B5 Systems

Polymule Take 2

All-terrain carts remain a great way to move heavy and bulky loads in austere environments. The team behind the Polymule crowdfunding project has improved the product and reintroduced it on Indiegogo.


Polymule offers 20 inches of ground clearance, 400 lbs of payload capacity but the biggest improvement to the design is the introduction of uphill assist which keeps the wheels from rolling backward as you negotiate hills and obstacles.


Additionally, Polymule can be used as a rooftop carrier.

Available in Goldenrod, Desert Tan, and Moss Green.


The original design raised $25,000 in 30 days on Kickstarter. They just launched their new design and raised $26,000 in the first 18 hours on Indiegogo. Those interested in getting in on the project, visit www.indiegogo.com/projects/polymule-the-all-terrain-cart-with-uphill-assist-sports-innovation

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15 Responses to “Polymule Take 2”

  1. Kirk says:

    Cue Sparky…

    These things look like a decent idea for moving stuff around an LZ; maybe even inside a particularly austere FOB. Tactically…? I have my doubts; we experimented with using deer carts for moving demo materials, once’t upon a time, and that idea blew up once you moved off a trail or road. Cross-country in any kind of rugged terrain, and you’re gonna live a nightmare of portages over every damn fallen tree and rock that gets in the way of your route. Outside of rough terrain…? Well, to be honest, I don’t see much scope there, because US troops had better be in vehicles out in the open, unless they’re airborne types on a DZ or LZ, and in that short window of time before the vehicles get there.

    In short, too limited a niche for real military tactical utility. Just like the bicycle, which might be of utility in very limited circumstances, but which aren’t enough to really justify purchasing them.

    • DSM says:

      Al Shepherd and Ed Mitchell had something similar on the moon for Apollo 14. They carried it for the most part the entire time. But then again, John Wayne was hauled around in a hand cart in The Longest Day!
      That said, small scale, internal logistics for FOBs or such, not a bad idea. Saves wear and tear on vehicles and saves on gas of course.

      • Kirk says:

        You’d actually be surprised at the stuff we used to have on MTOE; a handcart was available and used in an awful lot of leg infantry units, back in the day. The jeep kinda killed that, along with motorization in general.

        Like I said, it’s a niche. Do we need to fill it…? I dunno; we tried out the idea, when I was a squad leader, and while it was really nice to have on trails, once you got off of them? LOL… Better hope you’re in a damn park, or something, because any kind of underbrush turns it into a nightmare.

        That said, I think that something which tied into the log system would be interesting–Say that you had clip-on wheels for something like a split 463L pallet, that you could use to move crap around the various DZ and LZ you find yourself on. Think a smaller version of those wheel sets we used on shelters for the old hospital equipment sets, along with handbars and haul points. Given the amount of weight we’re looking at these days for munitions, well… It might not be all that bad an idea.

        Future ops? I want to see that half-463L pallet with modular clip-on legs like that Big Dog robot they were demonstrating not so long ago. Screw putting manpower out there in the open for the enemy mortars–I wanna have a robot hauling ass off the DZ and delivering ammo up to the front lines.

        A hand cart, in today’s military? Not likely to be all that useful, in reality–You have to cross-load it, out there in the open, haul it with manpower, and so on. If there were integrated wheels you put on the 463L, and could just fold the damn things down and go…? Much faster, less exposure, and a lot better an idea.

        Now, if they were to design something like this that went behind the ATVs, in a little train…? Maaaaybe…

    • Polymule says:

      A military report a few years back made recommendations for handcarts in certain scenarios. The report was written by an MD and a few PHDs. They studied all types of soldier body carriage vs carts and other devices for load bearing. They concluded that carts can reduce soldier energy expenditure by 88% and improve marching speed by 53% in the right situations. Read it for yourself (page 27 second paragraph): http://www.usariem.army.mil/assets/docs/publications/articles/2010/LoadCarriagePDF.pdf

      With some soldiers carrying over 130 lbs, its not hard to see why carts can be very useful. See: https://mwi.usma.edu/the-overweight-infantryman/

    • joe says:

      I just need to put in a GPC request for a donkey in theater and then I don’t have to move water bottles around anymore! #Fobbit-life

      • Kirk says:

        Y’know… You laugh, but the fact is that a huge component of our aid to the Afghanis who were fighting the Soviets consisted of good old Missouri mules. That was as recent as the mid- to late-1980s.

        Not to mention, during the Italian campaigns of WWII, the folks who so brilliantly decided to turn 1 CAV into a leg infantry division were kicking themselves in the ass, because the Cav would have been an ideal outfit to put in the mountains. Animal freight hauling ain’t necessarily obsolete in today’s environment, either. It’s just that we’ve essentially abandoned the capability.

        Logistically speaking, there are advantages to real, live mules. Of course, the question is, do we want to pay the price we’d need to? Knowing our brilliant military minds (and, the politicians who run the budget…), we’d be shipping in fodder from some well-connected Congressional district here in the states, instead of going indigenous…

  2. corsair says:

    Why am I not surprised this idea originated from Utah….

    A handy item for those units tasked for construction and build projects.

  3. Adun says:

    I had recently been researching hand carts and the history of their use in the US military. The M3A4 Utility Hand Cart was what I came across. The page is definitely worth a read.


  4. Aye says:

    But can I install and mount a .50cal or GL?

  5. Adun says:

    Is the Polymule setup for you to walk inside of the front handle while pulling it? Will there be other options for pulling/pushing the cart along? What about being able to strap it to your body or tie it to your belt to keep your hands free while moving it?

    What are your points of weakness in the design? The write up on the campaign page sounds very confident in regards to durability, but I am curious about how the folding mechanisms are setup.

  6. Kirk says:

    Thinking about this a bit more… I wonder if there’d be any benefit to taking containerization and so forth down to a level where you could manhandle the container itself…

    Say you start with something that has the footprint of about half of a 463L pallet. You’d use it for resupplying guys out in the field, and would want to be able to deploy it from aircraft as either an airdrop or something unloaded from a helicopter sling or internal load. You don’t want to depalletize and spread your load out on a DZ or LZ, so being able to mobilize an entire half-pallet would be a plus, especially if you can do it with a couple of troops.

    So… Build either some small versions of those MILVAN mobilization kits, or have a fold-down set of wheels. Alternatively, micro-versions of a PLS system, and trailers/handcarts to use those. Make them towable by an ATV or human power, and set them up so you could link in as many as you could haul in a small train, in order to unass that DZ or LZ.

    Overall, it might not be a bad idea. MHE is always at a premium, there at the beginning, and anything that speeds up getting that DZ or LZ cleared would be a net positive, but I guess the question is, what are the balance points in terms of how much extra weight the wheels/carts would take up, and the amount of set-up time in the rear, which isn’t a negligible issue.

    It’s an interesting idea, to say the least. This is one area that hasn’t seen much innovation or improvement, over the years. Which, when you look at our lack of interest in providing air-portable armor like the BMD or Wiesel, is kinda… Odd. You’d think we’d be trying to maximize manpower as much as possible, and yet we don’t seem to be trying very hard.

    One thing I’d like to see them do is procure a lightweight skidsteer, one that could have a forklift mounted, along with various digging implements. Call it an airborne SEE, or something…

  7. pablo says:

    be nice to have on the property