Hamax Outback Review
The perfect mix of style and ingenuity, the Hamax Outback is an excellent choice for active families who want a spacious bike trailer and stroller. Read the review below for all the details!
Pros & Cons
- XL cabin fits kids up to 5 or 6 years old
- Adjustable suspension
- Well ventilated to keep kids cool
- Washable seat cushions
- Upper viewing window for stroller use
- Phenomenal stroller
- Zipper heads can come off (but easily fixable)
- Trailer hitch could use some improvements
Hamax Outback Review – Results of our Test Rides
The Hamax Outback trailer is the sophisticated, good-looking Norwegian sibling in a family full of rugged, sporty trailers. Not just a pretty face, behind its modern, clean lines lies an easy-to-use and easy-to-love amble-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.
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.
|Hamax Outback Trailer||Hamax Outback Stroller||Hamax Outback Jogger|
|Included in Standard Kit||Included in Standard Kit||Upgrade|
The Outback is significantly larger than the average size trailer. Taller, deeper and longer, the Outback feels much more spacious, 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.
Inside the trailer, our main 5-year-old tester in 5T clothes, enjoyed the extra space. With more head, shoulder, and legroom than other trailers, he went from grudgingly going on walks or rides in a trailer to eagerly asking for them. Being one for a stickler on his “personal space,” he felt (and looked) less confined in the Outback as compared to the average-size Thule Cougar (old model) and the Thule Cross (a single trailer, but still shorter).
In addition to being spacious, the Hamax is also well cushioned. The seats are bench style and very supportive (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 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.
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.
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 increased 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 the plastic rain cover. Both zip up independently around the entire door frame. A sunscreen, which attaches via velcro, can also be used in conjunction with the mesh door or the rain cover. The sunscreen was a lifesaver for our 5-year-old during walks but easily became loose during strong winds. 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.
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.
On the left side of the trailer, there is a Velcro zipper stop that prevents the zipper head from reaching the end of the zipper and coming off. When testing the trailer, I did not realize the purpose to the Velcro latch and unknowingly unlatched it, causing the zipper head to slide 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 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 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. For added security, an upper zipper pocket is located just inside the trunk door and to hold a phone, keys etc. The base of the trailer also has an elastic pocket, which is great for storing water bottles or diapers and wipes.
As a Trailer
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 the Thule‘s and Burley‘s hitch systems, however, the Hamax system is basic and can be challenging to get properly hitched. (**We’ve updated our review of the newer Burley D’lite here.)
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. When latching the U-clip, however, it is easy to assume it is latched properly, when it fact the circle is off to the side of the pin versus over the top of it (shown below). If not properly latched, the safety pin could come lose while the trailer is in use. Latching on the bottom side of the hitch, you cannot see whether the U-clip is properly latched unless you make the effort to look underneath the trailer hitch.
Converting the Outback from one kit to another 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.
As a Stroller/Jogger
The Outback comes standard with a single-swivel stroller wheel and was easy to push and maneuver use 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 it in uneven or bumpy surfaces (like cobblestone or brick streets) where four-wheels stroller tend to excel.
The Outback’s jogger system is available as an upgrade and comes with a handbrake. The jogging kit can be added and removed without tools in a matter of minutes. The brake cables 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 an 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.
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.
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 site. For sunny days, the viewing window has a sunscreen to provide shade.
Additional features include a footbrake, adjustable suspension, and extra-thick Big Apple tires. The large foot brake pedal is easy to find and activates the brakes on both tires. The suspension smooths over bumps in the road and makes riding more comfortable for little ones. We saw no drastic differences in performance in Hamax’s suspension system versus Thule’s and Burley’s.
Lastly, the Outback’s extra-cushioning Big Apple tires are icing on the cake. Thick and wider than the tires used on standard trailers, Big Apple tires provide a smoother ride for the trailer’s passengers as well as dampen minor bumps that may travel through the hitch.
Storing the Trailer
Folding the Outback is so easy, it’s actually fun to do. To fold 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!
The perfect mix of style, functionality, and ingenuity, the Hamax Outback trailer is an excellent choice for active families wanting a larger, multi-use trailer and stroller. Performing slightly better as a stroller and jogger, the Hamax is best-suited for a family looking for a stroller and a trailer versus just a trailer.