Thursday, May 7, 2009

Product Review: Ursa Wagon

We have a wheelbarrow problem.

Every year or so we have to buy a new wheelbarrow. We like these because they are deep and they have plastic wheels. In our yard, air-filled tires, especially bicycle tires, do not last a week. We had to get special solid tires installed on our metal wheelbarrow, which has extended its life, but the handles are made of wood, which rot in the sun, so we have to keep wrapping them with tape to avoid getting slivers. These plastic wheelbarrows are a problem because they crack easily.

We have been paying around $65 a year for each time that was have to purchase another one of these plastic wheelbarrows, which are the only kind anyone sells in my area with plastic tires. We also have to pay the dump a sum of money every time that we need to throw them away. We like the organizer, but the reality is that those cup holders don't hold cups when you are pushing the wheelbarrow around, and placing a pitch fork through one of those holes only works if you aren't using the wheelbarrow. As soon as you need to move it, all the items in the organizer must come out.

The metal axle is held into place with plastic, so if the plastic breaks at that point, you can't push the wheelbarrow at all.

My husband shopped all over the place in search of a better quality wheelbarrow, but found nothing in our vicinity. He then searched the Internet. Enter the Ursa Wagon...

My husband found this monster at You can customize it to your needs, and one of the customizations includes Thornbuster tires that never go flat! Another option, which I took advantage of, is an extra thick cargo bucket. These wagons currently range from $329 to $459. If my Ursa Wagon lasts 6 years, it should pay for itself in the amount of time and money I spend replacing those cheap plastic wheelbarrows.

It took my husband about an hour and a half to assemble our Ursa Wagon. It's bucket flips up off the frame so that you don't have to wrestle with tipping the entire wheelbarrow, handles, wheels and all, up to dump your load.

Because the bucket tips up at a straight angle, you either have to shake it or use a gloved hand or pitchfork to get the last little dregs out.

No product review would be complete without my Quality Assurance Staff inspecting it...

My first suggestion for improving the Ursa Wagon is to include some kind of a hook to keep the handle upright.

Of course, as soon as Gabbrielle figured out that she can knock the handle down and step on it, she made a game out of it. The frame and handle are a sturdy metal, but I doubt it can withstand a 900-pound horse stepping on it. We are going to tighten the nut to make the arm stiffer so that it is more difficult for the horses to push down, but that will take some of the ease of use out of the equation for us.

I would also suggest including some kind of wheel stop to prevent it from rolling, like what a wheelchair might have, so that you don't have to hunt down a rock or block of wood.

Otherwise, it turns like a dream and maneuvers well. The cargo bucket is deep enough to save me from making several trips between the manure pile and the stalls. Here Bombay and Gabbrielle are having a contest to see who can destroy it the fastest while Lostine judges...

Amazingly, despite all that chewing, their teeth didn't leave a single mark. Here Gabbrielle is doing her Exorcist impression due to her frustration of not being able to break the Ursa Wagon...

This is the label on the front of the wagon, so if you think it might make a good soap box derby car or boat, you might want to look elsewhere...

I don't know if I'm going to be able to resist taking my dogs for a ride in it, though.


Laura said...

Wow - that is quite the machine. I hope it lives up to its promises for you! I was totally hoping to see someone go for a ride in it - darn safety rules! lol

Loved the last pic of Gabrielle and her exorcist impression... :-)

Lulu said...

Very cool wagon!!

I've always used the Rubbermaid brand carts for the hores. I've got one now that has to be getting close to 10 years old. It has the solid tires and is super heavy duty plastic....I think I'll have it for another 10 years. ;)

Katharine Swan said...

Wow! I almost had a heart attack when you mentioned the price, but had you mentioned it AFTER showing us all the cool things it could do, I doubt I would have batted an eye. ;o)

Gabbrielle is 900 pounds? Panama is only about 750, and that's because he was extra well fed this winter!

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Laura - Gabbrielle was actually snapping at Bombay and getting a little too territorial over the cart. I wish I had my camera frame up a bit to get a better shot.

Lulu - That's good to know.

Katharine - I'm glad I'm not the only one who nearly had a heart attack over those prices. I was desperate. I don't know why the stores around here mainly stock wheelbarrows with air-filled tires. You'd think if the store owners live here, they'd know better. 900 pounds is my estimate. I haven't measured or weighed her. The vet said she was 700 pounds when she was a yearling, and she's grown quite a bit since then. Lostine is shorter than her, and she is 800 pounds.

Katharine Swan said...

I honestly don't know why anyone thinks air-filled wheelbarrow tires are a good idea, no matter where you live! The sheer weight of what you haul seems to make them go flat!

Do you use a weight tape? That's where I got my estimate that Panama weighs 750.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Yes, I have a weight tape. I haven't used it in years, though.

ranchette said...

take the dogs for a ride immediately! And take pictures. Just don't show Ursa. Nice wagon.

Katharine Swan said...

LOL. Kind of like, "I have a weight tape... somewhere..."


I use mine whenever I think Panama might be gaining or losing weight. He gained very gradually all winter, so I've been checking it periodically to make sure he doesn't gain TOO much.

C-ingspots said...

Too funny!! Gabrielle the posessed exorcist horse!!
So...very cool little wagon aka poop mobile. I've never heard of that kind before. We have the old and ever-reliable "roach coach". We bought one 14 years ago when we moved here, and just last spring bought another one just like it. The old one's still in use, but it's showing some wear and tear, and we thought it handy to have a second. Not sure what it's called, but we love it and just couldn't live without one.
I'd give my dogs rides too - spit in the eye of dangerously!!

The D-Meister said...

Can we rocket-power that beast?

...The wheelbarrow, I mean. Not Gabrielle.

fernvalley01 said...

Thanks , great post ,I have been looking for a dump wagon/wheel barrow, I can use the calf sled in winter when there is snow ,but spring...

Sydney said...

Out of all the S**T movers I have used that one was one of my favorites though like you said it needs breaks and maybe a different handle. I found it tipped going up steep hills at the one farm that had it if you weren't careful.

I got this one wheelbarrow, I love it. It's been around for 8 years now and I would buy another in a heartbeat. I think it cost about 250 but its got two wheels, turns and dumps on a dime. I'll look at the brand when the torrential downpour stops.

Promise said...

Pretty cool!

I don't like those plastic wheelbarrows either, they break way too easily and they are cumbersome.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

It's interesting hearing what types of wheelbarrows and carts have worked best for others.

D-Meister - I was thinking of attaching it to Gabbrielle in order to rocket-boost it.

(Don't take that seriously. That would be really dangerous.)

Andrea said...

Oh WOW, that is one cool wagon. We use the huge yellow two wheeled kind. We have had our wheelbarrow for six years now. And we use it every day. But we don't have rocky ground like you do. It's all sand or mud here. We have replaced tubes in the tires and one handle broke from a horse kicking it. But the bucket itself is still working wonderfully. The best 100 bucks ever spent!! But I don't think it would match up to the URSA wagon!! WAY COOL!!

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Very cool 'Bear' wagon, NM. I can't remember what type of poop wagon we have, but we've had it for 2 years and it's still going strong. I don't think the tires are air-filled either and the handles or metal. Like you, our sun would dry out and splinter any wood so fast.
Ours cost about $90, but I like that it's very stable with extra wheels and has a heavy duty deep 'bucket'. It doesn't turn as well as well typical wheelbarrows because of the stability.
If I get up to the barn soon I'll try to take a photo of it to show you.

Great review, as always..and even funnier photos. Gabbrielle's expressions crack me up.
Lostine looks like she's dreaming of carrots.


lytha said...

cupholders you say? i mean, really!?

anyway, i can't bear to talk about wheelbarrows cuz the situation here is grim, grim.

what i wouldn't give for a nice two wheeled rubbermaid. does not exist here. there are only crappy oldfashioned wheelbarrows. you know what i mean, the kind from when we were all little - way back before they were modernaized/renovated/improved for realistic farm use. thankfully, i have only one horse and he poops very little.

please, no more pictures of your fantastic american wheelbarrow models!