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Thread: Freight Sled Question

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    Member Have Gun Will Travel's Avatar
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    Default Freight Sled Question

    I am looking for a well built freight sled (new or used), one capable of hauling plywood (4 foot wide). but also with capability of expansion for lumber. Will be using from Deshka Landing to Big Bend on the Yentna. Most of hauling will be on river, but there will be some trail running through the woods to our cabin, also. Looking to haul a variety of materials for a cabin expansion this spring. Will be using new Bearcat 4 stoker to pull. Looked at lots of different freight sled designs at DLOA last spring....

    Question/request to anyone with freighting experience: recommendation of a particular design and/or builder; know of any used freight sleds for sale?

    Would like to avoid paying an arm and a leg that a new unit likely would cost, but understand that these units are difficult to find.

    Thanks beforehand!

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    Talk to John at Northern Sled Works in Fairbanks - best freight sleds made hands down. I also am selling my lumber/sheathing crib I made that makes loading the standard sled muuuuch easier. Send me PM if interested.

    XL

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    For about the best heavy duty freight sled that will handle all sizes of material contact Ron that lives out at deshka Landing . He rents sleds also it might be cheeper to rent . His numbers are 495-7002 and 354-7001. Good Luck

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    Northern Sled Works. Awesome product and great service.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Big Bend View Post
    For about the best heavy duty freight sled that will handle all sizes of material contact Ron that lives out at deshka Landing . He rents sleds also it might be cheeper to rent . His numbers are 495-7002 and 354-7001. Good Luck
    + what he said... Ron's sleds have been proven (time and again) for hauling in the area you are going to be running in...

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    Member Have Gun Will Travel's Avatar
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    Thanks all for the advice...looked at Ron's sleds last spring and was very impressed with them! Finally own a machine capable of pulling the loads that sleds built like Ron's can carry. Was hoping to possibly find a used sled similar to those, but may have to bite the bullet and buy new.... Thanks again!

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    I assume you've looked at the other threads on sleds and sled building? Be sure to pull up the thread started by Riflemaker. His ideas are really good. The UHMW sleds are easy to build, and the ideas are limitless. I like the idea of building a sled like mine, then either filling it w/ framing lumber in the bottome and plywood on top, or look at buying/builidng a frame that sits in it to haul sheet material.
    There are a couple of guys in the Fairbanks area building (for their own use) a sled w/ articulating skis for improved tracking on narrow and windy trails. The rear end operates just like a pipe dolly on a long haul rig, so it steers a little toward the outside of the corner. Nice idea, I just don't have a need for one. Good luck,
    ARR

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    The best sleds I've seen for the river folks are the ones the pro's use for heavy hauling. Look what Ron and Larry use. They don't use them because they're almost as good as something else. For mere mortals (like me) Swedish freight sleds work really well. Truth be told I usually use my Swedish with a platform so I'd do fine with a Ron-style sled. Tub sleds like the UHMW sleds or old school culvert sleds work best in deep snow. I built a big culvert type that works great in the snow but in the Yentna/Su valleys that's mostly wood cutting, not freighting. Bush Sleds and ATECs are fantastic for average weekend gear and groceries.

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    Member Have Gun Will Travel's Avatar
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    Thanks again for all the helpful posts.

    Really found Rifleman's thread and pictures most informative.

    Personally, been using our Alaska Bush sled for past dozen years and it is great for weekend trips to cabin/ice fishing excursions. But, it cannot haul large lumber loads.

    Ron and Larry's sleds are terriffic performers (seen them in action lots of times on the river). But, to me, the biggest concern with that style of sled (other than cost) is that the last mile into our cabin is not frequented too often and can be deep snow and/or windblown at times.

    So, still mulling....

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    If you go to your cabin regularly your trail will be plenty set up. On those weeks when you find new snow? Leave the freight sled on the river and make a few trips up and down your trail. Go to the cabin and relax. Come back the next morning and your trail will be good to tug your freight load up. Besides, most of us pick our hauling weeks based on weather and snow conditions. It makes life a lot easier when you don't fight mother nature.

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    Just build your own. Two 2x6's or 2x8's about 12' long or whatever length you want, a set of runners, a few braces, a plywood deck and a hitch. You're done. Save your money. Spend a few hundred and keep the rest. I've used this sled for four years now and that is a very light load you see. It is usually pyramided quite well.

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    This is fun. Everybody has a sled they like. There are lots of good ideas out there. Does anybody have photos of Ron and Larry's sleds? That'd help those of us that have not seen them so we know what you are talking about.
    Nitro, those sleds have moved a lot of gear and firwood over the years. I know several guys that were converted from them to the style that Dave Doudna or I build. Regardless of deep snow, ice, or wind drifted hard pack, I like the way they pull. But then, to be fair, I have not pulled all of the sled possibilities out there.
    ARR

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    I also have been curious how those big river haulers look. One thing I thought to throw out there is the UHMW sleds can haul plywood as well. If you aren't building a mansion in the woods you can split the sheets in half and haul them out like that. Of course the main reason is for the trails that won't take a 48" load.

    I have to laugh. Last week we were reminiscing of the ol' foldasled days. My how times have changed!

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    Member Have Gun Will Travel's Avatar
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    Default good ol' days....

    Yea! I really thought I had it all when I bought my first Grizzly Fold-a-Sled (think it cost a whooping $60) and pull all my trapping gear behind the snowgo....

    Hope this picture gets attached. This is NOT one of Ron's sleds, but is the same basic design. BUT, the river freighters are way beefier, have decking, and have expandable rails. Believe they typically carry 1500 pounds, but are capable of hauling much heavier loads.

    Much better pics of river freighters (shows "beefiness" and decking) from a previous post available here:

    http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...=freight+sleds

    Things have come a long ways since the Fold-a-Sleds!
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    I remember my first one too. I took it out of the box and the old man wouldn't let me take it outside until I spent a couple hours welding on it. Nothing like 'fixing' something brand new!

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    The array of heavy hauler sleds is exceeded by the variety of hitch assemblies made to allow our machines to pull them. I have hitches with cushioning springs on every sled I've got and the big wood hauler even uses a hydraulic dampener to control the banging on the machine. My machines have used 2" balls on receivers but now I've settled on pintle hooks since I don't haul really big loads anymore. Here's a picture of the pull yoke on my Swedish sled. This is the mildest pulling big hauler I've ever used. The yoke also serves as an automatic sled brake, which is darn handy on icy hills with big loads. When the sled comes forward toward the pull machine the front skis climb onto the hitch yoke and stop the sled. The front platform is on a turntable so the pull machine isn't pulling the load sideways (the skis turn independently of the load bed above, similar to Ron's). My rear ski truck is adjustable. I can make the sled anything from 6' to 16' long in about a minute My freight arms are adjustable for narrower and wider loads, too. And for fuel I made a platform that drops on.

    Don't just think about sleds, think about hitches, too. The easier a sled pulls, the better it rides, and the easier it is on the pulling machine and rider? The more you can carry and you'll be more willing to do it.
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    You guys who aren't in the Mat Su area may not understand our conditions. We use the rivers like highways and they're well traveled and usually hard packed. With that comes bumps. These ski sleds pack several thousand pound loads down the river trails and through the bumps very well. In the spring time it's common to see guys pulling doubles and triples, each sled loaded to the gills. Sleds have evolved but the real credit goes to the machines that we pull them with. Look at the changes the past 20 years have brought. Pulling 5' culvert sleds with an old Indy 500 was more work than pulling 4000# behind a Yamaha Professional is these days. Yes, times have changed.

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    AWESOME! NICE PHOTOS AND EXPLANATIONS! I talked before about a sled that I see in Fairbanks where the back end steers. Imagine the sled in the photo that Have Gun Will Travel posted where the rear set of skis rotates in the center, same as the front. Cables "X" from front to rear, so that when you turn, the cables pull on the opposite side in back, making the rear skis turn the other way. That makes it so a long sled can wind through the woods without dragging on the inside of the corner. Those sleds are built like long haul pipe dollies. Come to think of it, these guys are building them out of wood, not steel. Hmm.
    I'd think those rotating points would wear, but if a guy is smart enough to build a sled like that, he is smart enough to beef up that area and/or add in a bushing or bearing.
    ARR

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alaskan XL View Post
    Talk to John at Northern Sled Works in Fairbanks - best freight sleds made hands down. I also am selling my lumber/sheathing crib I made that makes loading the standard sled muuuuch easier. Send me PM if interested.

    XL
    Not enough coffee when I wrote this - it's DAVE, not JOHN. Sorry Dave.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nitroman View Post
    Just build your own. Two 2x6's or 2x8's about 12' long or whatever length you want, a set of runners, a few braces, a plywood deck and a hitch. You're done. Save your money. Spend a few hundred and keep the rest. I've used this sled for four years now and that is a very light load you see. It is usually pyramided quite well.

    we've used sleds like this one for over twenty years in mcgrath and they work awesome, we load the heck outta them, i've used them to haul and sell wood for years and they will hold what the snowmachine will pull make sure u rig a spring in your sled tongue and you'll be good to go, we also would put steel pockets on the side so we could put posts (g-poles or 2x4s) in them to hold the load on i wish i was back home so i could take a picture of the ones we got they look dang near identical to that one and they will haul a butt load

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