Ultra-Lightweight Backpack Collapsible Game Cart


This is a prototype version of my packable lightweight collapsible elk and deer cart. At only 10 lbs the cart is designed so it can be packed in on my backpack when hunting. When I get an animal down I bone the elk or deer out and hang the meat in my homemade canvas big game bags or  panniers balanced off each side of the cart and off the mountain I go.

With a few more tweaks to the design I am manufacturing this lightweight game cart by the name of Pack Wheel.

I've been in touch with a manufacturing professional and they have graciously helped me take my original lightweight game cart to the next level. With their expertise in manufacturing game carts they were able to take my basic idea and improve it. I now have a 10 pound collapsible elk and deer cart that is made from aluminum. My original lightweight collapsible game cart is made of steel and weighs in at 13 1/2 lbs. Not as light as it could be but at 13 lbs it is still near 10 pounds lighter than the collapsible two wheeled Ameristep deer cart and this version of lightweight game carts is 12 pounds lighter.

The basic idea of the cart is to center the weight of the load directly over the wheel then have a handle to balance the load and breaks to control the cart on inclines. This new prototype of the lightweight packable game cart should work really good. I already have had great success using my original lightweight game cart and this new prototype of the game cart is designed better. It is a little larger in size and has great system for hanging my homemade canvas big game meat bags from or some panniers that I'm thinking of making for the cart.

It amazes me how many two wheel game carts (side by side wheels) there are compared to one wheeled game carts on the market. Even if I could get a two wheeled game cart as light as this one wheeled game cart I would chose a single wheeled cart hands down over a two wheeler because of a one wheel game carts ability to go on narrow game trails and around mountain slopes without tipping over. One wheel carts are amazingly agile to handle in a wider variety of terrain.


Here you can see my son Dallen and I with our backpacks, on the opening weekend of the 2010 elk season. As you can see in the photo I was carrying my original 13 pound lightweight deer & elk game cart strapped to the top of my frame pack. We were prepared to haul an elk out if only we could find some elk...

With a ultra-lightweight yet very strong game cart like this I am able to take this anywhere I want to hike and hunt. If I decide to move my bivy camp to the next canyon I can collapse the cart and throw it on my back and hike through the cliffs, boulder fields and rugged country to the next canyon. Then if I shoot a deer or elk I can bone it out and haul it off the mountain with the cart along narrow game trails and the like. I really like the flexibility this ultra-lightweight game cart will give me to hunt wherever I want and be able to have a game cart ready to get my elk or deer out in one trip. I can't wait to try it out this fall.

Now there are a few rugged areas I hunt that the only thing that could assist a hunter in getting his game out is a llama or pack goats, areas like where I shot my 5x5 bull elk in 2010. There weren't many game trails but plenty of overgrown boulder fields and cliffs to scale. However many of the places I hunt are not quite so nasty and a rugged lightweight game cart like this will come in very handy.

The bike wheel used on the cart has a heavy duty rim with extra spokes and a extra heavy duty axle. I'm confident the cart will easily handle hauling 150 lbs. The cart is very solid and well constructed.

I am now thinking of working on two large panniers that I will place on each side of the cart. This will make it so that you can cut quarters off a deer or elk and just through them in the bags and go. I plan on hanging my homemade canvas big game meat bags off the hooks or placing the bags inside of the pannier pouches that I plan on making for the cart.

I am looking forward to taking the cart out and testing it with weight on it to see how it handles. I have a few ideas to make it a little better, modifications that will be in a forthcoming prototype.

As I get some time in the field with this cart I will update my website with more information, photos, video and the like on how well the game cart works etc.

One might ask why would you need such a small cart like this?

  • At 8 - 9 pounds it can hunt with you. If you hike into an area to hunt for the day just disassemble the handle and strap the cart to your pack and the cart is there ready for use at any time. If you get an animal down you can bone it out and start hauling it out without the need to hike back to base camp or the truck to get a game cart. This is especially useful if you are a guide. As a guide you can carry the cart as you hunt with your client or in my case taking my son hunting.
  • The 24" wheel version of the cart works really well off trail is wonderful on single track trails, horse trails, and old logging roads etc.
  • The cart is also great for transporting as I can easily throw it in the back of a SUV or ATV (no truck bed or roof rack required).
  • The cart allows you to be extremely flexible on your hunts. You are not burdened with a giant cart that can only be wheeled in and out. If once you hike into an area you decide to hunt out another area that no cart could pass you can carry the cart out.
  • Think of the cart as a lightweight assistant that you can pull out of your back pocket that can really save your life given the right circumstances.
  • One of the favorite ways I like to use the cart is to strap it to my pack and hunt up the mountain then use the cart to haul boned out meat and my gear back down the mountain.

The cart is designed to fill a different niche than other carts that are on the market. I do a fair amount of serious do-it-yourself public land big game hunting where this ultralight collapsible game cart is just what I need. There are times when hunters may want to haul in a large game cart like the GameTote. There are times when the NeetKart design may be the best option. Also a hunter should keep in mind that in some areas a game cart is only going to make things worse and a backpack is going to be your only option. Each and every hunt has different needs and one cart just doesn't fit all. The best game cart to use greatly depends on where you are hunting, are you packing in and setting up a base camp, how many people are going on the hunt, do I need to haul gear in, how rough is the trail etc.

Although I have yet to try the NeetKart the cart looks to be very soundly built. It would probably be the best game cart out there for a single person to manage taking in a huge supply of gear for a base camp along a fairly decent trail. It's large and will lack in braking power in wet, muddy and snowy conditions.

Another game cart I haven't tried but looks to be worthy of the task of hauling mule deer and elk off the mountain is the Carryall Buddy. Although it's brakes would not operate well in muddy or snowy conditions.

October 2011: I took the lightweight game cart out with me on my muzzleloader mule deer hunt this year. I was able to harvest a young buck that was just too tempting for me so that I had something to test the game cart out with. I'll work on getting a more mature buck next year... anyway I was very pleased with how easily the cart handled as long as I didn't come up against any large rocks in the trail. I'm thinking about some optional add-ons to the cart that would make it easier to cross over a downed tree or large rock. I did have some structural problems with the handle piece of the cart that can be fixed with a few more ounces of aluminum. The cart saved me many an hour in getting back off the mountain, without it I would have been staying an extra night on the mountain to get him out. The cart also saved a lot of stress on my bad knees. Below is a video of the cart in use showing a couple of samples of me using the game cart on mule deer and elk hunts.

January 2012: The lightweight game cart worked great for me on a late season cow elk hunt where I was able to use the cart to haul an entire cow elk out three miles in one trip. No extra trip required to get the game cart or extra trips packing it out... I just hunted with the cart collapsed and strapped to my backpack. Once I boned out the elk meat, I assembled the cart, loaded the meat on it in my canvas meat bags, and back down the mountain I went on a horse trail.

February 2012: I'm in the final stages of getting my game cart idea manufactured. I'm still working on the getting a lighter wheel and stronger braking system from what is on my prototype carts. The cart will have the best components I can find and and won't be the cheapest cart on the market but it will be the most versatile. The cart's name is Pack Wheel and you can check out the Pack Wheel website and order your own Pack Wheel when they become available.

Related Product Links:

Pack Wheel Backpack and Game Cart LogoPack Wheel — Lightweight Backpack and game cart

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