, and so is slightly heavier, while the Lite version is attached using cords, which makes it slightly lighter.
How much does the Trekker’s Friend weigh?
The Lite version weighs approx 1.64 kg. The Classic version weighs approx 1.75 kg. These weights do not include the user’s backpack or trekking poles as they are not part of the device.
How much weight can the Trekker’s Friend carry?
The Trekker’s Friend is made to carry the sort of weights that backpackers usually carry – around 10-25 kg.
How easy is it to switch between carrying and wheeling the Trekker’s Friend?
It is very easy and takes about a minute. No tools are required for this.
What sort of poles work with the Trekker’s Friend?
While most backpacks are suitable for use with the Trekker’s Friend, it is important that the trekking poles used are as strong and rigid as possible. The heavier your load and/or the rougher the trail, the more important it is to have strong and rigid poles and to take care of them.
Poles should preferably made of Aluminium 7075, have the right sort of design at the bottom (as shown in the photo), and preferably come in two pieces. See this page for more information on poles.
What sort of terrain can the Trekker’s Friend handle?
You can travel through any terrain with the Trekker’s Friend hiking trailer, either carrying it or wheeling it.
The Trekker’s Friend can most usefully wheel your pack when the ground is smoother, less steep, harder, with less obstacles like fallen trees, less slippery, and the track is wide enough for it to pass. As the ground becomes rougher, steeper, softer, more slippery, there are more obstacles like fallen trees, or the track becomes narrower, then you carry your backpack (with the device attached).
This works well, because the times when your trekking poles are most useful in helping you to walk are exactly the times where you will want to be carrying your backpack, and therefore will have your trekking poles available. Conversely, your trekking poles are not very useful for walking when the ground is suitable for wheeling your pack.
While you may be able to wheel your pack over very rough / steep / slippery ground, the more difficult the terrain becomes, the less that wheeling it will benefit you. As the terrain becomes more difficult, the wheels will slow you down and you will use more energy to travel with them: at those times, pick it up and carry it. With a bit of practice you will learn what surfaces you can usefully wheel your pack on and what you are better to carry it on.
Is there any research to show that it is easier and faster to travel using the Trekker’s Friend?
Yes, my own research, as well as research by the US military (here, which is referred to here) shows that you use less energy when you use a hiking trailer to carry your backpack. However, this only holds on good surfaces and easy terrain. When the surface is very rough, soft or slippery, using a hiking trailer will be harder than carrying your pack. This is why the Trekker’s Friend is lightweight and designed to be easily carried. When you encounter difficult terrain you carry your backpack as usual, with the Trekker’s Friend attached.
Where can I buy a Trekker’s Friend?
Both the Classic and Lite versions of the Trekker’s Friend hiking trailer are commercially available both here and on eBay.com.au if you are in Australia.
What IP protection does the Trekker’s Friend have?
“Trekker’s Friend” is a registered trademark in Australia.
Please let me know if you have any more questions about the Trekker’s Friend hiking trailer. I will update this page to continue to provide the answers to common questions.