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Wheelie V versus Hipstar hiking trailer

lauraelysia

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
May 2025
Hello all. I can see that there are already some threads on hiking trailers, and I have read them all and can see that there is a resident expert in David! I am trying to choose between these two trailers and would appreciate thoughts.

I would be using one to tow my 3-legged dog (10kg) and camping gear while walking in the UK. The dog can walk, but she needs to rest in my backpack more often than not (which she is very happy to do), and carrying both her and camping gear is too much for me even with lightweight gear, especially as I also need extra food and bedding for her.

I am wondering if they can really deal with the kind of mud we get here, which can be fairly deep? I also own a 3-wheeled off-road dog buggy (Innopet Sporty) that I sometimes use for her on well made paths and in drier weather, but I avoid using it in any kind of serious mud (though mud is made a little easier by dragging it backwards, but still not fun).

The other thing that I am wondering is whether the Hipstar is better for my purposes as the long handles seem to fold down more easily.

I live in a very busy, crowded place and every walk starts with a walk to the equally busy train station. I wouldn't be popular dragging either trailer behind me on my hips in a crowded place, and I note the Hipstar can be used more like a wheelie suitcase in these situations, which the Wheelie V can't really as far as I can tell. This would also be useful on the trains, which are also busy. Otherwise, I had been thinking that the Wheelie V was more established and simpler. The Hipstar's latest batch would appear to be shipping end Feb/early March.

Really grateful for any thoughts. Thanks in advance.
 
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€46,-
Hi. You do have a specific use "problem". Re walking to a train station .. personally I wouldn't worry about that. Trailers on Camino go through busy cities (well, they don't really, they follow the pilgrim) and streets at home are full of baby buggies, people pushing bikes, and so on.

The Wheelie is a stunning design, very well engineered, but it does have faults. To dismantle it one has to unbolt the whole thing, using a hex spanner, as it doesn't fold. Also, the bag is fairly useless as it cannot be removed from the trailer (has loops along each side that the frame goes through) without taking the trailer to pieces. The bag has no outside pockets at all - so all those small things we zip outside our rucksacks are missing, and inside it is just one large deep void so everything that goes in falls to the bottom and every day is a complete pain to find things. It is also super-expensive.

They gifted me one at a special half price some years ago to help with my first aid mission (and to advertise it) but I eventually took the bag off and replaced it with a long rectangular real rucksack which I held on with webbing straps - much better. I later built my own.

The Hipstar I cannot speak for - the website has been there for many years, them taking deposits and they are finally producing them. They took up a couple of design ideas I sent them but although cheap and they look well made they too have some small design faults - but if one could get one probably the best design out there at the moment.

Your situation - dog, rucksack, camping gear? ... the ideal for you would be a two wheeled box cart with 16 inch wheels and drawbars as the best design is a horizontal cart with load over the axle.
Are you handy? If so you could make one by buying something like this -

s-l1600.jpg

Remove the tow bar and fit two collapsing drawbars (crutches work well with angle adapters fitted).
This is the first one I built - all folds down, wheels pop off, and it went into a bag for transporting. (I am now building my Mk5, an improved version built around a strong plastic box)

trailer a (640 x 474).jpg

You can see how the black one could be converted?

I have seen families on Camino with small children pushing hiking strollers .. larger wheels and so on and they seem to do well - perhaps, if you can get one with large enough wheels, that could be a solution for you? Although pulling is more efficient than pushing as there is less wheel dra, pushing you push into obstacles, pulling you roll over obstacles (and the hands are free).

Re mud - do you have experience of this? Wheels and mud? I have never had a problem as the wheels freely turn so a trailer just seems to not get bogged down. This of course would depend on the weight carried .... more or less .. if your feet aren't getting trapped in the mud then unless a trailer is super heavy it should just go with you - with extra effort.

Hope this ramble helps a bit.
 
David is our resident Camino cart "Yoda." Mind what he says.

Like David, I also had some contribution effort into the development of the Hipstar. Some of my suggestions found their way into the final designs. But, like David, I have no monetary interest in this product.

My personal favorite, if I needed one, is the Hipstar MD or medium duty model with the injection molded wheels, but without disc brakes. I feel (IMHO) that the brakes are an unnecessary complication for Camino use. The included soft ballistic nylon carry case should be enough to ship the cart, with additional, items stuffed inside, as luggage on a long airplane flight, if that applies. Once at your starting point, mail the cover ahead to Casa Ivar using the Correos.

BTW, get the optional shoulder straps so the cart can be carried like a framed backpack as needed. Also, the optional fabric (nylon) cover with pockets provides a convenient splash-shield to protect whatever is on the cart from water or mud splash. This is often not considered in hiking cart designs. Those of us who have done Caminos KNOW that "the rain in Spain falls mainly - on Galicia."

This said, David's designs are all Camino-tested and work very well. He builds his own, to suit, at his home, from parts he obtains at his local DIY store, medical supply store or commercial janitorial supply house.

You can take David's plan, and actual builds "to the bank." He does not build to make money, but to satisfy his own needs. In the process, his spin-off suggestions are golden.

In this regard, just ask JennyH94 on the Forum. She is from Australia and travels with "Spot II,"her second David build trailer, from the other side of the world. Her input should be invaluable to your consideration.

Hope this helps.

Tom
 
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€83,-
Thanks very much David. I do worry about it though, it is fairly rough and ready where I live and I would rather not give anyone a reason to have a moan! I already get enough attention with the dog in the rucksack or buggy. She also dislikes strangers trying to pet her without warning so I prefer to have her a bit closer in crowded places.

Thanks for your advice. The uselessness of the Wheelie bag itself does not bother me as I would not go for that model, I might get the cargo one and strap in one of my rucksack collection, or even just the skeleton.

The first batch of Hipstars seems to have been sent out to a number of people and they say their second batch is due out soon so I am reasonably hopeful I could get one.

Your advice around adapting a trailer is good, however I am far from handy. Put it this way - I have paid someone to put together flatpack furniture in desperation before! It is just not one of my skills. So if I can buy something readymade, I will.

Re mud and wheels - as above, the dog has an off-road buggy so I am unfortunately well versed in wheels and mud. When it gets really muddy I have to drag it backwards (or the silly little front wheel gets stuck in the mud), which is not particularly easy, but also not what it was designed for (also it is heavy). We have such sticky clay mud here, it is a pain. I did a multiday walk on the South Downs at the weekend and it was almost over the tops of my boots, and I had her in the rucksack as I didn't relish dragging the buggy through so many miles. Obviously it would be a bit easier with something designed to be pulled and attached at the hips.

From what you have said it looks like perhaps the Hipstar is the best option given that they appear to have a shipping date for the second batch now. Your advice is much appreciated.

MicrosoftTeams-image (40).jpgMicrosoftTeams-image (39).jpg
 
Cross-posted with you Tom. Thank you for your advice. I do wish I was the least bit handy but it's not among my talents unfortunately...

I agree that the extras you've suggested for the Hipstar make sense.
 
Also, the Hipstar design has been extensively tested, albeit mostly in the US and Canada. The inventor / developer has tested various models, under many varied loads, in every season and many conditions. Much of the testing included obstacles and trails not normally found on the Camino. Watch the videos on his website (www.hipstar.net), or on YouTube.

So, I assess that all the HipStar designs are Camino-ready. I don't know what Igor's global supply chain looks like on the supply / retail side. Really, that's the fellow's name. He is very accommodating and very friendly.

Right now, I think everything is shipping from Minnesota, USA. At one point, early on, we did discuss his desire to seek international retail partners.

As you consider the costs of a Hipstar, consider that some of the better known trailers we've seen on the Camino cost nearly double what the Hipstar does, with far less utility. In particular, I am thinking of the excellent Radical Designs trailer from the Netherlands. When I last checked, the price was about €600.

Hope this helps.

Tom
 
A selection of Camino Jewellery
Radical Design offers the option to rent the Wheelie Cargo V before you decide to buy it ~ or not.

Like David, getting on the train would not be on top of the list of my concerns. I would pay particular attention to two things: ease of walking with the wheelie and comfort for the dog. Can she lie down and sit, is there protection from sunlight and rain? From unwanted attention?

Love the picture of your dog in the rucksack!

Here's a one-time foster dog of mine, she was more of an escape artist, she unzipped the bag from the inside. No problem at all and ready to jump. Hello, it's me! We were in the middle of the road when that happened. I re-enacted the scene in the safety of the garden for pictures. Come to think of it, I have never been able to hike with a puppy in a backpack, the right dog did not come along. Count yourself lucky! 😇

1000403+verkleind.jpg
 
Thanks Mina. I didn't comment on things like comfort for the dog as I'm fairly confident on that, as she is generally so delighted to be in a rucksack that sometimes she even tries to climb into rucksacks that she has no business riding in (such as the one I use for work with my laptop). She has been riding around with me on hikes for a couple of years now and gets so excited when she realises she's in for another ride.

I have a reasonably wide 80L Gregory bag and I generally make sure she has something comfy to sit on and she also can lie down curled up (though not fully stretched out as she would in the buggy, but then I make sure she gets out and stretches her legs at regular intervals anyway). She has been known to fall asleep while bouncing along. I have a solar umbrella that I have attached to the buggy before and reckon I could probably bodge it to a trailer too somehow. The DO NOT TOUCH bandana does put off most unwanted attention...

Your foster puppy looks very cute! I do tend to secure her somehow; I have a selection of climbing slings and carabiners I could use with her harness to ensure she doesn't jump out (she has never tried, but you never know...).
 
I just had at look at your current buggy, enlarged

MicrosoftTeams-image (39).jpg

Well, seems to me that you already almost have what you need. If you look at the wheels in your muddy ground you will see that they are only in up to their tyres - the rims are clear - which is normal and no other trailer can improve on that.
Your problem has been pushing it forwards on three wheels, not pulling it behind you on two.

Remove that lower tray thing under the cloth and you will improve ground clearance.
I see that the handle has an adjuster either side to set the angle? So all you need are 'two sticks' connected to the handlebar, one either side, to act as drawbars ... anything - tubes, poles, crutches, washing line poles, etc, and there is your trailer - it needs only to be angled, when you walk that the small third wheel is off the ground.
Is perfect for walking through town, getting on/off trains.

I can't see how you can improve on it - as long as it is pulled on the two big wheels, not pushed with the third small wheel digging into the ground in front of you.

Now, the Hipstar has an inherent problem in the design that you may not like (and it is far inferior to what you already almost have) it is a leaning rack, essentially a tilted ladder, which means that it is inherently unstable and pivots up and down, jerkily, all the time as you walk ... a human can just about put up with that at their hip belt, but it would probably really upset your dog!
The Hipstar company has finally started producing by family members coming in to the company, getting rid of all the expensive high tec items, including Igor's ridiculous non-working hinged drawbar "shock absorber" system and have come up with a much more basic design made of much cheaper materials. Beware when on the Hipstar website as most of the info and videos is using the high spec test model, which no longer exists.

I was thinking that you do also have a potential other 'problem', and that is load weight. If this is to set off on an off-trail hiking camping adventure then you will be carrying a tent, sleeping mat & bag, cooking gear, food/water, 10kg dog, dog food ... then your personal gear plus waterproofs - that is a lot of gear/weight - have you worked out how much it all weighs yet?

Oh - and if walking footpaths in England how will you cope with all the styles??

Re converting what you have. You don't have to do it yourself - any handyman? (wish that was gender neutral) .. two poles cut to the right length with two holes drilled through near the ends. Two matching holes drilled on either buggy handle - then all you have to do is to slide bolts in and use wingnuts to tighten them up - Voila! Drawbars!

At 'your' end a D ring attached to each bar and with two short webbing straps attach them to a military style padded hip belt, available on Ebay. Is a very simple adaptation and would be far superior to both the Hipstar and the Wheelie.
As drawbars to cut to size just buy a pair of these - elbow crutches (the top end arm sleeves just pull out and are gone!) - have your handywoman to just use the main section, why, you could even have handles! About £17 a pair.

forearm.jpg

p.s. - could you tell me the name and model of your buggy? Such a simple design .. almost there as a hiking trailer, would like to look at one close up.
 
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I just had at look at your current buggy, enlarged

View attachment 164752

Well, seems to me that you already almost have what you need. If you look at the wheels in your muddy ground you will see that they are only in up to their tyres - the rims are clear - which is normal and no other trailer can improve on that.
Your problem has been pushing it forwards on three wheels, not pulling it behind you on two.

Remove that lower tray thing under the cloth and you will improve ground clearance.
I see that the handle has an adjuster either side to set the angle? So all you need are 'two sticks' connected to the handlebar, one either side, to act as drawbars ... anything - tubes, poles, crutches, washing line poles, etc, and there is your trailer - it needs only to be angled, when you walk that the small third wheel is off the ground.
Is perfect for walking through town, getting on/off trains.

I can't see how you can improve on it - as long as it is pulled on the two big wheels, not pushed with the third small wheel digging into the ground in front of you.

Now, the Hipstar has an inherent problem in the design that you may not like (and it is far inferior to what you already almost have) it is a leaning rack, essentially a tilted ladder, which means that it is inherently unstable and pivots up and down, jerkily, all the time as you walk ... a human can just about put up with that at their hip belt, but it would probably really upset your dog!
The Hipstar company has finally started producing by family members coming in to the company, getting rid of all the expensive high tec items, including Igor's ridiculous non-working hinged drawbar "shock absorber" system and have come up with a much more basic design made of much cheaper materials. Beware when on the Hipstar website as most of the info and videos is using the high spec test model, which no longer exists.

I was thinking that you do also have a potential other 'problem', and that is load weight. If this is to set off on an off-trail hiking camping adventure then you will be carrying a tent, sleeping mat & bag, cooking gear, food/water, 10kg dog, dog food ... then your personal gear plus waterproofs - that is a lot of gear/weight - have you worked out how much it all weighs yet?

Re converting what you have. You don't have to do it yourself - any handyman? (wish that was gender neutral) .. two poles cut to the right length with two holes drilled through near the ends. Two matching holes drilled on either buggy handle - then all you have to do is to slide bolts in and use wingnuts to tighten them up - Voila! Drawbars!

At 'your' end a D ring attached to each bar and with two short webbing straps attach them to a military style padded hip belt, available on Ebay. Is a very simple adaptation and would be far superior to both the Hipstar and the Wheelie.
As drawbars to cut to size just buy a pair of these - elbow crutches (the top end arm sleeves just pull out and are gone!) - have your handywoman to just use the main section, why, you could even have handles! About £17 a pair.

View attachment 164753

p.s. - could you tell me the name and model of your buggy? Such a simple design .. almost there as a hiking trailer would like to look at one close up
Thanks David.

It is an Innopet Sporty. https://www.k9wagons.co.uk/sales/p/...n-cover-2-year-warranty-included-silver-black

I think the lower tray you are referring to is in fact the 'parking brake' so I'd rather not remove that.

I see what you are saying, and really appreciate you spelling out exactly how I might manage it, it is definitely worth some thought, but I'm not sure I could get it to work. If is angled so the front wheel is off the ground (in fact it does come off easily, all the wheels do) is it not going to rock anyway (given that the rear wheels are right at the back and not in the middle?

My camping base weight is around 10-12kg depending on the season, with food and water on top.

I suppose it is a question as to whether the rocking back and forth is any worse than the bobbing up and down as I walk with her on my back...I don't want to make her seasick!
 
Thanks David.

It is an Innopet Sporty. https://www.k9wagons.co.uk/sales/p/...n-cover-2-year-warranty-included-silver-black

I think the lower tray you are referring to is in fact the 'parking brake' so I'd rather not remove that.

I see what you are saying, and really appreciate you spelling out exactly how I might manage it, it is definitely worth some thought, but I'm not sure I could get it to work. If is angled so the front wheel is off the ground (in fact it does come off easily, all the wheels do) is it not going to rock anyway (given that the rear wheels are right at the back and not in the middle?

My camping base weight is around 10-12kg depending on the season, with food and water on top.

I suppose it is a question as to whether the rocking back and forth is any worse than the bobbing up and down as I walk with her on my back...I don't want to make her seasick!

Thanks - just had look at the link and it already does have good ground clearance. Nice buggy.
Re the jerking/pivoting up and down .. hardly, similar to the Wheelie, when lifted the main load would be over the axle so pivoting is at a minimum, hardly notice it at all, if at all. With the Hipstar the load is away from the axle so it has to be more vertical to try and compensate so is unstable so does pivot, a lot.

If you had two broom sticks and some gaffer tape or rope you could fix them as drawbars to your buggy to try it out as an experiment, see where the balance is best, see how it feels. If you like it (and I think you will) just get someone handy to fit the crutches (well, the main section of crutches) so that they can be easily removed.
 
That’s a good idea David. I may try it. I do already own just one crutch from an old injury. It is a good buggy and it’s fair to say I’ve pushed it to its limits dragging it up and down the South Downs not to mention elsewhere. It’s on the slightly heavy side at 11kg.
 
€2,-/day will present your project to thousands of visitors each day. All interested in the Camino de Santiago.
Hi @lauraelysia -

As Tom mentioned above, I’m the grateful owner of David’s MkII trailer which he adapted from a Bellelli Eco Mini cycling trailer. “His” name is Spot - here he is -

49B03938-6AA1-4476-B63F-C8B22654B9E4.jpeg

All the components, including the wheels, pack down into the heavy-duty plastic cart. It’s lightweight but still sturdy.

I transport him from Australia in a suitcase. When I arrive at my starting point I unpack the suitcase, assemble Spot and load my camino gear into my backpack which goes into the trailer, along with my hiking poles etc. The suitcase with my non-camino gear in it is sent to Ivar’s luggage storage in Santiago.

I would hazard a bet that I am the most mechanically-challenged person David has ever met and even I’ve been able to put Spot together - David’s construction is mainly nuts and bolts and is very strong.

So far Spot and I have walked over 2,000 camino kilometres, over sometimes very rough terrain, steep ascents and descents, through mud and lots more. I’ve always found Spot to be very stable and, having the waist belt, I walk hands-free and can still walk with my poles when needed.

Depending on how you pack the cart, your sweet dog could still travel safely in the cart. I’ve seen dogs on camino travelling in wheelbarrows - happily enjoying the experience.

I hope this helps in your decision-making.

Cheers from Oz -
Jenny
 

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