How to use the Trekker's Friend Classic

Before we begin: caution!

  • When wheeling your pack nothing should touch the ground except the wheels, and nothing should touch the wheels except the ground and the axle. If something like your backpack or the daypack touches the ground or wheels while you are moving you will quickly wear a hole in it.
  • When wheeling your pack ensure that your trekking pole connectors (eg. the quick locks) are done up tightly and the trekking poles are properly tied into the black plastic seats, which are at each end of the top piece of the Trekker’s Friend. If you don’t do this the trekking poles can come apart or separate from the axle while you are walking.

The current version of the Trekker’s Friend Classic is version 3, which is as described on this page.


You can watch the video below or look at the pictures and text in the following sections for this information.

Video

How to use the Trekker’s Friend Classic

Text and photos

Components of Trekker’s Friend Classic

As shown above, the Trekker’s Friend Classic is comprised of the following components:

  • 2 wheels, each has a two metal bearings, one on each side
  • A bottom piece, with two shock cords, two side straps with a G-hook to join and adjust them, and a place where the centre strap is attached to. The centre strap joins it to the top piece
  • A top piece, with plastic ends, two shock cords, two side straps with a G-hook to join and adjust them, and a place where the centre strap passes through to join it to the bottom piece
  • A harness, with 2 ‘snap hook’ carabiners to attach it to the straps on the trekking poles via a simple suspension system
  • A daypack with 2 ‘snap hook’ carabiners for joining the daypack to the axle and a G-hook on the handgrip
  • Small parts as follows:
    • 2 ‘R-clips’ (one spare is provided)
    • 4 thick white plastic washers(two spares are provided)
    • One ‘ladder’ strap used to attach the daypack to the backpack.

If your Trekker’s Friend uses cords with ‘CamJam’ cord joiners instead of webbing straps and G-hooks, then you have a Trekker’s Friend Lite and should follow the instructions here instead.


How to assemble and use the Trekker’s Friend Classic

Step 1. Attach the Trekker’s Friend to your backpack

You should only need to do this once, at the start of your walk. Then detach it at the end of the walk. Adjust the straps as necessary to access the items in the bag and to cater for your load as it changes.

Attach the top piece to your backpack

Attach the top piece to your backpack by sliding it between the backpack’s shoulder straps and the straps that attach your shoulder straps to the backpack. Do one side first, then the other.

Join the two top piece side straps using the attached G-hook across the top of the straps that attach the shoulder straps to the backpack.

As shown in the photo:

  • The two channels on the ends of the top piece should slope outwards at the top and they should face your back when you are carrying the backpack
  • The red ‘R’ should be on top and on your right when you are carrying the backpack
  • The blue ‘L’ should be on top and on your left when you are carrying the backpack.
Attach the bottom piece to your backpack

Place the bottom piece under your backpack, close to where your back will be as follows:

As shown in the photo:

  • The keyhole-shaped holes on the trekking pole connectors should face upwards when you are carrying the backpack
  • The red ‘R’ should be on top and on your right when you are carrying the backpack
  • The blue ‘L’ should be on top and on your left when you are carrying the backpack.

Join the side straps from the bottom piece to each other using the G-hook, across the top of your backpack, to hold the bottom piece in place. The straps should go under the top pocket of the backpack, as shown.

Feed the side straps under under any straps your backpack has on its sides.

Now do up the centre strap. It should run around the centre of the backpack as shown, joining at the back. It should go through a strap holder on the top piece, under the handgrip on the backpack and over the bottom piece and join at the back of the backpack using a G-hook.

If possible, it should go under the top pocket of the backpack. The design of some backpacks does not allow this – if this is the case, it should go over the top pocket.

Attach the wheels to the axle

First place a plastic washer on the axle.

Then place a wheel on the axle.

Then put a second washer on the axle.

Then put an R-clip through the hole on the end of the axle.

Attach both wheels in the same way.


Step 2: If you are going to carry your backpack…

At this point you decide whether to carry or wheel your backpack. This is the point to return to when you are switching between carrying and wheeling.

If you are going to carry it you will want to ensure that the loops on the bottom piece are not catching on bushes etc as you walk past. Prepare the shock cords attached to the bottom piece as shown in the photo.

Then pass the bottom piece shock cords around the opposite trekking pole attachment then back, putting the loop over the nearest trekking pole attachment.


Alternate Step 2: If, instead, you are going to wheel the backpack…

Attach the poles to the hiking trailer

To wheel your backpack, insert the bases of your trekking poles into the trekking pole attachments on the bottom piece. You will need to cross them diagonally, inserting them both at the same time.

The wide parts at the bottom of the trekking poles should go through the large parts of the keyhole-shaped holes on the top of the trekking pole attachments.

Then straighten the poles and align them with the indents at each end of the top piece. This will lock the poles into place at the trekking pole connectors on the axle.

Put the backpack shoulder straps behind the trekking poles and use the top piece shock cords to tie the trekking poles in place. Do this by winding several times around the trekking pole/top piece then snapping the loop on the end of the shock cord over the end of the top piece. Do each trekking pole in the same way.

Then use the bottom piece shock cords to tie the waist belt out of the way.

Take each shock cord across the waist belt, then behind the opposite trekking pole. Then bring it down and slip the loop on its end over the base of that trekking pole.

Put on the harness and attach it to the hiking trailer

Put on the harness. It has two shoulder straps and a waist belt. On the right hand side the shoulder strap and waist belt are joined by a red carabiner. There is a blue carabiner on the left hand side.

The harness has a simple suspension system on each side of the waist belt. This consists of a strap with a loop on each end and a piece of shock cord. To attach the harness to each trekking pole, put the end of the suspension system through the loop of the trekking pole’s wrist strap, then put the loop on the end of the suspension through the carabiner on the waist belt. A short video shows how to attach the suspension to the hiking poles.

If you wish to remove the shoulder straps entirely you can undo them from the carabiner on the waist belt. You can also move their attachment point using the ladder arrangement on the waist belt.

The harness has a cord between the shoulder straps. You can move/adjust/remove this cord to suit yourself. The ladder arrangement on the shoulder straps provides multiple attachment points.

You should place the waist belt (and adjust the shoulder straps if you are using them) so that the tops of the trekking poles are at about the height of the palms of you hands.

You are now ready to wheel your backpack on the Trekker’s Friend hiking trailer.


Optional Step 3: Attach daypack to backpack

Once you are used to using the Trekker’s Friend you’ll find that it’s a great idea to use the daypack it comes in to balance your load and take more weight off your shoulders.

Prepare the daypack attachment strap (which has an unusual ladder-like structure) as shown, passing it through the handgrip on your backpack and through the loop on the end of itself, so that it is attached to the backpack’s handgrip.

Then feed the daypack attachment strap under the top pocket of the backpack if possible, or over the top pocket if that is not possible.

Then lay the Trekker’s Friend down so that the backpack shoulder straps are towards the ground

Lie the daypack down with its hand grip facing up. The red and blue carabiners at each corner of its base indicate the right and left hand sides when in use respectively

Now put the carabiners through the loops under the axle. These loops are on the ends of the bottom piece side straps.

Then attach the G-hook on the daypack’s handgrip to one of the ‘rungs’ on the ladder of the daypack attachment strap.

Always ensure that the daypack is attached firmly so that it cannot touch the wheels (or ground) as you are moving. If it does, you will quickly wear a hole in the daypack.

You can then put a few kilograms of your gear in the daypack and close it using its shoulder straps. It is a good place to store bottles of water, lunch and a warm top, because it is very easy to access during your walk.

You can both wheel and carry your pack with the daypack in place as shown.

Using the daypack in this way allows you to balance the weight of the backpack and thereby take more of the backpack’s weight off your body.