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How to Make a Backpacking Sled

SAFETY FIRST: Ask an adult to help with tools you haven't used before.


Hikes are harder in the winter. You need more gear to stay warm. And soft snow makes walking with heavy backpacks even more difficult. But don’t worry. 

With a little time and a plastic sled, you are well on your way to an easier hike. Build this back-saver with a rope belt for easy pulling and with two PVC handles that will help keep the sled from running you over on downhills.


  • Two sections of 1/2-inch PVC pipe, each 6 feet long
  • Manila or hemp rope, two 7-foot lengths and one 6-foot
  • A plastic sled, 3 to 4 feet long. Use a plastic toboggan, with ridges on the bottom. These ridges help keep the sled behind you.



Step 1: Start with the belt. Using a bowline knot, tie a one-inch loop about one foot from the end of the six-foot rope. Wrap the rope around the back of your waist with the loop just in front of your left hipbone. Tie another one-inch bowline in front of your right hipbone.

Step 2: Attach the PVC pipes to the sled. Tie each seven-foot piece of rope to the sled in place of the rope handle that came on it. Thread the ropes through the PVC pipes.

Step 3: Tie each rope to the loops in the belt. Never untie these ropes from the belt. When pulling the sled, tie the belt around your waist. When you reach camp, untie the belt, but leave the rest intact.


Step 4: Lash it or lose it. Once underway, you could drop something important without noticing. Tie everything securely to the sled.


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18 Comments on How to Make a Backpacking Sled

  1. I bought an old backpack from the goodwill store, removed the belt, and then used it as part of the harness.

  2. I found that if you crossed the poles to your sled before you tied it to your waist the sled was more stable and would track behind you better.

  3. I like it but could you try to make the sled a lot lighter in weight

    • I would try to take the mettle out of the frame of an OLD backpacking pack and use it for the sled body!

  4. Backpacking dude // December 22, 2010 at 3:36 pm // Reply

    Sounds awsome gu’na build it , I need my dad to take me to the hardware store

  5. That’s a good idea for cross-country skiing. I’m going to try it for a campout in a few weeks.

  6. i would make one of these but i live in florida and we dont get any snow so i will biuld one one wheels

  7. Otter, if there was no snow then you would not use it!


  9. open a door

  10. I will try that for ice fishing

  11. Dude1234567890 // April 30, 2007 at 4:08 pm // Reply

    hey marine! this would not work for me, I live in hot places d00d!

  12. Galactic Marine // April 25, 2007 at 3:41 pm // Reply

    Well, Collector of chickens, the mountains are usually rocky and very steep!

  13. Collector of chickens // April 22, 2007 at 9:10 pm // Reply

    Question……Why wouldn’t it work in the mountains?..There is

    plenty of snow way up there!

  14. Galactic Marine // April 10, 2007 at 8:34 pm // Reply

    Great idea, but probably doesn’t work in the mountains where its most needed!

  15. Hey I like this idea I think it would work best in the snow thiugh.

  16. i made one of these at a Spring Campreee

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