Naturens Bästa

Vinnare av Grand Travel Awards Ekoturismpris 2008

Dog sleds

With dogsleds and siberian huskies in Sarek National park, Swedish Lapland, march 2010.

There are lots of different models and different producers of dog sleds. Different sleds fits of cause to different situations and purposes. There are two different groups of sleds, the Nordic sleds that you go with ski behind and the Nome sleds that you stand behind on the runners and drive. The sleds that are built of wood are usually put together with ropes. That makes them flexible and strong. The runners are equipped with a thin plastic surface underneath (towards the snow). The plastic help the sled to slide easy on the snow. When the plastic is worn out they are easy to change.
Normally the sleds are equipped with a sled bag. In the sled bags we put all our gear for the tours so it’s protected from the snow and don’t fall off. In the back of the bag it’s usually a smaller pocket where you can store things that you want to reach easy like a water bottle, camera, extra gloves, candies etc. We load the sled in different ways depending on different snow conditions, different trails, different weight of the musher etc. Sometimes we want the sled to be heavy in the back, sometimes low center of gravity.
The sleds that we use have aluminum / steel brakes. It’s a claw that you push down with your foot in to the snow. It’s constructed to give you maximal brake effect. All our sleds also have a brake mat. It looks like a small mat that you can put down when you need it. This brake is not as powerful as the alu-brake. We use this one mostly to slow down the speed or when it’s icy, less snow or during difficult parts of the trail like long downhill driving.
These two brakes we use during driving. We also have the snow hook, which is more like an anchor/parking brake for a dog team.

During many years we have tested different sleds from different producers and finally chose these models:

Toboga sled.

This is a sled model originally built for transports where it’s soft/deep snow. Between the runners there is a plastic bottom that carries the sled in soft snow. The bad thing with this model is that sometimes the plastic works like a drift anchor under the sled and that make the tobogans heavy to pull in some snow conditions. Because of this we use Oinakka Tobogas with a heightened plastic bottom during our longer tours/expeditions. The loading area at our sleds are 2,0 meter so it’s possible to go into the sled for protection in emergencies. Of cause we prefer the cabins or ordinary mountain tents but it’s good to know if something happens. Longer sleds also floats better in the snow.

Freight sleds

Some of our sleds are made for transportation. The classic Pollimanki sled, today we call it a Tourist sled. This sled is built to transport up to 4 persons sitting on the sled and can load approx. 400 kg. This sleds we use on our shorter tours and also when we transport gear in the mountains for ski groups and in areas where it’s forbidden to use snowmobiles.
In the group freight sleds there are also another kind of sleds. One is called Oinakka Touring (Titanic) which is one big toboga sled in the same size as the tourist sled.
Mattis favorite is a traditional freight sled a so called basket sled with 250 cm loading area. It’s built by Jörn Johansen in Arjeplog and then equipped with runners made by Bo Östergren, the ski maker in Jokkmokk. This sled is flexible and easy to drive with heavy load. In the future we hope that Oinakka or Bo Östergren will start building sleds with even longer loading areas up to 300-350 cm, wide and with long runners.

Racing sleds

Racing sleds are made for competition. Today there is a new generation of sleds, made of plastic and aluminum with an active steering mechanism, aluminum runners etc. We use a very old Oinakka Extrem for sprint/mid distance races and an Oinakka Alu-distance and an Oinakka Alu-toboga for the longer races. The last two have aluminum runners that are really flexible and the Extreme and Alu-distance also have active steering and some other hi-tech solutions.
If we go up in the mountains or with heavy loads we prefer the traditional wooden sleds. But at races the hi-tech sleds are the best.

Oinakka Touring, we call it Titanic... Here it's loaded with 300kg of gear during an expedition in Sarek National Park 2010.