Loc: Portland, OR
We've had a few discussions about similar wheeled mechanisms in the past. One drawback for many of us is that using any wheeled mechanism is illegal in designated wilderness areas. They are OK outside of designated wilderness, but for a lot of us in the western USA that is a severe limitation.
The one in that photo would probably be rather awkward on rugged terrain, with a lot of roots, rocks, and downed trees.
Most wilderness areas will not permit wheeled vehicles and that includes the trolley, Also unless you are on a well traveled smooth trail it would be hard to navigate and pull over rocks, tree roots etc. The girl shown in your picture would have a problem getting to where the picture was taken.
Loc: Central Illinois near Springfi...
While I am unlikely to use such a contraption, the Native American Travois was used in a similar fashion to move heavy loads. It was probably used in the plains more than in the mountains. I am reminded of a wheelbarrow being pulled rather than pushed. Single tire wheelbarrows are ridiculously unstable with heavy loads and I have converted mine to a two tire wheelbarrow.
Personally, I'm not sure this is a great idea. The best analogy I can give is golf (which, in my case, resembles backpacking: moving a bag full of gear through the woods and high brush looking for an elusive little spot of white.)
I have a three-wheeled cart that will hold my clubs; it can be pushed or pulled. I can also carry my clubs, using a set of shoulder straps that are attached to it. I've found that I prefer putting the weight on my shoulders and dispensing with the cart. It just seems easier and less awkward to maneuver, somehow.
I suspect that a hiking trolley, in the woods, would be the same - especially since there doesn't appear to be any way to bend, which would make it difficult to maneuver around turns in the trail. Also, on narrow trails hanging on the side of a steep incline, if the wheel fell off the trail, it seems likely that it would drag you down with it.
Finally, the light loads most of us carry now would seem to make this somewhat irrelevant; it's just not that hard to carry the load.
If the trail happens to have steps every few switchbacks, it could prove to be a real pain to go from pull to over the shoulder mode. Another problem could be trails that have several river crossings. Where I think it could do well is in the rail trails (if you call them like that over there...) Those are the trails built where rails used to run. There are other brands too.
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
A few years ago I took my grandson (then 13) into Washington's Alpine Lakes Wilderness, on a trail that supposedly was completely rebuilt a year or two before.
It turned out that the trail consisted of gigantic steps 2-3 feet high. Being short-legged and with a bum knee, I had an awful time, especially going back down--I basically had to sit down and slide my rear off many of those steps. I came out at the trailhead with my hiking pants split from stem to stern down the seat. (Fortunately, I had a change of clothes in my car.)
Even if this trolley pack were allowed (it isn't), it would be impossible to drag it up and down that "newly improved" trail!
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey
There's a trail around Fontana Lake in N.C. to Hazel Creek that people use these kind of things on. I would say they are mostly for hauling Wal-Mart gear and gallons of beer to readily accessible spots. The girl in the pic looks ready to tackle the mall.