Introduction: Pulk / Sled / Ahkio
My first instructable.
The design of this pulk is based on own ideas and ideas that I found online.
I have used this design now for over five years and now that I build a second pulk I decided to make an instructable of it.
In my opinion there is no need to change the design.
My criteria were: simplicity, easy to make, robust, light, cheap and it must work well with mittens and at temperatures of -30*C and colder.
Overall, costs are somewhere between 60 and 70 Euro.
The Paris sledge I found on offer for 29 Euro, all other materials are sourced from hardware stores and diy shops (example shelby.fi)
The total weight with a simple hipbelt is 3.4kg
I got lucky with the grommets as a local maker for truck covers let me use their heavy duty tools and grommets for just a few euros.
Since I made this five years ago there are no pictures of this step.
In the five years of use I have been very satisfied with the design. I am considering though to add some hard plastic runners underneath to stop the pulk wearing out and to add stability on slopes and reduce friction.
Step 1: Tools and Materials
For the sledge:
-Paris expedition sledge or similar
-14 grommets (diameter of inside hole about 1.2mm)
-about 5.3m of 8mm elastic rope (found at local shop called Kumipörssi that sells rubber, hoses and other stuff)
-10 metal rings (2.5cm diameter) from local shoemaker. These are welded and a lot stronger than keyrings
-5 hooks (see picture) found at shelby.fi. As you can see on the pictures I bent the little hook toward the inside to allow for easier hooking/unhooking. The elastic rope provides enough tension to keep the hooks from unhooking.
-3-4m of suitable rope to be used for pulling the sledge without the harness. Since I use my sledge also as a winter wheelbarrow for pulling around firewood at home I find it very useful. Rarely used on tour but also good as a backup in case something happens with the rods.
For the pulling system:
-2 glassfiber rods/pipes about 180cm long and 1.5cm diameter. I got these also from Kumipörssi and have no idea what they are called or what they are made for. In five years these rods have seen a lot of twisting and bending and they work just like on the first day.
-4 pieces of 6mm climbing accessory cord à 50cm (these will become the connection between pulk and rod/ rod and harness)
-transparent tape (to somehow prevent the rod from breaking when drilling. No idea if that was necessary)
-4 pieces of "rubber hose air-water 10 - 15x21mm". This is a slightly thicker hose that fits snugly over the glassfiber rods and protects the ropes and the rod ends from damage.
- some liquid soap to lubricate the pipe ends and help sliding the hose pieces on the pipe ends.
-6 pieces of thin cord (about 1-2mm and 10-15cm length). I use "planer board line" because it's a very versatile string also for tarps and lanyards but other string will do fine. These will be used to help fiddling the connector ropes and also to prevent loosing the two lynch pin rings
-2 lynchpin rings
-2x 20mm straps with metal lock about 100cm long (cut to length later) to tie the rods together and to attach them to the pulk.
-Belt: I use the German army webbing belt as it is cheap, robust, wide and comes with holes and a harness (most of the time I only use the belt without the harness). Previously I also used old seatbelt with a 2nd hand 50mm backpack buckle and four grommets for the attachment. In this instructable you will see both belts.
-fire / lighter
-6mm drill bit (to drill through the poles and the hose)
-step drill bit (to increase size of the holes in the pulk so that they match the grommets)
-tools for placing the grommets (I went to a place that makes covers for trucks and they allowed me using theirs)
-pipe cutter or fine saw if you need to cut your fibreglass rods to length
Step 2: Work on the Pulk
- widen the holes with the step drill bit to allow a good fit of the grommets
- hit the grommets in hard. The material of the pulk is very forgiving and I had to bend it out a bit so that the big tools for the workshop fit between body and edge of pulk.
- taper/burn the tips of the elastic rope
- fold rope in half and thread both ends it from underneath upwards through the last two holes (pic)
- thread one of the ends through the first hook and thread both ropes from up in to the next grommet on each side (pic)
- thread both ends on each side through a metal ring and then up through the same hole again (pic)
- repeat until you used the last hook
- thread elastic rope from up through last hole and tie rope to the last ring with a simple, tight overhand knot (pic). You could also just make a big knot instead but I found that the ring helps opening the knot if I ever have to (think repair with gloves at -20*C)
- adjust the elastic moving from front to back to ensure equal stretch of the rope. It should be petty loose.
- work on the sledge part is ready (pic)
Step 3: Work on the Poles
- wrap the ends of each pole in a thin layer of transparent tape
- drill a 6mm hole about 5cm from the end of the pole through each end of the poles (pic)
- lay the hose pieces next to the poles so that the hose is about 1.5cm longer than the pipe (pic)
- drill a 6mm hole through the hose parallel to the hole on the pole
- slide hose over pole and align the holes ( you might want to use some soap to make this step easier)
It might be easier to drill through pole and hose at the same time, but I wanted to make sure that my holes go through the middle.
Repeat for all four pipe ends.
- push a loop of the thin string into the pipe end past the drilled hole. This loop will help pulling the bigger string out (pic).
- push 6mm rope through the holes of the pipe ends. it helps to melt/ harden the first few centimetres of the rope with fire (pic)
- add stopper knots to each rope end and pull on the thin string until rope emerges and tie a small piece of string permanently to the loop (pic).
- repeat on all four pole ends
- attach the two lynch pin rings with a short piece of string to one end of each pole (pic)
- tie the two poles together at the middle using one of the 20mm straps (pic) to create a crossing point.
Step 4: The Belt
If you use seatbelt do like this (pic). Otherwise use the German army belt.
Step 5: Assembly
- on the pulk thread the rope loops (use the ends without the pin rings) from up through the same holes as the last bit of the elastic rope (pic)
- thread the rope loops up through the next (empty) hole
- connect the two rope loops with the second strap. It helps to put the poles "standing" on the pulk when doing this to get the best tension (pic).
On the belt, thread the loop from out through the rear grommet and back out to the front grommet.
- secure in place with pin
Step 6: Thoughts and Adjustments
To ensue a tight, responsive connection between puller and pulk, it is important that the size of the rope loops at the belt is smaller or at least same length as the distance between the two grommets on the belt.
Depending on the quality of the strap, it might be necessary to tighten it up at some point.
The elastic rope can be adjusted according to need/ size of load by simply pulling from one side of a grommet to the other. It helps to pull a bit on the ring at the same time.
In the past I have been experimenting with different setups for packing, including the use of boxes and a roll-top enclosure made of white fabric that I had attached to the pulk with rivets.
To me it works best to simply use a big surplus army duffle which leaves room in the front for fishing gear and bigger pots.
When loading the pulk it helps to put the heaviest stuff in the bottom and the middle of the pulk so it can pivot around this heavy centre and is a lot easier to steer.
The duffle setup also allows for quick unloading and transition between pulling and camp mode or use as a fun downhill toy with the kids.
By simply attaching a small chair without legs to the back of the pulk the whole thing turns up into a pretty good children system.
For transport in busses or trains I remove the pulling poles from the pulk and bundle them with the skis and skipoles.
When disconnecting fro the pulk I only open the hip belt and leave it attached to the poles.
A future project will include a combination of my sled with a single wheel hiking trailer to facilitate a modern hunter gatherer lifestyle in Finland.
Another idea is to build one ahkio out of two Paris pulks by cutting the ends off and make one long "telescopic" pulk that could also be split in half and used by two people.