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Author Topic: Toboggans and Hills  (Read 4028 times)

Offline Covanam

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Toboggans and Hills
« on: January 29, 2016, 04:45:24 PM »
How many hills before hauling a toboggan becomes more effort than it is worth?
Does this only work well on a frozen lake or other virtually flat terrain?

I'm in NJ and planning another 3-4 day winder backpacking trip on the AT.
My pack last year was about 35 pounds loaded (including water, food, and evening/rest layers).

There is constant elevation change, but only a few places involving climbing.

I was wondering whether dragging my gear in a light sled and then throwing it on my back for the real climbing would make things any easier, or whether the terrain would make this more effort, not less.

Offline Hutchy

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Re: Toboggans and Hills
« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2016, 06:34:00 PM »
A bit of a catch 22 in my opinion. An almost frictionless sled pulls you back with as much flrce as it takes for you to pull it up. But with the weight on your back, it takes effort to carry it. I say a really light sled has the win in your case still because you save on the flats and downhills.

How much snow? Packed trail?
Used to be the man made the gear, now it seems the gear makes the man...

Offline Bioguide

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Re: Toboggans and Hills
« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2016, 07:10:18 PM »
A bit of a catch 22 in my opinion. An almost frictionless sled pulls you back with as much flrce as it takes for you to pull it up. But with the weight on your back, it takes effort to carry it. I say a really light sled has the win in your case still because you save on the flats and downhills.

How much snow? Packed trail?

OK, I'll admit...I'm sipping on my new favorite drink... but what about, with a smallish sled, before an accent slap a ski skin on the bottom of the sled to help with the accent? Just a random thought... 8)

Offline AunNordDuNord

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Re: Toboggans and Hills
« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2016, 07:22:17 PM »
A bit of a catch 22 in my opinion. An almost frictionless sled pulls you back with as much flrce as it takes for you to pull it up. But with the weight on your back, it takes effort to carry it. I say a really light sled has the win in your case still because you save on the flats and downhills.

How much snow? Packed trail?

OK, I'll admit...I'm sipping on my new favorite drink... but what about, with a smallish sled, before an accent slap a ski skin on the bottom of the sled to help with the accent? Just a random thought... 8)

The you sacrifice glide and increase friction....

With 35pounds in your sled, it would take quite the hill to stop me....

Offline Bioguide

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Re: Toboggans and Hills
« Reply #4 on: January 29, 2016, 07:30:21 PM »
More thought on this...

So bring a small sled that you can strap to your backpack and when on level terrain put the backpack in the sled and haul the sled. Then when you have to "climb" put the backpack on and either pull the empty sled behind you or strap it to the backpack.... I would imagine you would save a lot of energy when hauling the sled on level terrain this way...8)

Something like this might work really well:


Offline AunNordDuNord

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Re: Toboggans and Hills
« Reply #5 on: January 29, 2016, 07:38:57 PM »
More thought on this...

So bring a small sled that you can strap to your backpack and when on level terrain put the backpack in the sled and haul the sled. Then when you have to "climb" put the backpack on and either pull the empty sled behind you or strap it to the backpack.... I would imagine you would save a lot of energy when hauling the sled on level terrain this way...8)

Something like this might work really well:



Lots of alpine traveler do that actually, when they get to stretches that ore to technical to pull a sled, they strap it to there pack.

Offline Bioguide

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Re: Toboggans and Hills
« Reply #6 on: January 29, 2016, 07:41:21 PM »
More thought on this...

So bring a small sled that you can strap to your backpack and when on level terrain put the backpack in the sled and haul the sled. Then when you have to "climb" put the backpack on and either pull the empty sled behind you or strap it to the backpack.... I would imagine you would save a lot of energy when hauling the sled on level terrain this way...8)

Something like this might work really well:



Lots of alpine traveler do that actually, when they get to stretches that ore to technical to pull a sled, they strap it to there pack.

Perfect! There you go... thank you Knob Creek!

Offline AunNordDuNord

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Offline southcove

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Re: Toboggans and Hills
« Reply #8 on: January 29, 2016, 08:57:31 PM »
Most of the AT that I have been on in the tri-state area of NY, NJ, MA...a small sled would be annoying at best, the trail just isn't set up for that sort of hiking.  Snow will smooth out some of the bumps and rock...doesn't diminish the constant ups and downs though.

If you still wanted to go in that direction, one of those rollup blue kids sleds could be modified with a lashing system to make it worthwhile...more so, if you were traveling close by with a hiking companion to use the tail line for downhill control.

Offline Bioguide

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Re: Toboggans and Hills
« Reply #9 on: January 29, 2016, 08:57:45 PM »
At the very least I'm an AunNordDuNord (Ardbeg) follower... so keep the suggestions coming... 8)

Offline Goski

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Re: Toboggans and Hills
« Reply #10 on: January 29, 2016, 09:01:43 PM »
35 lb (16kg) is not worth to bother with a sled IMO.  When it's becoming more than 20 kg (44 lbs) I divide the load between small sled (Paris) and a pack.  On flats everything is on a sled, on hills between the sled and my back.  The steeper the hill, the more goes on my back.  I've never strapped the sled to my backpack, pulling empty sled is never a problem.  Width of your ski and the snow/trail conditions matter too. 

Offline HOOP

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Re: Toboggans and Hills
« Reply #11 on: January 30, 2016, 12:54:06 AM »
For pulk haulers on the mountains, you gotta see Igloo Ed in action.  This is a video of Igloo Ed, "powder shooting" with day pack and SkiPulk. 
http://www.grandshelters.com/video/MVI_2580.mov    (You need Quicktime to run a .mov).

Video was linked from one of Ed's wonderful trip reports here, and the photographs are awesome:    http://www.wintertrekking.com/community/index.php?topic=906.msg7093#msg7093

Ed does not seem to have a problem hauling a pulk up mountains, and powder shooting back down!   :)
My Youtube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/Wintertrekker

"I firmly believe that far from hurting the planet, the growing knowledge of Bushcraft is helping our natural world. When we employ bushcraft skills, it may seem as though we are consuming natural resources.  But of course, the more we learn about the trees, the plants, the animals around us, the more we respect them. The more we respect them, the more we cherish them, the more we nurture and take care of them. That is the underlying principle of Bushcraft.

Offline 300winmag

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Re: Toboggans and Hills
« Reply #12 on: December 28, 2016, 02:10:35 PM »
I realize this thread is almost a year old but I'm new to this site. However I'm not new to pulks or winter travel an camping.

My experience in pulk building is to put a hinge on the bottom of the pulk, centered near the rear, just aft of the two skegs. (You do use 1" aluminum angle skegs or "runners" for lateral stability when traversing side hills, right?)

This hinge is about 8" long and, of course, folds flat on forward motion and opens down 90 deg. with rearward motion. It is an automatic "brake" to help you rest on uphill traverses.

I've found it helpful to spray the hinge with a few coats of clear polyurethane and then coat it with glide wax rubbed and then ironed on with a ski iron to melt it on. This keeps ice from building up in damp snow.

Eric B.

Offline yardsale

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Re: Toboggans and Hills
« Reply #13 on: November 07, 2018, 07:53:11 AM »
I climb 1000 vertical feet to set up hot tent in a place for back country skiing.  Subscribe to the pack on the sled on the flats, but on your back while ascending.  Don't have the knowledge to really figure out the physics of the comparison but I do observe that when the pack is on your back and you lock your knees, the weight is borne by your bones, not your muscle structure. Conversely, gravity is always pulling you backwards while on a hill.  Brake described on the prior post would mitigate this for sure.