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Author Topic: Snowmobile winter camping  (Read 8871 times)

Offline Bioguide

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Snowmobile winter camping
« on: January 15, 2018, 11:41:45 am »
Who uses a snowmobile to winter camp and when did you start using it for winter camping i.e. before or after hauling a traditional toboggan/sled to winter camp?

Are there any members here that snowmobile and winter camp in the Adirondacks in NYS?

I have more questions but I'll start with these.

If this subject shouldn't be included on this site Hoop just let me know and I or certanly you can remove it.


Offline AunNordDuNord

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Re: Snowmobile winter camping
« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2018, 11:56:51 am »
Ha man, there you go, all down hill from here.... hahahaha

I couldn't help you, other than I did my share of skidooing... Mainly to break trail when I was still out east running dogs.  We did a trip last year for bison hunting and we had 2 sleds for the 3 of us and I have to say you cover a lot of milles in a short time... Lots of people up here do use sleds to get to places like these friends of mine https://scontent-sea1-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/26165443_10155684182436195_6915144320430848549_n.jpg?oh=5d6c7d6af49d5ea2fb297a9bf8e40d91&oe=5ADD6FF7
They have two machine for the four of them....

But I heard lots of horror stories about machine break down to far to walk out, machine stuck in frozen slush, machine gone through the ice................ And that is enough reason for me to stay away from them as well as the prohibitive price to buy one(that will take you back out of the bush) and maintain them!!

That said, there is hundreds of them up here doing it, maybe not for extended camping trips, but for a day or two, like trappers, surveyors etc...

Offline GearFreak

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Re: Snowmobile winter camping
« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2018, 12:09:49 pm »
I am trying to - but currently we have had very cold temps and a lack of snow.  Add to that the fact that I cannot seem to line up work & home responsibilities to get any time off and the machine sits.  Have not even been out on the local trails - I got in a 20 min ride when Elk hunting but that's it so far.  I have some great plans - but need the planets to align.  Sadly, I have not even been out for one night since mid June.

I think the goal of this site is clear - as long as it does not go too far OT I assume Hoop is ok with the odd post/thread.  Mew lake car camping trips are allowed - not much difference there.  My Moon lake trips helped me build the confidence to do more in a safe manner.

ANDN makes very good points - a reliable machine is going to cost you $ and you have to learn how to start it when it doesn't want to go.  Most groups advise strongly against snowmobiling alone for the very reason that they can get you in trouble really fast. 
"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not."

Dr. Seuss - "The Lorax"

Online memaquay

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Re: Snowmobile winter camping
« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2018, 01:08:12 pm »
I think it's fine to post stuff about winter camping from skidoos....it's just another aspect of wintercamping.  Here's my post from last year.
http://www.wintertrekking.com/community/index.php?topic=4358.msg39652#msg39652

Offline Bioguide

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Re: Snowmobile winter camping
« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2018, 02:03:41 pm »
I think it's fine to post stuff about winter camping from skidoos....it's just another aspect of wintercamping.  Here's my post from last year.
http://www.wintertrekking.com/community/index.php?topic=4358.msg39652#msg39652

Thanks ANDN and GearFreak for your comments.

memaquay, I recall reading your trip report and it was good to read it again... it intrigue's me to think about owing a machine to enjoy winter camping trips like in your post.

I'll have to look into the laws here in the Adirondacks regarding going "off trail" or at least off trail on a lake to access camping locations that are abundant on several lakes that allow snowmobiles. I know the law here on public land allows you to set up camp anywhere there is a designated site or you can camp anywhere as long as you are located 150' from any body of water, stream, road, or trail. This is a pretty liberal law IMO and well there are over 1,800 miles of snowmobile trails in the Adirondack Park and one could essentially just park along the trail and back off into the woods 150' to set up camp.



Offline rbinhood

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Re: Snowmobile winter camping
« Reply #5 on: January 15, 2018, 02:23:11 pm »
Bought a Skidoo Tundra for ice fishing last year. $4000+. Started it once over the summer before. Went to start it again, and over 5 gallons of gas ran out of the carbs due to a stuck needle valve. Took it into the shop and get the report. Needle valves are fixed for $250, but now we think you have a fried cylinder. Another $900 later, I have a machine that I used once to ice fish last winter.

They are expensive and finicky. Haven't tried to camp with it yet, but it has crossed my mind. I got my pulk stuck in slush last year and about died trying to pull if off the lake. That made me think maybe there is an easier way to haul all of my stuff. Some places are wilderness, and you can't take in any kind of motorized device without risking high fines.
"Our life is frittered away by detail... simplify, simplify."
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Online memaquay

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Re: Snowmobile winter camping
« Reply #6 on: January 15, 2018, 03:10:13 pm »
Up here in Northern Ontario, we go wherever we want in the bush, there are no restrictions.  Skidoo trips of 100 miles or more are not unusual.  We are planning one for March that will probably be at least a hundred miles round trip.  If we did get into trouble, we could still manage to get out, perhaps without one of the sleds.

rbinhood, what year was your tundra?  The old ones like mine are very simple, one piston, only 269 cc's.  I changed the fuel pump on mine, 40 bucks and five minutes. I keep a spare fuel pump with the tools, although I expect this one will last me for the rest of its life.  The old tundras, if lightly used, are very reliable.  My buddie's 1990 is still going strong, he hasn't done a thing to it.

However, if you think getting stuck with your pulk in slush is bad, wait till you get a skidoo stuck.  It's very bad.  The big new sleds with 800cc's and 2 inch paddles can power right through it, but not the old ones.

I'm looking forward to setting up a semi-permanent base camp about 6 miles from my place, and old prospector tent and stove so I can zip out on my sled after work and do some ice fishing and chillaxing.

Offline Bothwell Voyageur

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Re: Snowmobile winter camping
« Reply #7 on: January 15, 2018, 03:15:17 pm »
OK so please don't take this personally but..

I know folk are gonna cry "not in my case" and "we know better" but from what I have seen the easier it is for folks to get access to the wilderness then the more likely it will be to see environmental impacts. This can range from small things like garbage right the way up to illegal hunting though of course I'm not accusing anyone on here of that. Then there is the noise thing. Last thing i want to hear all weekend is is a load of whining engines or a big group out partying late into the night. And last week someone blew out there cooling system along a local river dumping antifreeze all over the ice. Nice!

Snowmobiles can also rip up a trail so much as to make hauling more difficult though of course I do enjoy hauling on a good packed trail as well so there are two sides to that coin. I have also encountered sections of portage trails where snowmobiles have cut down through thin snow to expose bare rocks and dirt. Not only is this a pain in the butt for hauling but can also damage the trail and lead to increased erosion in the spring.

Manual hauling is generally sufficiently miserable that it is self limiting, does snowmobile powered camping just make things potentially too easy?
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Online memaquay

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Re: Snowmobile winter camping
« Reply #8 on: January 15, 2018, 03:26:35 pm »
I used to hate skidoos too.  However, my family genetics have caught up to me.  At 56, I thought I had escaped my dad's prolific heart problems, but alas, I have something going on too.   Cardiologist has ordered me not to "exert" myself, which is pretty hard not to do when you have been living an active life. So for now anyway (maybe I'll get a couple of stents and be as good as new) I'll be on the sled if I want to winter camp.

The skidooers you refer to are not my pals.  We skidoo to parts unknown, to get away from people, especially the kind on skidoos, lol.  If I found a winter camper who had man-hauled into one of those places, I wouldn't know whether to shake his hand or run away, as he would either be a bush guru, or a fugitive from justice.  We are not bound to certain trails and such not in N. Ontario, so we are usually far off the beaten track.

And I hate it when skidoos go on my snowshoe trails too.  Keep off them damn trails!

Offline Bothwell Voyageur

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Re: Snowmobile winter camping
« Reply #9 on: January 15, 2018, 03:36:24 pm »
I can see why you do it, especially where you live and good on you for getting out there still but the other folk often follow trails they see.

I guess it is more of a problem round here, but the quads and skidoos seem to be everywhere, along with empty beer cans, two stroke bottles and shotgun cartridges.
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Offline Bioguide

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Re: Snowmobile winter camping
« Reply #10 on: January 15, 2018, 04:28:43 pm »
I too use to despise motor boats and snowmobiles (maybe because I couldn't afford them back then) but I'll be 60 in a couple of months and well... I'm looking to enjoy the remaining time I have and not necessarily make it all a brutal workout. On my last trip "that wasn't" getting bogged down in the slush got me thinking pretty hard...

In the Adirondacks snowmobiles are limited to specific areas in the Park and there are a lot of "wilderness" areas that are strictly designated as non-motorized land and water just for the hiker and paddlers.

I don't think snowmobiles will or have made it "easy" for winter campers as I believe most snowmobiles like their creature comforts at the end of the day... if anything is making it easy for winter campers, or at least presenting the appearance of being easy, are the boom in all the winter camping symposiums and advertisement in winter gear etc. Although to me it seems this is attracting the winter car camper more than the back-country camper; not that I'm really a true back-county camper myself... just my opinion/observation.

Online memaquay

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Re: Snowmobile winter camping
« Reply #11 on: January 15, 2018, 05:10:44 pm »
Not to get too far off topic, but after years of paddling and portaging, I went motorized this summer too. Built myself a square stern with a little 2.5 horse motor.  Not saying I won't ever paddle again, but once I got over myself, I sure had a ton of fun with the motor canoe.  You young fellers will get there someday too.


Offline rbinhood

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Re: Snowmobile winter camping
« Reply #12 on: January 15, 2018, 06:36:24 pm »
I'm 62, almost 63. I like to think I am in good shape, but at the same time I know I could be in better shape. I have a friend who is a gym rat and probably has about the same body fat level as when he graduated from high school 45 years ago. The day I got stuck in the slush, he was with me and panting just as hard as I was. Made me feel better that I wasn't the only one struggling.

The sad reality is, I know I won't be able to haul sled 10 years from now the same way I am able to today. Some compensation and motorized assistance will likely be involved at some point in the future. I hope that day is as long off as possible, but its arrival is all but assured. When it finally comes, the choice will be stay home because I can't do it by myslef anymore, or keep on going, but with help. All I know is, I sure don't want to die sitting in a barca lounger in front of the TV. I'd rather go out pulling my sled accross a frozen lake.

« Last Edit: January 15, 2018, 07:24:38 pm by rbinhood »
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Offline Bothwell Voyageur

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Re: Snowmobile winter camping
« Reply #13 on: January 15, 2018, 06:56:19 pm »
Sorry, it am certainly being unfair to the motorized contingency on here. Most of the winter impact I see is certainly from day trippers, folk just passing through and like you say almost no one will be staying out overnight. Who needs to camp when you have a space ship to take you there and back in a day?

Hopefully all these symposia and workshops will include something about the environmental impact of winter camping, particularly in araes that see relatively heavy use in summer as well as winter. Unfortunately governments are often way behind he curve with environmental regulation. Trying to clean up afterwards instead of taking preventative measures before damage is done.

Unfortunately motor boats are another thing altogether. There are a number of beautiful lakes here trashed by the motor in and camp crowd. A lot of them will camp just once a year or even less, leave garbage and poop back in the woods and head back home to tell their friends what great outdoors folk they are. The first portages doesn't seem to stop them. They haul in boats with sleds during the winter then abandon them when they get too old and begin to leak.

One thing to think about though. I used to hike up Scottish mountains until I got too old and fat. Should I now be allowed to drive my 4x4 up to the top?
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Online memaquay

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Re: Snowmobile winter camping
« Reply #14 on: January 15, 2018, 07:39:53 pm »
Quote
Should I now be allowed to drive my 4x4 up to the top?
I'd say only if it is allowed.  There is common sense in all these things.  There are areas that restrict motorized travel of any kind, and there are areas that are heavily abused.  One of the areas that I saw that received the most abuse came from paddlers on the French River.  No motor boats were involved.  Every square inch of land on the long weekend in August was covered in brown and white flowers, only they weren't flowers, unless there is a new classification involving toilet paper.

Many wilderness areas stay wilderness because they are just too far away for people to go to in a day.  That's what it's like around me, except for the fact that huge swaths of forest are being cut down in the areas i used to play in.  When you see a pristine area that you have used for 30 years completely cut over, the idea about how you get there becomes pretty minor.  There are worse things than the occasional skidoo or boat.