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Author Topic: Snowmobile winter camping  (Read 11871 times)

Offline AunNordDuNord

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Re: Snowmobile winter camping
« Reply #45 on: January 17, 2018, 11:38:02 pm »
I'd go skandic too.... Or maybe when they figure the Yamaha Vk 540 https://www.yamaha-motor.ca/products/details-build-price.php?model=4919&group=SM&catId=119  it used to be a great machine that they brought back a few years ago, but I heard they've been having a few hiccups... Simple machine made for the bush!! Not too big, not too heavy...

Offline trapmusher

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Re: Snowmobile winter camping
« Reply #46 on: January 18, 2018, 06:50:28 am »
I'd go skandic too.... Or maybe when they figure the Yamaha Vk 540 https://www.yamaha-motor.ca/products/details-build-price.php?model=4919&group=SM&catId=119  it used to be a great machine that they brought back a few years ago, but I heard they've been having a few hiccups... Simple machine made for the bush!! Not too big, not too heavy...

I have an old VK540. It's a tank but I really don't like it unless I am hauling wood. The first reason why is because it was really tough to start in cold weather until I had a primer installed on the carborator. The second is that it is a really tough to turn machine.  You build up muscle mass using the steering.

But if you have a sled of logs to haul, it is great.

For what most people on here seem to do a Snow Dog is probably enough. Compact, no license plate or helmet stuff .... and simple.

Offline ravinerat

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Re: Snowmobile winter camping
« Reply #47 on: January 18, 2018, 08:34:21 am »
You know there are good used sleds out there. Really helps to know about sleds when looking. Low milage, maintance records. You can tell when you go look at it. Most two strokes are going to need the top end rebuilt around 14000 km. That's why you see so many with 10000 km for sale.

For years I did everything on a 98 Grandtouring 500. Wider skis, 136" track. It worked but wasn't perfect. A fan cooled sled would be best for you due to the low speeds you'll be travelling. Liquid cooled sleds need lots of snow on the heat exchangers and cool temps to keep it from over heating.

I had a Tundra 300. Great sled but not enough power at times. Especially when jumping pressure cracks on the lake.
Went to a 2011 Tundra 550f. Enough power but poor gas range.
Went to a 2011 Renegade 600 Ace four stroke. I was always trying to turn it into a Tundra. Hard for me to service as everything is encased.
Traded it to a guy looking for a 4 stroke and he gave me his 2011 Tundra LT 550f. With 10" ski skins, widening kit, 154" track and a few extras. I love this sled.mdoes everything I need except fuel range.

RR
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Offline Hutchy

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Re: Snowmobile winter camping
« Reply #48 on: January 20, 2018, 09:19:34 am »
After one of my trapping sleds got a bit long in the tooth I picked up a polaris voyageur 155 550 fan. Hauls everything I need to trapping and if I need to camp on my line it works perfect. Simple engine, starts at thirty below and with 155 inches of track refuses to get stuck. Also I can easily lift either end. I made a homemade covered sleigh for it modeled after the northern sledworks crossfox model.

Always bring snowshoes regardless. Never know what can happen. Another great addition is a thing called a powderjack. It is a lightweight jack that mounts on the running boards. Lifting a sled is easy until the track gets mired in slush or sunk in a beaver swamp. A powderjack lets you jack it up and cut poles to drive out on. Saved me a couple times.
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Offline Hutchy

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Re: Snowmobile winter camping
« Reply #49 on: January 20, 2018, 09:53:55 am »
Another thing about the four stroke sleds. No pull start. Extra batteries, jumper kits etc work, but I like my two stroke because of the pull start. It has electric also, but it is peace of mind. Miles from anywhere with a dead battery sucks. Heavy sleds and the need for extra batteries, winches etc mean more weight carried all around. My powderjack weighs exactly five lbs and aside from my axe, leatherman and small tool kit is all I bring. Aside from trapping related stuff of course. Lots of guys I know with skandics bring chainsaws, chain, winches...lots of stuff. Whike I bring a chainsaw for under ice beaver trapping its only for that. Remember, guys used to trap and travel off trail for years with elans. And they managed just fine. I feel like trapping and winter camping functionally are the same with regards to snowmobiles.

In regards to littering, people who snowshoe have a generally better appreciation of nature than those in motorized endavours. This is coming from a lifelong snowmobile, atv, and boat enthusiast.  I prefer snowmobiling because you still are able to leave no trace aside from the occasional stud mark on an exposed rock. I still snowshoe camp, and for strictly camping prefer it. It saddens me to be canoeing through a flood or pond to set traps and come across a burned out firepit full of beer cans that could have only been left by the local yahoo snowmobilers. I get a sort of revenge however whenever a group of them atempt to follow my trapping trails. My sled floats over soft spots and I know which sections of creek require more speed due to thin ice. They generally get stuck long before anyone gets in real bad however its always amusing to see the story in the snow. Lol.

off trail snowmobiling be it either a day trip or camping is always rewarding and I encourage everyone to try it. Just remember that the means of travel doesnt change how you should respect the area you are traveling in
Used to be the man made the gear, now it seems the gear makes the man...

Offline AunNordDuNord

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Re: Snowmobile winter camping
« Reply #50 on: January 20, 2018, 12:41:36 pm »
Another thing about the four stroke sleds. No pull start. Extra batteries, jumper kits etc work, but I like my two stroke because of the pull start. It has electric also, but it is peace of mind. Miles from anywhere with a dead battery sucks. Heavy sleds and the need for extra batteries, winches etc mean more weight carried all around. My powderjack weighs exactly five lbs and aside from my axe, leatherman and small tool kit is all I bring. Aside from trapping related stuff of course. Lots of guys I know with skandics bring chainsaws, chain, winches...lots of stuff. Whike I bring a chainsaw for under ice beaver trapping its only for that. Remember, guys used to trap and travel off trail for years with elans. And they managed just fine. I feel like trapping and winter camping functionally are the same with regards to snowmobiles.

In regards to littering, people who snowshoe have a generally better appreciation of nature than those in motorized endavours. This is coming from a lifelong snowmobile, atv, and boat enthusiast.  I prefer snowmobiling because you still are able to leave no trace aside from the occasional stud mark on an exposed rock. I still snowshoe camp, and for strictly camping prefer it. It saddens me to be canoeing through a flood or pond to set traps and come across a burned out firepit full of beer cans that could have only been left by the local yahoo snowmobilers. I get a sort of revenge however whenever a group of them atempt to follow my trapping trails. My sled floats over soft spots and I know which sections of creek require more speed due to thin ice. They generally get stuck long before anyone gets in real bad however its always amusing to see the story in the snow. Lol.

off trail snowmobiling be it either a day trip or camping is always rewarding and I encourage everyone to try it. Just remember that the means of travel doesnt change how you should respect the area you are traveling in

Well said Hutchy, lots of good in there!! And before Elan, people were walking and had dogs, usually 2 to 4 big dogs to pull the gear, most of the time they would be breaking trail fro the dogs and really seldom would they ride the planks.... But as human nature is we always want more, bigger, faster, lighter, but we want more, Human are really greedy and that is what kills us... I'm no different :'(


Offline southcove

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Re: Snowmobile winter camping
« Reply #51 on: January 20, 2018, 02:25:08 pm »

In regards to littering, people who snowshoe have a generally better appreciation of nature than those in motorized endavours. This is coming from a lifelong snowmobile, atv, and boat enthusiast.  I prefer snowmobiling because you still are able to leave no trace aside from the occasional stud mark on an exposed rock. I still snowshoe camp, and for strictly camping prefer it. It saddens me to be canoeing through a flood or pond to set traps and come across a burned out firepit full of beer cans that could have only been left by the local yahoo snowmobilers. I get a sort of revenge however whenever a group of them atempt to follow my trapping trails. My sled floats over soft spots and I know which sections of creek require more speed due to thin ice. They generally get stuck long before anyone gets in real bad however its always amusing to see the story in the snow. Lol.

off trail snowmobiling be it either a day trip or camping is always rewarding and I encourage everyone to try it. Just remember that the means of travel doesnt change how you should respect the area you are traveling in

+1 on that!  Especially the last line.

I love my toys, don't get me wrong, I used to race MX and ride off road all over southern CA, desert, dunes, etc.  But only where it was permitted and always with respect and thought to the next folks to follow along after me.  I still ride an off road bike but common sense still rules the day.

We've had several camps in parts of the ADKs of NY 'disturbed' by snowmobilers while we were out snowshoeing or ice fishing...meaning they went round and round our tents checking out our encampment...bit disturbing to say the least.  Or been approached by a pack of riders on a road or trail that was clearly marked as off limits to motorized vehicles of any sort.  You have to bite your tongue since your cars or trucks are parked and easily ID'd back at the trailhead (those being the one's w/o trailers...).   Anyone know Lake Lila?!

I have had just as many encounters that have been warm and respectful, most just wave or if they do stop, are interested in the whole winter camping deal.   When you are hoofing it, the noise, the smell can be disturbing but its gone soon enough, typically.    Daresay if I was a sledder, I'd still be winter camping, though I can't imagine I'd have much to comment about as far as my bipedal powered fellow campers.  Just the way that sort of thing seems to go.  Power vs human power.  Been there, done that.

While I don't ever expect to own or run dogs, there is something about that way of travel, for recreational purposes, that really speaks to my sense of adventure. 


Offline fisherman

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Re: Snowmobile winter camping
« Reply #52 on: January 20, 2018, 02:27:42 pm »
ive never owned a sled (maybe someday) but a friend of mine in the past has
flown me into the bush on a few occasions

while its true sleds can take you in further/ faster and
generally more remote, doesn't always equate to being less people

due to geography some lakes are completely inaccessible to atvs,sleds.
(some are sweet spec lakes :P)

thats a good point Hutch on the power jack as well as other
extrication tools. cant recall what my buddy used to bring but looked
more like a winch/ratchet thing.

the one year he got the steel tool cage  pinched between some narrowly positioned trees,
fortunately he was able to free himself and return home safely. could have been a serious situation.
this was after dropping me off and i had no idea it had even happened.

Offline Bothwell Voyageur

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Re: Snowmobile winter camping
« Reply #53 on: January 23, 2018, 09:49:31 am »
We were out in Riding Mtn National Park at the weekend. On one of our day hikes we came across the tracks left by the ranger patrolling on a snowmobile. By the paw prints and urine marking the local wolf pack were taking advantage of the packed trail to make travel easier. This is a big issue out west where snowmobilers are pushing into the high country, impacting the mtn caribou, but I hadn't considered it down south and the possible implications for the cervid populations. Not sure how te park would get their work done without though. The days of big budgets and enough staff to allow them time to patrol with dog sleds or on skis are long gone.
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Offline trapmusher

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Re: Snowmobile winter camping
« Reply #54 on: January 23, 2018, 12:00:16 pm »
The wolves would follow the dog trail anyways.

Last Friday I was sledding dogs while the wife was on her Hoks. We were doing a loop of about 4 km. and i pass her since the dogs are way faster.

On the second pass I thought I heard a howl but I thought Wifey was having fun as she went down a hill. When I caught up to her again she wasn't a happy skier. Wolves were howling up a storm. I towed her back to the truck and once the dogs were put away I gave a few howls and got an immediate response from one wolf.

I told the wife to join in my howl but to make hers higher pitched. She did and we got several wolves howling. I then told her to start higher pitched and I would join in. But instead of howling she went a little crazy doing some sort of cowgirl stung by hornets thing.

Dead silence. That was the end. I couldn't get them to howl back.

The next day there was one wolf track that went through. Yesterday I saw where the pack went by pushing a moose.

I have a few wolf sets in the area but they haven't been within a km of them. I figure they are eating moose right now.

Unless the patrols are by plane, animals will go where the walking is easiest. That means they will go where something has gone before.

Offline Coldfeet

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Re: Snowmobile winter camping
« Reply #55 on: January 23, 2018, 08:03:18 pm »
The wolves would follow the dog trail anyways.

Last Friday I was sledding dogs while the wife was on her Hoks. We were doing a loop of about 4 km. and i pass her since the dogs are way faster.

On the second pass I thought I heard a howl but I thought Wifey was having fun as she went down a hill. When I caught up to her again she wasn't a happy skier. Wolves were howling up a storm. I towed her back to the truck and once the dogs were put away I gave a few howls and got an immediate response from one wolf.

I told the wife to join in my howl but to make hers higher pitched. She did and we got several wolves howling. I then told her to start higher pitched and I would join in. But instead of howling she went a little crazy doing some sort of cowgirl stung by hornets thing.

Dead silence. That was the end. I couldn't get them to howl back.

The next day there was one wolf track that went through. Yesterday I saw where the pack went by pushing a moose.

I have a few wolf sets in the area but they haven't been within a km of them. I figure they are eating moose right now.

Unless the patrols are by plane, animals will go where the walking is easiest. That means they will go where something has gone before.

Wow, may I ask where do you live?   I'm hoping, change that, I'm planning one winter to go far north.  One day.

Offline Bioguide

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Re: Snowmobile winter camping
« Reply #56 on: January 23, 2018, 08:23:35 pm »
I'm hoping, change that, I'm planning one winter to go far north.  One day.

Coldfeet, lets make next month's trip a pre-planning shake out trip for a far north trip in 2019!

Offline ravinerat

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Re: Snowmobile winter camping
« Reply #57 on: January 24, 2018, 07:34:27 pm »
Lots of room in our far North.

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Offline Rosseau

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Re: Snowmobile winter camping
« Reply #58 on: January 25, 2018, 01:06:46 pm »
Good discussion here!

I'm torn on the snowmobile camping.

On one hand you could argue that it is arbitrary to draw a line in the sand at the use of snowmobiles. Even though many of us seem to strive to travel in the spirit of "traditional" winter trekkers, what we include and don't include on these trips is fluid and certainly not black-and-white. I think that it comes down to assessing what it is that we want to gain from our trips, and then balancing this with our impact on the places we travel.

On the other hand, I absolutely understand some of the negative impacts specifically associated with running a machine in the bush -- greater noise disturbance (to other humans and wildlife); potential for noxious spillage; wear on trails; potentially encouraging others to follow along and thus your impact grows; increased danger (although, a snowmobile has the potential to get back to town real-quick in an emergency situation); and maybe there's less satisfaction, or personal/emotional return/stress relief/whatever you are looking for if you're rumbling around on a machine. Personally I love how a tractless frozen lake looks, but not so much when it is criss-crossed with snowmobile tracks...

I've used a snowmobile for work in both populated and very remote areas, and also for winter camping several times, but also try to get out without it when that is an option.

Recently we spent around 2 weeks in the Temagami backcountry. The snowmobile came along with the intention of it carrying us and our gear from a major access point north up Lake Temagami at which point we would ditch the machine and make a big loop on foot with the toboggans in tow through smaller lakes. Travelling so far along the big lake would have taken a few days on foot, but was done in a morning with the machine. Understanding how easily you can get into trouble with a snowmobile, I had always made sure that we would be able to walk back to safety if needed.

During the trip our plans changed a bit. The weather was mostly quite cold (my crappy little thermometer bottomed out multiple times around -35), and we had a fairly young dog (puppy? 9-10 months old) along with us. The added stress of the young dog in the cold partly led us to stay with the snowmobile for the duration of the trip. The pup did amazingly well, but we were wanting to be cautions while we learn her limits and tolerance. The snowmobile added a bit of flexibility for us. We only ran it when moving camp (which we usually did every 2-3 days), and on non-travel days we would pack food and travel out on long hikes, returning to camp around dark. In this way the majority of our time outside certainly was not spent on a snowmobile.

All went well, but the machine adds stress... For future trips like this it is tempting to bring along TWO snowmobiles for redundancy. Agh, it is a slippery slope, isn't it?


The machine is a 2006 SkiDoo MXZ 600 SDI. It's not exactly a utility sled, but it got the job done. As it is snow/liquid cooled I had to shut it down and let it cool on a few occasions when running on bare ice:


And here, fighting through some slush. The water on top of the ice at this point was nearly knee deep in a few places... I asked my partner to walk through the slush so that we'd be less likely to get stuck with the weight of a second person onboard. Plus, somebody HAS to get their feet wet, right?



On that note, a good/necessary skills to have is ice/slush removal. Being able to flip the sled on its side for de-icing is useful. Other items in kit: spare spark plugs, oil if you think you'll need it, spare belt and knowledge of how to change it. What else do you all carry?
« Last Edit: January 26, 2018, 11:44:34 am by Rosseau »

Offline Hutchy

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Re: Snowmobile winter camping
« Reply #59 on: January 25, 2018, 07:51:00 pm »
People are either decent or not no matter if they are walking, driving a car, or riding a snowmobile.

I bring a leatherman, vice grips, multi bit screwdriver, clutch tool to spread the clutch to change the belt, plug wrench, plugs, axe, and powder jack. I always have trap wire, but a good bit of wire can be a huge help to do just about anything.

A snowmobile is a tool. An exhilarating tool, but a tool nonetheless.  I find the most memorable times I can remember involve human based pursuits. Canoeing, snowshoeing, etc. I look forward with excitement to mechanical travel more (ATV, PWC, boats and snowmobiles), but I look back on and cherish my human powered travel achievements more. I do them for different reasons. Kind of like, every activity I do has something different it brings to my life. For example, I ran my trapline today on a snowmobile because I only have minimal time to do that. I cherish the fact that I ended up with two fox today, and sledding to the spot doesn't diminish that. Id love to be old school and trap just off snowshoe, but in todays world I simply cannot afford the time. (someday I may do it on foot its a goal)

To each his own and far be it from me to try limit anothers enjoyment, or question their reasons for doing something!

 

Used to be the man made the gear, now it seems the gear makes the man...