Tips for choosing the right fishing barrow

Looking for a carp barrow? Stuck for a choice? Then have a read of this special Anglers’ Net guide to carp barrows; with handy tips and suggestions, as well as advice on which ones you might want to steer clear of, it’s the perfect read to put you in contact with your perfect match.

Bivvy, bedchair, sleeping bag, rods, reels, landing nets, banksticks, buzz bars, bite alarms, luggage, tackle, cooking equipment – the list is endless. If you’re planning on doing a few days on the bank in pursuit of the largest, then you’re going to have quite a bit of kit to carry. One simple solution that will save you time, effort, and possibly a coronary, is to get yourself a carp barrow.

So what is a carp barrow, exactly? Well, basically a posh wheelbarrow with a lightweight and collapsible frame designed to take all your tackle to the bank. There are countless different types to choose from with models to suit all budgets, so if you’re in need of a way to lighten the load then a carp barrow could be just the job.

Most designs follow the same basic principle, a square framed base linked to a centrally mounted single wheel with a pneumatic tyre. At the rear you’ll have two handles for lifting and pushing and static rear legs so that the barrow can sit on the deck fully loaded with out having to be held. On either side of the frame you’ll usually have removable and adjustable side bars to stop big items like bed chairs and luggage bags sliding off, and again the same sort of thing on the front. At the rear you’ll often get a ‘Y’ pole, which is designed to sit well up off the base plate with your rod bag sitting into the ‘V’ section.

Of course, there are many variations on the theme, but in general most designs will adhere to the above spec. The more you pay the more ‘extras’ you get; undertrays, double wheels, saddle bags, mud feet, fully adjustable this that and the other. All these extras may have their place, but what you have to work out is whether you actually need them or not for the type of fishing you do.

Personally, I’m in the less is more camp when it comes to barrows. I’m not looking to sleep on it, I just want it to last. The other consideration is that lots of added extras add extra weight, so it can kind of defeat the object if your barrow looks like it’s just ram-raided Halfords!

I’ve owned one of the original Carp Porter barrows for many years, and sterling service it’s provided. I went for one of these basic models for the reasons outlined above; adjustable side and front bars, and Y bar for the rods – that’s it. The water I fished at the time was a real grueller. To get to one side of the lake was a jaunt of about a half mile, half of it uphill – after which your knuckles were touching the floor, and then the other half back down hill with the barrow wanting to run away from you all the way! Alternatively, to fish the other side of the lake you had to get across a busy A road right on a blind bend (which happened to be one of the County’s worst accident blackspots!) and the only way to get off the road once you’d crossed over was to hump everything over a stile – and that’s before you crossed a boggy field and another stile just to catch sight of the water!

Loaded with enough kit to last from Friday tea time to Sunday morning, it could be quite a task even with the barrow, and that was a lightweight one, so you really need to give careful consideration to the type you go for. I soon managed to pack my gear in a way that allowed me to get rid of the side bars and Y bar altogether, which saved time setting up and breaking down the barrow, and also made it that bit easier to lift over the stiles. The other thing I learnt quite quickly was that whilst you can undoubtedly take a lot more gear with you on session, how you load it makes all the difference, and can quite literally half the weight you are actually trying to lift and push.

You need to get as much of the weight as possible right to the front over the wheel – this is usually your carryall with all your heavy tackle, stainless and cooking equipment in order that it’s the wheel that takes the strain – not your arms. Then have the lighter stuff towards the rear. Obviously it’s a balancing act, you want as much as possible towards the front but not so much that the whole thing goes west as soon as you try and manoeuvre it across uneven ground. Also, get as much of your kit as you can into as few luggage bags as possible – otherwise you’ll be stopping every five yards to pick up another item that’s rattled off the side! Worst is when you only realise something’s gone half a mile down the track… Arghhhh!

On a similar note, some barrows sit higher than others. My preference would always be for one that sits quite high with good ground clearance. I remember a friend who bought a lovely (looking) low loader style barrow which he proudly claimed was going to put my decrepit old barrow to shame as we loaded up on the car park many years ago. We’d only gone ten yards when we hit a big patch of unavoidable mud – my old thing, with no underbags and good ground clearance, went half way up the wheel with mud but kept going strong to clear it and carry on – his, with a smaller wheel and an undercarriage full of tackle, wedged itself right in the middle and that was that – game over. What followed (for him) was a painful ten minutes as each bit of kit had to be taken back off before the barrow could be pulled free from the mud, and then all back on before he even got to the swim (with every piece of kit looking like it had been to Glastonbury!). It took a while for him to live that one down…

The bottom line is that what might look nice and shiny in the showroom still has to do a proper job on the bank in all sorts of conditions and on all sorts of terrains – so choose wisely!

Whichever type you decide to go for, there’s plenty to go at, so we’ve highlighted a few choice selections we think you might like. We’ll start off with what we think is probably one of the best available for the money, yes there are cheaper, but when it comes to barrows, we think it helps to spend a little, and at just £79.99, the TF Gear Trail Blazer Barrow is hard to beat. With folding side and front bars and a heavy-duty tyre, this barrow offers excellent grip and manoeuvrability over any terrain. It folds and dismantles for easy storage, has folding side and front bars with adjustable legs and heavy duty mud feet. It also comes complete with set of bungee ropes. The complete package? We think so! Full details HERE.

TF Gear Trail Blazer Barrow


From probably the best known name in carp barrows is the Carp-Porter Prestige MKII Barrow, the barrow that is often imitated but rarely equalled. The MK 2 needs no introduction, and over the years many tens of thousand have been sold. In its latest guise the Carp Porter is still going from strength to strength. It’s lightweight and easy to manoeuvre, very compact when folded, has adjustable side and front bars to secure any size loads, and has a perfect point of balance thanks to its large wheel (so most of the weight is placed to the front when is use). At £129.99 it’s one of the best, and there’s currently a free spares kit , elastic set and barrow bag worth over £45.00 included. Full details HERE.

Carp-Porter Prestige MKII Barrow


If you just want simple, then check out the Nash Tackle Trax Terrain Wheelbarrow. It has a simple flat bed design and is favoured by many top carp anglers for its lightness and superior manoeuvrability. It has a horizontally adjustable front bar, locked with moulded cams (no screws to lose) and a mesh bed and slide-able bar to prevent tackle falling through. It has a quick release wheel system supplied with a slim mud wheel for easy driving through heavy mud and clay. Strength, rigidity and bomb-proof performance. We like! Priced at £109.99. Full details HERE.

Nash Tackle Trax Terrain Wheelbarrow


If the SAS were issued with carp barrows, they’d probably look something like this; all singing, all dancing, and all action! For the serious specimen angler with tackle to shift, this is the daddy of them all; the Nash Trax All-Terrain Evo Wheelbarrow. Trax barrows are super strong and super stable to cope with heavy loads and rugged terrain. They feature many barrow firsts, improving usage, handling and drive. The Trax All-Terrain Evo is the pro-carpers barrow, brimming with new features to maximise drive and manoeuvrability. It features a specially extended chassis, designed for lugging maximum loads long distances through all types of terrain. Horizontally AND vertically adjustable front and side bars, locked with moulded cams – no screws to lose, Mesh bed and slide-able bar to prevent tackle falling through, Max capacity under-bed storage bag, Quick release wheel system. Supplied with Trax wide wheel for enhanced stability and grip. Rear leg assembly with mud feet, Removable non-flex handle assembly. They don’t get any better than this. Priced at £199.99. Full details HERE.

Nash Trax All-Terrain Evo Wheelbarrow


We hope this carp barrow guide has proved useful, and don’t forget to check out all the other barrows available via the Anglers’ Net Fishing Tackle & Bait Finder.

Julian Grattidge
November 2010

All prices and offers correct at time of publishing.

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