I never seem to live anywhere a cart is usable, and I hate wheelbarrows. Working in my garden, I’ve hauled everything from straw bales to gravel with the help of Burden Cloths. I’ve been using them for about 20 years, and have the patio (3×3’) and farm (5×5’) sizes right now.
As opposed to a tarp or burlap, the Burden Cloth has one-inch-wide stout cotton webbing double-sewn around the entire edge of the cloth, adding strength and durability. Burlap just isn’t as sturdy as the material used in Burden Cloth. At the corners, the webbing comes out and forms a loop before continuing onto the next side. The loops are probably 6 to 8 inches in radius; you can custom order them larger. I get the recycled cloth option (canvas is available for a little more), and they always come in interesting colors or patterns.
You could certainly make your own: get sturdy cloth, stout webbing, and sew away. You probably wouldn’t have to have a commercial sewing machine to do it, but I’m not sure. I could knit socks too, but I don’t do that either.
These pivoting plastic wheelbarrow handles let you go from a walking position to lifting and dumping without repositioning your hands. They’re also amazing for me, because I am tall: When walking with a wheelbarrow the nose can sometimes catch the ground causing several problems. The handles lower the wheelbarrow’s handles several inches, allowing me to walk upright instead of hunched.
Although I’ve only started using them, they’ve already had quite a workout. I am replacing the gravel pushed off of my 350′ driveway by the snow plow. I load the wheelbarrow quite heavily. These handles have eliminated my hunching AND they let me dump the gravel easily.
Installation took me about ten minutes, being very careful, as they require you to drill permanent holes. They come with clear directions, a long screw, and nylon lock nut for each handle (also included are tubular shims to adjust the fit, if necessary). The steps are: 1) Slip it over the handle; too tight? Sand the handle. Too loose? Add shims. 2) Position as desired. 3) Drill hole in marked location through entire handle. 4) Put screw through the hole, apply nylon lock nut on the other side. Done.
I’ve found them to be stable. UV degradation is my primary concern, since I leave my wheelbarrow outdoor all year. Still, they are cheap enough that a second pair in 4-5 years would be acceptable to me, considering the convenience and back saving.
If you keep rigid, used 5 gallon spackle buckets with broken handles and cracked sides for odd jobs, you should recycle ‘em and get these plastic buckets. They are molded in one piece with two integrated handles. The handles are large enough that they won’t hurt your palms or break away. There are too many uses to list, but I got mine earlier this year and have mostly used them in the garden where I’ve moved a lot of dirt and mulch and some large plants. The units are strong enough to fill completely with dirt, at which point they are too heavy for me to carry alone. I was most impressed with the ease with which I moved a large rock, which required two of us to lift. Yet, the tubs, which wipe clean easy, are still flexible enough to form a pouring spout.
This nifty, lightweight (33 lbs.) garden cart will fit into any spare cranny in the garden shed or garage. It folds into a long, slender package about six inches wide at the wheel hubs, and three or four feet long. While I wouldn’t go dropping jagged boulders into it, it’s proven a tough, sturdy and useful hauling tool for gardening or otherwise over the couple years I’ve had it. I’ve mounded it high with bark, manure, compost and brush (the load limit is 330 lbs.), and it’s performed like a champ.
Because of its smooth aluminum surface, it hoses clean for transporting non-dirty items. The gate on the front of the cart is basically a reinforced flat sheet of metal with a folded U-shaped channel that interlocks with a similar folded U-shaped channel on the cart. I feel obliged to mention that one time I was hauling a composted sawdust/manure mixture and some of it got caught in the channels of the lift gate. Since then I haven’t been able to get the gate all the way down, but it’s really a minor issue. The gap is only about an inch and stuff doesn’t seem to leak out the front.
Overall, this cart is just a marvelous, very maneuverable device for the storage challenged person. There is a slightly cheaper folding cart by Bully that can haul up to 400lbs. However, with the Tipke Fold-it, you can also buy a trailer or bike hitch, and front gates in a couple of heights. I haven’t used either of the hitches, so I don’t know how well they work, but if you’re a gardening biker looking to kill two birds with one stone, this could fit the bill nicely.
Come-alongs are a must-have for country living. They’re most often used to tug vehicles out of ditches and unsuccessful stream fordings, and to tighten fencing. I’ve also used mine for erecting and tightening large tents and canopies, pulling objects into and onto trucks, hoisting 350 lb carcasses for butchering, encouraging crunched automobile bodies back into proper shape, pulling stumps, straightening sagging barns back to verticality, moving large logs, turning trailers to face another direction, erecting pre-assembled 2×4 wall sections built on the floor, cinching loads onto flatbed trucks, dragging heavy boats up the ramp onto the dock or onto their trailers, erecting wind generators, extracting and installing engines in vehicles and boats. In other words, moving just about anything up to 2 tons. Come-alongs should not be used to move people, since a well-used cable can snap.
The Maasdam Pow’r Pull is the best (though not the cheapest) come-along you can buy. It is built better than knock-off copies — especially the $19.95 ones — in every way. There’s an accessory wire gripper that enables the Maasdam (or any other pull tool) to tighten fences, clotheslines etc. I’ve beat the hell out of my 1969-model, and it has never failed. It will pull 2 tons. You can buy very expensive aluminum giant come-alongs from several firms, but the fine print with them sez that they are also 2-ton, so I don’t see much point in them except they are beautiful and classy-looking. Any tool that carries a high loading should be of the very best quality, as failure can be deadly or at the least scary. The Maasdam is good stuff.
Hints for working with a come-along: Many folks loop a come-along’s cable hook around an object and then hook it back onto the cable like a noose. This is very unsafe, as the hook will either cut or seriously damage the cable. Users should invest in a couple of suitable “Shackles” (any hardware or boat store) for such duty, and never hook anything directly to a come-along’s cable. Hint for come-along use where there are no trees or objects to anchor it to: Bury your spare tire a couple feet down and hook to that. Come-alongs also need some sort of anchor for the mechanism. I keep a length of 3/8ths chain for that purpose.
My wife and I are both Master Gardeners who live on mountain land where there is not a single level square foot. We have less than 1000 square feet of grass stuff (not really turf) so I have no use for a lawn tractor. Instead we use a Powerwagon. Think of it as an ATV wheelbarrow. It can haul hundreds of pounds of rock, logs, soil, or what have you up steep grades. My wife enjoys building stacked stone walls in almost inaccessible places, and this is the only way that I can get the material to her. I doubt that I could work our property without it. Warning: it is not cheap, but for me it is worth it.