I have used kids sleds, old tobaggons ,otter ice fishing sleds etc. Now I am looking at a kit from Blackriver sleds for one of their 11ft sleds/hdpe tobaggons. You can get the kit for 1/2 the price. What do some of you use and why do you like it for transporting your gear?
Like CedarBoy I have used the kid sleds too. They worked fine, just not very big and you had to be careful not to break it. A couple of years ago I started using an ice fishing sled I found at Fleet Farm. I could never find one of those orange sleds used on skipulk.com. Last year I bought one of those green deer sleds for my son to use. It is longer and narrower then the ice fishing sled and not as deep. I like the ice fishing sled the best. I also carry a small backpack but more for convenience then necessity.
I place a tarp inside the sled, then my gear, then roll the whole thing up like a burrito and secure it down.
My biggest trouble with sleds is finding a good connection system for the poles. I solved it by using hydraulic hose (patent pending).
The blackrivers use a long 12ft loop that you flip over the back of the sled for going down hill, they also tie a drag line for someone to hold from the back if needed. For pulling you just put it over your shoulder across your chest. There is a good picture on the front of a BWJ from last year of 2 guys pulling sleds. One of the past journals has an article about making a pulk. It seemed like there were too many nuts and bolts to loosen at the worst time for me in the design. I guess it is always a compromise between capacity and ease of pulling. The Blackrivers are long and slender(15in) by 9ft or 11ft, less frontal area for pulling over snow. No nuts or bolts, some short screws holding cross members down. I wiil take a good look at them in Nov at the Midwestmountain event.
Just used a sled - think I got it at Fleet Farm and its intended use is a deer carcass dragger. I don't use poles, just rope. This has worked for me as my trips so far have mostly been on ice with just a few portages.
As others have said, put a tarp on the sled, gear inside the tarp and wrap it like a burrito.
I found the "orange sled from skipulk.com", which is a paris expedition sled @ REI in bloomington last fall.
Not a bad price if I recall, $15-20. I built a pulk from fiberglass poles, threaded rod couplers and eye bolts. worked quite well, even going down very steep grades in the backcountry near steamboat springs, CO. I was cold camping, and it would have held a weeks worth of supplies, not sure how it would handle canvas tent and stove.
It wasn't too easy to thread the rods, the peaks of the threads broke off while trying to thread them, so they were not very deep, but still deep enough to thread the couplers on. I wouldn't have trusted this connection by itself.
I used some 2 part epoxy to make a very strong connection.
Connected the poles to my back pack hip belt with carabiners. Here is the two methods I used to connect the poles. I didn't thread my poles, just added a through pin (press fit in aluminum part). The hose one is my idea (patent pending of course). I think it is very field servicable.
I also used a fleet farm sled. Although I think it is too wide, we were pushing a lot of snow, it already had the holes in it and rope, I just replaced the rope with a little stronger, got some thin PVC pipe to put over the rope, and then tied on some gun straps as shoulder harness' it worked great except for the width.
I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy.
I have to admit most of this design is pulled straight from skipulk.com I modified some things based on the ability to find parts, and just what I thought of while walking up and down the isles of fleet and home depot.
I used flat bar aluminum to sandwich on either side of the sled. The attached hardware is a simple D ring tie down and a 1/4 inch eye bolt to keep the caribeener somewhat limited in motion. An added bonus of this is if needed i can put my pole directly over this shank and clip a biner through the loop to pull the sled.
My poles are 5 foot, 1/2 inch fiberglass fence poles from fleet farm, Then threaded rod couplers 1.75 inch, 7/16ths thread from home depot, and some 7/16ths solid forged eye bolts with the shaft cut down to about 3/4 inch.
I did this on both ends of the poles and just rotated the eyes 90 degrees off from each other.
I attach this to my person with a surplus army pistol belt with nylon strapping loops sewn on.
If anyone has any questions I'd be glad to answer them.
Orange Fleetfarm special like Kurps. Does everybody use poles? I started off with the pole method but have switched to webbing for the last five years. The poles are great on the lakes but I prefer the webbing on the portages.
Just a note from Pulky Ed from the ski pulk site. So much of the right pulk design is related to what kind of travel the camper is headed into. Snowshoes versus skis /mountains vs borreal forest etc...
I will be doing sessions on making your own pulk at both the Oct Empire Canvas Symposium in Wis (Sat) and the November Mid West Mountaineering Expo (Sunday). For those who cant make it and who want to make their own- I recommend downloading the 30 page booklet on my site. I guarantee you will at least find it entertaining if not helpful....
As for the sled discussions- there really are three good choices- The Jet Jr is the smallest and least expensive (Cabellos), The Beast- by Emmco (Ace Hardware stores AND Sportsman warehouse) is the largest but the most brital in very cold. The Paris Expedition is in between these two in size and durability and usually my choice but the other two are also good. I once did a detailed comparison of sleds for another discussion group which I could find if anyone was interested.... In any case I would keep away from the kids sleds as who needs the added hassle of a breakdown 8 miles from the car at minus 30F.
You will have better control of your sled going down hills if it is attached to your waist (i.e. hip belt). I have attached it to my day pack shoulder straps and it worked okay but that trip was fairly flat and we didn't need to use skis or snow shoes.
You will notice the sled more connected to your shoulders straps when skiing because of your motion.
It is really easy to make a waist belt out of some wide nylon webbing. Make it long enough to go over your coat and other layers.
Wow that is a nice looking sled. Could you post details of how you made it? The more instructions, the better.
What is the size of the plastic sheet you used to make the sled?
Do you happen to know where I could get such a sheet in Minneapolis area?
How much does the sheet and other parts cost?
How did you cut the wood and form it so it bends like that?
Also, those groves in the wood for strapping bungee cords are great.
Would like to build your sled very much and would appreciate the info.
The plastic was purchased locally in the Milwaukee Metro area. I would imagine searching in the Viking lands for a Plastic Distribution place. GOOGLE: UHMW polyethylene in the area you live and call them. I paid $82 for ¼ sheet x 24” x 10 feet long natural color material. The over all width of the sled is based on my stove I build plus the additional room for the wood gunnels. It came down to 15” width! The wood gunnels have scuppers in them for tie downs. The curve of the front to match the sled was done by steam bending. I have built a couple of canoes in the past and steam bending wood is easy! I have a heat source and a steel gas can (empty) filled with water with a radiator rubber hose connected to the spout. I have a 1/4 “ PVC pipe 4’ dia I use as a steam chamber. The steam hose fits into the bottom with a dry towel shoved in place. The top has the wood placed inside to what the section needs to be bent then a towel is shoved around the wood keeping in most of the heat. For every ¼ inch thick of lumber to be bent, steam for approximately 15-20 minutes. You will also make a form to match the curve. I used fiber board with many 2 inch holes to place the clamps on when forming the wood and keeping it clamped to the form to cool and dry. The more the better. After steaming you will have 40 seconds to get the wood to bend otherwise it will crack. Get everything ready and in place before you start. All the clamps, the form a pair of hot gloves and a backer piece to aid in the bend. The backer piece needs to be steamed as well.
I can send pictures of the process if you e-mail me.