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Cheap or DIY pulk?
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Kevin Burton
(burtonator) - F

Locale: norcal
Cheap or DIY pulk? on 01/02/2013 13:53:25 MST Print View

I've gone over the archives here to try to find if someone here is using any cheap DYI pulks.

I find a bit but still not super happy with the results.

The Rulk looks interesting but I think I want something with poles and a fin so that the pulk doesn't slide everywhere.

I've seen a lot of people mention ...

But $250 or so for a pulk seems to be overkill.

It's just plastic plus a harness. $40 seems like plenty to spend here.

There are pulks on Amazon for $20 but without the poles. I suspect I could just attach the poles with some string and then use a harness from an old pack.


Paul Magnanti
(PaulMags) - MLife

Locale: People's Republic of Boulder
Good timing... on 01/02/2013 14:34:25 MST Print View

I just posted this on my website. A dirt bagger special. :D

FWIW, I used it with skis on the way to a 10th Mtn division hut.

My dirt bagger gear sled:
Dirt Bagger Gear Sled

The only change I may make is to use the sled listed in the comments section.

Here's the terrain I used the sled in if you are curious:

And here's my view on Xmas Morning 2012 ! :D

Slide Lake

Kevin Burton
(burtonator) - F

Locale: norcal
Re: Good timing... on 01/02/2013 14:57:41 MST Print View

Nice... I will probably run the same setup but will buy the Jet Sled which is like $20...

Nice terrain. Did you have any problems with it sliding down hill without a fin ?

I will probably just order everything and build it at home. $40 beats $400 any day.

Paul Magnanti
(PaulMags) - MLife

Locale: People's Republic of Boulder
sliding on 01/02/2013 15:18:49 MST Print View

I did not have any problem once I figured out having the PVC tubing on the side of my hips. (Though I suspect the Jet sled woud be even better)

As you can tell from the topo, the terrain was pretty moderate.

We went back via the Slide Rd (Jeep track) as it was more mellow, wider and, IMO, more scenic than the suggested approach.

Kevin Burton
(burtonator) - F

Locale: norcal
Re: sliding on 01/02/2013 15:27:50 MST Print View

I don't fully understand:

"I did not have any problem once I figured out having the PVC tubing on the side of my hips. (Though I suspect the Jet sled woud be even better)"

... meaning you adjusted the hip belt to move the tubing to the side or the hip belt and the tubing just naturally prevented it from sliding?

Paul Magnanti
(PaulMags) - MLife

Locale: People's Republic of Boulder
picture on 01/02/2013 15:46:00 MST Print View

I did not use a separate hip belt. I attached it to the side of my ski pack a bit lower.

Basically, I made sure that my body (hips in particular) was bracketed by the PVC tubing.

If you look at my buddy, that's pretty much his set up, too

The asterik would be my hips. The X would extend just above the *


Once the PVC tubing was on the side of my body, found the sled to be more stable. Basically, don't have the tubes behind the body, but extending to the side of the body.

Hope that makes more sense. Apologize for any confusion.

Edited by PaulMags on 01/02/2013 15:51:34 MST.

Kevin Burton
(burtonator) - F

Locale: norcal
Re: picture on 01/02/2013 16:10:32 MST Print View

ok... so I guess you just rotate the hip belt until the tubes are on the side of your body... which I guess makes sense.

Tad Englund
(bestbuilder) - F - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Cheap or DIY pulk? on 01/02/2013 16:58:17 MST Print View

Kevin, I've made a couple Pulks and the best/cheapest way to I've found is to follow some of the stuff in the video below- its kind of korny, but has some excellent information.

I use a different belt because I had an extra hip belt laying around.
To save money I also use 1/2 pvc tubing (form Home Depot) with an "I" bolt at the bottom
Pulk pole end
I really like his "pole to sled" attachment system, its "EASY" but for extended use you might want to beef it up like described in this thread discussing it:

The "kids" sled I originally used proved too unstable and would turn over because of the dished bottom. The expedition sled or other flat bottom sled should be fine.

Also, for the mid-pole connection I just used a velcro strap that I riveted to one of the poles
velcro pole strap

Here is my belt attachment- Just a webbing loop and a lightweight carabiner
pulk belt attachment

I take my kids/grandkids with me so I need something that is multi-use (for sledding) and the expedition sled works for both. You might as well have fun in the backcountry while you are there.

John S.
(jshann) - F
Re: Cheap or DIY pulk? on 01/02/2013 17:12:39 MST Print View

Yep, you don't have to spend alot. In 2007 I used a Paris Glad-A-Boggan sled (2.5 pounds), same pvc pipes, cordage, and regular 1 inch webbing strap for the hipbelt. I also used the same webbing to attach my backpack in the sled shoulder straps-up so I could backpack out with the sled on my pack.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Cheap or DIY pulk? on 01/02/2013 17:36:08 MST Print View

When you get the thing all done and get your poles and belt arranged, before you actually test it on snow, spread something on the bottom surface to prevent icing. In the old days we used to rub on some Maxiglide anti-stick liquid used by cross country skiers. Others used simple 3-in-1 spray oil. Whichever, if you fill up the little micro-pores of the plastic surface, then there isn't much to ice up and the thing will keep sliding. Once you get about three pounds of ice stuck to the bottom, you are doomed.

SAR teams sometimes use this technique to tow a full Stokes litter.


Gary Rath
(MudisFun) - F

Locale: PNW
Sled Choice. on 01/05/2013 10:13:58 MST Print View

If you like to bushwhack an will be going over trees and the like my vote is to use the Jetsled jr as the base sled. I find its higher walls don't dig in often and it travels over stuff better. The flatter bottom also less prone to tip overs.

Depending on the material not sure you need to spray the bottom with anything.
I have never had an issue to date with the Jetsled.. (HDPE Plastic) But I guess I could give it a try next time I am out to see if there is any difference.
Nothing has stuck to it before....

Randy Nelson
(rlnunix) - F - M

Locale: Rockies
Pulk on 01/07/2013 23:46:55 MST Print View

Funny you should ask. One of my friends and I were just out today. We're doing a hut-to-hut trip starting Wednesday and we cached food and an excellent selection of micro brews near the second hut. We haul some heavy loads in them. I've made 6 from the plans at or my variations of them. You can make the most expensive for less than $100. I prefer the last one in the plans but have made 3 other variations. Some as cheap as $30.

It really depends on what you will be using it for. If you are going light, any small sled will do. But if you want to haul a substantial amount, get the Paris sled. I use 2 aluminum fins and mount them inside the sled on the climbs and then switch them to the bottom for descents. And only on trails, on roads I leave them off. Don't leave fins on the bottom for climbs unless you'll be doing traverses where you need to keep the pulk from sliding down the side hill. With fins you can ski pretty aggressively with the sled staying right behind you on downhills which is really nice when you need to keep speed up to get through flatter areas in order to continue downhill.

Here's my buddy with his pulk today. When the snow is packed down, we like to snowshoe up and use our AT gear for the descent.

John pulk

Randy Nelson
(rlnunix) - F - M

Locale: Rockies
Re: Good timing... on 01/08/2013 09:11:02 MST Print View

Nice pic of Homestake, Pmags. We'll be at 10th Mtn tomorrow and Thursday. We've been wanting to climb it but haven't done it so far. Weather has been an issue. We're still talking about doing it Thursday but should probably save our legs for the hut-to-hut on Friday as that willl be tough. I did get up it last summer at least.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Re: Cheap or DIY pulk? on 01/08/2013 09:50:34 MST Print View

+1 on Bob's suggestion to use maxiGlide or light oil on the bottom. Or apply a X-C glide wax. To the entire bottom. Before you leave home. Especially if you transport it on a ski rack or poem truck bed. Then the road dirt and any icing from transport just slips off.

Jason Amick
(isneer) - F
Re: Re: picture on 02/11/2013 04:51:36 MST Print View

I guess I would have same thinking.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
PVC pile wands on 04/01/2013 20:20:54 MDT Print View

If yer uisng PCV pipe for yer wands then fill them with hardwood dowels for strength against lateral stress/breakage.

Try to get hardwood dowels that JUST barely fit inside the PVC pipes. If they won't fit then sand them down (by hand W/sandpaper wrapped around the dowels) until they do fit. This is a critically important step in making the wands.