This is a weird post that fits into a couple of categories. What I’m about to describe for you was the result of a physical fitness endeavor, but can easily be adapted depending on your needs. I’m going to tell you how to create an Expedition Sled.
I put my sled set-up together for the purposes of a getting exercise. I wanted to add something new to my workout to help prep for my mountaineering adventures. At times I have to haul gear in a sled or on skis, and it’s a physical endeavor that’s much easier if you’ve gotten the right muscle groups ready for it. Here’s the snag in that scenario…I live at the beach. No problem for me though. That gives me access to just the right environment. The only thing missing from my mountain workout is elevation, but you’re not going to be sled-hauling up steep elevations anyway.
Even if you’re not prepping for a mountain adventure, it’s still a great way to get a full body workout and have some fun at the same time.
Let’s get started on the instructions…
1. Assemble the pieces.
I bought a cheap $2 snowsled at a dollar store. It was in the off-season and they were trying to get rid of their winter snow toys. Get some good line that won’t stretch too much, that will handle the stress, and that doesn’t cost too much. Out in the wild, don’t skimp on supplies, but for training, you can go a little cheaper and replace it as needed. You also don’t want to use your good stuff on the beach as the sand and salt will ruin it much quicker. Get a few cheap carabiners. Use a decent backpack to hook into. If you use a cheap backpack for this, your tie-in hooks or straps will likely rip right off. My Kelty bag is my go-to for trips that don’t require extended stays. This is the same pack I used on Kilimanjaro.
2. Be sure your kids are helping. Just about any activity you do should involve your kids. It’s a chance to let them use tools, learn problem-solving, use teachable moments, and spend time with you. This part is also important if you plan on using your kids as the weights in the sled.
3. Consult resources as needed. If you’re ever doing something like this, don’t be ashamed to ask for help. It’s a great opportunity to review needed skills or learn new ones. For any mountain activities that I need help with, I always refer back to my trusty Mountaineering: the Freedom of the Hills book.
I’m only building a solo sled for my workouts, so my ropework is much simpler.
4. Prep the sled. I needed the attachment holes further back so the sled would slide smoother behind me. Light work with the drill. If you’re married, be very cautious about getting caught doing this in the living room over the carpet. Yikes!
5. Rope it. I used 550 parachute cord. It’s cheap, easy to find, and incredibly strong for it’s size and weight. I just clipped two carabiners on each side and then a third one that hooks into my pack.
6. Use it! Decide what you want to use for weight. You can throw some barbell weights in there, but there’s a much easier way if you have kids. Number one, you’d have to haul the weights around with you. Number two, depending on where you do this, you might have to also secure the weights in the sled. My kids are perfect for the workouts. They haul themselves down to the beach, and I don’t have to secure them into the sled. They’re the perfect weight. My three boys weigh 35, 60 and 90 pounds. That gives me some variation. Most of my workouts will be with the two younger kids at 95 pounds total. My younger kid is perfect too, because he likes to dig his hands into the sand, which creates more drag for me. He pretends he’s in a boat the whole time.
What if you don’t have sand, snow, or a field to use? Instead of a snowsled, you can buy a cheap wagon on wheels and haul it around the neighborhood, on the road, on sidewalks, or whatever. It works great. I do this sometimes too. This is actually fun if your grocery store is nearby. Haul the empty wagon there and sled the groceries back.
Why in the world? Primarily, it’s a great workout. It’s also very useful when the apocalypse happens. Chances are, you’ll have to haul large loads of gear without the benefit or cars or horses. This is the way to do it. It’s a fun bonding experience with the kids too that gets them used to seeing exercise in a fun way.
Any other questions?
This message was written by Dr. David Powers. You can always find me at www.drdavidpowers.com. Thanks for reading!