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  • A sled for singletrack ski touring?

    Possible?

    Anyone know a way to rig a sled that would work for singletrack ski touring?

    We're trying to sort out a good way to carry 20 lbs of gear for skiing 30+ miles a day of ungroomed singletrack hiking trail.

    The sled cannot be tipping over. -- That's what happens to our sleds right now, but our sleds aren't totally dialed in. Still, with pivots points at the sled with the poles I don't see how to prevent tipover in humpy, lumpy technical terrain -- other than maybe to keep the load REALLY low and maybe somehow find a slightly wider sled.

    And it can't slip down sideslopes. Or whip around and whack trees.

    It would be nice to have the sled carry everything. And it has to be simple and very lightweight -- like 10 lbs max. Skier could have fanny pack for map and snacks. I'm thinking to somehow be able to whip the sled forward and between the legs for grabbing water and food stops. Maybe sit on the sled, etc.

    Any singletrack sled beta out there?

    Ideally this would be a DIY sled concept. ...Ideally using a kids snow sled. That's been our base sled so far. We don't have no steenking $300 for sleds.

  • #2
    Those spendy sleds are really nice for that kind of thing but $300 is the cheaper side of things.
    I did see this: http://www.orscrosscountryskisdirect...tructions.html
    which may have some good info you could apply to various sleds depending on what is available to you. The side slope is a tricky problem usually solved with fins that stick into the snow on a commercial pulk. Maybe you could rig something up. Prototyping before a big trip will be key to lessen your suffering.

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    • #3
      You can significantly improve a kid sled by attaching half-skis to the bottom. I.e. take an old pair of skis and make them three or four feet long, then attached them via wood block risers to the bottom of the sled. This reduces drag on the sled, especially if the skis are spaced the same distance as the track, but does not fix and probably worsens the tipover problem. I wonder if you tilted the skis so they form a shape more like a boat's hull.....or attached them to outriggers so they were spaced wider than the sled....

      On the downhill, you can make the sled more manageable by putting skins on it.
      Last edited by Baaahb; 10 December 2013, 11:21 AM.

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      • #4
        Yeah, we've done the skis-bolted-to-sled thing and they're great in some ways. Not totally dialed for anti-tip-over, tho. Maybe if we made the sled actually taller so that it truly rode on the skis in the tracks... Maybe not... More width seems bad... Skis do prevent side-slip. Possibly a really low load on a sled with skis screwed into bottom would do the trick. We're not carrying that much, just don't want it on our bodies if we don't have to. Or maybe we just bite bullet and beef up and learn to ski with 20lbs packs. 20 lbs might not be so bad. 25, tho... For regular winter ski touring 20 is fine, but we're trying to reach for huge distances with this concept... Might help to get it onto a sled. Might not help. Yeah, testing to follow...

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        • #5
          Up here, we use a kid's sled mounted on top of old skis. It's hauled with 2 attached poles which connect to a backpack or harness. That helps with stability. We've also discovered through trial and error (much error) that it is super-important to pack the sled correctly. Heavy stuff on the bottom, and lash everything down well so that there's nothing loose or floppy because that can lead to instability too. I guess it's sort of similar to the meat wagons used by ski patrol, but very low budget.

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          • #6
            I've pretty much resigned myself to backpack tours that mostly follow roads. With the amount I bring for overnights, I vastly prefer pulling the weight rather than carrying it.

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            • #7
              The key to a sled not tipping over is a rigid connection system to the puller (you). A rope ain't gonna do it.
              I built one using electrical conduit, about 3/4" in diameter, bent into a U shape. I attached the ends to a burly backpack waist strap and used ring bolts (?) (they had a ring of metal that the conduit could be slid through) to attach to the sled.
              I got the design from a teacher who had been taking kids out on wilderness trips for decades and said it was the best design he'd ever come up with. I also added small metal runners on the bottom, but they were maybe 6" long and 3/4" inch deep, which cut down into the snow adding stability.

              I've seen flexible plastic pieces used too, crossed to look like an X that was also a good setup, but I wouldn't know where to get the plastic strips.
              Look at the design of a ski patrol toboggan. That's essentially what you want, but not that burly and heavy.

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              • #8
                I've been happy using fiberglass poles for my pulk. Find an electric fence supply place and they should have various fiberglass rods. I use six-footers I think. Depending on the diameter of the cylinder, you can fine-tune the rigidity of the system.

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                • #9
                  I built a polk from a design I found on-line a few years ago. It used rigid conduit and the rope went all around the sled in a weave. Works great. Just google "polk designs" or the like - it wasn't hard to find or build.

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                  • #10
                    that sounds right. focus on the rigidity of the attachment mechanism and leave the sled light.

                    I put the ropes in pvc plastic pipe (irrigation pipe) and find that crossing them makes it worse. But it would be nice to have something more rigid that you can grab a hold of when necessary. I like the idea of having the two poles be fixed together (by a U loop or by two junctions and a crosspiece)...that should be an easy upgrade...

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                    • #11
                      Although this isn't the question you asked, I would strongly suggest you forget about the sled. Especially if all you have is 20 Lbs. weight. Sleds as far as I can tell, come into their own when you're out longer than 12 - 15 days between caches, i.e. where the weight is more than you can put on your back. Or when pulling a keg and a dozen bottles of wine into a hut.

                      1) For a 5 - 10 day ski mountaineering traverse, in really big terrain, including glacier trinkets and ropes, packs win hands down. Everyone I know (myself included) who played around in sleds have had deep misgivings and no one I know or have talked to who attempts the classic western Canadian ski mountaineering traverses screws around with sleds. This is totally a different situation to your application, but the drivers for covering lots of big ground carry over. Skiing efficiency, weight minimization, etc. (One driver that does not: that sleds can kill you in steep, crevassed terrain so at least for some of the time, you'll have the sled on your back, which su-u-uuuuucks).

                      2) Closer to your situation, in Quebec there is a 2 day race where one category includes requiring a minimum pack weight and carrying your sleeping kit (the "Coureur du bois" class in the Quebec ski marathon). The total length varies a bit from year to year with conditions, but the full course is ~ 190km (~110 miles). The trail is very similar to the terrain I've read you describe: fairly up and down, twisty tight trail (groomed, though). Point being: packs work very well at carrying weight while covering *lots* of ground.

                      3) One of my best friends has been doing lots of multi-day 'semi back country' tours in Quebec. Some of the terrain -- Charlevoix, Jacques-Cartier, Vermont Long Trail, Chic-Chocs, etc. -- is characterized by breaking trail up and down reasonably big vertical and covering lots of kms. Packs, no sleds.

                      Seriously, if your kit is only 20lbs, you should have no trouble with pulling off 30 mile days sticking to packs.

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                      • #12
                        You are right in your conclusions, CSG, a sled will slow you down on ANY terrain. But you miss the big reason most people use one: personal comfort. You look at the issue as "when do you need a sled?" I look at the issue as "when do you need a pack?" Not saying we disagree, just amusing different perspectives. (Not sure where the OP sits on this.) Yes, I am old.

                        That Quebec winter festival looks like a lot of fun. There's also a big multi-day tour back east (tour de...tour de... tour de...) where you are highly discouraged against using waxless skis....which is just to say them Quebecois are serious about their nordic.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by JeffOYB View Post
                          Possible?

                          Anyone know a way to rig a sled that would work for singletrack ski touring?

                          We're trying to sort out a good way to carry 20 lbs of gear for skiing 30+ miles a day of ungroomed singletrack hiking trail.

                          The sled cannot be tipping over. -- That's what happens to our sleds right now, but our sleds aren't totally dialed in. Still, with pivots points at the sled with the poles I don't see how to prevent tipover in humpy, lumpy technical terrain -- other than maybe to keep the load REALLY low and maybe somehow find a slightly wider sled.

                          And it can't slip down sideslopes. Or whip around and whack trees.

                          It would be nice to have the sled carry everything. And it has to be simple and very lightweight -- like 10 lbs max. Skier could have fanny pack for map and snacks. I'm thinking to somehow be able to whip the sled forward and between the legs for grabbing water and food stops. Maybe sit on the sled, etc.

                          Any singletrack sled beta out there?

                          Ideally this would be a DIY sled concept. ...Ideally using a kids snow sled. That's been our base sled so far. We don't have no steenking $300 for sleds.
                          I've bought the sled pole and harness combo for 3 sleds from these guys http://skipulk.com/. I also have the "fins" which have helped to keep the sleds from tipping over on side slopes. We load 'em up pretty good for our annual snow-cave weekend. See the "Products" list for the above. Not cheap, but the stuff is well-built. Hope this helps!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Baaahb View Post
                            You are right in your conclusions, CSG, a sled will slow you down on ANY terrain. But you miss the big reason most people use one: personal comfort. You look at the issue as "when do you need a sled?" I look at the issue as "when do you need a pack?" Not saying we disagree, just amusing different perspectives. (Not sure where the OP sits on this.) Yes, I am old.
                            I go one further. If its looking like >7-8 days of food, I then ask: how do we place a cache?

                            That Quebec winter festival looks like a lot of fun. There's also a big multi-day tour back east (tour de...tour de... tour de...) where you are highly discouraged against using waxless skis....which is just to say them Quebecois are serious about their nordic.
                            The Ski Marathon is a very fun event, and a race I've always wanted to participate in (but not the Coureur de Bois level ... I don't need to sleep outside and carry a pack).

                            The other multi-day tour you may be thinking of is La Traversee des Laurentides (http://skitdl.com/). One of my best friends has been participating in this for about 6-7 years now. They go to a different place every year. They ski pretty big days, often in that 'semi-backcountry' style, linking various trail networks. But they make a point of ending their days at places with heat and cooked meals. Typical skis are 'robust Nordic', maybe +/- metal edges, and wax just works better in typical Quebec snows, which are often fresh, cold and dry.

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                            • #15
                              Whoa. Sorry for the derail, but this year's Traversee is teh 40th anniversary, and they are traversing the Western side of the Saguenay fjord from the St. Lawrence to Lac St. Jean. Looks awesome:
                              http://skitdl.com/tdl-2014/tdl-description-de-la-route/

                              + they anticipate a 17km strech on the fjord and suggest bringing skates!

                              I can't see an English version of their website, but I'll be happy to help translate if anyone is interested.
                              Last edited by CSG; 10 December 2013, 04:50 PM.

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