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Wheely different award-winning barrow
CAN you improve a design that’s been around hundreds, if not thousands, of years? It’s something that the Realbarrow from Keter set out to do, and last year it won a Red Dot Design Award in the prestigious international competition that recognises excellent design quality in new products.
The Realbarrow’s main difference is its tipping ability. Designed to combine a conventional wheelbarrow with a sack trolley, it can be stood on its end, allowing sacks and compost bags to be dragged into it without lifting, while holes are placed along the edges to allow loads to be tied down with bungee cords if necessary.
You can also use it as a giant dustpan, brushing debris over its metal-reinforced lip, which sits flush with the ground. I have to admit, as someone with a bad back, I loved the fact that it could be loaded without lifting. It is also very stable and incredibly light (6kg, 13.2lbs), easily lifted and manoeuvred when empty. Made of polypropylene, its deep shape means it can double as a water carrier with a 100 litre (22 gallon) capacity, and will carry 100kg (220lbs) although, understandably, there was slight flexing of its sides when tipping it back into the wheeling position under a very heavy load.
The widely placed, ergonomically designed handles made it unexpectedly comfortable to drive and, with the wheels, are in line with the edges, which makes it easier to avoid snagging on corners. All this is made possible by its two small wheels, and this strength is also its weakness. They are small and low to the ground, meaning that pushing it over very rough terrain, gravel or, heavily loaded, over soft soil, can take considerable effort.
In negotiating steps, I found it necessary to go up backwards, to prevent the base catching. In these circumstances you are never going to replace the manoeuvrability of a single, pneumatic tyre. Nevertheless, sceptical as I was when it arrived, it won me over.
The Realbarrow shows a real advantage in its lightness and the combination of wheelbarrow and “bulldozer” shovel design. It won’t replace the standard design on most smallholdings, but is certainly worth considering as a second, more versatile piece of kit. n
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