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Old 10-21-2019, 10:37 AM   #1
JohnnyVirgil
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Winter camping suggestions?

I haven't done much winter camping, but I'm looking to change that with some new equipment I just purchased (0 degree bag and hot tent, for starters).
I wanted to start off slow, dragging a pulk sled into some places where (A) I can get my car pretty close and (B) maybe piggybacking on some snowmobile trails to make the drag a bit easier. I've done some tests with snowshoes and powder and it's like dragging cinderblocks. Does anyone who does this sort of thing have any good suggestions? I know that'd kind of vague, but a fer-instance of what I'm looking for would be the forked lake area, where you can park at the end where they stop plowing the seasonal road and then wander around from there.
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Old 10-21-2019, 12:18 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by JohnnyVirgil View Post
I haven't done much winter camping, but I'm looking to change that with some new equipment I just purchased (0 degree bag and hot tent, for starters).
I wanted to start off slow, dragging a pulk sled into some places where (A) I can get my car pretty close and (B) maybe piggybacking on some snowmobile trails to make the drag a bit easier. I've done some tests with snowshoes and powder and it's like dragging cinderblocks. Does anyone who does this sort of thing have any good suggestions? I know that'd kind of vague, but a fer-instance of what I'm looking for would be the forked lake area, where you can park at the end where they stop plowing the seasonal road and then wander around from there.
Indian Lake seems to have started keeping the NYS DEC boat launch plowed for their yearly ice fishing tournament so you can park at the boat launch now. Snowmobiles travel up and down the lake as well so you can haul along their tracks then decide where you want to cut away from the tracks to camp.

If the snow is deep off the snowmobile tracks I would suggest you leave the sled and break trail without it to your destination and then go back for your sled as it will haul a lot easier on a packed trail.

What tent and stove set up did you end up with Johnny?
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Old 10-21-2019, 01:04 PM   #3
Justin
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With good ice Garnet Lake is a fun & easy winter camping destination. The northern end has private camps but once you round the corner into the state owned southern side of the lake it feels a little more primitive. Sometimes the sleds will break the trail up to Lizard Pond. It should be noted also that it appears some of the locals will purposely try to disturb & slush up the ice near the public launch with quads in an effort to deter people from coming out onto the ice. You can usually skirt around it safely but if & when you punch through you start to have second thoughts.
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Old 10-21-2019, 04:23 PM   #4
JohnnyVirgil
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Indian Lake seems to have started keeping the NYS DEC boat launch plowed for their yearly ice fishing tournament so you can park at the boat launch now. Snowmobiles travel up and down the lake as well so you can haul along their tracks then decide where you want to cut away from the tracks to camp.

If the snow is deep off the snowmobile tracks I would suggest you leave the sled and break trail without it to your destination and then go back for your sled as it will haul a lot easier on a packed trail.

What tent and stove set up did you end up with Johnny?
Thanks. Can't get easier than that! I ended up with a SeekOutside Redcliff and their XL titanium stove. I like it, although managing condensation is new to me. I'm getting the hang of it. Tent and stove together weigh 8 lbs.

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Old 10-21-2019, 04:41 PM   #5
Neil
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You might want to take a look at this forum.
https://www.wintertrekking.com/community/
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Old 10-21-2019, 07:23 PM   #6
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You might want to take a look at this forum.
https://www.wintertrekking.com/community/
Its the best for that.
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Old 10-21-2019, 08:45 PM   #7
Pauly D.
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Johnny I've camped at Thirteenth Lake a few times. Some of the sites close to the parking lot which makes it easy to bring your own DEC-legal firewood. I've since switched to Envi blocks that are sold at Mulhalland Enterprises. If you live in Porter Corners then you know where that's at. They burn well and are more packable on the toboggan.

I've used both a pulk and Black River toboggan. They both work but the toboggan is easier to pull. If you've got runners on your pulk I suggest you take them off. They drag like crazy.
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Old 10-21-2019, 10:00 PM   #8
JohnnyVirgil
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Johnny I've camped at Thirteenth Lake a few times. Some of the sites close to the parking lot which makes it easy to bring your own DEC-legal firewood. I've since switched to Envi blocks that are sold at Mulhalland Enterprises. If you live in Porter Corners then you know where that's at. They burn well and are more packable on the toboggan.

I've used both a pulk and Black River toboggan. They both work but the toboggan is easier to pull. If you've got runners on your pulk I suggest you take them off. They drag like crazy.
Nice, I'll check that out. I thought those blocks weighed a ton. My sled is just a typical jet sled. 52" or something like that.
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Old 10-22-2019, 09:04 AM   #9
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Ice fishermen use a second sled, known as a Smitty sled, which basically uses two skis on legs under the sled to reduce the surface area in contact with the snow. These can make a long pull in deeper snow much less work. I have not heard of anyone using these on a trail, but I would think they would work on a road or trail where you could use a canoe cart in the summer.
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Old 10-22-2019, 11:51 AM   #10
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I made my pulk with the same 52" Jet Sled last winter, just in time for snow-melt here in PA. I managed to pull it around the farm field a bit but did not get into any deep trails. How have you rigged your lines? I'm using pvc electrical conduit (crossed) from sled to harness with metal loops at the ends and on the pulk. Are you using a belt or full harness? Adding the full harness was a huge improvement over the belt, with the added benefit that it didn't keep trying to pull my pants down.

Have you added a "keel" to yours for tracking stability? I'll be working on that as soon as my house move is completed and I can find stuff.

If you've never seen any of Shug Emery's Youtube videos, he does an inordinate amount of winter hammock camping in northern Minnesota. He often pulls the same Jet Sled that you have. Somehow, he makes it look easier than it is. My setup is almost exactly as in his video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ffquSy7EYUA.
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Old 10-22-2019, 12:02 PM   #11
JohnnyVirgil
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Originally Posted by Muddy Creek View Post
I made my pulk with the same 52" Jet Sled last winter, just in time for snow-melt here in PA. I managed to pull it around the farm field a bit but did not get into any deep trails. How have you rigged your lines? I'm using pvc electrical conduit (crossed) from sled to harness with metal loops at the ends and on the pulk. Are you using a belt or full harness? Adding the full harness was a huge improvement over the belt, with the added benefit that it didn't keep trying to pull my pants down.

Have you added a "keel" to yours for tracking stability? I'll be working on that as soon as my house move is completed and I can find stuff.

If you've never seen any of Shug Emery's Youtube videos, he does an inordinate amount of winter hammock camping in northern Minnesota. He often pulls the same Jet Sled that you have. Somehow, he makes it look easier than it is. My setup is almost exactly as in his video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ffquSy7EYUA.
I bought some adjustable luckybums aluminum poles and a harness, then immediately replaced the harness with the belt from an upgraded alice pack. When I use it for real, I will attach it to my pack belt, so that will be the equivalent of a full harness, I think. I also think I'm going to replace the poles with some pvc as well, since they are less apt to break. So basically don't buy what I bought since you're probably going to toss it. It was a good experiment to figure out the best length though since they are adjustable.

No keel, but that's probably not a bad idea. I put O rings around the top edge for tying stuff down before putting the cover on, and a couple of U brackets mounted right below the front edge, which is what I attach to pull it with.
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