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What do you carry?

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  • What do you carry?

    When riding in the back country what do you carry? Safety equipment, just in case things etc.? Anyone invented their own rack system to carry certain things? Any other sled mods that worked well would be good to see too. Maybe post a pic or 2 of sleds freighted up the Beverly Hillbillies.

  • #2

    If traveling without a sled, I have an axe carrier riveted on my tunnel, snowshoes, tarp, and shovel lashed to the back, small socket set in the back compartment, rope in the back compartment, nalgene of water back there too. I carry a backpack on my handlebars-be sure to cinch down the straps and I use a bungee cord from one foot well to the other to help prevent it from moving around. In there I have head lamp, extra batteries, extra socks, extra gloves, first aid kit, space blanket, FOOD, more h2o, a knife or two, extra goggles and a fire starting kit in a ziplock bag. in saddle bags two extra sets of plugs, parachute cord, folding saw, energy bar(s), heat packs, extra facemask, two extra shackles or clevis, and that's all.

    I forgot the VHF mine took the trip middle of the season and never replaced it, but always a good idea. one other tip take batteries out of headlamps and vhf as they have a tendency to bounce around in just the right way to turn on and be useless when it's time to use them.

    Seems like a lot, but not really. If I am tugging around my sled this plus my sleeping bag all fits in a med/sm action packer.

    Snowshoes are something many don't travel with, but worth their weight in gold if you are broke down and have to make a walk.



    • #3
      I second rugger's post + 1 set of fleece long johns-in case I get wet or sweat soaked while broken down in the boonies (hasn't happened but you never know.
      If cave men had been trophy hunters the Wooly Mammoth would be alive today


      • #4
        If you're able to pull off the trip you plan...and I hope you do as it is quite the are in for an entirely new experience snowmachining up here. You have already gotten some great suggestions from the guys on the I'll just offer a few things that I haven't heard yet.

        First, if you're mostly used to trail riding, then you'll need to get alot of stick time doing some powder busting and mountain riding in DEEP snow. If you already do lots of back country and mountain stuff then ignore the rest of this. Practice getting unstuck in deep's a technique in and of itself. Get real good at it because you're going to get stuck...maybe least you will if you're riding where it's fun to ride. My current sled is an 800 Summit, and I ride the heck out of it in the back country up here...and sometimes I get it stuck.

        Second, regarding gear to take along for a day ride, it's pretty ready to spend the night if you have to. Everytime I go out, I am ready to spend the night, and I know that I could. You don't want to take so much stuff with you that you increase the likelihood of breaking down because your sled is over-loaded. It's a balance. May not be the most comfortable night of my life, but at least it won't be my last. Since you're from Maine, you already know cold and what it does to all kinds of material and gear. I'm sure you have picked up little tricks that you can do like putting a couple of handwarmers in the case with your GPS, especially one on the screen to help it to work when really cold, etc..

        Third, don't ride alone up here. Some guys do, I don't. Did once, but wife and friends chewed me out pretty well. Let others know where you are and when you will be back, so the troopers can come looking for you if you don't return...that way it's hopefully just one night in the boonies rather than a week. You'll be with a group, so you won't be alone. That means you need to make sure the other part is covered...let people know where you are and do daily check-ins.

        I've only been riding up here in Alaska, so I don't know what it's like in Maine. I'm sure it's the same and also way different from Alaska. Up here is a HUGE place with spectacular riding and lots of situations that can bite you. Quite a few people die every year on snow machines in Alaska...mostly going through the ice and avalanches (sp?). Also, getting lost is an easy do, even for those of us who have been here a long time.

        I admire your adventuresome spirit and your wisdom to be asking alot of questions before coming north. Best of luck.


        • #5
          Thanks. I always try to be prepared for anything to the point of being a little heavier than I want to be. A few of us are into touring town to town and end up 1000 miles or more from home sometimes and I'm usually the one with the stuff. Some little nut, bolt, oring or tool etc.. The advise and warnings are just what I hope to get. Every tidbit helps.

          On the subject of carrying things, how do you lash things down? Bungies are great but loose their memory in the cold. Is there an arctic rated bungie?


          • #6
            You're right...conventional bungees are not the way to go as they limp out with really low temps. I don't use them at all in the winter. The heavy all rubber ones work better, but carry some parachute cord..which always seems to be handy.


            • #7
              another thing...

              Buddies did the Kotzebue to Fairbanks ride and back a few times this last season. one thing I was glad to see them pack was the arctic oven. If you haven't checked these tents out do so. They are relatively light to haul in a sled, bombproof, and I know one guy who heats his with nothing more than his coleman lantern. This tent would make waiting out a long storm much nicer. Check out alaska tent and tarps website.

              Tok to Maine is a long jaunt, and I think this piece of equipment would worth packing.


              • #8
                It is a long ride. I wish we could leave tomorrow, my thumb is twitching sooo bad. I bet this ride will cause a major case of permasmile and helmet giggles.

                We plan to do some camping along the way and have looked at the arctic oven and a few others. We need to make decisions on a few things like tents and stoves etc. Weight and performance being the big factors because we are going so far I don't want to tow a tote so we're finding ways to get it all onto the sleds. We will be heavier than we wish but it's a give and take thing.
                I have so much camping gear but not real light and small stuff. I usually go in for a while and stay put so most of it is heavy and anything I have that is light is 3 season at best.

                What type of provisions do you recommend? Other than MREs, cup a soup etc.. Anything that packs well in the way of a quick easy and really tasty meal?



                • #9
                  carrying gear....

                  One thing I have considered over the years (and have adjusted my gear accordingly) is that I want to have my safety/survival gear eject with me if I lose the machine (in the river or off a cliff). I now carry everything I will need to survive a few days in my backpack that I wear while riding, including my Lifelink shovel. I used to have the shovel stowed under the cowling until I augered into a wind drift one time and was unable to open the hood.

                  I have a simple internal frame pack with plenty of storage and a good harness system. I carry extra food, gloves, socks, extra shirt, flares (if you can't get something to burn with a 20 minute road flare, it is probably made out of metal!), shovel, Wyoming saw, a few tools (most of the tools are on the sled), several different fire starters (hurricane matches, lighters, magnesium starter, etc..), cotton swabs permeated with Vasaline (good waterproof firestarter that I keep in film canisters), water, space blanket, electrical tape, two way radio, and a first aid kit that I put together and vacuum packed.

                  I still stow things on the sled, but they are not essential survival equipment. I just cringe at the idea of all my survival gear being at the bottom of a 50' crevasse while I'm standing at the top with nothing but my riding gear and keys to the truck which is 50 miles away!

                  The porcupine is a peaceful animal yet God still thought it necessary to give him quills....


                  • #10
                    What about gas cans? Is there any trouble with the plastic ones cracking due to the cold? What does everyone use in -40 cold?

                    I'd like to find a source for the old style pour spouts that used to come on the plactic gas cans. The new so called safety spout with that spring loaded gismo always leak around the seal on the can and are also very hard to make work on most applications. It may work on lawn mowers but I cant imagine getting the right angle on a car and the handle bars are in the way for sleds so we end up siphonning from the can instead of pouring.


                    • #11
                      Rubbermaid gas cans work great, even in the cold, and there are times I carry two 5gal ones on the back of my sled. I carry an axe, 100ft rope, 10ft rope, several bungies, tools, extra oil, nuts and bolts and washers, vhf radio, Garmin gps, digital camera for those moments, food, juice, and sometimes a thermos w/hot Tang. Lighter in my pocket, pocket knife too. Leatherman, butcherknife, extra gloves, extra ammo for the .22 mag! Crap, list goes on. . .
                      The emphasis is on accuracy, not power!


                      • #12

                        I've heard many references to the VHF radio. Is there a wide spread system up there? Is it repeated and if so what is the coverage area? Who monitors this band, what frequency (s) and is the general public allowed on it?

                        I have a VHF for the fire department and could program any frequency or PL tones needed. If it is repeated and I'm allowed to have them I'd love to have the transmit and receive frequencies and the PL.

                        Thanks for the info on the gas cans. I have the rubber made cans. It probably sounds like a stupid question but then again I've never been there and I wonder what the locals do different than we do here in Maine. I've seen it -43 F once in my life here. Most years -20 F is about it for cold and even then it's not for long periods.


                        • #13
                          The VHF marine radio is pretty much widespread here, at least along the coastal area and along the Yukon River. It is a great mode of communication and average range is 50 miles, and can be alot greater with a high antenna. Weather also plays a good role in how far it goes. Channel 16 is the distress channel for the Coast Guard, police stations. 68 is a local standby channel for most villages in the area.
                          The interior and northern AK get the coldest temps, can hit -50*F. Gotta be prepared for the worst out here at all times.
                          The emphasis is on accuracy, not power!


                          • #14
                            Thanks that's good to know.

                            Oh that VHF. I have one of those too. Down here as soon as you get away from the ocean noone is on.


                            • #15
                              Sno-go travel

                              I live in Kotzebue and we travel a lot! I have a cabin about 35 miles out of town up in the Noatak National Park and we head up most weekends. I also have taken some long multi day trips up into the upper Noatak and Kobuk Rivers. I have my gear down to a science as the weather up here is poor more often than not. We use native basket sleds that look a lot like a 12 foot dog mashers sled and they are made out of hickory. I made mine about 6+ years ago and I am very happy with what it can carry. It weighs less that 75 pounds and I have hauled well over 600 pounds of fire wood in and often.

                              Depending on the trip I always pack my survival bag, Tarp, sleeping bag, MRE’s extra wool sox, extra gloves 2x, Beaver hat, hand warmers, rope, matches, paper and folding saw, goggles and 1 pair of pants and long johns.

                              In the basket sled: Tent, tarp, ax, food, repair kit- plugs, belt, rope again, water and Isopropyl.

                              The tent I use is a M-1950 5 man winter tent with a small Uke stove. This guy is the bomb! I have spent many very cold nights in this thing and that stove keeps the temp just right as long as you’re off of the ground. This may sound silly but a native buddy of mine talked me into packing 2 caribou hides as sleeping pads and they work better than any Therma rest at -35 degrees! And lets not forget the 270, mans best friend!



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