Outdoors

"Towable backpack" gets an aluminum frame and a big, fat tire

"Towable backpack" gets an alu...
The Monowalker Fatmate is presently on Indiegogo
The Monowalker Fatmate is presently on Indiegogo
View 5 Images
The Monowalker Fatmate is presently on Indiegogo
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The Monowalker Fatmate is presently on Indiegogo
The Monowalker Fatmate can carry up to 50 kg (110 lb), with an additional 30 kg (66 lb) on the optional rear rack
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The Monowalker Fatmate can carry up to 50 kg (110 lb), with an additional 30 kg (66 lb) on the optional rear rack
Pictured here unloaded, the Monowalker Fatmate can be equipped with a rear rack
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Pictured here unloaded, the Monowalker Fatmate can be equipped with a rear rack
The Monowalker Fatmate, fully loaded
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The Monowalker Fatmate, fully loaded
The length and handle width of the Monowalker Fatmate are adjustable
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The length and handle width of the Monowalker Fatmate are adjustable
View gallery - 5 images

Nine years ago, we heard about a towable backpack setup known as the Monowalker Hikingtrailer. Well, a new version is now being crowdfunded, and it's claimed to be sturdier, more adjustable, and capable of carrying even more gear.

Just to recap, the original German-made Hikingtrailer looked kind of like a wheelbarrow that was pulled along behind the user. That person loaded their backpack onto the device's bent ash-wood frame, grabbed its two handles at either side of their waist, then set about walking.

This system reportedly resulted in their body only taking half as much weight as it would with a regular backpack. The remainder of the weight was distributed through an included hip belt and padded shoulder belt. As a result, the user's arms weren't overburdened, plus they could let go of the handles without dropping everything.

The new version is called the Fatmate, and it features several key improvements.

Pictured here unloaded, the Monowalker Fatmate can be equipped with a rear rack
Pictured here unloaded, the Monowalker Fatmate can be equipped with a rear rack

First of all, the frame is now made of telescoping 7020 aircraft aluminum alloy tubing. This allows its length and handle width to be adjusted for differently sized users, with the tubes being locked in place using bicycle seatpost clamps. The aluminum is reportedly also stronger than the wood, letting the trailer carry even more weight – up to 50 kg (110 lb).

Additionally, buyers can opt for a cargo rack that sits over the wheel, which bicycle panniers can be attached to. This means that users can either tow up to 30 kg (66 lb) more gear, or lessen the weight on their body by transferring gear from the backpack and into the panniers.

What's more, the part of the frame that encompasses the wheel can quickly be detached from the rest of the frame, making the whole thing easier to store and transport between hikes. This function also allows the whole thing to be worn like a traditional backpack, when towing just isn't feasible.

Finally, as its name implies, the Fatmate has a 20 x 4-inch fat tire that's better for going over soft surfaces such as snow or sand. That tire is protected against punctures by a Kevlar liner, and is mounted on a wheel that features an Alex Blizzerk 90 rim, a unique sealed hub that uses a porous polymer to dispense lubricant onto the bearings, and a mechanical disc brake that's operated by a lever on the trailer's left handle.

The Monowalker Fatmate can carry up to 50 kg (110 lb), with an additional 30 kg (66 lb) on the optional rear rack
The Monowalker Fatmate can carry up to 50 kg (110 lb), with an additional 30 kg (66 lb) on the optional rear rack

As mentioned, the Monowalker Fatmate is currently the subject of an Indiegogo campaign. Assuming it reaches production, a pledge of €999 (about US$1,121) will get you a basic setup (planned retail €1,055/$1,183), with €1,280 ($1,436) required for a package that includes a rear rack (retail €1,350/$1,514). A pack is available as an optional extra, or backers can just supply their own.

Fatmate inventor Kai Fuchs demonstrates his device in the following video.

Sources: Indiegogo, Monowalker

Monowalker fatmate Indiegogo campaign video

View gallery - 5 images
8 comments
Username
Add another wheel and a seat and you might have something
Michael son of Lester
I remember the Monowalker Hikingtrailer from years past. It gave me the idea to modify a golf pull cart to carry my camping gear. This version looks good and I'm sure it would work very, well but the price...
pmshah
Is there some kind of Segwayesq balancing mechanism built into it ? In fact slightest imbalance in loading it can tip even the person pulling it.

BTW how different it is from towing a wheelbarrow instead of pushing it except perhaps for fancy name and even fancier price ?
NewThings
Pretty nice but for the price a whole troop of boy scouts should each get one. $150 max for that thing.
NewThings
That dude is all calves.
ADVENTUREMUFFINffin
Great for flat trails! But then, going into the mountains is what hiking is all about. ultralight, minimalist materials and carrying less stuff is much more efficient than carry 100 lbs up a mountain!
Kpar
Brilliant design and engineering! OK, here's what I would add- trigger actuated drop-down landing legs, so one could disconnect from the hip hangers and have the trailer stand alone- less bending down to drop off and pick up. Save more energy for hiking.
Ralf Biernacki
For that price you could have a working enduro motorcycle to carry your gear for you. What's about a single bicycle wheel and an aluminum frame that makes it this pricey? Poorly streamlined, labor intensive, inefficient production process, that's what. The secret to good sales is to sell a lot of units cheaply, not a handful at an exorbitant price; but surprisingly enough 95% of such startups seem to not know that. They get greedy, try to recoup their entire development costs from the first dozen sales, and quickly go broke. So will this one.