BrFred Williams


TheHobartTrek 180is the jack-of-all-trades welder. At $1,200 it's not inexpensive, but it can be plugged in at home or taken on the trail as a rechargeable MIG welder. This makes it superior to the rest if you could only have one.

The Trek is packed into a small 51-pound suitcase, and although it can take up valuable cargo space it's also a lifesaver when you need to patch up your busted 4x4. This portable welder runs either flux core welding wire, or solid core wire and a shield gas, but the flux core is more convenient for trail welding since you don't need to lug along a tank. The welder also uses the small 2-pound wire spools so you need to buy a few extra for a big project.

The biggest downfall of the Trek is that when you use up the charge you're done welding until you can get to a 110V outlet for a recharge. One 90-minute charge will weld 3 to 6 feet of bead depending on material thickness, which is pretty good for your basic repair, though we would like to see an integrated 12-to-110 voltage inverter for recharging off your vehicle.

The Hobart is about as easy as trail welders get. Just check the material thickness, set the welder to the prescribed settings listed inside, and mate metal.


• Great welder for home or trail

• MIG welding is easy to learn

• Great heat control


• Must be charged with 110V

• Only welds for 2-3 minutes (3-6 feet) on full charge

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