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Take the Load Off: Using Pulks to Travel Over Snow
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Benjamin Smith
(bugbomb) - F - M

Locale: South Texas
Take the Load Off: Using Pulks to Travel Over Snow on 01/29/2008 21:21:27 MST Print View

Companion forum thread to:

Take the Load Off: Using Pulks to Travel Over Snow

Sebastian Ventris
(sabme) - F - M

Locale: SW UK
recommendations on 01/30/2008 03:58:55 MST Print View

So who makes the lightest ones?

And will they float on water?

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: recommendations on 01/30/2008 07:27:26 MST Print View

I'd say the lightest are kids sleds. I used the Paris Glad-A-Boggan at 2.5 pounds. Of course the weight goes up with the straps and poles needed to complete the setup.

Edited by jshann on 01/30/2008 07:32:14 MST.

Ed Tyanich
(runsmtns) - F - M
Pulk Fins on 01/30/2008 20:47:42 MST Print View

I don't understand your description of the fins. I have used pulks with adjustable skegs, but what you describe seems different. Perhaps you have a picture?



Steven Nelson
(slnsf) - MLife

Locale: Northern California
Fins and weights on 01/31/2008 10:06:44 MST Print View

Hi Ed - I worked with Ed Bouffard on the article and will see if I can dig up a picture of the fins. At their simplest, they're nothing more than an agled piece of metal bolted into the bottom of the sled to provide some stability in tracking and against sideways motion.

Sebastian - the lightest will be a homemade one from the plastic sleds, hooking up to a hip pack or pack hip belt. The Paris sleds are reasonably light, and the one I made with the green, smaller model (in the picture above on Glacier Point road) is the lightest I've personally found(the kids' sleds may be lighter). I will get weights over the weekend and post here, as I have the orange (longer) and green Paris sleds as well as a couple of commercial models.

I'll be doing a review of a fiberglass model and a lightweight kit model from a Paris sled later this winter - taking them to Yellowstone and the Sierra over the next two months.

Edited by slnsf on 01/31/2008 10:09:04 MST.

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Re: Fins and weights on 01/31/2008 10:45:01 MST Print View

Hi Ed - I worked with Ed Bouffard on the article and will see if I can dig up a picture of the fins.

Ed's website has a photo of the fins kit not installed. Click on "products and parts" and scroll down to item #9

Ed Tyanich
(runsmtns) - F - M
Fins on 02/01/2008 08:03:17 MST Print View

Thanks! Makes sense now.


Steve Cain
(hoosierdaddy) - F

Locale: Western Washington
More Fins on 02/01/2008 21:28:33 MST Print View

I bought one of Ed's pulk kits a couple of years ago and made some modifications to include lightweight, retractable fins made from an old street sign. They work great! (Also added a rear brake, but that's for another discussion) Here's the photos of the rig:

Edited by hoosierdaddy on 02/01/2008 21:30:38 MST.

Steven Nelson
(slnsf) - MLife

Locale: Northern California
Re: More Fins on 02/02/2008 13:45:25 MST Print View

Steve - nice job on the pulk. Are you using his fiberglass rods and waist belt, or something else?

The fins are just like what I was going to try on one of my pulks - the ones Ed sells are meant to be mounted to the underside of the sled, and so aren't quite as easy to deploy and stow. It appears you still have to reach inside the sled to access the wing nut and change position of the fins on your design - have you tried that yet, and is it an inconvenience when the sled's load is lashed down?

Edited by slnsf on 02/02/2008 21:48:22 MST.

Steve Cain
(hoosierdaddy) - F

Locale: Western Washington
More Fins on 02/02/2008 20:10:16 MST Print View

Thanks for the comments Steven.

Yeah, I used Ed's fiberglass poles and his hipbelt. After trying a few failed designs myself, his are exactly what I wanted! Since I don't ski and only snowshoe, I requested the poles at a 5' length which I feel work very well for more stability & control over a longer pole length.

Yes, I do have to reach to the inside of the pulk, just under the cover to adjust the fins, but it is quite simple to do. Just undo one snap, twist the wing nut and it's done! (Honestly, I don't adjust them too many times over the course of a trip, though) They REALLY work well at mitigating side-slippage when traversing slopes!

Jason Brinkman
(jbrinkmanboi) - MLife

Locale: Idaho
Re: Take the Load Off: Using Pulks to Travel Over Snow on 02/06/2008 01:33:25 MST Print View

I would like more detail on preferred pole to sled connections. I went the DIY route, but I can't find a decent attachment method. Suggestions? Pictures would be helpful.

Larry Risch
(dayhiker) - F
How steep of a sidehill? on 02/13/2008 15:56:12 MST Print View

We talked a guy out of taking a sled on our Crater Lake Loop, sometimes it is very hard just to ski it! But your article makes me wonder if it could be done, I was thinking the sled might pull you right off the slope, we had allot of drifts to go up and down on as well.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Cabela's Jet Sled on 03/24/2008 19:27:28 MDT Print View

Tha Jet Sled folks have a VERY sturdy medium sized sled that I like far better than the orange "expedition" sled I and many others have used. The "expedition" sled's front lip digs into the slightest snow hump where the Jet Sled's nice, high, angled front rides up over them easily.

If you feel the Jet Sled's sides are too high then cut them down & reinforce them with pop-rivited strips of
1 1/2" wide flat aluminum bar stock. Also put this bar stock on the inside of the front to reinforce where the hitch atatches to the sled. You'll have a great sled for far less than a commercial pulk.

Don't forget to bolt aluminun angle to the bottom of the sled for "sidehill" stability. Cut & file the vertical fin in a 1/2 teardrop shape.


Joseph Reeves

Locale: Southeast Alaska
Sleds on 03/24/2008 22:40:57 MDT Print View

Its been a long time since I pulled a sled, but the one I pulled was the best. Richard Weber's sleds -- and he -- are the only ones that have skied to the North Pole, from Ward Hunt Island, and back with no food drops. They are not ultra light, but they will last a very long time. Check out

Thom Darrah
(thomdarrah) - MLife

Locale: Southern Oregon
Pulk on 03/25/2008 06:24:00 MDT Print View

Granite Gear makes a very nice pulk/sled that I've used for a few years (winters), it's a little big, in volume, for going solo but works great for two. The harness system is the best I've seen. You can check this fine piece of gear out on their site,, yes the same Granite Gear that makes packs, dog packs and other hiking equipment/toys. I've only used the GG pulk sled while snowshoeing so I can not speak for how it pulls using skis. I've completed the Crater Lake loop with this pulk and it performed fine on all terrian including side slopes. It is not cheap but is well made and tough, it will last a lifetime if taken care of. If you have a winter hiking partner split the cost and your set.