The most common complaints you hear from backpackers usually stem from carrying too much weight, ill-fitting backpacks, or using the wrong type of backpack for the situation. So on your next trip, why not get rid of the backpack all together? German company Monowalker created a way for you to carry all your gear without any weight on your neck, shoulders, or back by simply pulling a trailer behind you instead. A hiking trailer, if you will.
The Monowalker Fatmate hiking trailer is basically a beefed up bike trailer adapted for human use and enables you to pull heavy loads of gear and food for several days. Using a custom-built trailer platform that attaches to your hips and a single 20″ x 4″ wheel at the base, the Fatmate can carry up to 110 pounds. Since only half the weight of your gear rests on your hips (the rest of the weight rests on the bottom wheel), you can comfortably carry heavier loads for long distances.
With the Fatmate, you can hike over pretty much any terrain–trail, snow fields, tundra, or deep muddy ground. The wider tire prevents it from sinking in sand or snow and the trailer remains stable behind you. When the trail gets technical or too steep, simply convert the hiking trailer into a backpack in just a few minutes–this is accomplished by removing the bottom of the trailer and the handlebars, then connecting the hip belt assembly directly to the main frame. In this configuration, the majority of the load is still supported by the hipbelt, allowing you to carry those heavy loads over difficult terrain.
Just like a mountain bike, disc brakes help slow the trailer on descents and even allow you to lean back and take a rest once in awhile. Manipulated from the handlebars, you can choose the level of brake resistance you need to help you safely hike downhill.
All in, the Monowalker Fatmate weighs almost 19 pounds itself, so something to think about when calculating the amount of gear you want to pull uphill. The hiking trailer retails for $845 and comes with a 140 liter waterproof bag for all your gear–available from the company website.
The video from their (unsuccessful) Kickstarter campaign from last year is the best. Color me intrigued.