Have you been thinking about building your own dog sled? Maybe your creative side is bugging you to construct that great sled plan, or maybe you are looking to save a few dollars. Whatever your inspiration is, we can supply everything you are going to need to get the job done. Oh, but I didn’t mention the plan, that’s got to be yours, and that is where it all must start! You can not have a great sled without a solid plan.
Here are a few tips when planning.
- Make a dimensional drawing, this will give you a clearer picture and be helpful when planning your materials.
- Decide how much time you have to invest into the project. Perhaps the project will be more manageable and enjoyable if you purchase the parts that are more time consuming to fabricate. If you have plenty of time and the right tools, you can make all the detailed components.
- Create a complete list of all necessary materials for the project, and determine what you need to purchase. Shipping everything at once will keep costs down.
Ok, now that you have a well formed plan, the next thing to consider is your construction materials. You cannot have a well built sled without using quality materials suitable for the job.
Aluminum runners are the only runners we use on our sleds. They are strong, reliable, versatile and easy to build on. For more details on the Rex runners system click here.
If you are building a long distance racing sled or a sled that will be carrying a large load, we strongly recommend the runner insert system.
On to the stanchion brackets, determine the dimensions of the stanchion material you will use and match this to the (i.d.) inside dimension of the brackets. We make STB brackets in various sizes for different uses. Typically, the STB brackets with a 7/8 “(.875) inside dimension are used for wood stanchions and 3/4″(.75) STB brackets are used for aluminum stanchions.
A bed support or stanchion that needs to move or pivot during operation cannot be fastened tight. An STB 30 or 36 works well for 3/4” aluminum tubing with a shim inserted on each side to allow movement. Don’t forget a bolt kit to fasten all the brackets tight. New hardware is important as well to ensure tightness. Used hardware may have been stressed and could loosen or break unexpectedly. We suggest using thread locker.
Let us supply you with pre-made components that will make your job much easier. For the do-it yourself sled builders we have many pre-manufactured components such as runners, brake systems, brush bows, drag brakes and handlebars.
Take a look at our product line of Sled Components. We are a good resource for the creative sled builder.
Since the company began, Prairie Bilt Sleds has built a loyal customer base. We aim to continue that trend. Here are testimonials from some of our satisfied customers:
“We are using the Fast Trax plastic in our kennel and I just wanted to say Thank you for providing the wider style plastics. In deep snow or wind blown conditions we always use wide plastics for the extra float they give the sled. It only makes sense that the larger surface area under your runners keeps you on top of the snow. Every racer I know gets frustrated when they are bogged down in deep snow – I believe that wider plastics gives me an edge.”
Easy Rider Sleds, 62″ and 72″
“I want to let you know how much we enjoy your sleds, there is nothing we would rather be driving no matter what the conditions. I did the Serum Run and did not have a single problem with any aspect of the sled. Val did the 2009 Serum Run and would not think of using anything else. We also use the sleds for all the training runs.”
Kurt and Val Jokela
Easy Rider 66 x 22
“What a beautiful sled!! Peter made several runs on the sled and said it handles wonderfully. It is amazing, no need to manhandle this sled around corners. With the slightest shift you can go from one side of the trail to the other. I can’t imagine driving anything else. I took it out on a puppy run, and although the handlebar is way too tall for me (all our sleds are too tall for me), it was a dream to drive. The sled bag is also beautiful. Your products are certainly manufactured well. You can tell you put a lot of research and thought into it. Thanks again for such a timely response and really working hard to get it to Peter in time for the Iditarod.”
Therese and Peter Bartlett
“Prairie built sleds are the toughest thing in the world. I beat that N-2 to death, and had no major troubles. I mean I beat it with in an inch of its life I didn’t hit a single tree from Finger to Rohn. I was nervous about not having a 2nd sled, and was darn glad I had the one I did!”
“After receiving my sled, I realized I had purchased a sled that is evolutionary in performance. I also greatly value Prairie Bilt’s commitment behind their products.”
Dee Dee Jonrowe
“The Prairie Bilt “Nitro” is the best mid-distance sled of all time. This sled, combined with the FastTrax plastic, pulls easier and out handles all other sleds. If you have raced in the Midwest, you are well aware that the trails here are not the ones in the “hot coco Classic.” They are tight, choppy and curvy. You need a sled that turns like a good pair of radius sharpened hockey skates. You need a Prairie Bilt sled. This sled was instrumental in our win at the Tahquamenon Country Sled Dog Race and our 2nd place at the UP 200. Thanks for developing a sled that makes our dogs’ job easier and my job safer and more fun.”
“I almost gave up the sport of dog mushing; I could not find a sled I was comfortable driving. Then I convinced my husband to purchase a Prairie Bilt. Well, the rest is history. We now own four Prairie Bilt sleds. The last sled we purchased was the NitroS48. I picked up that little sled and hauled that in my Explorer. The first time I stood on the runners I thought my husband was trying to kill me! But boy this is an awesome sled, the tracking ability is amazing. In fact the tracking and steering ability of all our Prairie Bilt sleds is unbelievable. ”
Grand Marias, MN
“On the 2002 Quest, we encountered extremely rough, jumbled ice. My sled floated over it beautifully. The sled performed flawlessly and the runner plastic was a dream!”
54″ Trail Glider Sled
“The Trail Glider is great! The Iditarod was a tough trip, but the sled made it easier. It is the best sled I have ever driven in the long distance and mid distance races!”
Trail Glider Dually:
I was able to test the Trail Glider Dually the winter of 2009 with people I was providing dog sledding experiences through my business Prairie Isle Dog Trekking (PIDT). For me the musher, I love the fact all the attributes I love with my personal Prairie Bilt sled of 10 years were still present in the Dually: maneuverability, light weight and structurally strong to handle the load of a guest. But also I felt the guests were more comfortable either when in the basket or having the unique experience being on the runners with the safety of the musher there to help with driving the dog team. Also with the Dually I found I could safely hook up a larger team and the person on the back section had the real experience of helping me control the speed of the team. They were more involved in their dog sledding experience in a safe manner.
Guests expressed to me, when on the back runner section, they felt as if they were in control of the team even though I was sitting right there in front of them. The dual set up provided a safe means for people to experience balancing on the runners, braking, slowing the team down plus steering the sled. People could experience riding in the sled basket and/or driving the team. The dual set up is a great way to transport 2-3 people (or 4 depending on their size) with one sled and get the whole dog sledding experience!
The Dually provides Prairie Isle Dog Trekking a safe way to allow people of all ages an experience dog sledding the Wonders of Winter in North Dakota. I am very excited to be able to offer dog sledding experiences to the public with my new Trail Glider Dually. Thank you Jim and Mary Ann for all your hard work and the production of high quality state of the art dog sleds.
Prairie Isle Dog Trekking
I have a Prairie Bilt Nitro not to win sled dog races but to personally physically survive them, “in good style”, and all the training it takes to prepare. The same characteristics are needed to win sled dog races. Excellent handling, good stability, strength, ease of use, within a cushy ride help keep me at my best so I may then take the best care of my dogs.
Grand Marias, MN