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In my mind, a disproportionate number of my army days were spent dragging a pulk through heavy snow. On different sorts of missions that our instructors dreamed up "behind enemy lines," we waded through deep snow on skis, hauling pulks laden with grenade launchers, machine guns, explosives, and ammo... not to mention the twelve-man tents swollen with snow and ice. Then there were the stove and stovepipes that irregularly blessed us on cold nights under the aurora borealis of northern Sweden. After a couple of days and nights, even the packed tents were so choked with ice that they made the pulks nearly the size of minivans. All this was pulled by two men with huge packs and machine guns dangling on their chests, dressed in camouflage that had once been white, back when we had first started from the regiment.

In spite of these Freudian overtones (bigger is better!), there have been times since when some rational part of my brain has realized that there might be circumstances when it is in fact quite energy efficient to pull something behind you, rather than carrying it on your back. But so far, the only foray into pulks since those long past mid-winter nights has been pulling my kids when they were small, on shorter ski outings. Until this very winter that is, in the year of our Lord, 2009.

There has been an idea brewing in my mind for quite a few years that could be described: It would be so nice to have a light pulk strapped onto my pack so that I more or less would be able instantly to switch back and forth between pack and pulk.

This year, while preparing for a ski trip up north around the Arctic Circle, I finally went from mulling to doing. Using thin aluminum sheeting and surprisingly little effort, I actually fashioned something that could charitably be called a pulk. And since the main idea was strapping the whole thing to my pack, I christened it The Rulk, combining the words "rucksack" and "pulk."

This is the story of how The Incredible Rulk was made and how it fared during a four-day winter trip.


  • Overview
  • Material
  • The Production Phase
  • The Test Phase
    • The Setting
    • The Trip
  • Conclusions

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