Sunday, February 7, 2021

The Paris pulk

Picture by Juha Jokila

I bought a new Paris pulk and customized it a bit.

I've had a Paris pulk for fifteen years or so, and it has served me well with a very simple rope pulling system. It it still in ok shape, though it has taken quite a bit of punishment.

The Paris pulk itself is quite cheap and I decided to by a new one and this time customise it a bit. The basic Paris pulk itself is a very good design: It is light, strong, not too wide and it glides well in all conditions I've encountered with it. The front part, the "beak", however has a tendency to get stuck when encountering obstacles, of which there are plenty in Southwest Finland when you leave the lakes and mires. The other thing I wanted to try was a different pulling system instead of the ropes.

The internet is full of modification instructions for the pulk, but not all of them are what I wanted. A popular and easy one, but quite expensive, is to add a Fjellpulken harness and shafts. That is probably the best one for open spaces like fjells and north poles, but it isn't really suitable for forest use. For forest use you want crossed shafts and a pulling system with essentially no play, in order to be able to steer the pulk around trees with your hips.

The beak was quite easy to modify with a little heat. Since I assume that the shape does stiffen the pulk quite a bit I decided to reinforce it a little with aluminum sheet I already had at home. The first test overnighter went in a tight forest in addition to the easy lakes. The new shape works and definitely is a big improvement.

The above picture also shows the first try at attaching the shafts to the pulk. This worked without problems, but I do think it pulls the pulk from a slightly too low position. I'll move it a bit backwards to the sides of the pulk. Easy to do with the U metals and a bit of metal plate on the other side. The U metals allow a quick release attachment, as soon as I find a suitable D-pin. The 2 m aluminum shafts (2 mm thick walls, because that's what I easily found) are attached with 20 cm hose pieces.

I have an old Tatonka harness, which I've used with the rope pulling system, and found a brilliant way of connecting the shafts, again with 20 cm hose pieces, to the harness. Or so I thought. The system works and gives a connection without play, but there is also a safety system that currently was too sensitive, releasing the connection between the harness and shafts too easily. But I'm sure this will work well with a little modification.

I also purchased a bigger pulk bag, the Piteraq Pulk Bag HD, with 224 l of volume (sea kayak level storage space). While the Ikea bags are ok, the zippers are unreliable. In the pictures the bag is less than half full.

The bag is held in place by shock cord and clips that are easy to use with gloves on in the cold.

While the modifications need some work still, the pulk did work very well in the forest and followed me clearly better than only with a rope pull system. It looks like the winter continues, so I'll have plenty of time to test it. 

This weekend's overnighter was again nice and we got another -20°C night out.

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