How to use the Trekker’s Friend hiking trailer

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. Keep the daypack away from the wheels by keeping the attachment to the backpack tight.
  • 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.
  • When carrying your pack with the Trekker’s Friend attached to it no part of the Trekker’s Friend should touch your body – if it did, it would become uncomfortable. Move any such part away from your body – this should not be difficult.
  • The only moving parts in the Trekker’s Friend are the wheel bearings, and they require some maintenance, which is described here. You should also check the welds occasionally, as described here.

You can watch the videos below or look at the pictures and text in the following sections for this information. Please also see here for some short videos on how to switch between carrying and wheeling your pack on the Trekker’s Friend.


How to put together and use the Trekker’s Friend hiking trailer

Text and photos

Components of Trekker’s Friend

As shown above, the Trekker’s Friend 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:
    • 4 replacement bearings (for Trekker’s Friend version 3.4 onwards)
    • 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.

How to assemble and use the Trekker’s Friend

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 of the backpack as shown in the next photo. 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.

Shows the centre strap joined at the back of the backpack with the G-clip.

If possible, the centre strap should go under the top pocket of the backpack as shown. 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.

At this point you can pick your backpack up and carry it on your back as usual. No part of the Trekker’s Friend should touch your body – if it does, it should be easy to push it away.

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.

Note the proper way to insert the trekking pole into the trekking pole attachment on the axle. The widest part of the trekking pole should be fully inside the circular trekking pole attachment.

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

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 suspension strap with a loop on each end and a piece of shock cord.

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.

Attach the harness to the trailer

A short video shows how to attach the harness to the hiking poles using the suspension straps. Alternatively, see the instructions below.

First attach one trekking pole to the harness, then the other.

The suspension strap has a loop at each end of it. One loop should be attached to the carabiner, and the other loop should be free.

The red carabiner should be on the right hand side of your body and the blue carabiner should be on the left hand side of your body.

Put the suspension strap through the wrist strap of your trekking pole.

Bend the suspension strap back and attach the loop at the end to the carabiner.

Both loops on the end of the suspension strap are attached to the carabiner. The suspension strap goes through the trekking pole wrist strap.

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 join the daypack to the axle by putting the carabiners on the bottom of the daypack through the loops under the axle. These loops are on the ends of the bottom piece side straps.

More information on using these loops is below.

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.

Use of loops under axle and at base of daypack

The loops under the axle and at the base of the daypack allow multiple attachment points. This allows you to change the placement of the daypack to suit you best. If the daypack is attached more closely to the axle, as shown, it will better balance the weight of the backpack.

You can also attach the daypack further away from the axle, as shown. This is more suited to some loads and backpack designs.

More information using the daypack to balance your load is here.

Step 4: Go walking!

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.

Please see here for some short videos on how to switch between carrying and wheeling your pack on the Trekker’s Friend.


Replacing the wheel bearings

The wheels chosen for use with the Trekker’s Friend represent a compromise between being lightweight, sturdy and cost-effective. As such, and as they, and in particular, the bearings that they contain, are the only moving parts, users should maintain them, monitor them for wear, and replace them before they fail.

The most likely point of failure is the wheel bearings. Each Trekker’s Friend has four wheel bearings, one in each side of the two wheels. The life of the bearings can be extended by greasing them if they are a type that allows greasing. Alternatively the bearings themselves can be replaced, either by replacing the affected wheel, or by replacing just the bearings themselves. A set of replacement bearings is provided with each Trekker’s Friend from version 3.4 onwards.

The bearings used in the wheels of the Trekker’s Friend are cheap, widely available and easy to replace when needed. You can get them:

  • In online stores such as and, and their respective country-specific stores (eg. in Australia). Search these shops, and the internet, for “bearing 6000 2RS”
  • In shops that sell parts for cars (eg here), skate boards, tools and wheel chairs
  • In hardware shops and specialty bearing shops.

Trekker’s Friends from version 3.4 onwards are delivered with 4 replacement bearings.

To replace the bearings, simply lever out the old bearing (with a stick, a knife, a screwdriver, or even with the axle) and press in the new bearing as shown below. The photos below show a bearing being replaced on a wheel that had travelled 520km.

Replacing the wheels

In Australia new wheels are available from a major hardware store here, but similar wheels would be available in many countries. If you need assistance with this area, get in contact here.


The axle of each Trekker’s Friend is made of welded stainless steel. Welding is a strong way of joining metals but welds occasionally fail. Re-welding is a very quick and cheap process (a joint takes a few seconds to do) and welding is a commonly-available skill, with welders found in many automotive service stations and rural businesses, as well as welding specialists.

You should occasionally check these welds for signs of cracking. If any cracking is suspected, get the affected joint re-welded. The welder needs to know that the entire axle assembly is stainless steel, and they should wrap any nearby attached straps and shock cords in wet rags before welding.

Endurance test – version 3.5

This section describes the outcome of an endurance test performed with version 3.5 of the Trekker’s Friend. Endurance testing of version 3.4 (described here) revealed that the welding of the axle was an area that could be improved, with one of the welds breaking after 1230km.

Version 3.5 was introduced to address this issue. It uses TIG welding on the axle, instead of MIG welding. TIG welding is known to be more suitable for this purpose.

This endurance test was begun with a new version 3.5 Trekker’s Friend, on 27th August 2023. As at 21st September 2023 I have walked 114km with this Trekker’s Friend, with 18-25kg of weight on it. I have performed the following maintenance so far:

  • Nil.

The endurance test continues…