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GeneralUtility Wagon Carts -- Does anyone have experience with these?

6th Dec 2019 15:50 UTCScott Rider

I have had my eye on these utility wagon carts (see link at the end for examples) for a while now.  I have a bum shoulder that I keep messing up when I take 60-70 pounds of stuff down a hill..  I usually bring with me an assortment of stuff and honestly, its taking a toll on that darn shoulder and my poor fingers...

So I have am going to buy a utility cart of some sort, to help me bring my gear up and down from places.  I do know that it'll be limited to locations that I can actually drag something up a hill... It should work for most my digs I frequent though... 

Has anyone used any of these utility wagons?  The one concern I have is durability, the wheels on these things, at least at Home Depot, seem wobbly and I fear if I got one the wheels would fall off eventually just from the nature of going up harder terrain...  I figure if I can get one that has really tough wheels and bearings, I'd be set!!! 

6th Dec 2019 17:33 UTCHarold Moritz Expert

Can't vouch for the durability, but I have seen many collectors use them, typically at active quarries with relatively flat floors free of obstructions, or along easy paths.  These are not "all terrain vehicles" though, if you have just one downed tree in your path it negates the whole point, you'd have to unload it, heave it over, then load it again, ditto on the way back. But the pneumatic wheels are a must if you do get one, solid tires are meant for indoors. Personally i use a hand truck with pneumatic tires and a large plate at the bottom, easier to get over some obstructions, though it tends to be "tippy".

6th Dec 2019 18:33 UTCPaul Brandes Manager

I have seen these being used on digs and for the most part people like them, as long as you're on flat ground. I do share Harold's concern however in that if you encounter an obstacle such as a downed tree or a very uneven trail, you may run into an issue. Still, it's better than nothing in most cases.

6th Dec 2019 22:17 UTCScott Rider

Thanks for the responses.  These probably would work very well in half my locations I dig at, which makes it very attractive for those spots.  One of my spots, like my Lake George hole, isn't as easy to reach, at least if I were to pull something up.  However, I probably could spend a couple hours moving obstructions so I can bring this up.  I plan on digging there most of next year, as I have ID'd a new peg just below ones I've work on this year, that has very, very good potential.   

My main concern is the wheel bearings and the frame around them.  I went to Home Depot and they had the cheap one constructed, it seemed that they'd do well on non-rough terrain, but I'm not so sure on the rough areas! So I guess, since HD is pretty lax with returns, I should just try one out.  And use it on the locations I can, and not worry about the other locations that it won't work well at, they are not expensive... 

7th Dec 2019 03:01 UTCDoug Daniels

I'd say the wheel bearings aren't a big concern, unless you're really abusing the cart.  The bearings are tightly held in the wheel, and shouldn't fall out (the biggest problem).  I too have thought of using one, but haven't been involved in field collecting for about 15 years now.  Agree that the pneumatic tires would be better.  (FWIW... I worked at Sears, and now with Home Depot - not that I'm a cart expert.....).

7th Dec 2019 09:07 UTCJolyon Ralph Founder

For non-level terrain you may find something like this much easier to work with than the 4-wheel version. 

8th Dec 2019 13:28 UTCRolf Luetcke Expert

I looked for a photo but can't find it at the moment.  I built my own cart for bringing home gypsum in our SE Arizona area.  It is like a rickshaw in design.  First I used bicycle tires but those were just not sturdy enough.  
I used an old washing machine bottom plate for the base.  Used some U bolts to hold a steel rod for the axle and then put sides on by using old tossed out wire shelves.   Then put a couple of metal pipes for handles and motorcycle wheels that were tossed out with deflated tires on them.
Have used this contraption often and it works great and goes just about anywhere.  The times I have used it locally it goes well over rough terrain and I have hauled a couple hundred pounds of gypsum in there.   
I can imagine building various versions of this design but the first model I made had a rounded, bent front pole system I could actually stand in and use my stomach to help pull it.   
I try and find a photo of it.

8th Dec 2019 14:02 UTCPearl Ingram

I can vouch for the durability of the gorilla carts at least.  Used them for hauling scaffolding material all over the Vanscoy Potash Mine, SK (surface and mill) back when I was still scaffolding.

8th Dec 2019 14:12 UTCRolf Luetcke Expert

Here is the cart I built.  Have been using it for about 20 years and never had any problems with it.   I used to haul my rocks with it but now use it mostly for hauling firewood in our area.
Tires didn't need to be inflated and worked just fine.
All materials in this are found material.   Best working cart I have ever used.
As said earlier, can be scaled down in size but I needed one this size.

8th Dec 2019 15:39 UTCMichel Gadoury

This is what one of our club members as build for some of us. Robust construction made from recycled materials, it can house a 5 gallon bucket, capacity of about 150 pounds of stones, a stabilizer stand keep the cart in a vertical position and it folds to carry in the back of the car.

8th Dec 2019 15:52 UTCHarold Moritz Expert

Things to consider, it may be adding more work for you than saving if you are not going a long way. Such as, make sure you have room for, and can get the cart and all your gear in and out of your vehicle. They are not light and if you load it with gear when in the car, you'll hafta take that all out before unloading it.  If you are constantly going on the same path a fair distance, I do suggest making that path more cart friendly, then you'll be glad you did. You can haul tools for that work in the cart!
The pix of other options above look interesting, not sure they are heavy duty enough without trying them. Consider you'll be hauling mostly steel, water and rocks - all heavy things. The main reasons I use a hand truck, even though not optimal, is because it is very tough, I already owned it from my last move and it can do that duty again. HD stuff is generally not very tough (not commercial grade), I would NEVER buy chisels there for example, they break the first time you use them. But these days it seems the only options for any retail product are a very expensive high-grade one that is probably more $ than the hobbyist needs to spend, or a very cheap one with not a lot in between. So we tent to get the latter and just get another when the first one breaks, which of course just encourages their continued production.

9th Dec 2019 03:58 UTCDean Allum Expert

You should also search for a mountain bike trailer.
Have you looked at the wheeled golf bags at the Goodwill store?
Maybe it's time to get physical therapy on your shoulder.

14th Dec 2019 17:18 UTCScott Rider

Thanks for all the suggestions.  After looking around for a while I was able to find a pretty good deal. I got a Gorilla Utility cart brand new for about half the price it was on Amazon. It has a large container that can hold two buckets, my large hiking backpack, and still have room to spare. I can stand on it and it supposedly capable of up the 1,200lbs. I am not sure about that but it’ll certainly hold enough rock for my needs as well as help bring my supplies to my dig spots, and be really handy for camping and home projects. It also has dumping abilities as well so it’ll help me remove the tailings in my dig at my clubs claims in Lake George. 

It’s rock solid too and has decent ground clearance. Maybe more than my Outback!! I can’t wait to try it out, I may go to the south east plains next weekend to find calcite. It’s been spared from getting all the snow the rest of Colorado has been getting recently. I went there last weekend and really could have used this wagon, I found two buckets worth of decent to really good calcite that killed my fingers. 

I’ll report on the use as I go out on my next adventure! I am still thinking about a two wheel version like many of the suggestions here for the more steep locations that is betting this wagons capabilities. 

14th Dec 2019 23:29 UTCPaul Brandes Manager

I have seen these carts before and from what I have heard, they are quite rugged.
I believe you made a good choice! Let us know how it does......

15th Dec 2019 02:50 UTCJim Gawura

I made one. Similar to a pipe hod. It also has plywood ends that attach quickly with bolts and wing nuts. Have a handle for the rear. It's shorter and handled from the outside. I have used this to haul 300 lbs of material. Through scrub and over some ledges. With two people it was a struggle, but we made it.

16th Dec 2019 22:41 UTCStephen C. Blyskal Expert

No one mentioned this option, so I thought I would bring it up to you. http://brolltools.com/  If you go to this site you will see the unit that I have used in West Texas and other areas of Texas successfully over the past 6 years.  It is designed to ride over boulders, logs and through thorn scrub without tipping over.  Very lightweight and breaks down to handle, frame, wheels in about 5 minutes with a crescent wrench.  I used this on the Stilwell Ranch to bring out 75 lbs of agate from a slope with low boulders and lots of thorns.  Affordable and durable for rough conditions.  This was designed by an engineer for gold collectors in California to carry rocks to their sluice.

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