Looking to get folks opinions about hiking carts. This would be a single wheel or multi-wheel cart, non-motorized that a person would pull with 1 or 2 hands, or somehow attach to a hip belt. If you google search you can find a variety of various designs out there. Most appear to be no wider than the average shoulder width of an adult male.
-Are there laws/rules preventing these carts on the trail(s) today? -What's your thoughts if you see someone with one of these carts? -Anyone with personal experience using a cart?
I ask this as i get older and my knees continue to get worse as well as the disc in my neck and back.
Loc: Nacogdoches, TX, USA
Some of my favorite trails are the more rugged ones. There's no way I'd want to pull a cart over them. In fact, it would probably be very dangerous to do so. A cart could pull you off balance or even slip on a narrow steep trail and drag you over a precipice. I can think of some long stretches of lowland trails that it might work, but even then, it would be a huge hassle getting a cart over log falls or through thick brush or over a root covered slope. Having said all that, I have no personal experience with a hiking cart.
Loc: Portland, OR
-Are there laws/rules preventing these carts on the trail(s) today?
The first most obvious law or rule applies to designated wilderness areas, where all wheeled vehicles are excluded. I think personal wheelchairs may be exempted, but most wilderness trails are nearly impassible to wheelchairs anyway. Aside from wilderness trails, your local trails will be subject to whatever local rules are set by the local jurisdiction or agency. I'd check with them.
-What's your thoughts if you see someone with one of these carts?
If it were motorized, I'd be inclined to strongly disapprove of using one for any purpose other than to carry tools and materials used for trail maintenance. As for a non-motorized cart or wheelbarrow for personal use, I'd look at the person, the size of the cart, the articles being hauled and draw my conclusions from what I see, based on how much I judged the user fit in with Leave No Trace principles.
So i live in Wisconsin and I called and spoke to various folks at the Department of Natural Resources yesterday. I asked if hiking carts were allowed on trails in county, state or national forest including designed state park trails.
First, i was surprised they all knew what i was talking about. Didn't think they would be because i didn't think they were that common. Second, not single one hesitated with confirming that they are allowed in all of those areas. They said because it's non-motorized and it's not something a person sits on or rides on, it doesn't fall into any controlled categories such as biking, atv's, etc.
I'm still reading through the Wilderness Act document to see what the specific verbage is in there that prohibits their use. However, i'm not sure how/why the DNR would say they're ok if the Wilderness Act covers any of those forest or areas i mentioned.
If it works for you then go for it if it is within regs. I've heard it stated several times prior to this thread that they are not allowed in designated wilderness areas. The guy you talked to on the phone might have a more broad interpretation where in other areas they take a more narrow view of the wilderness act. You may be fine based on your conversation with the DNR in your area but there is some risk to using a cart like this in wilderness areas.
Loc: Portland, OR
Federal wilderness areas would not be administered by the Wisconsin DNR, but by the USFS or NPS. The DNR probably is familiar with carts because hunters sometimes use them, because even dressed, a deer carcass amounts to a lot of weight and bulk.
I consulted Wikipedia to find the federally designated wilderness areas in Wisconsin. They are:
Blackjack Springs - 5,800-acre wilderness area northeast of Eagle River, Wisconsin. It is located within the Nicolet unit of the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest.
Gaylord Nelson - 35,000-acre wilderness area located within Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, off the Bayfield Peninsula of northern Wisconsin. Administered by the National Park Service.
Headwaters - 22,033-acre wilderness area located within the Nicolet unit of the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest in northeastern Wisconsin.
Porcupine Lake - Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest
Rainbow Lake - Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest
Whisker Lake - Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest
Wisconsin Islands - 29 acres located in Door County in northeastern Wisconsin.
Plan B: Consider getting a pack animal such as a such as a horse, llama, goat, dog, or donkey to carry part or all of the weight. You may be able to rent rather than buy some of the animals. I agree that it could be difficult if not dangerous trying to haul a wheeled device over difficult terrain. I sympathize with your medical difficulties since I too am beginning to deal with problems as I age. The first step is to try and lighten your load and if this doesn't help then consider the animals (or a Sherpa).