HipStar hands-free cart gets your backpack off your back
Although carrying gear in a backpack is easier than carrying it in your arms, sometimes even a backpack can be too heavy. That's where the HipStar comes in – it's a hands-free cart that allows users to tow their pack behind themselves as they walk.
Currently the subject of an Indiegogo campaign, the HipStar looks not unlike a hand truck, but with larger wheels and a pair of horizontal handles at the top. Those handles are in turn attached to a padded belt, which the user wears around their waist.
The HipStar is designed to place the backpack's center of gravity above (and slightly ahead of) the cart's wheel axle, keeping the rig balanced while it's being towed. Its handles are suspended below the waist belt – at hip height – via a couple of vertical straps, allowing them to bob up and down a bit relative to the user. Things are further smoothed out by a shock absorber in each handle, which takes the form of a spring-loaded joint where the handle joins the cart's main pack-carrying 6061-T6 aluminum frame.
For situations where towing just isn't an option (such as when traversing rough terrain) the HipStar can itself be worn like a backpack, with the actual backpack still strapped onto it. The device can also be pulled along like a wheeled suitcase – in this scenario, the two main handles are folded down parallel to the cart's frame, with the user grasping it by a third suitcase-like handle located between them. Via an adapter, the HipStar can additionally be towed behind a bicycle.
In any case, once the user gets to their destination, the cart can be parked in an upright orientation by flipping down its retractable kickstand. It can also be folded flat for transit or storage, with the wheels sitting flat against the frame.
Should you be interested, the HipStar is being offered in two models, the MD (mid-duty) and HD (heavy-duty). The MD reportedly weighs 11 lb (5 kg) and can carry up to 80 lb (36 kg), while the HD tips the scales at around 12.5 lb (6 kg) and is rated up to 100 lb (45 kg). Assuming they reach production, a pledge of US$339 will get you the former, with $399 required for the latter. The planned retail prices are $399 and $480, respectively.
You can see the HipStar in action, in the video below.