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Pulk / sled for winter backpacking?
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Kevin Burton
(burtonator) - F

Locale: norcal
Pulk / sled for winter backpacking? on 12/16/2012 17:37:54 MST Print View

Do any of you guys use a pulk for winter backpacking?

This SEEMS like the way to go for > 3-4 inches of snow.

I was thinking of getting a pulk and then packing ALL my stuff in my bag so that I can still backpack if necessary (if the snow gets too low).

It has GOT to be way lighter this way.

I was also thinking that this gives you the option of jumping on the pulk and sledding downhill.

I'm torn on the ski vs snow shoe issue but it's nice to glasade (sp?) downhill after you spend the first 1/2 of the trip going uphill.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Pulk / sled for winter backpacking? on 12/16/2012 17:46:24 MST Print View

search for "pulk" and you'll get a number of threads

such as

Paul McLaughlin
(paul) - MLife
Re: Pulk / sled for winter backpacking? on 12/16/2012 18:06:10 MST Print View

I don't use a pulk but one thing I have read that you want to be aware of is that if you are on skis, you will want skins for the uphills unless they are very gentle uphills. You need extra traction to pull the pulk.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Pulk / sled for winter backpacking? on 12/16/2012 18:07:07 MST Print View

I have a pulk that I used once, but that was only because I had an unusually heavy load to haul. This was a hut trip, and I had to haul two boxes of oak firewood plus a gallon of white gas. That works on flat snow, or if the hills are easy. If the hills are steep, then you need to add a long rope and another person.

If you are torn between skis versus snowshoes, then note that you can be an expert with snowshoes in a matter of a few minutes. Cross country skis might take a few seasons.


(jpovs) - F - M

Locale: Arrowhead
Re: Pulk / sled for winter backpacking? on 12/16/2012 18:34:13 MST Print View


Edited by jpovs on 02/02/2015 04:08:00 MST.

P. P.
(toesnorth) - F

Locale: PNW
Yes! on 12/16/2012 22:25:56 MST Print View

Almost exclusively in winter. Snowshoes. I can haul so much more, comfortably.

David Lutz

Locale: Bay Area
Pulks..... on 12/16/2012 23:49:27 MST Print View

....Are A) Fun and easy to build, B) Great for the right kind of trip because you can easily carry extras like firewood and beer.

It's also a kick to coast down a long fire road with the pulk in tow.

Edited by davidlutz on 12/16/2012 23:50:12 MST.

USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
Pulks on 12/17/2012 06:36:13 MST Print View

Stay away from fresh, deep snow and traverses where the pulk will slide sideways down the hill. That's where someone behind with a rope can try to keep it on course.

Elliott Wolin
(ewolin) - MLife

Locale: Hampton Roads, Virginia
RE: Pulk / sled for winter backpacking on 12/17/2012 12:40:07 MST Print View

Years ago Mountainsmith made top-of-the-line bombproof fiberglass sleds. The harness attached to you via aluminum poles so you had control going both up- and downhill. A flap in the back acted as a brake when you were hauling it uphill, i.e. it glided over the snow on the way up but dug in when it started to backslide. Finally, runners underneath and a rudder in the rear helped solve the sidehill slip problem.

They also sold kiddie seats and a windshield for the sled (and a cover). I hauled little kids around in the sled for years.

Kifaru bought the design and now markets some of the sleds.

I still use the sled to haul supplies into backwoods cabin, firewood from the woodshed to the cabin, etc.

Randy Nelson
(rlnunix) - F - M

Locale: Rockies
Pulk on 12/17/2012 22:47:54 MST Print View

I haven't camped with one, yet, but I use one regularly for hut trips and they are amazing. You can haul more and if you haul less, it's still much easier. When I made the first one, using the plans mentioned above at, my buddies had a laugh. Especially when I loaded the pulk with some nice micro brews and excellent food. Until we had a mile and a half to go and my friend's older brother, who came from sea level, was spent. And the weather was getting worse. We loaded his brother pack on the pulk and kept on going. The next year there were 3 pulks and the last trip we had 6. But it was probably the brews rather than the extra hauling capacity that sold them on the idea.

So far, snow depth has not been an issue. Although the most I've been in is about 18" of powder. The skier/shoer packs the trail down in front of the pulk and the pulk rides high. The weight on the pulk is significantly less than the human so you don't even notice the pulk behind you.

I carry anything I may need during the day in my daypack which the pulk attaches to. It's just easier that way.

I have never thought, "Hey, I should climb on the pulk and ride it down the hill." :)

Snow shoes vs skis? Depends on where you are going. When we are at the huts we go skiing and most of us use AT gear. Skis give you much more float. But if you're not in powder, snow shoes are less effort and significantly lighter. Last time out, I used trail runners, 40 Below LE overboots, and Lightning Ascents. And I hauled my AT gear on my pulk. My AT gear on the pulk was probably an extra 18 pounds, which sounds like a lot, and it is. But my foot weight was close to 6 pounds lighter per foot. And you know what they say about a pound on the foot. 5 miles=26500', 26500/2=13,000 steps, 13,000 steps x 6 lbs per foot = 7800 pounds of lift of extra effort. Almost 4 tons of extra effort avoided. A ton here and a ton there and pretty soon you're talking about significant savings.

As far as side hills, I generally don't worry about that on the way up. There aren't that many significant traverses on the trails I take. If it slides a bit, that's OK. I have removable fins that go on the inside on the way up and on the bottom on the way down. They allow you to ski pretty aggressively and the pulk stays right behind you.

If anybody near Denver wants to borrow one or two to try it out, you're welcome to. Just let me know.

Yes 1000
Issues when climbing on 12/18/2012 00:01:30 MST Print View

Recently went on a snowshoeing camping trip, few hikers had home made sled and at place it would slide offtrail. Can be dangerous if the tug makes the hiker loose balance and if the sled is heavier enough it may drag the hiker down as well.

Raymond Estrella
(rayestrella) - MLife

Locale: Northern Minnesota
sled for winter backpacking? on 12/18/2012 11:53:04 MST Print View

I have been using one of these for years.

It is nice to be able to easily bring big loads with it.

joe newton

Locale: Bergen, Norway
Think Rulk, not Pulk: on 12/18/2012 12:31:46 MST Print View

From Finnmarksvidda Winter 2011

From Finnmarksvidda Winter 2011

Gary Rath
(MudisFun) - F

Locale: PNW
Pulk Sled on 12/20/2012 19:32:01 MST Print View

I made my own and a few for friends ( and I can say I wouldn't travel in the snow any other way if I had a choice.
2-3 inch I don't think would be enough though.. just my opinion. But they are incredible when the conditions are right for them!

As for the sliding down on traverses.. If you have the right setup it will track even on pretty nasty traverses without sliding down the hill. Mine never slides down on me.

Edited by MudisFun on 12/20/2012 19:33:51 MST.