Dec 21, 2010 at 7:43 am #1266799
There seems to be some interest on this forum on pulk building (four pages of responses to a question posed about the "best" sled to use in construction)
This is not a typical ultra-light project, but is a "niche" project; a sled designed to ride high in butt deep powder, to be used off-trail and can plow thru the tangled bush to reach the Holy Grail destination of your choice. You can pull loads large enough to support you for a 5-10 day trek.
Most sleds are based on the Paris expedition sled as is this one. You just can't beat it for durability. Most of this design was copied with permission from the "Michigan bushrats” with slight modifications. It is based on years of trial and error use in the remote bush.
The general idea is to make the pulk as snag-free as possible, thus removing the lips and adding flexible sides. Also, designing the front attachments so that it pulls up as you walk and that the brush has a way to travel down the traces and up and over the sled without snagging. Some members have made the traces so they breakdown and are removable, so they can use them as pickets to aid in the quick set-up of their shelters.
While the idea of pulling a pulk is not an ultra-light idea, this sled will keep those joints moving in the winter, when your choices are limmited to sharing trails with snow machines and skiers. There are many good designs for the trail walker that don't invole this level of fabrication. (but isn't that why we tinker)
DaveDec 21, 2010 at 8:44 am #1676352
I like the sides. What material was used here and where did you get it?
Good mounting the pull system below the lip, it really avoids plowing snow and makes it easy to turn.
On the system holding the sides together, drawcord style, Is it a one cord pull to tension it? How well does it work?
I have 5 pulks now, ranging from a military Akio down, but you can alyays use more to loan out.
TZDec 21, 2010 at 9:49 am #1676378
The sides are 1/32 hdpe plastic. You can get it from mcmaster-carr or USA Plastics. The problem is shipping. one of the guys I hike with has a travelling job and picked it up at the factory. They wouldn't roll it to ship it.
I have also used beafier 1/16th sides cut from a dear-drag sled from Cabellas.
The sides have a draw cord in the front running through grommets and 4 straps along the back. The front was heat-bended up and an 8" snow shield was added. This is my modification and I'll find out how well it works in Jan. Most of the other sleds have only 12" sides with straps and they put the foam sleeping pad and a tarp cover over the top of their gear.
DaveDec 21, 2010 at 10:01 am #1676382
@owareLocale: Steptoe Butte
How about the little kids roll up sleds for a cheap
source for plastic for the top?Dec 21, 2010 at 10:34 am #1676396
Yes, they have used those for years and they work great, they are very slippery, but they do get torn in thick brush as they are very thin and it takes one sled cut in half lengthwise for each side. So, you need two complete carpet-style sleds for each pulk and you have to join them, which gives you and extra seam on each side. I think that is how they got to the 12" sides. It is a cheap alternative…I think they run under $10 per sled. ? ACE hardware?
DaveDec 25, 2010 at 5:14 pm #1677569
When you trim the rims off the Paris sled do you have any issue with reduced torsional stiffness? It's my understanding that the rims on the Paris sled are there to provide structural rigidity and keep the sled from twisting.Dec 25, 2010 at 6:43 pm #1677592
Yes, you lose a degree of side to side stiffness and the sled can flex, but that is not always a bad thing. When going thru the bush and over snow covered logs and such it helps the sled rebound faster. A stiffer sled will snow-plow and get stuck easier. The paris expedition has the stiffest and toughest plastic. Some members have used the paris "boggin" sled, but the plastic was thinner and ripped easier in heavy brush.
Believe me anything that sticks out will snag and that requires more energy and frustration to get going again. Last year I had the perfect sled. I thought it would glide through the forest, within two hours I was at a dead stop. We spent a great deal of time hacking and modifying to finish the trip. I spent most of the last two months badgering my hiking partners with questions and photos and measurements, to come up with the above sled. I'll know in a couple of weeks how well it works.
I also learned that when you are with a group, not to have the widest sled as you will be breaking trail the entire way.
Keep the questions coming; I have a lot of paying back to do!!
P.S. With the lips cut off the width of the Paris Expedition sled is 14" in front and 15 " at it's widest part.Dec 31, 2010 at 11:30 am #1679245
When trimming your sleds 'lips' off what type of tool do you use? I'd think that a utility knife isn't strong enough.Dec 31, 2010 at 12:23 pm #1679262
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
–B.G.–Dec 31, 2010 at 12:28 pm #1679264
Are you speaking from personal experience doing this with a pulk sled or just speculation?
If you have done this what type of saw blade for your Dremel did you use? I ask because I have a Jet Sled Jr. that I'm wanting to trim down.Dec 31, 2010 at 12:41 pm #1679270
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
I trim plastic stuff with my Dremel Tool, although I have never had to trim my plastic sled. I use a tiny circular steel saw blade that is about one inch across. If you use the wrong blade, you will generate a lot of heat and melt your way through, which cruds up the blade. Lots of those blades/bits are more abrasive and less cutting.
–B.G.–Dec 31, 2010 at 12:46 pm #1679271
Ah, speculation then.
Thanks for the idea though!
Anyone else that's actually trimmed down there pulk sled? What did you use to do it?Dec 31, 2010 at 2:31 pm #1679300
I just used a jig saw with a bimetal blade and a very good grip. If you are alone, just load some weight in the sled to hold it. It cuts very fast so watch your line. I left the front and back lips on for strength. I did heat bend the front lip up as a snow gaurd.
DaveDec 31, 2010 at 3:08 pm #1679308
I've never done heat bending before, what did you use on your pulk?Dec 31, 2010 at 4:29 pm #1679345
Heat bending takes patience, a torch and lots of duct tape. (a little OCD doesn't hurt)
I used what I had – a plumbing torch and long strips of duct tape. My friend had better luck with a heat gun.
Don't leave the torch in one spot too long, keep fanning it back and forth.
Take your time and only bend it a little at a time.
DaveJan 18, 2011 at 7:00 pm #1685711
Just got back from a five day, off-trail hike. Sled perfomed better than expected. No snags or hang-ups.
DaveJan 24, 2011 at 5:43 pm #1688019
This is why your standard top mounted "ski-Pulk" or "Dr. Pulk" style mounted systems don’t work in the bush .
A very expensive commercial pulk had to be modified to make it through the weekend.
No offense intended
DaveJan 24, 2011 at 5:52 pm #1688020
Dave, what a cool video!
I love the way its done, really evokes a sense of adventure.
-WillJan 24, 2011 at 8:16 pm #1688064
Jim ColtenBPL Member
There are few sources more useful than those with access to extensive field testing of ideas … making you a gold mine!
I'm interested in many aspects of that sled and since you invited questions:
Jan 25, 2011 at 4:59 am #1688160
- Are the sides attached to the sled with rivets?
- Any kind of backing on the insides of that attachment?
- What's the source of the white plastic gizmos the poles attach to?
- Any reason to think the attachments pictured below would not work attached to the leading face of a Paris Expedition sled that has received your other mods (except the white pole attachment gizmos)? To be attached near the outside corner … bolted thru aluminum that wrasp around the side of the sled similar the way the white gizmos do. .
I like questions…I sure asked many when I was building this.
First realize that your pulk will do fine on trails and in open areas where the snow is not too deep. The top attachment systems tend to snow-plow instead or riding on top of the snow. This group of hikers had been modding and refining for years. Even within the group there are several different designs.
Here are some answers:
1. side attachments: Most are attached with 3/16 alum rivets 6" apart with a backing washer on the inside. One member used alum binding posts as he wanted them easily removable. (hint, to minimize the floppy factor, I used double sided tape (part # 75955A671)and rolled it tight with a wallpaper roller. I backed the inside seam with UMHW tape(part#76445A763) before riveting) Most members sides are 12 inches, mine are tapered from 12 to 20. I put the 20" sides on and eyeballed the taper, then cut. This did waste a lot of material.
2.Backing As above – UMHW tape and Alum washers. one member used a 1" strip of UMHW.
3. White plastic is cut in a mitten pattern and the thumb was heat bended to meet the snow shied. it is a piece of UMHW 12"x12" (part # 8752K111). The reasoning of the shape of the plastic attachment is to design it so that the attachment point is 1" below the top of the sled and 1" forward. It also must be rounded in a fashion the brush coming down or under the traces will have an easy path to the back of the sled. This attachment works best with solid traces. When you pull the sled forward, the front naturally lifts up and over. There were some awesome obstructions that our sleds cleared without getting stuck or rolling over.
4. I thought about using the stock ski-pulk traces and attachments on the side of the sled. The reason I went with solid alum route is twofold. Solid traces are great on down hills they give you the most control and when I looked at purchasing the trace/hip belt combination – wow $$$$ – it cost more than my whole setup. The problem with the ski-pulk attachment system is it is too big and snags easily. Some members have lost those hitch pins on the trail.
One of the members had a "genius" idea for "noodle" traces. I will try to explain, I didn't take pics Mmy bad. He secured a rod 1" down and 1" back from the front of the sled. It runs through the inside of the sled. It is secured with UMHW and a block bolted to the inside front of the sled. So, basically you have an alum pipe sticking out of the sled the width of the ball-joint plus a little for slop and turning ratio. He then inserts a large clevis pin through the ball-joint -inside the pipe – and secures it inside the sled with the hitch pin. This way – all of the hardware is inside the sled and the brush has an easy path to the rear of the sled.
It was cool to see all of the different mods. I guess you have to be a tinkerer to appreciate this obsession. (Part numbers are from McMaster-Carr online hardware)
I'll throw in some pics for fun.
DaveJan 25, 2011 at 6:39 am #1688178
Jim ColtenBPL Member
Thanks, David!Jan 25, 2011 at 5:26 pm #1688393
@footeabLocale: Pacific Northwest
Ok, I gotta ask. Are there runners on the bottom of that bugger? How well does it track on a slope in other words? Though judging by your location I don't suppose there are lots of mountains… =)Jan 26, 2011 at 4:56 am #1688551
There hasn't been a need for runners. The terrain we hike is mostly forested, with small hills. We did hike the Porcupine Mountains last year, but I think it is a stretch to call them mountains…just baby hills. We didn't have any problems with tracking, as we did a slow traverse with cut-backs.
If we needed to use runners, then I would add the retractable ones like the ski pulk brand. The biggest problem we have is icing. With all of the wild temp swings the bottom of the sled can ice up. When we were crossing that blistery lake, my sled and snowshoes iced up. It felt like I was dragging a house. We carry ski scrapers and a kitchen scrubber pad. We have to stop, flip the sled and de-ice on occasion esp. if there is slush beneath the snow and above the ice on the lakes. I think that the angle iron type runners would just ice up too fast.
Also, I think that having fixed traces, rather than "noodle" traces helps with tracking.
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