Pulk or not to Pulk....
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Tony Burnett
(tlbj6142) - F

Locale: OH--IO
Pulk or not to Pulk.... on 11/29/2005 08:12:21 MST Print View

When does it make good sense to use a Pulk rather than a pack for winter travel?

One major reason I see to use a Pulk over a pack (even for light 30# loads) is to allow your back to breathe. In the winter you want to minimize sweat, a Pulk harness (belt only??) seems to be a better solution than a 3500ci pack.

So, if the pulk weight comes in under, or near, your pack's weight you'd come out ahead on comfort, correct?

How much do the various homemade pulks weigh Ken Knight's or the ones listed over at Ski Pulk?

John Chan
(ouroboros)
pulk on 11/29/2005 10:13:51 MST Print View

I would use a pulk on consolidated snow and non-technical terrain. Deep powder snow would probably present a challenge as the pulk sometimes has a tendency to nosedive in such conditions.

Of course, I'm using a home-made pulk + harness system so I have no idea how superior the mega-buck systems are in comparison.

Tony Burnett
(tlbj6142) - F

Locale: OH--IO
Re: pulk on 11/29/2005 11:16:48 MST Print View

How much does your setup weigh? Just wondering. I see the high dollar ones weigh 15+#.

John Chan
(ouroboros)
Re: Re: pulk on 11/29/2005 11:40:42 MST Print View

Never weighed it as weight really isn't a consideration with a pulk. Your load will eclipse any potential ounce savings you could hope to achieve using UL materials... but my guess is 4 lbs for the plastic sled (Canadian Tire), 3 lbs for the rods and front cross braces (from Home Depot), 1.5 lb for the harness (retired alpine full body harness)... so... 8.5-9 lbs.

Again, the weight of a pulk really isn't a big consideration.

Tony Burnett
(tlbj6142) - F

Locale: OH--IO
pulk on 11/29/2005 12:06:07 MST Print View

Thanks for the info. Did you follow any of the online guides when building your pulk? Or did you just wing it?

Why/when do you use a pulk?

John Chan
(ouroboros)
Pulk... no guides on 11/29/2005 12:44:11 MST Print View

Nope, didn't follow any online guides. Just winged it. The most important component in my experience is the rods. They must be absolutely stiff (metal). I tried PVC tubing first and it either flexed too much, was too bulky, or shattered in extreme cold. Also, a good durable tarp overtop your gear and a way of fastening it to the sled is paramount unless you want to be lugging extra weight in snow-chunks.

I use the pulk to cart around my double ropes, ice screws, tools, gourmet lunch... when I'm ice climbing in Northern Ontario. Hoping to use it in Temegami this season too... the "Little Siberia" of Ontario.

larry savage
(pyeyo) - F

Locale: pacific northwest
Re: Pulk... no guides on 11/29/2005 17:47:09 MST Print View

Bill Fornshell posted some pictures and info on a pulk he built in a thread @ g-spot around the 6th of nov.
The only place I won't use one is tight trees and I'll never try to ski a Christmas tree out on one again either.

David Bonn
(david_bonn) - F

Locale: North Cascades
Re: Pulk or not to Pulk.... on 11/29/2005 18:24:50 MST Print View

You have identified one win of pulks (ventilation).

The other advantage is that you can comfortably carry a lot in a pulk. I've carried for two weeks in full-on winter conditions (late February in British Columbia) with a pulk. My back hurts to think how much that would have hurt (aside from being impossible to ski with) with that on a pack.

Having said that, pulks are lame in tight trees, downright dangerous on steep traverses, and require special considerations for glacier travel.

Some of the commercial pulks have brakes like alpine skis. These are a good idea. A better idea is to attach old climbing skins to the bottom of the pulk -- that way it is easy to power straight up a steep hill (remember, traversing is a bad idea with a pulk).

Ed Bouffard
(skipulk) - F
Re: Pulk or not to Pulk.... on 11/29/2005 20:15:31 MST Print View

Tony-
The fiberglass pole pulks I describe at www.skipulk.com weigh about 10-11 lbs (6 lbs for the sled, 3 lbs for the poles and 1 lb for the harness.

I disagree with the previous posts about traversing. With good poles and fins (skegs) to keep your load from side slipping it is possible to traverse moderate angle slopes well.

The fins do create a bit of a dilemna- They ad to the control on side hills and downhills but ad a bit of drag on the uphills. Adjustable fins would be best ( I am working on this....) Some of my colleagues use removeable fins.

By crossing your poles it is also posible to track through some pretty dense forests. The crossing delays your pulk long enough that it follows in your tracks instead of short cuttng the corner. There are limitations to tight spaces but there are limitations with a pack as well.

The only times I have felt the pulk creates disadvantages over a pack are:
1. Open stream crossings.
2. Exposed rocky knife edge type ridges
3. Extremely steep snowfields where weight is needed over the skins.

Thanks for the opportunity to ad my comments.

Ed Bouffard
(skipulk) - F
Re: Pulk or not to Pulk.... on 11/29/2005 20:16:08 MST Print View

Tony-
The fiberglass pole pulks I describe at www.skipulk.com weigh about 10-11 lbs (6 lbs for the sled, 3 lbs for the poles and 1 lb for the harness.

I disagree with the previous posts about traversing. With good poles and fins (skegs) to keep your load from side slipping it is possible to traverse moderate angle slopes well.

The fins do create a bit of a dilemna- They ad to the control on side hills and downhills but ad a bit of drag on the uphills. Adjustable fins would be best ( I am working on this....) Some of my colleagues use removeable fins.

By crossing your poles it is also posible to track through some pretty dense forests. The crossing delays your pulk long enough that it follows in your tracks instead of short cuttng the corner. There are limitations to tight spaces but there are limitations with a pack as well.

The only times I have felt the pulk creates disadvantages over a pack are:
1. Open stream crossings.
2. Exposed rocky knife edge type ridges
3. Extremely steep snowfields where weight is needed over the skins.

Thanks for the opportunity to ad my comments.