A few years ago, I traveled to Europe for business and then with my family. During the family trip, we carried a backpack that had things for three members. After walking for half a day carrying the backpack, the straps were digging into my shoulders and all I could think was how nice it would be if someone else carried the bag. It was the starting point as I realized that others too must be struggling like my family and me.

When you carry a backpack, to counterbalance the weight, you tend to lean forward. This exerts pressure and strain on the neck and shoulders. As a result, you will experience discomfort and your backpack will feel like it weighs a ton even if it is light.

Research by Mountain Tactical Institute reveals the following about carrying someone on your back:

  • 1. One pound on your feet is equivalent to five pounds on your back
  • 2. One pound on your feet is equal to expending 5% more energy
  • 3. Every one percent of a person’s body weight makes them six seconds slower per mile they walk
  • 4. Ten percent grade incline will reduce your speed of walking or running by half
  • 5. Going up slows down a person twice as much as going down. Every percent of an incline tends to add 15 seconds to a mile that you walk. On the other hand, every percent of a decline reduces 8 seconds from your mile speed.

When you carry a backpack, you will get tired and frustrated. You WILL have a backache. This can be a problem, especially for senior citizens and people who have back issues even if the weight is not heavy.

This is when I came up with the idea for HipStar, a lightweight, hands-free, and collapsible travel cart that makes it easy to tote heavy items on any kind of surface without using a lot of effort.

Have you ever used a wheelbarrow to haul things around your garden? If you have, you may remember that besides lifting the handles of the wheelbarrow, you also have to exert pressure to move it. Since a wheelbarrow’s center of gravity is not near the wheel axle, hauling it around can be exhausting.

When it comes to HipStar, the weight is distributed on top of the axle, which connects the two wheels. The frame is slightly bent for a reason – it ensures that, unlike a wheelbarrow that is strenuous to push, the user does not have to strain themselves.

It is possible to adjust the angle between the frame and handle and that ensures HipStar can comfortably be used by people of varying heights. It also keeps the bag’s center of gravity slightly ahead of the axle and this contributes to the intuitive balance and stability that HipStar boasts. There is no pushback force while walking or running and hence, the cart does not overturn. Basically, this means that the bag’s weight is completely supported by the frame while the user pulls it forward to move the cart.

With this unique design, the balance issue was solved. However, I faced another issue which was the push-and-pull movements that caused the frame to bump into the legs and heels. That was primarily due to the rigid attachment to the body. After experimenting with a couple of prototypes, I designed a flexible harness and shock absorbers.
The flexible harness and shock absorbers tend to even out any movements generated while walking and running. They reduce the uneven inertia, making the movement of the cart smooth and comfortable. Furthermore, shock absorbers and harness reduce the amount of effort that users have to apply.

The handle strut angle is adjustable based on the weight of the load, the height of the harness, and the distance of the feet from the wheels. Hence, the upper design allows customization based on the user’s height, thereby alleviating stress due to the load.

HipStar is designed to provide comfort while walking and running so that you do not feel the weight of the bag regardless of the type, shape, and size. When you need to climb steps or come across an obstacle in your path, you can transform HipStar into a backpack!

It may come as a surprise to learn that HipStar is not at all heavy. The frame is around 5lb while the wheels are 2.5lb each.

When you use HipStar as a cart, you will notice that the weight of your bag is nearly zero because of the unique center of gravity design. When used as a backpack, you will not notice the 7 to 8% weight difference for short distances or when you traverse longer distances and difficult terrains.

We intend to develop three distinct versions of this travel cart. They are Light, Medium, and Heavy Duty. In the heavy-duty version, you can carry up to 80 lb of gear. It is meant for military use, rescue operations, and hikers and tourists who carry a lot.

Typically, an average hiker’s backpack weighs between 22 to 26 lb (10 to 12 kg) while serious hikers tend to carry 35 to 40 lb (15 to 18 kg). HipStar can be used in backpack mode by hikers who want to carry their gear in comfort. The weight limit in backpack mode depends on the capability of the user.

Medium and light models are designed for lighter payloads and hence, these models are also lighter. They are suitable for city dwellers, light hikers, and city tourists.

While composite is lighter than aluminum and stronger than steel, it is expensive. If HipStar is made from composites, it will increase the price. Hence, I have chosen materials that are strong, durable, and affordable.

Many components, like joints, can be made from structural plastic. This is an inexpensive material, easy to use, and makes the frame more ergonomic. During the product development stage, the designers and engineers will consider all materials before finalizing them.

For the last few years, everyone involved with the development of HipStar has been working hard and tirelessly. We believe that HipStar will transform the way people travel and that is why we have patented the design and registered the trademark in the US, Taiwan, Australia, and China.

The product development stage is now near conclusion and we are marching towards the manufacturing stage. While family and friends have helped us out, the most significant support will come from our backers and potential customers.

If you pre-order, you will be entitled to receive HipStar at a lower price as it will help us lower our manufacturing costs.

If you have any queries or want to know more about HipStar, the new generation travel cart, please get in touch with us.