The perfect mix of style and ingenuity, the Hamax Outback is a great choice for active families who want a spacious bike trailer and stroller. We especially love it in stroller mode for young babies and short or tall parents. Read the review below for all the details!
What We Love About the Hamax Outback
- One of the roomiest cabins on the market
- Phenomenal stroller – maneuvers like a dream
- Suspension for a smoother ride can be adjusted based on kids’ weight and terrain
- Fantastic ventilation to keep kids cool
- Completely sealed mesh front so kids can’t throw things out of the trailer
- Upper viewing window for stroller use – also has a sunshade!
- Unique system for attaching trailer and stroller wheel make swapping between activities soooo easy
- Single insertion jogging wheel is tracks straight and is easier to attach than other high-end brands
- Extra-thick Schwalbe Big Apple tires
What You Should Know Before You Buy
- Quite a bit heavier than other trailers at this price point, the Outback is better for flat terrain
- Sits lower to the ground than Burley trailers, which can be an advantage for shorter parents in stroller mode
- Recline function is very reclined – great for sleeping babies
- Optional baby padding allows you to use it in stroller mode with infants
- The double Outback is too wide to get in and out of an average front door
Hamax Outback Review – Results of our Test Rides
In a sea of kids bike trailers on the market, the Hamax Outback is the sophisticated Norwegian foreign exchange student. Not just a pretty face, behind its modern, clean lines lies an easy-to-use, ample-sized trailer. Available in a single and double capacity and three different colors, the Hamax Outback is a great trailer for families on the go who don’t want to sacrifice style for functionality.
With its 2020 update, the Outback now features reclining seats. The seats are very reclined and are particularly ideal in stroller mode use with young babies, especially if you purchase the optional baby padding.
The Hamax Outback is a multi-sport trailer that comes standard with a trailer hitch, a single swivel-wheel stroller wheel and offers a jogging kit with a handbrake as an upgrade.
In both stroller and trailer mode, the Hamax Outback shines for its maneuverability. As a trailer, the Outback pulls smooth and has a fantastic turning radius. As a stroller, the single stroller wheel turns with ease, and is smooth enough to even use while jogging!
It is important to note that the Outback weighs about 15 lbs. more than the similarly-priced Burley D’Lite X. On flat ground in both trailer and stroller mode we didn’t feel the weight much. However, if you’ll frequently be tackling hills or training for a running race, it is something you should consider.
Featuring Schwalbe Big Apple tires, the Outback’s 20″ wheels were chosen for maximum comfort. Wider and with a more aggressive tread than most trailer tires, these beefy babies are the real icing on the cake. Big Apple tires provide a smoother ride for the trailer’s passengers as well as dampen minor bumps that may travel through the hitch. And they also look pretty sweet!
While the Big Apple tires do a lot to increase the comfort of the ride, adjustable suspension is another high-end feature worth paying for. Whether traveling over potholes, cobblestone streets, or simply going over a curb, suspension dampens the bigger bumps.
Adjustable suspension (as compared to fixed suspension) allows you to adjust the spring based on the weight of the kids in the trailer or based on the aggressiveness of the terrain you’ll be tackling. The Outback’s suspension is adjusted by spinning the gray tube you see in the image below.
The Outback is significantly larger than the average size trailer. Taller, deeper and longer, the Outback has plenty of room for kids and cargo, without feeling big and bulky. Over the couple months of testing, we strolled, jogged and biked with the Outback and the only time it felt larger than an average-sized trailer was when we were hauling it in and out of the car.
One other thing to note – at about 3″ wider than the Burley D’Lite X, the Outback double doesn’t actually fit through the average front door without the wheel cap getting popped off. If you need to store your Outback open and frequently take it in and out of the house, this will be an issue.
Inside the trailer, our 5-year-old and 3-year-old testers had about the same amount of space side to side as another popular trailer on the market – the Burley D’Lite X. The Burley has a bit more headroom and legroom, but this will really only come into play as kids get much older.
There is no perfect trailer on the market and every trailer we test has an ideal size or age range, even though it can technically fit a wide range of ages and weights. The Outback’s sweet spot is for babies and toddlers, but can still definitely accommodate 4 and 5 years olds as seen in these pictures.
In addition to being spacious, the Hamax is also well cushioned. The seats are bench style and very supportive for little bums (no sagging seats!) and every trailer also comes standard with removable and washable seat cushions, back and headrests. When the temperatures rise or as kids get older, the headrest and back cushions can be removed to allow for more space and ventilation. Behind the removable cushions are rear mesh panels to keep kids cool and allow additional air to circulate through the trailer.
We do want to point out that we found the back of the Outback seats to be less supportive than Burley or Thule trailers. A little less taut than the similarly designed Burley D’Lite seat, some of our testers did seem to slouch a bit.
The looser seat seems to be a result of two things. (1) The mesh ventilation (which is awesome for air flow!) is pretty thin and loose and not able to support a child’s body weight as well, and (2) the entire back of the seat is clipped in at the top, but is not secured in any way to the sides of the trailer.
The buckle system is pinch-free but can be hard to use with a wiggly child. The buckle has two halves, one side on the left and right shoulder strap. To snap the buckle in place, the two halves must be brought together and then inserted into the base. Keeping the two halves together can be challenging with a less than patient child, but not significantly more than standard buckling systems.
To keep a child secured safely in a trailer or stroller, you need to adjust the height of the shoulder straps so that they start at the child’s shoulder. The straps are raised or lowered along the back of the seat by sliding them up or down behind the padding. Easy!
Because the waist belt and shoulder straps are threaded through the back padding, raising the shoulder straps lifts the back padding and thus also lifts the waist belt. As a child gets older and taller and the shoulder straps are raised significantly, you will need to remove the waist belt so that it no longer threads through the padding. While the back padding will shift up with the shoulder straps, the waist belt stays right where it needs to be. (see seat on the left)
With Hamax’s 2020 update of the Outback, they added reclining seats. By pulling in on two round plastic pieces on the top of seat, the seat back unlocks and then rolls up or down a short track system. While doing this does require the use of two hands, we love the smooth rolling motion of the recline. Other trailer recline systems can be a bit jerky, which can be frustrating when you’re trying to recline a sleeping toddler. Outback’s recline design is unique, functional, and extra smooth!
Upright Position vs. Max Recline
Compared to the Burley D’Lite trailers, the Hamax Outback is much more reclined. If your child loves to just sit way back and chillax, the Hamax recline will be a dream for them! The Hamax’s most upright position is still a bit reclined, while the fully reclined position is really a “sleep mode”.
The reclining seats is another reason we really love the Outback for babies. Other trailers, such as the Burley D’Lite, don’t allow young babies to lay as far back. In our D’Lite we use the max recline as our everyday sitting position. The Burley’s max recline is comfortable for kids who are awake, but does not recline far enough to lay a sleeping child even remotely flat. The Hamax’ recline angle is fantastic for sleeping babies.
Bottom of Trailer
The bottom of the trailer is nylon fabric but is lined on the inside with a thick, rubberized mat. The mat greatly increases the durability of the trailer, prevents kids feet from sagging, and allows for easier clean-ups after spills. The same rubberized mat extends into the trunk space of the trailer.
The Outback comes with a standard mesh door as well as a plastic rain cover. Both zip up independently around the entire door frame. We absolutely LOVE this feature because our kids try to throw stuff out of trailers ALL. THE. TIME. The Outback is the only trailer we’ve tested that 100% seals on the front, making it impossible for a child to throw something out of it.
A sunscreen, which rolls down and attaches at its bottom via velcro, can also be used in conjunction with the mesh door or the rain cover. The sunscreen was a lifesaver for our testers during walks but easily became loose during strong winds. While not adjustable up and down the trailer front like on the similarly priced Burley D’Lite X, it is slightly longer which will make it more useful in some situations.
Outback Sunshade vs. Burley D’Lite
The mesh door, rain cover, and sunscreen can all roll up and be stored in the upper gray storage pocket at the top of the door frame. While we love that they can all be stored out of sight, that gray storage pocket gets very full and bulky when all three covers are stored, making it very difficult to snap the pocket shut. Since we generally use our front mesh cover – whether in stroller or trailer mode – it did free up some space in the pocket to fold up and store the rain cover and sunshade only.
Our major point of concern with the Outback was the zippers on the mesh door and rain covers. Hamax intentionally designed the zippers to come off so that the door covers can be replaced if damaged, but if you are not careful, the zipper heads can come completely off the zipper during regular use.
When testing the trailer I accidentally zipped too far up and the zipper head slid right off the zipper. While I was able to get the zipper head rethreaded and working again without much hassle, it was unnerving and frustrating.
On the right side of the trailer, the zippers can’t come completely off, but if zipped too far they can become detached from one side of the zipper (still attached to the other side, like a jacket zipper would be).
Venting is one area where the Outback truly shines. In addition to mesh on the back of the seats, mesh panels are sewn in across the rear of the trailer as well as on the front and left bottom corners of the trailer. The two front mesh panels allow air to flow through the trailer even with the rain cover on. The rear and front panels are both made out of thick, rubberized material that will surely hold up with time.
Storage space will never be an issue in the Outback. The main rear compartment zips down and is large enough to hold a child’s booster seat with plenty of space still left for water, snack or other smaller items. Compared to other trailers with large storage compartments, your cargo is easier to access in the Hamax. Bonus for the Outback!
There are two additional smaller storage pockets in the rear for all the little extras you need to bring along and have easy access to. The inside of the trunk door is actually a zippered pocket to put a phone or keys, or anything else extra valuable that you’re nervous about just putting in the bottom of the trailer.
There is also a lower elastic pocket at the bottom of the storage area for additional small items like a water bottle, diapers or wipes.
Converting the Outback from trailer to stroller or jogger is quick, easy, and tool free. All three conversion kits use the same mount on the trailer.
As shown below, swapping out conversion kits only requires pushing two buttons and sliding up a lever. To ensure a proper mount, the green window on the trailer mount means the conversion kit is locked in and ready to go. The red window is a warning that the kits are not properly installed.
We’ve tested a lot of trailers in our day, and Hamax’s unique system is absolutely stress-free. It’s one of our favorite features of the Outback!
Trailer Hitch System
Behind the bike, the Outback is easy to pull and rides much smoother than lower-end brands with less feedback from the hitch. Compared to Thule‘s and Burley’s hitch systems, the Hamax system is a bit basic but still works well. It’s also very easy to attach to the bike.
When securing the Outback’s trailer arm to the bike hitch, it is easy to improperly latch the safety pin. After inserting the safety pin through the trailer arm and the hitch, the circle at the end of the U-clip locks the safety pin in place on the bottom side of the hitch. Make sure you take the time to check underneath the trailer hitch to ensure the U-clip is properly latched.
As a Stroller/Jogger
The Outback comes standard with a single-swivel stroller wheel and was easy to push and maneuver over grass, dirt, and sidewalks. Throughout our testing, we saw no limitation to the three-wheel stroller versus a four, but we did not, however, test the Outback’s stroller on uneven or bumpy surfaces (like cobblestone or brick streets) where four-wheels stroller tend to excel. Unlike Burley or Thule, the Hamax is not available as a 4-wheel stroller.
The Outback’s jogger system is an upgrade that comes with a 16″ air tire and a handbrake. One super convenient advantage that the Outback’s system has over the Burley or Thule system is that there is just a single insertion point for the jogging wheel. The jogger wheels clicks in as easily as the stroller wheel.
Most other trailer/jogger systems have two arms that connect in the middle to hold the jogger wheel. Getting the wheel on and off this way is more cumbersome, and can also cause the wheel to track to the left or right. While Burley and Thule both have easy-fix knobs for tracking issues, it’s just one less thing you have to worry about with the Outback.
The brake cables for the jogger wheel simply attach to the trailer chassis via velcro straps. In use, the jogger performed smoothly without complaint. While useful and appreciated, the jogging brake wasn’t as effective as we would have liked.
While it slowed the trailer, it did not stop it. The main issue is not with the brake or trailer itself, but rather the result of braking with the front brake versus the rear. The brake is attached to the wheel, but it can be removed if you are willing to get your hands dirty (FYI: Hamax doesn’t provide instructions on how to do so).
Other Stroller/Jogging Features
Being 5’10”, an adjustable height handlebar is an essential feature and the Outback didn’t disappoint. With a simple switch of a lever, the handlebar unlocks and can rotate 180°. Unlocking and locking the handlebar lever can be challenging at first, but got easier in a short period of time.
In stroller mode, the Outback is also great for shorter moms. While Burley’s trailer strollers sit quite high, the Outback sits much lower. Lower to the ground in combination with a low-set handlebar makes it a more natural fit for shorter adult bodies.
A viewing window in the top of the trailer is additional fun for both parent and child. Whether it’s refereeing a fight or sharing a smile, the large viewing window keeps your kids in sight. The window does not open, but if you need rear access to your child, the entire rear back cover can be lifted up.
For sunny days, the viewing window has a sunscreen to provide shade. This is the only trailer we know of to have a rear sunshade!
While a minor feature, we love the foot brake on the Hamax Outback. The wide, large foot brake pedal is easy to find and activates the brakes on both tires. Simply push down to engage, and lift up to release.
Storing the Trailer
Folding the Outback is so easy, it’s actually fun to do. To fold, you first remove the wheels. Then you simply unlock the handlebar, push down a small gray set of buttons on the top of the trailer and then pull up on a set of nylon loops. The handlebar then collapses into the trailer and the trailer is folded. Unfolding the trailer is even easier – just pull up on the handlebar until it snaps back into place!
Compared to similar trailers, the Outback is several inches longer when folded up. If you will be transporting the Outback in your car, be sure to check the dimensions to make sure it will fit! The Outback’s folded dimensions are 108cm x 81cm x 30cm.
The perfect mix of style, functionality, and ingenuity, the Hamax Outback trailer is an excellent choice for active families who want a larger, multi-use trailer and stroller. With excellent stroller and jogger functionality, the Hamax is best-suited for a family looking for a stroller and a trailer versus just a trailer. Its weight makes it best-suited for mostly flat terrain, while its lower height in stroller mode is a natural fit for both short and tall parents.