Rough Terrain Load Lifter – Everything you Need to Know

What is a load lifter? A load lifter is a rough terrain forklift also known as a  deep reach truck because it can ultimately reach double deep for construction, industry, agriculture and mining situations. It is used outdoors in challenging conditions. “Rough Terrain”  means literally, any ground that isn’t smooth. This would include hilly, rocky, bumpy, and mountainous terrains. Forklifts generally fall into two categories: industrial and rough terrain. Industrial forklifts are commonly used in warehouses and around truck and train loading docks.  Rough terrain forklifts are designed to run on rough, unpaved surfaces and have large pneumatic tires. These forklifts are powered by an internal combustion engine running on gasoline, diesel or propane fuel. Rough terrain forklifts can have a vertical tower, which lifts loads straight up, or a telescoping boom, which lifts loads up and out from the base of the machine.

So whether you are in lumber, mining, agriculture, construction or any other industrial business, the rough terrain load lifter design may be right for your challenging environment. It is considered the premier type of telehandlers and vertical mast forklifts. If you have to move material across uneven, difficult terrain Contact Us, to find out if this load lifter is for you.



Load Lifter is a world leader in the production of rough terrain forklifts and has produced high quality forklifts for these markets. It has lead the way with innovative design and value priced vehicles. Load Lifter was one of the first North American manufacturers to build a true four wheel drive, four wheel, steer and rough terrain forklift. They now have five series of machines representing a total of more than twenty-eight models ranging from 4,000 to 30,000 lbs and lift heights from 8 to 42 feet to choose from. Today, rough terrain forklifts are a common sight on construction projects. They handle everything from pallets of concrete block to stacks of plywood to roof beams. 

A Load Lifter rough terrain forklift is four wheel drive making it the perfect choice to work during winter and spring weather conditions. This forklift utilizes four equal sized wheels and offers four wheel steering. This makes it very maneuverable with superior performance in deep mud and snow.  Standard lift trucks typically have four uniformly sized tires of the same width where a load lifter has significantly larger front tires that support the heavy lifting while using smaller tires at the rear for steering. The tires have deep treads and are foam filled which eliminates the threat of punctures on any surface. Unlike standard trucks that operate on relatively smooth surfaces, rough terrain forklifts are used on gravel lots, plowed fields, hillsides, bogs and rough cut construction sites as well as paved surfaces.

A rough terrain forklift has many good features including:

  • roomy well equipped optional cab assembly

  • larger operators compartment and generous leg and foot room

  • excellent operator access on and off machine with adjustable tilt steering column

  • adjustable seat height from the operators position

  • finger tip steering even at low engine idle

Just because they are big in size doesn’t mean you can’t ride in comfort. Load lifter does have a quieter operation than most due to increased insulation and anti-vibration technology. The rugged and maneuverable compact Load Lifter rough terrain has a straight mast which is much wider and able to reach higher than a standard lift trucks. The standard lift truck has a two or three stage mast lifting with a usual maximum height of 189″, but the  Load Lifter can lift up to 504″; that’s almost double the lift. The forks will be longer depending on the size of the forklift. The mast on Load Lifter is the leader in visibility and sight lines and it’s powered by an EPA compliant diesel engines. Load lifter makes a variety of rough terrain models designed for specific purposes for different industries.

Telescopic Handler

The new generation of Load Lifter Telescopic Forklifts can make your life easier and will be a strong competitor in the construction and rental sector of the equipment business. The telescopic handler is a far more popular model of Rough Terrain Forklift in the United States than it is in Canada; and it continues to remain that way today.  


This machine was built with a componentized power train and a purpose built frame. Many other manufacturers used converted agricultural tractors for their machine base, but these were difficult to service and repair if a major component was required to be removed.  These machines were produced with capacities from 6 through 12 thousand pounds and lift heights of up to 30 feet.

Laborer Series


Load Lifters builds the Laborer series rough terrain machine for the mining industry which required a specific application for underground use. Miners had several issues with low ceiling heights and very small cages to transport their work equipment from level to level. They also had a need for a forklift that would be capable of climbing steep grades and be able to meet very strict safety requirements. These units were extremely compact and rugged, and were able to fit in areas that conventional rough terrain forklifts could not. Four wheel drive was offered as an option which was not typical for industrial forklifts of similar capacity. The first unit was built as a mine application machine with very specialized options that met the specific requirements. With such positive responses to the mine version, they released a more economically priced aggressive forklift. This machine was utilized by paving stone, recreational vehicle and utility companies. 

Agri Lifter

The turf industry approached Load Lifter to build the Agri Lifter. This industry needed a heavy use, vertical mast rough terrain forklift that was also light and agile, specific for their application. They had been using a construction type designed machine that in many cases was too heavy. The Agri-lifter series is available in 4-5000 lb capacity. Agri forklifts have higher ground clearance allowing greater articulation and easier movement across uneven ground without grounding, damaging undercarriage or bogging the unit. Agri Lifter has a higher ground clearance allowing greater articulation and easier movement across uneven ground without grounding, damaging undercarriage or bogging the unit.

To improve on the rough terrain Load Lifter, a wide variety of attachments has been developed to improve their utility such as winches, booms and rotating fork carriages allowing it to place materials more accurately. Articulating booms, or booms with two separate extendible arms, can reach up and over structures to place loads on interior roof slopes or in the center of upper floors.


Advantages of the Rough Terrain Forklifts

  • Carry huge amounts of material at a single time and provide back support to the lift

  • Have more accurate steering response and precision

  • Easier to change lanes at high speeds without the risk of going into a spin

  • Calibrated counterbalance at the back of the forklift prevents it from becoming overbalanced

  • Higher ground clearance allowing greater articulation and easier movement across uneven ground 

  • Diesel engines to provide the extra power necessary to operate over rough terrain while carrying heavy loads

  • Navigate slopes with gradients of up to 38% offering superior operation over rough terrain

Disadvantages of the Rough Terrain Forklifts

  • More expensive construction since vehicles with four wheel steering cost more

  • With pricey construction comes higher maintenance cost

  • If tires are air filled there’s a possible hazard of punctured pneumatic tires

  • Designed for outdoor use only

  • Higher cost of fuel

  • Need a large storage area 

Watch this Load Lifter video and keep your eye on what the mast and forks are capable of doing

Why You Need to Take the Rough Terrain Training Class 7

According to OSHA, rough terrain forklifts are classified as class 7 forklifts, and include three primary types: vertical mast rough terrain forklifts, variable reach rough terrain forklifts, and truck or trailer mounted rough terrain forklifts. The rough terrain forklift can carry heavy loads and should be driven carefully like a regular forklift as it also has the risk of tipping over, rollovers and collisions.. Drivers of these vehicles have more reason to be concerned about safety; so operators need to be provided with the proper training to operate a rough terrain forklift.  Being extra cautious is never a mistake as it guards you against dangerous accidents.

Rough terrain forklifts are more commonly used today in the construction industries and there is also a great potential for misuse, operator error and possible accidents by untrained workers who may not recognize potential hazards. Learn how to avoid hazards and how to navigate through various situations to prevent accidents. Neglecting to train workers now has serious financial and legal implications. The rough terrain training will ensure you’re compliant with industry standards. According to OSHA, all forklift operators must receive training that consists of written instruction, practical training, a rough terrain forklift test, and an evaluation. It must cover both rough terrain forklift truck related and workplace-related topics, and be led by a qualified trainer. Like the standard forklift trainingyou will be trained on a pre-operational check, loading and unloading, stability and handling, and fueling in a safe manner.

Training is the key to a safe, long and successful career!

We purchased a used fork lift from Wayco in January. It was extremely clean and in excellent condition when it was delivered. We have also had incredible ongoing service from the professionals at Wayco. Overall dealing with them has been an excellent experience.
— Don’s Trailer