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  1. #41
    Bubba's Avatar
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    Seems to me that because they are long lots of gear can be packed to be low profile. Mongrel mentioned that the flexibility of the sled is one of the factors that help with stabilitt because it can mold to the contours of the trail to a certain extent. He said going over a thigh high log on the trail was no problem whereas I had to detach my sled to get over the same log.
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  2. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chard View Post
    Mongrel's pulk, made of the same modern materials, is awesome, but you might want to consider revarnishing and waxing up a traditional long wooden toboggan and then it can serve both as family sled on the local hill and wintercamping gear hauler. I used the same setup last year and it worked perfectly. I also took my girls to the local hill and that waxed sled flew like stink!!!

    I'm not sure, and the seasoned winter campers used to pulling loads long distances might be able to weigh in, but I would imagine a long narrow sled would be more prone to tipping over (especially while winding through a dense forest) unless pains were taken to lash the bundles down as flat as possible, keeping the overall centre of gravity low.
    I think the premise of the long narrow sled is that your load is spread out over a greater area. Thus allowing you to keep things low.

    After this last trip I know what I can leave home. I am in the process of packing my winter gear on a 4' traditional wooden toboggan...it gives me a platform of 36"x12" and the top of the curl is 8.5" so going to aim at a load height of 10-11". Wish me luck!

  3. #43
    Chard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bubba View Post
    Seems to me that because they are long lots of gear can be packed to be low profile. Mongrel mentioned that the flexibility of the sled is one of the factors that help with stabilitt because it can mold to the contours of the trail to a certain extent. He said going over a thigh high log on the trail was no problem whereas I had to detach my sled to get over the same log.
    Well there you go. Mongrel's pulk was pretty cool last year, but I never got to see it in operation.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jayson View Post
    I think the premise of the long narrow sled is that your load is spread out over a greater area. Thus allowing you to keep things low.

    After this last trip I know what I can leave home. I am in the process of packing my winter gear on a 4' traditional wooden toboggan...it gives me a platform of 36"x12" and the top of the curl is 8.5" so going to aim at a load height of 10-11". Wish me luck!
    Last year I definitely brought some extra items I could have done without andI had my COG too high. Still the old toboggan did the trick. Ten to eleven inches sounds about right.

    Where exactly did you guys settle?
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  4. #44
    Bubba's Avatar
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    We were maybe a 100 metres from where the trail turns into an railway bed just past Mizzy lake.
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  5. #45
    Senior Member PineMartyn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chard View Post
    I'm not sure, and the seasoned winter campers used to pulling loads long distances might be able to weigh in, but I would imagine a long narrow sled would be more prone to tipping over (especially while winding through a dense forest) unless pains were taken to lash the bundles down as flat as possible, keeping the overall centre of gravity low.
    It might be a little counter-intuitive, but a long and narrow sled is much, much less likely to tip over than a broad one. This is for the following reasons:
    1) A long freight toboggan or sled means your gear is laid out in a long line, not piled high, so the centre of gravity of load is lower.
    2) A wider sled or pulk spans a broader surface and so on uneven ground there is more likelihood that an edge will ride up onto a hump causing the lower edge to dig down and thus cause the load to topple sideways.
    3) A long sled will flex more than a broad one, so it hugs the terrain better, undulating over and down humps and such, rather than rising up and getting balanced precariously over humps and uneven ground.
    4) A long narrow sled will not plow through snow behind you. Instead, it will sit well within the 'float' (wake) of your snowshoe tracks, which means it will be sitting lower on the more stable packed snow you have created with your snowshoes.
    5) Because it rests in your float, it tracks better and so is less prone to side-slipping and hence rolling over.

    Hope this helps,
    - Martin
    Last edited by PineMartyn; 02-23-2013 at 14:14. Reason: corrected typos
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  6. #46
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    I agree with "long and narrow" but there were defiantly places on trail that a longer sled would have caused serious frustration. Some of the turns were pretty tight. Has anyone tried a sled with skis? (Like the GT snow racer type without the seat and steering wheel) my initial thought would be less touching snow = low drag, but I think breaking a trail might be a little like pulling a bulldozer.

    I had a low profile sled which in theory should have worked quite well, however my packing sucked and was top heavy. Made for some good cuss words and extra work for Deep Thought and Jayson.

    Crappy packing also resulted in items falling out. Since i dont see my pa king getting any better, I'll will be sewing a sled cover before my next outing.

  7. #47
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    Cool guys... Like I mentioned to Bubba offline, I guess that as long as you strap the bundles down with a low profile, the long pulks just snake across the terrain. Yeah, it is a bit counter-intuitive, but it's nice to keep on learning.
    Last edited by Chard; 02-23-2013 at 16:09.
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  8. #48
    Member Deep Thought's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ozz View Post
    I agree with "long and narrow" but there were defiantly places on trail that a longer sled would have caused serious frustration. Some of the turns were pretty tight.
    These were the hairpin turns in the trail, up and around trees/rocks, that made it an advantage to have a sled on ropes. It allowed me to pull the sled up close and pull hard on one side to drag it around the corner. I don't know how a long sled could have made some of those turns.

    Ideally, we wouldn't have to do that kind of bushwacking through thick stuff. The uphill turns were the worst. Dragging your sled up a hill, only to make a turn was brutal.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ozz View Post
    I had a low profile sled which in theory should have worked quite well, however my packing sucked and was top heavy. Made for some good cuss words and extra work for Deep Thought and Jayson.
    That was my favourite part of the trip!!
    I learned a few new words on that journey.

    I also learned that as soon as someone asks "how come YOUR sled isn't tipping over?" it instantly triggers a gravitational shift that rolls your sled.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ozz View Post
    Crappy packing also resulted in items falling out. Since i dont see my packing getting any better, I'll will be sewing a sled cover before my next outing.
    I was quite happy strapping down my large backpack and large drybag to my sled to hold my gear and food. I packed the heavy stuff in the bottom and the lighter stuff on top. It may have looked top-heavy, but the bottom was plenty heavy.
    I can't see myself ever hiking in somewhere without a backpack to hike out with the essentials in an emergency; however, the large drybag was REALLY handy for just chucking stuff in.
    A sled cover would be ideal.
    I saw a lot of people complaining about how their sleds were filling up with snow or how the gear shifted and stuff fell off.
    Ill be sewing one up out of tyvek.
    Thought = The cover would need a quick access spot to stow the multiple layers that you are pulling off + snacks and water. I was concerned about my jackets strapped on top and stuff falling out of the pockets (zip them up!!!) or the jackets filling up with snow/getting wet.


    DT

  9. #49
    Senior Member PineMartyn's Avatar
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    Some sled hauling tips

    I thought I'd weigh in with a few remarks about pulks and sleds for the sort of terrain this group faced.

    I'm my previous post I explained why a long, narrow pulk or freight toboggan is more stable and less prone to roll-overs, but because of the terrain I travel in (I live just outside of Algonquin) and the sort of winter camping I do (cold-camping in snow shelters) - which doesn't requires as much gear - I actually use a much shorter, but still fairly narrow, kid's sled.

    A long toboggan is indeed murder around corners. That type of hauler is best suited for flatter terrain where one spends a lot of time crossing large lakes or along frozen rivers. However, if you're carrying a heavy load you need a long sled because only a long sled will distribute the weight enough so it won't sink and snow-plow too much. But hauling such a load means one needs very good floatation, so the larger traditional snowshoes are usually worn when hauling this type of sled. If you use the smaller, modern technical snowshoes, your shoes will sink a lot deeper when you pull hard to get that big toboggan moving. So, big snowshoes go with big sleds.

    Big traditional snowshoes, while they confer many advantages, including superior floatation, are harder to use in dense bush and they don't have crampons, which means it can be a lot harder going up hills. Doing a herring-bone jog up a hill in traditional snowshoes is easy enough, but doing so while hauling a pulk is another matter. Modern snowshoes that have aggressive crampons make hill-climing much easier when hauling and they make descents from steep hills much more controlled.

    This group was travelling along a very mixed terrain that consisted of frozen pond/lake travel and foot trails which were winding, narrow, and steep in some places, and blocked by blow-downs in places. This is the very sort of terrain that makes me prefer a smaller pulk that can negotiate tight turns in the middle of a hill and can be easily lifted over blow-downs and other obstacles. I also favour the use of polls so I can walk downhill without being over-taken by my pulk. But if you've got a very heavy load, polls don't help on downhills. They can be a danger because they can cause your load to unbalance you or even topple you forward when you need to stop suddenly on a downhill. My loaded pulk is light enough that I needn't fear it will knock me down or injure me. If you watch a few minutes of my video below, you'll see the sort of pulk I use for the same sort of terrain this group faced. You'll also see the size of load I carry on this small pulk for a weekend solo trip:


    When going downhill with a heavy pulk, it's best to either turn the pulk around and lower it down ahead of you, or else keep about 8' of light rope attached to the back of the pulk so you can lower it ahead of you for those instances where you can't turn the sled around because of it's design or because trees and rocks are in the way on either side of the trail.

    For those really steep uphill climbs, I sometimes just drop my pulk, walk up the hill unencumbered, take a breather at the top, then slowly make my way back down to my pulk. This packs down the trail so I can drap my pulk up more easily without it snowplowing into the hill. An adjustable trekking pole is a huge help when pulling a pulk up and down hills. I know it sounds like a lot of work to climb, descend, and reclimb a hill, but climbing a hill with a heavy load in deep snow that's not been packed down is even more exhausting. Tackling a big hill without packing it down a bit first leads to overheating, sweating, and leg burnout that can leave you with aching and stiff leg muscles in the following days. This is especially important to consider if you're alone.

    One of the most important suggestions I can offer to anyone new to hauling in winter is to keep some sort of empty dry bag on your sled which is easily accessible and held in place atop the load by a bungie cord or the like (see my video above). This empty sack is where you put your hat, gloves, vest, and other outer layers which you will invariably need to remove to prevent yourself from sweating. Hauling a load in deep snow is exhausting work and you will work up a big sweat. If you don't have a place to put your extra layers, you won't remove them. You'll just unzip and unbutton and that won't be enough - defeating the purpose of dressing in layers. This will result in cold, clammy underlayers by the time you arrive at camp. An insulated bottle of hot water or a thermos of hot tea should also be accessible on your pulk or on your person.

    Hope this helps,
    - Martin
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  10. #50
    Bubba's Avatar
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    Thanks for you insights Martin.
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