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e-Pack Wheel™ (patent pending)

High torque power to climb the steepest of terrain with the heaviest of loads — a packing freedom that works like a dream.

e-Pack Wheel with chain guard

Electric Pack Wheel Electric Pack Wheel

For 2018 The DIY Hunter has perfected powering a Pack Wheel with the new patent pending e-Pack Wheel. This system has been heavily tested and tweaked from his 2017 backcountry hunts and over a decade of experience with the Pack Wheel system he invented. Motors have been in the mix of things The DIY Hunter has been working on for years. Back in 2015 (see Pack Wheel history) The DIY Hunter tested the very easy to implement electric HUB motor on the Pack Wheel. Yes, it was a simple way to power the Pack Wheel but it lacked in the torque needed to climb steep mountains with heavy loads and do it at walking speeds. What we have now is high torque power to climb the steepest of terrain with the heaviest of loads — a packing freedom that works like a dream.

Electric Pack Wheel Specs and FAQs
Max Speed 3 mph
Min Speed As slow as you need to go with torque to spare. AKA, this motor will not bog down under heavy loads and steep climbs. There's no need to run up the mountain, just walk as fast or slow as you want with the e-Pack Wheel carrying all of the weight. 
How is the speed of the motor controlled? With a variable speed half-grip throttle.
Motor 350 Watt, 36 V electric motor with a 9:1 chain gear ratio to convert the high-speed power of the motor into high torque walking speed power. This high torque power also prolongs the life of the battery and prevents the motor from overheating.
Batteries

Lithium-Ion 36V with Samsung cells and 1-year warranty. Below are two batteries that work with the e-Pack Wheel. We currently only offer the larger 504 Watt-Hour battery with the e-Pack Wheel.

  • 504 Watt-Hour, 14 Ah, 5 lbs 8 oz
Distance on Single Charge

418 Watt-Hour - Climbs 4,500 vertical feet with 100+ pound load
504 Watt-Hour - Climbs 5,500 vertical feet with 100+ pound load

The DIY Hunter used a 418 WH battery on four backcountry hunts in the fall of 2017. The battery never ran out of power on any of the hunts. In fact, after four days and many miles of use on one hunting trip, the battery still showed half power after coming off the mountain. 

On one hunt The DIY Hunter climbed straight up 4,000 vertical feet on a really steep trail with right around 100 pounds of gear using the 418 Watt-Hour battery. Other than pausing to rest on the climb the motor was used non-stop under a heavy load. After making the climb the battery still indicated it was in the 25% range of remaining power. This hike was a great test placing the battery under a heavy draw of power. This is what we have based the length of battery life per charge. If you are going up really steep terrain with a heavy load we would rate the 418 WH battery to last for 4,500 vertical feet of climbing. If you are on more moderate climbs, have less weight and are not constantly using the battery you would be able to climb more elevation. As we learn more about the batteries we will let you know.

Solar Rechargeable? We are still working on finding the right solar system to recharge the batteries in the field. The best one that we found weighs over 12 pounds at would retail for over $900. You could carry two extra batteries that would cost and weigh less than this solar panel system. We'll keep looking.
Total Weight 37 lbs 7oz - 504 WH Battery
(Weights vary from Pack Wheel to Pack Wheel as everyone is individually handcrafted.)
Will the wheel freewheel? Yes, The wheel spins freely in a forward direction just like coasting on a bike. Going up inclines, the motor acts as a brake preventing the wheel from spinning backward when you stop. You only need to use the motor when climbing or cutting through the snow.
Is my self-powered Pack Wheel upgradeable to the motor? Sorry, they aren't. There are a couple features and sizing differences that prevent them from being upgradeable.
Can I remove the battery and motor? The battery, motor, and chain can be removed without any tools in less than 30 seconds. This removes 14 pounds of weight from the Pack Wheel.
How do you cross a log or other large obstacle?

When you need to go over an obstacle like a log, drive the e-Pack Wheel up to where the tire is butted up against the obstacle. With the tire against the log move your arms into a chest height position to where you can push directly into the tire and log giving the tire extra traction against the log. Then use the throttle to slowly crawl up and over the obstacle all the while you are pushing into the tire creating extra traction against the log.

Lowering your arms to your sides taking weight off the wheel works great for bumping over logs with a non-powered Pack Wheel but with an e-Pack Wheel, the tire will likely not get enough traction and just spin out against the log.

Do not try to rapidly spin out or slam your way over an obstacle, slowly crawl over them. If an obstacle is just too large and/or your tire is covered in slippery mud and a log is slippery wet you will need to turn around and while facing the Pack Wheel pull it over backward. See this FAQ for further information on crossing obstacles.

Do you operate it differently than a non-motorized Pack Wheel climbing inclines?

Yes, this is where bar ends are very necessary. When climbing grab the bar ends and tip the Pack Wheel forward to the point that it almost feels like it is going to tip over forward then use the throttle to pull the Pack Wheel back and climb away. It looks a little different than how you use a Pack Wheel without a motor but oh is it so comfortable to climb. By tipping the Pack Wheel forward you are taking the weight off your arms and balancing it on the wheel and the motor does the rest. It's slick. See this video for a better understanding of this. https://youtu.be/NXyj10R7WoE

When you operate a self-powered Pack Wheel you carry a portion of the weight in your arms when going uphill. This helps in allowing the wheel to bump up and over obstacles as you climb. With an e-Pack Wheel, the weight in your arms is amplified going uphill from the torque of the motor if you operate the e-Pack Wheel with your hands at your sides like you would with a self-powered Pack Wheel. By rocking the e-Pack Wheel forward balancing the weight of the load over the wheel no weight is being placed into your arms. It looks a little weird at first like you are riding a tall handled motorcycle but it is actually very comfortable to have your arms in this upward position. In this upward position, your arm's weight is actually being held up by the Pack Wheel to the point that you feel like you can pull yourself up the incline.

When you encounter an obstacle like a log or rock you may need to lower your arms somewhat and push some of your own weight into the wheel to give the wheel extra traction to climb up and over the obstacle.

Where can I take the e-Pack Wheel? Many public land areas we have found no restrictions on the use of a system like this. The e-Pack Wheel is not a vehicle that carries you like an e-bike would and the e-Pack Wheel is very quiet. We have been able to get permission to use the system on public land that has "no motorized vehicle" restrictions because it is quiet and you still have to hike yourself. We feel the e-Pack Wheel falls under "No Motorized Equipment" restrictions but not under "No Motorized Vehicles." If in doubt please check with your local authorities over the property you wish to use this in.
Does it come with a chain guard? Yes, it does. A lot of our photos show it without one. As we tested various positions of the motor we found that a chain guard wasn't necessary when the motor was centered more over the wheel. After moving the motor to the front we tried to keep the system as simple and lightweight as possible by not having a chain guard. After many trips out hunting with it we had some brush get into the chain on one trip and a strap from a pack on top get into the chain on another trip so we have added a chain guard to all e-Pack Wheels to make sure objects don't get caught in it or bump the chain off the sprockets.
Can I use the e-Pack Wheel in rain, snow and creek crossings? The system is water resistant but not waterproof. If you get water into the electrical motor and components you run the risk of burning up the battery, motor and controller board. We have used the system in snow and light rain with no problems. We recommend that you not operate the e-Pack Wheel in really wet conditions. Please shut off the battery and disconnect it until the conditions are dry and your e-Pack Wheel is dry. It is fairly easy to keep the system dry in snow however in a heavy rainstorm you will get your electrical system wet if you are out in it. We will not warranty the electrical system that is non-functional caused by exposure to water.

 

Motorized Pack Wheel Chain and Sprocket Guard

Motorized Pack Wheel Mud and Snow Cutter

Sprocket/Chain Shield: The logo plate added to the side is a nice aesthetic touch but it also serves as a guard from meat and gear panniers that could bulge a little into the frame and sprocket and chain drive that are located just inside the frame. Mud Cutter™: The adjustable Mud Cutter wire in the rear prevents mud and snow from building up against the motor mounted in the front.

Motorized Pack Wheel Mule Deer Hunting The DIY Hunter

 

While we haven't been posting about it lately, we have been very busy testing the motorized Pack Wheel on our family's hunts this fall. This video is from September going in five miles with enough water/Powerade for two people to last 5 days. @diyhntr has tweaked the design from what is seen here but the basic design is the same. And we can report that this system is absolutely amazing! With the ultra-high torque this system has it will climb like no other. You will have to hike yourself up the mountain but not the gear on the Pack Wheel. You only need to steer and operate the throttle as the motor will do all the work. Watch for more info to come. Available to purchase in January 2018. #goinheavy #motorizedpackwheel #climbingmachine #packwheel #hunting #whatgetsyououtdoors #hiking #outdoorlife #backcountryhunting #backpacking

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Electric Pack Wheel in the Snow

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Many of the photos shown on this page are of prototypes and pre-production models. Production models have the motor mounted on the front edge of the frame, with a black ABS plastic chain guard/shield (as shown at the top of this page) and will have sprockets with a six-point star design.

 
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