- The idea for HipStar came a few years ago as I was traveling across Europe on business and later with my family. Between the three of us, we had one backpack to carry all of our things. There was so much to see, but after half a day’s worth of walking around, all I could think about was how the straps of my heavy bag were digging into my shoulders. I only wish I had a companion who would carry all of our stuff for us and never get tired. No matter where and how you travel, even a light backpack begins to weigh as much as a few bricks. You get tired. You get impatient. You waste half your day dealing with back pain. All because there’s no other way to carry your stuff other than on your back. What about seniors or people with back problems? They are even more affected by carrying weight around. Doesn’t matter if it’s light or heavy. That’s when the idea for the HipStar was born: a back-free, hands-free light collapsible travel cart that makes it easy to move heavy items over any type of terrain with little effort, literally doing the heavy lifting for you, and can be used as a backpack (or even a bike trailer!) if needed!
- If you have ever used a wheelbarrow to haul stuff, you probably have noticed that in addition to lifting it up, you have to exert extra force to push or pull it in order to move it from one place to another. It might make it easier on you if the weight's center of gravity (CG) was balanced close to the wheel axle, but a wheelbarrow is not designed to perform such a trick.
In the case of HipStar, the weight is already balanced on top of a two-wheel axle, and fine adjustments are made just by “bending” the frame, taking the strain off the user and letting technology do all the work. The angle between handles and frame can be adjusted, so the HipStar accommodates a wide range of weights, and by keeping a bag’s CG not only above but slightly ahead of the wheel axle, the HipStar's overall stability is increased. It eliminates pushback force created while walking or running that would overturn the cart. As a result, a bag’s weight is supported almost entirely by the frame, and the user applies only the pulling force to generate movement.
Well, once the balancing problem has been solved, I faced another issue: even a small weight generates annoying “push-and-pulls” when rigidly attached to your body during movement. Walking is a series of accelerations and decelerations - or “stop-and-go”. I had to build a few prototypes before I figured out how to keep it from bumping into you when you walk or run. To solve this problem, I designed flexible harness and special two-way shock absorbers that replaced the rigid bars between handles and frame.
Shock absorbers along with a flexible harness even out any disturbing walking motions, minimize the uneven inertia generated by the user when walking or running, allowing for smooth movement and comfortable experience, further reducing stress and minimizing user effort and exertion. The upper design allows the user to adjust to fit based on height. The handle-strut angle is also adjustable depending on the load weight, harness height (waist height), and distance from feet to wheels, all of which assist in relieving the stress from the load, allowing the user to walk or run without interference from the cart.
Now, no matter the size, shape, type, or weight of your bag or suitcase, the HipStar will give you the same level of comfort so you can walk or run without even feeling the weight of your bag. And if you ever need to climb some steps or cross an obstacle, simply convert it into a backpack and you’re all set.
- It is not heavy at all! Even a “heavy-duty” prototype's frame weighs approx. 10 lbs. We cannot count the weight of the wheels because we used the regular 2.5 lbs. wheels to prove a concept. Furthermore, the product design stage will result in substantial decrease in weight by utilizing new materials and wheels.
With the HipStar in a CART MODE a cargo weight is close to zero due to CG balancing. With the HipStar in BACKPACK MODE they will not notice a 7-8% weight difference in a short run, when travelling over more difficult obstacles (rivers, ravines, steps, etc.) or when moving on rough terrain that the cart cannot traverse. Finally, they would need to make their choice – to carry their load on the spine all day long or a bit heavier load just for a few moments to go over some obstacles.
The HipStar™ will be available in three versions: Light, Medium, and Heavy-duty. The heavy-duty model can easily hold up to 80 lbs (or even more) of gear with only 6-8 lbs. of force in cart mode. It can be used by military or heavy hikers/tourists. This group is used to carry large heavy backpacks (50-60 lbs.)
If the user decides to convert the HipStar to backpack mode, the weight limit might very depending on how much the user is willing and capable to carry on their back. In real life average hikers’ backpacks weigh 10-12 kg (22-26 lbs), serious hikers’ 15-18 kg (35-40 lbs). In the cart mode it represents 1.0-1.5 and 3-3.5 lbs. of pull correspondingly.
Medium and light models are rated for a lighter load, and are respectively lighter themselves, which is ideal for light hikers and city tourists.
- Yes. We conducted a comprehensive research on composite vs. special aluminium and its pricing. Composite would increase price; therefore the bill of materials has to be well balanced. Many components, such as tubing or joints, could be converted to structural plastic parts to make a less expensive, easy to use, more attractive and ergonomic system. All options to be considered during the product development stage by the professional product designers and engineers.
• Individual outdoor enthusiasts (tourists, hikers, photographers, backpackers, fishermen, foragers, hunters, golfers, physically impaired people, festivals' fans)
• Camps, Schools, Youth groups (scout groups, summer camps)
• First responders (law enforcement, medical transportation, military, search and rescue)
• Outdoor recreation equipment (hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, etc.)
• In-town use (home improvement, contracting, etc)
• Specialty equipment
- Thus far, the HipStar has received a ton of positive reviews and support! Every person who sees it always comes up with a new and personalized way to use it. The best ideas come from strangers who stop me on the street or the trail during my test runs.
A short while ago, I met a woman who was running and pushing a baby stroller in front of her. She spotted the HipStar, so she stopped and asked to try it out. After a few minutes, she fell in love with it, surprised at how stable and smooth it was while running. You can see it on video. She wanted to get one for herself and customize it with a baby seat to make her morning runs more comfortable!
A gentleman at Santa Monica beach said that he would use HipStar by carrying his family stuff from parking lot to the beach, and another one would use it by carrying their company booth’s accessories from parking lots to the trade shows floors.
The list goes on and all of them have been thrilled with adapting HipStar to their daily life. Please visit our HipStar Testimonials page.
- We are steadily approaching the manufacturing stage. We are very happy with our new product design company; they did a great job and completed a design stage. Here are some CAD images of HipStar new design:
We have all the hardware identified and numbered, currently working with three bid packages (two local and one international) for the fabricated parts. It is important to get an idea of lead time for the fabricated parts before purchasing all the hardware, as our longest lead time will be with our purchased parts.
- In the first year of operation production cost will be higher until volumes are up. A final retail price will be estimated as soon as the product designers will finalize the design, mechanical development, integration, and pricing of the components. Please visit PRE-ORDER page for more information.
While I’ve been developing the HipStar for quite some time now with the help of my family, friends, and colleagues, the most important contribution is support of our backers and potential customers!
We have the team to get the job done: product designers, business developers, manufacturing, branding, and marketing specialists.
We are in the middle of the product design stage. The next stages are global testing and mass production. This is where we need help in reaching the finish line and launching the HipStar to make it available to millions of people who are looking for a versatile and effective companion while they are on the go.
By pre-ordering and supporting us you’ll get your HipStar at a much lower price, and we can lower manufacturing costs.
If you have any questions or suggestions about the HipStar please contact us directly. Your voice means a lot to us, and we would love to hear from you.