Outdoors

HipStar hands-free cart gets your backpack off your back

HipStar hands-free cart gets y...
The HipStar is presently on Indiegogo
The HipStar is presently on Indiegogo
View 6 Images
The HipStar folds flat for transit and storage
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The HipStar folds flat for transit and storage
The HipStar can be parked upright, using its retractable kickstand
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The HipStar can be parked upright, using its retractable kickstand
The Hipstar in backpack mode
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The Hipstar in backpack mode
The HipStar's handles are attached to the belt via quick-release buckles
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The HipStar's handles are attached to the belt via quick-release buckles
The HipStar in suitcase mode
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The HipStar in suitcase mode
The HipStar is presently on Indiegogo
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The HipStar is presently on Indiegogo
View gallery - 6 images

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.

The Hipstar in backpack mode
The Hipstar in backpack mode

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.

The HipStar can be parked upright, using its retractable kickstand
The HipStar can be parked upright, using its retractable kickstand

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.

Potential backers might also want to check out the more extreme-use-oriented (and pricier) Monowalker Hikingtrailer, along with its fat-tired sibling, the Fatmate.

HipStar: The Best Hands-free Hiking Trailer

Sources: Indiegogo, HipStar

View gallery - 6 images
10 comments
10 comments
EH
It's a better design than the competitors, with two wheels and the weight more over the axle. The price is good, too. The load limits are lower than I'd like, but best not to tell people to cart more than they can pick up and carry if needed. These may not be allowed in US national parks, check first.

Username
@EH Perfect summary.
BlueOak
Cool concept, especially the pack convertibility. Would be even better if the folding mode allowed the wheels to be folded, rather than removed - for easier, quicker mode change use in airports.
Michael son of Lester
I wonder if anyone has realized that with a little ingenuity you can make something very similar to this?

After getting the idea for one of these from reading about the Monowalker Hikingtrailer, I made a backpack trailer that I still use to this day. I used a golf pull cart from a garage sale. An army surplus web belt. A pair of eye-hooks and a pair of carabineers and some velcro straps ($4). With the exception of not being able to strap it onto my back, it will do everything this hands-free cart will do. Considering the cost was %95 less than the $399 the makers of this rig want, I can live with that.
Bahnstormer
Found a 3 wheeled stroller with 16" wheels at the curb, took out the kid's seat and bungeed in a spackle bucket. Can carry trail maintenance tools for miles, along with water, lunch and a few adult beverages. I could see a backpack fitting it easily.
Tony Loro
The above comment is wrong wheels are ok in BLM, NPS but most important NOT in any wilderness. There you have to use a travois is a historical frame structure that was used by indigenous peoples, notably the Plains Aboriginals of North America, to drag loads over land. It can be used.
jerryd
I designed one of these just the body was a folding alum cot with a fold out tent over, to carry heavy loads with either by person or bike, E bike, e moped as a camper.
After watching soldiers humping those huge packs, they need a better way as would be worn out by the time they got anywhere.
PAV
The price of this is rather steep for a glorified golf cart.
ShahbazParsipour
have been having the EXACT SAME idea for years now ... was also sure someone would make it before i do! will surely buy one ... :-)
bwana4swahili
Anyone ever see a golf cart??