How to use the Trekker's Friend hiking trailer Classic version

Components of Trekker’s Friend Classic version

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

  • A bottom piece, with two shock cords, two side straps with a plastic buckle 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 plastic buckle 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
  • 2 wheels, each has two metal bearings, one on each side
  • A daypack
  • Small parts as follows:
    • 2 ‘snap hook’ carabiners for joining the daypack to the axle
    • 2 ‘R-clips’
    • 4 thick white plastic washers
    • One strap with a plastic buckle used to attach the daypack to the backpack.

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


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 plastic buckle 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 plastic buckle, 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.

Then run the centre strap around the centre of the backpack as shown. It should go through a strap holder on the top piece and over the bottom piece and join at the back of the backpack using a plastic clip.

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.

The centre strap should go through and under the backpack’s hand grip, which most backpacks have above the shoulder straps.

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…

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. It has two shoulder straps and a waist strap. Do up the waist strap if you want, or not.

Attach the strap of the trekking pole to the snap hook carabiner on each side.

Adjust the length of the shoulder straps 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.

To do this:

  • Start by going through the steps to prepare your backpack for wheeling, as described above
  • 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 sewing in each corner of its base indicates the right and left hand sides when in use respectively
  • Now put the snap hook carabiners through the supplied metal grommets (in the bag of small parts) at the base of the daypack, and through the loops under the axle. These loops are on the ends of the bottom piece side straps.

The loose end of the daypack attachment strap will have a plastic clip on it.

Bring the loose end of the daypack attachment strap, with the plastic clip, through the backpack’s handgrip and through the loop on the end of the strap, so as to attach it to the backpack’s handgrip. Then feed it over the top of the backpack (under its top pocket if possible, otherwise over the top pocket), and connect the clip to the clip on the handgrip on the daypack.

Use the plastic clip to tighten the daypack attachment strap so as to hold the daypack firmly in place.

Having attached the daypack to the backpack you can do up the top pocket of the backpack.

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.

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

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.