Sometimes the hardest part about skiing is just getting from your car to the base. Anyone who has kids knows exactly what I mean — lugging the skis, poles, and boot bags can be a real trial. You end up either carrying all of it yourself, or haranguing the kids through the parking lot as they complain, cry, and whine, dropping skis and poles along the way.
Sheesh. I’m exhausted even thinking about it.
Enter the TRU-Kii (pronounced Tru-Kee) travel system. Developed by Chuck Keegan, a lifelong skier with a background in industrial design, the TRU-Kii is a cleverly engineered cart that allows one person to easily transport up to four pairs of skis or snowboards (or two of each) along with boot bags and a 78-liter duffel.
Really, it’s one of those concepts that’s so startlingly simple it makes you wonder why someone didn’t come up with it a long time ago.
According to Chuck, the idea for TRU-Kii came about from days at his local ski hill with his two boys, who were then three and seven. “Lugging all three sets of gear up to the lodge was grueling,” he said. “While the hill did not have much vertical, the trek from the parking lot to the lodge did. By the time we reached the lodge, we were cranky, tired, and already sweaty from the haul. In short, the skiing part was awesome, but carrying their gear to and from the hill wasn’t.”
Chuck spent two years developing the TRU-Kii system, going through seven prototypes along the way, before bringing it to market just a few months ago. I found out about it on my FaceBook feed, and I have to admit, I was intrigued. I knew I had to try it out.
When company sent me one to review, here’s what I learned:
Out of the box
While the TRU-Kii measures 45″H x 30″W x 44.5″D when erect, that’s not how it arrives. Instead, it comes folded inside a large, waterproof duffel bag, which you can then use to store the cart when it’s not in use. And while getting the TRU-Kii unfolded may seem daunting at first, it’s really very simple. All you need to do is follow the clearly illustrated assembly card that comes along with it. The components on the TRU-Kii are numbered to correspond with the steps on the card, so it really couldn’t be easier. If you need additional help, there’s a video on the company’s website that offers a great demonstration. Trust me, I’m not very good at this sort of thing, and after doing it a couple times, I was an absolute pro.
And here it is unfolded:
Easy to transport
Bringing the TRU-Kii along to the mountain is simple. Folded up and stored in the duffle, it fits easily into the back of your car. I have a Subaru Outback, and you can see in the photo below how well it fits in my trunk.
‘That’s great,’ you say, ‘but how about getting the duffel to the car?’ Not a problem. The duffel has straps so you can carry it on your back (it only weighs 22 pounds). It’s also handy for holding helmets, gloves, your lunch, even other boot bags. And it can store the TRU-Kii when it’s not in use, too.
Here’s how it rolls.
One of the things that impressed me most is how beautifully engineered and sturdy the TRU-Kii is. The cart is made of powder-coated steel and aluminum, with 11-inch EVA wheels that never need inflating. I mean, this thing is a BEAST, yet it rolls like a dream. I’m not that big, and I had no problem managing it fully loaded. The handle adjusts to your height, and as long as you have everything evenly balanced (there’s a weight limit of 150 lbs), it’s easy to maneuver and rolls along quite smoothly. Load the skis, hang the boot bags from the hooks on the front of the cart, the duffle on the rear, and you’re ready to go.
Who is this good for?
Obviously, it’s great for families with kids who have trouble carrying their equipment. But it’s also great for anyone who has difficulty transporting their own gear. I used to see an older man at my home mountain using a cart he devised from PVC pipe, duct tape, and plywood. Clearly, there’s a need for this sort of thing. The TRU-Kii handles it beautifully.
One word: Stairs. While the TRU-Kii is great on horizontal surfaces, a staircase can be a bit of a challenge. And many ski areas have them. Not a problem, if you can find someone to help you carry it up (and down). Ideally, though, it works best if stairs aren’t involved. Many ski areas with stairs have work arounds, so you might want to check that out.
Something else, too: It’s kind of pricey. The list price is $499. But here’s where quality of life comes into play. If getting everything from the car to the lodge is so difficult that it negatively impacts your day, then this could be the answer. I mean, why start out with everyone miserable? A ski day should be fun, and this gets it going in a positive way.
Want to know more about the TRU-Kii? Visit the company’s website. You can find it here.