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Thread: Snowmachine Utility Sleds

  1. #1

    Default Snowmachine Utility Sleds

    Would like to get some ideas/opinions from you folks on Utility Sleds. I"m wanting to purchase one for my snowmachine, for ice fishing, etc.., but not sure what type to get. Would appreciate your thoughts on this. Noticed the new Sportsman's in Wasilla carries those "Otters" for example. Weight carrying that I'd be having would be fishing gear, tent, fuel, auger, etc..so, your ideas would be appreciative. Thankyou.

  2. #2
    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    I got one of those "jet" sleds from wallmart. I also got the towbar but replaced the hooks that came with it with some stainless hardware from lowes. The hooks that mount to the sled came loose from one of the bars and caused the sled to flip. My 5 year old wasn't hurt but it didn't make me happy. With the new hardware this won't be a problem anymore. Alltogether I am in the sled under 90 bucks.

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    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    If you're not real serious about frequent, long-distance, heavy-weight towing, then the plastic sled will probably work just fine for you.

    Remember that you get what you pay for. I could point you to a sweet $1000 aluminum fully-suspended sled that is nearly bullet-proof, but it doesn't sound like that's what you need.

    In short, you can pretty much tow anything that will slide behind a snowmachine. It wasn't uncommon to bolt a couple steel skis off an old machine to a square steel frame with expanded metal sides and a chunk of plywood in the bottom and have that tow a couple hundred pounds of cargo for thousands of miles over many years of hard use without a problem.

    I've also seen some nice cross-country setups made from those heavy-duty plastic toboggan sleds from one of the Mart stores with a light tubular steel A-frame at the front. Probably less than $50 plus an hour's labor invested.
    Winter is Coming...

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  4. #4
    Member oakman's Avatar
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    Default Brute

    I have a Brute sled that I bought from the Polaris dealership for I think $300, but I might be mistaken. It is the exact width of my 15 gallon fuel jugs, I think 30" or maybe 36" wide. It is 8' long. Empty is is light enough to move around easy enough. It tows very easy. It has replacable hi-fax type stuff on the bottom. I have pulled it through deep powder and up hills with a load without too much of a problem. What I like about this over the narrower version is that it isn't as tippy.

    I drilled some holes in mine all around the edge and snaked a 1/2 nylon rope through it and then tied that off. Now I have many good places to hook bungee cords and ratchet straps to. The common sized action packers fit perfectly in there and are then easily secured into the sled. All of my gear stays dry and in place.

    I have been thinking about mounting a kolpin gun boot on the inside (it would fit in there along side the action packers I use) for a better place to keep my rifle for when I am out on long trips in the woods and want to have a rifle along.

    This is what works for me.

  5. #5
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    Default northern sled works

    take a look at their web site. We have talked in the past about how easy it is to build one of these yourself out of the material called UHMW (ultra high molecular weight) polyethelene.
    UV resistant UHMW colored is expensive, but the sled will outlast anything else you can buy and pull behind a snow machine.
    It depends on whether you are looking for a quick fix for limited/light duty, or want a unit that will last for years regardless how hard you use it.

  6. #6

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    I am in the process of building one of these right now. The planning stages but next time i go to anc I am going to buy the sheet and make it. Does anyone know of any suppliers that sell 4x10 sheets of the stuff. I found one in the valley but I always like to compare prices.

    There is a plastic fabricator that will even do the bends for you. They charge 75 an hour. I know that I could probably bend it myself, but I would feel more comfortable with the exact temp specs for bending. It is really strong stuff though and probably won't make a whole lot of difference. I just don't want to mess up my 400 dollar piece of plastic.

    I am going to bolt the corners together and I haven't decided on the hitch.

    I'll post pics in a couple of weeks when I get it done. If anyone has any ideas on the uhmw chime in.
    Last edited by makalutoo; 11-26-2007 at 17:18. Reason: spelling

  7. #7
    Member mod elan's Avatar
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    I've always picked up 5x10 sheets at Alaska Rubber and Supply on old seward.

  8. #8

    Default Ice tent

    I used to have an otter sled, but bought a large Ice Tent from Sportsmans warehouse. It holds a lot of stuff (augar, heaters, tip-ups, all your stuff), and you have a tent to pop up too. I feel a lot safer with it in case of a breakdown or something really bad happening way out you have a shelter.
    Hike faster. I hear banjo music.

  9. #9

    Default Otter sleds

    A word of caution on the Otter sleds, they will shatter when the temp gets cold, like -10 and below. Not a good thing if you're out and the temp drops and you have no way to get all that gear you brought back home.

  10. #10
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    Default siglin

    I have a 10' x 48" siglin sled from northern sled works, good sled that can haul alot of gear plus it has a lifetime warranty and for you trappers out there you get a $50 discount.

  11. #11
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    Default suppliers

    there were several suppliers in ANC and FAI both for UHMW. Unless you are building a monster sled, the 4' wide is enough for most of the things you will carry.
    Bending the 1/4" material can be accomplished 2 different ways. The first is to take it to a machine shop and use a sheet metal brake. I've tried bending 8' material in a manual brake and it takes 3 guys to do it. A hydraulic brake is worth the money.
    The second way is to use heat. It is time consuming to do it this way. Too much heat and you melt the UHMW.
    When you bend the sides, over bend them to almost 45 degrees per bend. The plastic will relax and be almost perfect later.
    The cuts and folds on the corners are nothing special. Just make them the way you like them.
    the tongue, if over 30" long, should be 1/2" material or it will bend and fold. My hitch is 2 flat pieces of UHMW designed to sandwich the flat tab on the snow mobile. I do not use a swiveling hitch as I lilke a rigid hitch that works with the machine on sidehills to keep the sled right side up.
    There it is, easy as pie. Have fun, and don't do like my buddy just did on his sled and cut your hand with your saw.

  12. #12
    Moderator bkmail's Avatar
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    Default Otter sleds

    The otter sleds work great for me, even in the colder temps. I usually don't ride when it's much colder than -25 or so though. I 've hauled all sorts of stuff with them including lots of firewood and they have held up great. Plus, Sportsmans wharehouse carries them and the parts/replacement pieces are readily available.

  13. #13

    Default Otter Sleds

    I have one and it has yet to fail. Friends of mine have had them crack when hauling wood on a rough trail (2) at about -20.
    Just my .02.

  14. #14
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    I built one back in the early 70s, by cutting the side shapes I wanted out of two pieces of plywood. Then I used 2X2 strips to hold everything togeather. I used a 2X4 stringer across the front, midway, and across the back. Then the bottom was the stainless steel off the slide to childs swing set. I ran a piece of all thread from the back, through the middle stringer, then through the front brace. and on out as a tounge. I hauled that sled for many years. Towed it with a full 55gal drum of fuel oil in to friends cabin many times. The only problem I had was the allthread, it kept bending and needing to be replaced. But that was cheap for me.

  15. #15

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    I have several sleds. ( 1 fold-a-sled, 1 Equinox, 2 sleds of HMUV)
    IMO The HMUV sleds is the best all around. Overflow and ice will not build up on it. It is less likely to tip over. Incredibly tough and forgiving. Overall light weight. Amazing weight capacity.
    FOLD-A-JUNK; Everything gets covered with ice. The sled actually gains weight because of snow and ice build up.
    EQUINOX; 15 wide bottom and tips over with an load above 24 inches. http://www.eqnx.biz/boggans/polar.html

    Pics.
    #1 12 sheets plywood and 20 2X4X8 in the 10 Siglin
    #2 Tundra in the Siglin
    Attached Images Attached Images

  16. #16

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    Pics of home built HMUV by Mr. Backes for our trip from Fairbanks to Whitehorsr & back Feb. 08

    P.S. We have broken the Otter and two Brutes by Equinox at work due to cold temps, hitting a stump, load shifting!
    Attached Images Attached Images

  17. #17

    Thumbs up Utility Sleds

    I appreciate everyone's input on this. Great ideas and a many thanks for everyone's time. Thankyou.

  18. #18
    Moderator bkmail's Avatar
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    Default More freighting Q's

    CMOS-I like the simplicity of your UHMW sled. Is the tongue of your sled held to the body by U-bolts? Ever have any pull through or tear out under heavy loads? Your design eliminates hiring a vendor to bend the sides and front, I like that you did it yourself.
    Also, Anyone have any idea's on how to haul windows to the cabin. I have 5 vinyl windows, all 5'x6' that I need to transport from Deshka landing to the cabin which is located 12 miles up the Deshka River.
    Stand them upright or on thier side? Anyone ever attempt to crate them and lay them flat? Currently I have an otter sled but am willing to rent or make something if need be to get them out there.
    Any suggestions or photos would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks,
    BK

  19. #19
    New member AKDSLDOG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bkmail View Post
    CMOS-I like the simplicity of your UHMW sled. Is the tongue of your sled held to the body by U-bolts? Ever have any pull through or tear out under heavy loads? Your design eliminates hiring a vendor to bend the sides and front, I like that you did it yourself.
    Also, Anyone have any idea's on how to haul windows to the cabin. I have 5 vinyl windows, all 5'x6' that I need to transport from Deshka landing to the cabin which is located 12 miles up the Deshka River.
    Stand them upright or on thier side? Anyone ever attempt to crate them and lay them flat? Currently I have an otter sled but am willing to rent or make something if need be to get them out there.
    Any suggestions or photos would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks,
    BK
    The best way I have found to haul windows is lay them flat. Haul the with sheets of plywood or OSB. My sled is 4x8 home built, I lay down 30 sheet of osb then a window, sheet of osb and a window and another sheet of osb, stap em down and go. Have yet to break a window this way.

  20. #20
    Moderator bkmail's Avatar
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    Default More Q's Aksledog

    Aksledog,
    Are you padding the layers w/any type of foam between the plywood and window frames or underneath the entire stack where it contacts your trailer? It sounds like you are encasing each window between two sheets of OSB, is that correct? Were you hauling on a nice smooth river or down trails and through fresh powder, etc...? Does your sled have any sort of suspension or does it ride directly on the ground?
    Thanks for the info! I'm hoping the Big Su freezes soon and I can stay on the river as I believe that would be the smoothest ride.
    I also assume you went VERY slowly, correct?! I am a bit nervous to haul this load as it is pretty spendy.
    Thanks again,
    BK

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