8 Best Folding Wagons | March 2017
- handle locks in place once extended
- sturdy velcro closure straps
- can be difficult to maneuver
- comfortable handle has a good grip
- simple to clean and maintain
- built-in mesh cupholders
- folds and unfolds quickly
- comes with a carrying bag
- easy to pull over rough terrain
- available in a variety of fun colors
- durable 600d polyester fabric
- rubber wheels for a smooth ride
- removable uv-treated canopy
- folds up effortlessly with one hand
- fabric wipes clean easily
Why A Folding Wagon (As Opposed To A Regular One)?
Most people associate wagons with transport. Maybe you're transporting your kids, a dog, your groceries, or a chest full of tools. Maybe you're transporting loose items, or gardening supplies. The bottom line is that you need something with wheels so you can ease the burden of getting from point A to point B.
The key to folding wagons is that they are compact. Unlike the traditional Radio Flyer wagons, these collapsible models can fit into a back seat, a trunk, the corner of a closet, or the confines of a crawlspace. A lot of people prefer to use folding wagons whenever they are heading to the beach. This is especially true in the case of folding models that have been built with polyurethane wheels (AKA "balloon wheels"), allowing people to transport more than 150 lbs. worth of cargo across dunes and sand.
The lining of most folding wagons is constructed out of polyester. These liners may be machine washable and won't rust or splinter. The liner's pouch should be deep, which means there's little risk of items spilling out whenever you hit a bump or make a turn. A few of the upscale wagons also come with some type of canopy for keeping food, beverages, or cosmetics out of the sun.
The point being, a folding wagon offers all of the benefits of a traditional wagon without any of the drawbacks. All of which begs the question: Why buy a regular wagon, when you could just as easily buy a folding one?
How To Find The Correct Folding Wagon for You
We've all heard that old saying: "A folding wagon is a folding wagon is a folding wagon." Actually, no one's ever heard that saying, and yet there is a prevailing sense that every folding wagon has been created equal. This is not true, as different folding wagons have been designed to meet a very specific set of needs.
Consider, for example, that you need a folding wagon for the beach. That being the case, you'd want a wagon with deep tread, or polyurethane wheels. If, on the other hand, you need a folding wagon fit for transporting kids, you'd be well-served to find a model with cushioned seats and back rests on both ends. You'd probably also want any kid's wagon to feature a hood or a cover for keeping the little ones cool and in the shade.
If you need a folding wagon for carrying your tools, bags of concrete, or anything else that falls under the umbrella of heavy lifting, you probably want something with a steel cargo carrier that can support a significant amount of weight. On average, most folding wagons have a maximum weight capacity of 150 lbs. Certain models, however, are specifically designed to carry up to 400 lbs. If there is any major drawback to these models, it's that the steel frame will often make them considerably heavier and thereby harder to transport.
Some wagons may have a removable pouch, which fairly important for anyone who plans on using a folding wagon for gardening. Removable liners can generally be machine washed for easy stain removal and maintenance. This is, of course, a major selling point if there's any chance you might want to take that soil-heavy gardening wagon to the beach.
A Brief History Of The Folding Wagon
First came the wheel, then came the wagon. The craftsmanship has evolved, along with the shelf life and the durability, but the manual wagon is still very much the same as it was back in the days of the Ancient Aztecs and the Mayans - four wheels providing the foundation for a rectangular cargo holder.
Wagons have always come in different shapes and sizes. The traditional toy cart which was made of wood began to emerge toward the end of the 19th Century. These wooden carts were generally resigned to carrying children and their belongings.
An Italian-born man named Antonio Pasin turned toy carts into an industry beginning in the 1920s. Pasin, who had emigrated to New York in 1900, named his first wagon The Liberty Coaster in honor the Statue of Liberty, which Pasin viewed a symbol of hope. Soon after, Pasin went into production on an entire line of sleek-looking metal wagons. Pasin called these wagons "Radio Flyers." Thousands of these models went flying off the shelves.
The popularity of Pasin's Radio Flyer led to a boom, one that grew to include companies like Northern Tool, Lowe's, and Tractor Supply Company (among others). Wagons were no longer resigned to being children's items. They were being marketed to the beach crowd, the camping crowd, to seasoned gardeners, and handymen, as well. Certain wagons were being used as beverage coolers. Others were being used as dog strollers, or even all-purpose bins. Select antique models have even become decorative, serving as unique conversation pieces either inside or outside of the house.