Hamax Outback Bike Trailer Review

Hamax Outback Bike Trailer Review

Doing your research to make sure that you buy the best bike trailer for your child but don’t want to overpay either?  Make sure that the Hamax Outback is on your list of options.  Not as well known in the U.S. market as the Thule Chariot or the Burley Cub, the Hamax Outback offers many of the same features as these high-end trailers at a much more reasonable price point.

Like its competitors, the Hamax Outback offers a wide variety of options for active parents.  In addition to the bike trailer, the Outback can be converted to a stroller, jogger, and a ski trailer.  We’ve tested it in the first three configurations and will test out the ski attachment once we get some snow this winter.

Thanks to the spacious interior, ease of conversion, and relative affordability, we are putting the Hamax Outback toward the top of our highly recommended list.

Hamax Outback Unboxed


Review in a Nutshell

Pros:

  • Relatively affordable compared to its closest competitors
  • Plentiful, enclosed storage space
  • Easy to convert between trailer, jogger, stroller, etc
  • Wider and taller than competitors, works well for older children
  • Well ventilated

Cons:

  • Heavier than competitors
  • Interior pockets are small.  Not much space for snacks, water bottles, etc.
  • No exterior compartment to strap on a balance bike, etc.
  • The buckle is a little tricky to operate

Price & Where to Buy:

  • Single Trailer
  • Double Trailer

Hamax Outback Kids Bike Trailer Detailed Review

Wider and Taller Dimensions Make For A More Comfortable Ride

The Hamax Outback is unique in that they’ve prioritized and maximized interior space.  This makes for a roomier and more comfortable ride for the child (or children) inside.  We tested out the Hamax with my 5-year-old who is too cramped to ride in the Thule Cross anymore and were pleasantly surprised to find that he fits!

Even if you are shopping for a baby or toddler, the fact that the Outback fits older children is something to keep in mind.  You’ll certainly get more bang for your buck if the trailer lasts your child 6 years rather than 4.

The Hamax Outback is both wider and taller than other trailers we’ve tested.  While we appreciate this for the comfort of the child (or children) inside the trailer, it does mean that it takes up a bigger footprint when folded for storage or transport.

Hamax Outback Size

Adjustable Suspension Means the Trailer Can Be Used Off-Road

If you’re not the type to stick to paved roads and bike paths, suspension is a must-have.  The adjustable suspension on the Hamax Outback allows it to be used on rail-trails, doubletrack, and other dirt or gravel tracks.  (The trailer is too wide for use on singletrack).

Suspension also makes for a more comfortable ride for your child around town.  If you ride on uneven pavement, ride off curbs, etc. suspension will make a huge difference in your child’s enjoyment.

Hamax Outback Bike Trailer Suspension

Convertible Bike Trailer / Jogger / Ski Trailer Allows Parents to Stay Active

The convertible trailer/jogging stroller is a godsend for athletic parents.  No longer do you need multiple pieces of equipment and you’re not stuck indoors.  Bike, ski, run, walk with your little one along.

The idea of a convertible trailer isn’t unique to Hamax, but they have done a particularly good job of making it easy to switch between attachments.  Push a button, pull up on the lever, and slide out the existing attachment.  Reverse the process with the new attachment and you’re good to go.  I found this process much easier on the Hamax than on the Thule Chariot.

The one bummer is that the trailer doesn’t come standard with the jogger or ski attachments so you have to buy those kits separately.  (This is true of the Thule Chariot as well).  It does come with the bike attachment and the stroller wheel.

The Outback as a Trailer

Because we’re a biking family, the main attraction of the Hamax Outback is its use as a bike trailer.  The trailer hitch attaches to the quick release on your rear wheel.  (If you have a thru-axle, you’ll need an adaptor).  I found this very quick and easy to attach to both my bike and the trailer.  If you plan on using the trailer on multiple bikes, you might want to order a second hitch so you don’t have to take it on and off.

The trailer felt stable and had a decent turning radius.  As I’ll mention a bit below, the trailer does feel heavy when pulling it up big hills.

hamax outback bike trailer

The Outback as a Jogger

Since my son is 5, I don’t run with him much anymore.   He humored me though so we could test out the Hamax Outback.  The jogging kit comes with a jogging wheel and a handbrake.

Hamax Outback Jogging Kit

The handle on the Outback is adjustable.  This allows it to be comfortable for parents of all heights.  A gray lever is released to adjust the handlebar and then to lock it back into place.

IMG_3514

Handlebar adjusts easily via a lever 

I found that the handbrake did a good job of slowing the jogger–necessary when running downhill–but not necessarily stopping it.  The handbrake on the Thule Chariot Cross definitely works better.  I wouldn’t worry about it unless you live somewhere with a lot of steep hills.

The Outback as a Stroller

Unlike many convertible trailers, the Hamax stroller uses a single front wheel rather than double front wheels.  I actually like this as I found it was easier to pivot, and to take on and off quickly.

The one thing to keep in mind with the Hamax Outback is that it is pretty wide so is hard to take indoors or through crowded places.

Hamax Outback Stroller

Safety Features Protect Your Precious Cargo

One benefit of using a bike trailer to haul your kids is that they are basically a roll cage for your child.  The aluminum frame does an excellent job of protecting your child in the event of a tip-over or other accident.

For visibility, the trailer comes with a flag as well as reflectors on the sides of the trailer, at the back, and on the wheels.  Unlike some trailers, the trailer is lacking reflective material but you could always add reflective tape if you’re worried about it.

Hamax Outback Reflectors

Plenty of reflectors help with visibility

Finally, we appreciate the 5-point harness.  The padding on the shoulders and hips makes it more comfortable than many harnesses we’ve seen.  That said, the buckle is a bit strange.  You have to puzzle-piece to halves together in order to insert it into the buckle base.  It takes a bit of time to think it thru each time I use it.

More Affordable than the Competition

The best part of the Hamax Outback is the price.  No, it’s not a budget trailer, but it is a premium convertible bike trailer that comes in under the competition.  The Thule Chariot Cross (double) will set you back $1,049 and the Burley Cub is $699.  At $650, the double Outback is the cheapest of the three.

Tons of Storage Space…But It’s Not Always Useful

One thing is certain: you are not going to run out of storage in the Hamax Outback.  The trailer has a truly HUGE rear compartment.  There is enough space to fit jackets, library books, your laptop, whatever.  We also like that the storage space is discreet; I feel like stuff is less likely to get stolen out of it than obvious storage compartment on the Thule Chariot.

Despite the plentiful storage in the rear of the trailer, I did feel like the interior pockets were lacking.  There are two small mesh pockets on either side of the floor, but they are TINY.  Like way too tiny to hold a water bottle, snacks, or toys.  Quite frankly, I’m not sure what they can hold.  A pacifier?

Hamax Outback Storage

Huge rear storage compartment; tiny interior storage pockets.

Finally, we’ve always really liked the rear bucket-style compartments on the backs of other trailers that allow us to haul a balance bike or smaller pedal bike.  I know we’re not the only ones, because every time I’m in an outdoorsy town like Bend, OR or Boulder, CO or wherever, I see lots of parents doing the same thing.  The Hamax Outback lacks this exterior rear storage space and I’m not sure how you would haul a child’s bike on it.

Rear of the Thule Chariot vs Hamax Outback

Rear storage on the Thule Chariot vs rear storage on the Hamax Outback.  While there’s tons of storage space in the Hamax Outback it’s all interior; there’s nowhere to carry a child’s bike.  

Why My Son Loved the Seat

After a couple weeks of testing, my son has yet to get inside the trailer without exclaiming how much he loves the seat.  He’s absolutely in awe by how comfy and plush it is.   There is plenty of padding, it’s well ventilated, and the headrest does a good job of keeping little ones heads supported when/if they fall asleep.  Compared to the Thule Chariot, the seat in the Hamax Outback is truly superior.

It’s also worth mentioning that the padding is removable so you can always take it out and throw it in the wash.

Hamax Outback Seat

My happy camper in the very comfortable padded seat.

The Hamax Outback Works in All Types of Weather

The biggest benefit of a bike trailer, when compared to a bike seat, for example, is that it keeps kids protected in inclement weather.  The Hamax Outback does an excellent job of this.  The door has three different layers, one of which is a waterproof plastic material.  Zip it shut, give your kiddo a blanket or sleeping bag, and they’ll be good in rain, sleet, snow, whatever.  If you feel like you need extra protection, Hamax sells an even more robust rain cover as an accessory.

Hamax Trailer Ventilation

Plenty of ventilation provides good airflow for little passengers.

On the other side of the Spectrum, the Hamax Outback does well in hot weather too.  (We’ve been experiencing plenty of that lately, so let me tell you we’ve put it to the test).  The trailer has ventilation panels both at the front of the trailer and at the rear, so kids get plenty of airflow.  In warmer weather, you can leave the plastic door up and use the mesh door instead.  This provides plenty of air and also protect against insects and other flying debris.

Finally, the trailer offers a sunshade.  We found that it is big enough to provide quite a bit of protection both for shorter and taller kids.

Hamax Outback Door

3 door covers: Waterproof plastic, mesh, and sunshade

Why I Still Prefer a Bike Seat or Cargo Bike

This is not a critique of the Hamax in particular, but rather with bike trailers in general.  Bike trailers, to be blunt, are sort of a pain in the butt.  They can certainly come in handy in bad weather (as mentioned above) and they can haul multiple kids without the expense of a cargo bike, but they are both heavy and cumbersome.

I haven’t been riding much with a trailer lately and I was reminded why when testing out the Hamax Outback. The thing is wide enough that I kept clipping obstacles and struggling to make tight turns.  A trailer is also HEAVY when compared with a bike seat.  I definitely got in my workout each day while testing the Hamax.

In fact, the Hamax Outback is a bit heavier than it’s competitors.  Compared to the Thule Chariot Cross, for example, the Outback is 6 pounds heavier!  That’s a lot when you are pulling the trailer up a big hill.  If you live in a particularly hilly area, I wouldn’t recommend the Hamax Outback to you.

Other Things Worth Mentioning

  • The floor of the Hamax Outback is covered in rubber.  I really liked this as I was able to easily wipe it up with a wet washcloth.
  • Like the Chariot and Burley, Hamax sells an infant hammock as an optional add-on.  This works well for babies under 6 months although it is recommended for use with walking rather than biking or jogging at this age.  One bummer about the Hamax is that it doesn’t work well with a car seat, which is how we usually recommend parents bike with a baby.
  • Once your child outgrows the trailer, you can still use it as a cargo trailer.  The seat back can be released to create a roomy trailer for hauling groceries, camping gear, etc.
  • We liked the nice beefy Schwalbe Big Apple tires.  They have enough tread to provide good traction even on gravel rail trails.  Because they are plenty wide you can also run them at a lower tire pressure which creates a more comfortable ride for your child.

hamax outback tires and floor

Schwalbe Big Apple Tires and rubberized flooring

Comparison Chart: Hamax vs Thule vs Burley Bike Trailers

Hamax vs Thule vs Burley

How does the Hamax Outback stack up against it’s closest competitors?  Check out this comparison chart to help you make the best decision.

TrailerPrice (MSRP)Single or DoubleWeightMulti-Sport?Suspension?
Hamax Outback One$550Single34.1 lb
Hamax Outback $650Double40.7 lb
Thule Chariot Cross 2$1,050Double31.96 lbYesYes
Thule Chariot Cross 1$950Single28.2 lbYesYes
Burley Cub$699Double37 lbsYesYes
Burley Solo$569Single26.9 lbsYesYes

Bottom-Line: The Hamax Outback is a Premium Convertible Trailer at a Reasonable Price

If you are looking for a top-of-the-line convertible trailer, the Hamax Outback is a top pick.  It offers similar features (and in a few cases, better features) than its closest competitors at a more palatable price point.  We also like the fact that it is roomier than many other bike trailers, making it a perfect choice for parents with older kids or for those who want a trailer that is going to last quite a few years.


More Reading to Help You Make the Best Choice

 

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