How much would you pay for a welder you can easily take anywhere on the trail? If you are stranded and need to burn metal back together to get back to civilization, then any price starts looking like a deal. This isn't an underhood welder or one that runs off 12V car batteries. This is a true rechargeable welder in a box. If you can imagine a small portable suitcase that houses two sealed lead-acid rechargeable batteries and a MIG welder, then you can imagine the new Hobart Trek 180. The Trek 180 has been in the works for at least the last three years (we've seen prototypes on previous Ultimate Adventure trips), and this premiere version is handy for getting the severely busted stuff off the trail and back home. Plus, when you do get home you can plug it into a 110V outlet and either recharge it or just start welding like a standard welder. Housed in a tough polymer case, this welder recently went across the Rubicon trail with us and helped patch together a couple wheelers in need. Then it came back to the shop for some testing. The Hobart Trek 180 MIG welder charges through a standard 110V outlet in roughly 90 minutes for a complete charge; however, you can return to welding with an 80-pecent charge after 20 minutes. It retails for $1,400 at Northern Tool & Equipment (www.northerntool.com), which, though not inexpensive, is still less than a hired recovery job. And it sure beats leaving your truck on a populated trail where it might be vandalized. On a recent trip we welded up two driveshafts, two rear axle spring perches, and a Jeep JK track bar axle mount all on one charge.The Hobart Trek 180 MIG welder charges through a standard 110V outlet in roughly 90 minute In testing we were able to run the welder for just over two minutes on each full charge. This resulted in a 6-foot weld bead between two pieces of 1/8-inch plate. When welding 1/4-inch plate we were able to make either 14 stitch welds 3 inches long each, 21 inches of woven welds, or 35 inches of straight stringer welds on a full charge each. With a 20-minute recharge to 80-perecent capacity, we could lay 26-30 inches of straight weld bead on 1/4-inch plate for two minute before the charge ran out. This seems like plenty for one or two major repairs on a trail-dead 4x4.In testing we were able to run the welder for just over two minutes on each full charge. T So is it worth it? The Trek 180 is easy to use, being a MIG, and makes enough weld for your average trail repair on a full charge. It can also be used at home just like a standard 110 MIG welder when plugged into an outlet. In fact with its 180 amp rating while plugged in to 110 volts, it is actually a better welder than most 110 welders and on par with some 220V welders. So yes, we think it's worth it.So is it worth it? The Trek 180 is easy to use, being a MIG, and makes enough weld for you The welds we were getting with the flux core wire are not the most beautiful, but when it holds your broken truck together enough to get you home, then you'll definitely appreciate it. Cleaning off the slag and spatter made them more appealing.The welds we were getting with the flux core wire are not the most beautiful, but when it The 51-pound welder isn't light, but again, it's a balance of value versus costs. The welder can be set up for use with a bottle of shield gas (75/25 mix of argon/carbon dioxide), but we tested with flux core 0.030 Hobart wire. Unless you leave all the leads attached to the welder, you will need to respool and set up the welder before and after each use.The 51-pound welder isn't light, but again, it's a balance of value versus costs. The weld Don't Forget A Helmet Like kids running to join their friends for a bike ride, we goofed and forgot our welding helmet on the Rubicon trip. And it's really a pretty lame excuse, what with the many awesome helmets Hobart has, including the new Hothead and Bonehead auto-darkening helmets as well as the Prowler Off-Road expert-style helmet. Don't forget yours.Don't Forget A Helmet Like kids running to join their friends for a bike ride, we goofed By Fred Williams Enjoyed this Post? Subscribe to our RSS Feed, or use your favorite social media to recommend us to friends and colleagues!