How do you use a pulk with children?
We are often asked if our pulks work well for pulling kids or which sled we recommend using with children. We’ve compiled some options for pulling your child while you ski or snowshoe.
Pulling your kids behind you in a sled isn’t a new invention. But, new gear and creative people have made pulling your kids so much easier! Now you don’t have to just pull your child with a rope while they bang into the backs of your legs on any inclines – you can pull them in a pulk! You’ll find several commercial pulk companies that manufacture systems specifically for kids – and they are slick! The Chariot Carrier looks amazing and we’ve heard great things about it. There’s also the Thule system and probably others we’re not yet aware of. But, if those sleds seem a little out of your price range, you can also make your own pulk to pull your child. Here are a few ideas:
1. Purchase any child’s sled (or maybe you already have one) and connect our poles and harness to it so you can ski or snowshoe while having control over the little ones being towed behind. While we know many people who have pulled kids in a Paris based pulk with a Crazy Creek type chair, we do not recommend pulling children without a secure harness system and a backrest that can function as a roll bar. It is difficult to do this in the Paris sled.
2. Another option is to use our Snowclipper pulk system. There are two slots in the Snowclipper which makes adding backrests or dividers very easy. While we do not provide the backrests or dividers, you can easily use cardboard to create a template and cut them out of 1/2″ plywood.
Once you have the backrest, you can secure it to the sled and add harness configurations depending on the age of the child. With such precious cargo, be sure to ski well within your limits of controlling the sled.
Check out this video describing the Snowclipper backrests for pulling kids:
We’ve tried out a couple of other sleds that have worked well for our young daughter (15 months at the time of this article) that come with built in harness systems.
3. The first sled we tried was the Paris Snowflake (from the same company who makes the popular Paris Expedition sled). We liked it because it had a shield to keep her warm and cozy and it had straps to keep her upright (since at 8 months she wasn’t the most stable sitter while riding in a sled). But, there were also some drawbacks. The shield wasn’t very easy to install and even though the sled fit her well at 8 months, our 2 year old niece was almost too big for it – so it wasn’t going to last us long.
4. Then we found the Pelican and tried their sled. You can find the Pelican Baby Sled Deluxe online at Amazon by following this link. This sled is bigger than the Paris Snowflake and we prefer it since it will last us longer and was more convenient to assemble. It has a shield to keep her warm and toasty (even in -18F wind chills! Oh Minnesota winter 😉 and has a strap to secure her (although that is one drawback – the Snowflake was better at keeping her secure since it had over-the-shoulder straps instead of just a waist strap) but it does the trick. One other thing we read might be a drawback is that the shield zips in the back so you have to put them in and take them out over the seat. But, we found that you can just push the shield forward and get them in and out just fine.
On both of these sleds we were able to attach our pole and harness combo to provide good control while pulling our daughter.
What is the difference between a sled and a skipulk?
Pulks are made up of a sled, poles (traces) and a harness. (A sled is one of the components.) A ski pulk is a pulk specifically designed for skiers who need excellent control on downhill sections. Our ski pulks are also designed to prevent injury or equipment failure due to falls (which are common with skiing down hills). They can also be called sledges, gear sleds, and nordic sleds.
How does the Snowclipper cover work?
The Snowclipper cover is made up of two covers. The first is a large Shurelast polyester cover with a full length zipper and mitten pulls, and the second a reversible compression cover that works similar to a compression stuff bag. (It compacts the load and reduces the risk of rollover.) The compression cover sits over the first allowing bulky items like snowshoes, skis, snowboards, and more, to be carried between the two or both covers can be removed in seconds for the option of hauling firewood.
Should I purchase the Paris or Snowclipper?
The best sled for your adventures depends on your activities. Both systems are about the same size in terms of cargo space and use the same harnesses and poles. Both also perform very well in a variety of conditions, and you can’t go wrong with either choice! Differences include:
- The Paris Sled is a general purpose sled that is about 4 lbs or so lighter and less expensive than the Snowclipper. It is durable enough to last for a couple years of hard use.
- We designed the Snowclipper specifically as a pulk sled. Like a kayak, it is created from rotational molding. It is much more durable with over twice as much plastic on the bottom (this is at the expense of the extra 4 lbs). It also does not have the wide rims of the Paris which can hang up on brush if you do a lot of bushwacking.
- The Snowclipper has slots that make it easy to add dividers or backrests for kids.
- The Snowclipper has the option to add covers. Instead of a cover, most Paris sled fans use packs, duffels or a burrito wrap with a tarp.
- The most popular difference is the retractable fins on the Snowclipper. These allow you to deploy or retract the fins without removing your gear from the sled. (The fin option on the Paris systems are removable but you have to take out your gear first.)
Do the fins cause too much friction when not in use?
When fins aren’t needed (if you’re not on sidehills or icy, hard packed downhills), it’s best to stow them away so they don’t cause too much friction. In snowy conditions the friction won’t be very noticeable but on hard pack it would be best to stow them away. To provide the option, we have created a system for the Paris that allows the fins to be removed and either mounted inside the sled or stored in your pack. In the Snowclipper we took it one step further and designed fins that are retractable.
How can I get my pulk to tip less?
Keep your heavy gear on the bottom towards the rear of the sled. Also, if you are crossing your poles for better turning control, be sure you have them velcroed at the spot they cross to avoid tipping if the poles pull away from each other.
How much weight can I pull?
It depends how much you can fit in the sled without making it top heavy. Typical winter camping gear can be bulky. The pulk systems can handle 100s of pounds of weight but you’ll want to pack your gear efficiently and keep your heavier items towards the bottom of the sled and lighter, bulkier items on top. Also, note which harness you are using. For heavier loads (80lbs+) you’ll want to use our heavy duty Expedition harness.
Are the covers/duffel waterproof?
The material used for the Snowclipper and Expedition covers, as well as the Paris duffel, is water resistant. The seams and zippers are not seam sealed but for winter use it keeps your gear protected and dry.
What pulk setup would be best for a race?
In most circumstances the Paris pulk system works well for a race. We typically recommend Full Length Poles and a Full Harness for long distance races. The Full Harness provides comfort for the long haul. Races like the Arrowhead Ultra and many others don’t require fins because you’re typically on some type of groomed trail and fins would add resistance.
Harnesses & Poles
How do I attach SkiPulk.com pole sets to other sleds?
Our pole sets work very well on several sleds. In many cases they will work without alterations, and in other cases you may need to create your own backing plate. Below we have some photos of our poles attached to sleds from other pulk manufacturers, or on sleds that are easier to find than the Paris sled. And, you can watch a video on how to install the Channel Kit on the Paris Expedition sled here:
Jet Jr Sled- Two configurations possible. The first uses our backing plate with the channels in the front. The second uses a custom backing plate from 3/4″ wide aluminum with the channels on top.
Wilderness Engineering sled– using our backing plate and channel set to attach our poles.
Older Siglin pulk from Northern Sled works– using a custom backing plate and our channel set.
Beast Tobaggan from Emsco– using a custom backing plate and our channel set.
Childs wooden sled– using longer wood screws with our channel set.
Paris 48″ toboggan– using our backing plate and channel set.
What’s the difference between the Harness Bottom and the Hip Belt?
We offer three styles of harnesses for Paris and Snowclipper pulks: the Hip Belt, Harness Bottom and Full Harness. Most of the components (foam/ cover/ pole attachment system) are the same. The biggest difference between the Hip Belt and Harness Bottom is in the buckles that are added. The Hip Belt with Day Pack Attachments is our simplest hip belt. Use it if you always pull your pulk with some kind of backpack or if your system will be used by many different people like a rental operation. This harness has straps that allow you to attach the harness to any backpack or hydration system.
These straps also help prevent the hip belt from sliding down your butt and give your shoulders the chance to help with the pull a little.
The Harness Bottom is the most versatile choice. It comes standard with detachable leg loops which are popular with those who prefer to help keep the belt from riding up off their hips onto their waist (especially women). On this harness we have replaced the day pack attachment straps with four buckles that can be used to attach our shoulder straps (or to make your own). These top buckles also make it quite easy to create your own custom strap to go from the harness to your day pack.
Does hardware come with pole sets?
Yes! All of our systems include hardware and, where possible, all parts are pre-assembled.
Do poles come assembled?
All pole sets come completely assembled. If your order does not include the sled, you will have to install the hardware that comes with the pole set onto your sled. All systems that include a sled are assembled and ready to go!
How long are the poles? Do I need longer poles?
Our poles are about 5 feet 11 inches or 6 feet long. We’ve found this length works best for most people. Typically, the shorter you can keep your poles, the better control you’ll have. The poles need to be long enough to prevent your skies from hitting the front of your sled. The best length is measured from your waist to the back of your rear ski during a stride, plus 4-8 inches. Those who will snowshoe instead of ski can get by with even shorter poles.
Can I attach your poles to my pack waist belt?
If your pack has some heavier gear loops, they may work as an attachment point. You will want an attachment point where you can create a snug fit with the least amount of slop. This will give you maximum control of the sled (and because it gets old when your pulk is jerking at your hips all day with a loose attachment). Our harnesses have loops on them that the eye bolt of the pole fits over and then a carabineer is slid through to make a good, secure attachment point – you’d want to mimic something like that. Another option is to sew webbing onto your pack belt to make loops like we have on our harnesses.
What size harness should I order?
Measure in inches at your waist where the belt will sit (note that pant sizes can vary so it’s best to measure):
Small: 27″ – 35″ (26 inches of foam padding)
Medium: 32″ – 39″ (30 inches of foam padding)
Large: 36″ – 45″ (35 inches of foam padding)
A note on women’s sizing:
Our belts are unisex but because women wear the belt closer to their hips, be sure to measure there – where you are most comfortable wearing the belt and use the sizes above.
Most women prefer the Harness Bottom because they use the leg loops to keep the harness from riding up off their hips entirely onto the waist.
*Important: Belts can go larger but they will lose padding at the hip points. The belt cannot go smaller than the amount of foam padding listed plus about 2″ for the buckles. If you can fit either of two sizes, the larger belt will give you the most padding and comfort.
Good control is essential for backcountry pulk routes. You will not have good control by clipping your poles onto extra pack loops or D-rings. A good hip belt must secure the end of the poles close to your hip point with minimum slack for classic or alpine skiing and snowshoeing. For running and skate skiing, some people prefer pole attachments at their mid back. The most important issue for good control is reduction of slack or slop in your pole to harness connection.
Why can’t you estimate my shipping at checkout?
Our pulks are irregular and oversized. To give you the best shipping rates, we have to call in to various carriers for estimates. It’s worth it, we promise! It ends up saving our customers nearly 50% on shipping costs.
Do you ship pulks to Alaska?
Yes! There is a small shipping fee that will be added to your order during checkout.
Note: Occasionally we will need to adjust shipping costs for Expedition pulks or large orders going to certain areas in Alaska.
Do you ship pulks to Europe, Japan, Russia or other countries?
We can ship our Paris and Snowclipper pulk systems (pulka, pulkka, ahkio) that use split poles to most countries in the world and for reasonable prices. This includes places in Scandinavia, the United Kingdom, Europe, Russia, Japan and more. Our full length poles and Expedition Pulk can also be shipped overseas via special carriers, they just cost a bit more. For a shipping estimate, send us a note at email@example.com. We’ll follow-up with the best shipping rate we can lockdown for you, and the instructions for placing your order.
Note: All quoted international shipping rates do not include local duties and taxes.
Do you ship Pulks to Canada?
We do ship pulks to Canada! A small shipping fee will be added to your order during checkout. Most importantly, it can take a couple weeks to get through the customs process. Occasionally we will need to adjust shipping costs for Expedition pulks or large orders going to certain areas in Canada.
Note: All shipping charges added by SkiPulk.com do not include any applicable duties or taxes which are the responsibility of the purchaser.
Can you ship a pulk to me in _________?
We can ship our Paris and Snowclipper pulk systems (pulka, pulkka, ahkio) that use split poles to most countries in the world and for reasonable prices. Our full length poles and Expedition Pulk can also be shipped overseas via special carriers, they just cost a bit more. For a shipping estimate, send us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll follow-up with the best shipping rate we can lockdown for you, and the instructions for placing your order.
Note: All quoted international shipping rates do not include local duties and taxes.
How long will it take to get my items after ordering?
Most items are shipped within 5 days of receiving an order. Shipping in the US usually takes an additional 3- 5 days in transit. Shipping internationally takes considerably longer due to delays in customs. Special custom pole lengths take about one week longer due to the epoxy cure time between steps. Please do not delay too long in placing an order as we occasionally are back-ordered on some components during mid season.
Do you ship pulks to areas in Scandinavia such as Norway, Sweden or Finland?
We can ship our Paris and Snowclipper pulk systems (pulka, pulkka, ahkio) that use split poles to most countries in the world and for reasonable prices. This includes places in Scandinavia like Norway and Sweden. Our full length poles and Expedition Pulk can also be shipped overseas via special carriers, they just cost a bit more. For a shipping estimate, send us a note at email@example.com. We’ll follow-up with the best shipping rate we can lockdown for you, and the instructions for placing your order.
Note: All quoted international shipping rates do not include local duties and taxes.
Do you make wheels for Summer or Tundra Pulking?
We are often asked about putting wheels on a pulk. It certainly has been done but we haven’t tried because without too much danger of falling- solid metal poles would work better for a wheeled pulk.
Three other options for summer pulking:
1. Using the extremely durable Northern Sled works UHMW sleds.
2. Using a wheeled multi use baby carrier or a modified canoe portage cart.
3. Using the Dixon Roller Pac
When would a toboggan be used?
Some winter travelers prefer the traditional toboggan design over skipulks. These designs allow for extremely large loads. Because the toboggans are long and narrow, the gear can be very stable and the width works well for snow shoe tracks. These systems are popular in the Boreal Forest, Canadian Shield and Quetico. They are not as good for cross country skiing or for hilly terrain. We have included one of the best sites for gear toboggans we know of: Black River Sleds (Plastic HDPE)
What winter camping resources are available?
Princeton Univ Outdoor Action Winter Camping
Guided Trips – Glacier Adventure Guides
Winter Camping Symposium– Great winter camping event filled with speakers and classes on a variety of winter topics
Pulk Builder’s Site
Spencer has a great Pulk related website with good info on building a pulk with conduit poles.
What other winter camping gear is available?
Grand Shelters / Ice Box Igloo Tool
Igloos make the most comfortable and longest lasting winter wilderness shelters. They are our favorite winter shelter when we are in the mountains. Check out this great tool for making igloos: (picture coming soon)
If you are looking for a well crafted heat source for your tent, look to Four Dog Stoves for the answer. Four Dog builds light weight titanium and metal stoves as well as a small titanium bushcooker if you are a weight conscious traveler. Check out their website for more gear and wilderness skills information.
Empire Canvas Crafted Winter Parkas and Anoraks
Ed used to be called the “Cotton Cop” by friends for his diligence in keeping cotton out of his friends winter wardrobe. Then he was schooled in the use of cotton and other traditional fabrics in the outer layer of winter garments by the teachings of Bill Mason, and more directly from Kevin Kinney of Empire Canvas. Check out his incredibly crafted outer garments.
We are experienced in all the styles of winter camping from snow trenches and quinzees to tarps. Each has its good points. Winter cold tent camping leaves a lot to be desired but hot tent camping offers the benefit of a hot evening to recuperate from the brutal cold, and most importantly to dry your clothing layers. For the best in hot tenting- you have to check out Snow Trekker Tents.
Can I just order parts?
We sell nearly all the items that you need to build pulk poles, except the proprietary pole couplers. Other than couplers and the fiberglass wands, the parts needed to build poles will be found in the channel sets and emergency parts packs.
Note: We are unable to sell any of our pulk sleds by themselves except to existing customers who have purchased a system from us and need to replace or upgrade an old or damaged sled.