Maryland Sled Dog Adventures LLC, Central Maryland's only dog sledding operation.  Maryland Sled Dog Adventures LLC offers Boy Scout and Girl Scout activities, educational dog sledding tours, and dog sled programs near Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia, and Washington, DC.
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Our drop lines were made from lifeline materials and hockey pucks.
We built our own drop lines from boat lifeline material and hockey pucks.
T-Bone in West Glover
Contact Maryland Sled Dog Adventures LLC by phone or email

Phone:
(443) 257-4117

Email:
eric@marylanddogsledding.com

Maryland Sled Dog Adventures LLC is a micro mushing educational program provider in Baltimore, Maryland.

We transport our dogs in boxes on our dog truck (a Toyota Tundra). Transporting the rigs and sleds is another story.

We modified our three wheeled Fritz Dyck SAM rig to allow the uprights to easily fold flat. With the SAM, a large cotter pin is used to connect and disconnect the steering shaft. We replaced the standard metric allen screws and nyloc nuts attaching the upper side supports with universal clevis pins and hairpin cotter pins.

The four wheeled Fritz Dyck TOM rig is a good bit larger than the SAM and more difficult to transport. In particular, the TOM rig does not have a split steering shaft and requires disconnecting multiple metric rod ends to collapse the rig to fit in our vehicle. In this case, it did not seem practical to change to a quick release system.

We decided to go with a hitch mounted carrier. Most hitch mounted cargo carriers and mobility carriers are not large enough to carry a larger rig. VersaHauler makes an ATV (VH90) carrier suitable for large ATV's and rigs. VersaHauler rates the maximum ATV weight based on the size and configuration of the carrier vehicle. Typically, you need a 3/4 ton truck to have the suspension capacity required for a VersaHauler.

We decided to make our own hitch mounted carrier based on dimensions from Sled Dog Central.

The plan drawing is shown below. Click on the image for an enlarged version. Please note that the following drawing has not been reviewed for structural calculations.

Hitch mounted carrier.

We used 11 gauge 2 in. x 2 in. box tubing for the main and diagonal supports. One 20 foot length provided sufficient material for all three components.

Hitch mounted carrier installed on the back of the Tundra.

We used C4x4.5 for the wheel tracks. Initially, we planned on building the channels from expanded metal (for the floor) with an angle iron frame. The C4 channels were a bit cheaper than the angle and expanded metal. The TOM has a different front and rear track, which makes the process a bit harder. The C4 channels are basically the same width as the TOM tires. Our initial version of the hitch carrier had the rear channel (furthest from the vehicle) welded in place and the front channel bolted on. Because the front and rear tracks do not match, the front channel and rear channel are not parallel. If we were to do it again, we would make wider channels for both, which would allow the channels to be parallel and make it easier to load.

 

Beaver typically gets tied off at the hitch mounted carrier during programs.

Since we have both the three wheel SAM and four wheel TOM rigs, the rear channel was welded to the frame. The front channel can be moved to adjust between the two rigs. A third channel is bolted to the frame for the center wheel of the SAM rig.

The hitch mounted carrier mounted on the Tundra.

After using the hitch carrier several times, we decided to modify the design. Our initial carrier had a longer main support (approximately 51"), which gave the cart roughly 8" to 10" of clearance from the rear bumper. The design also acted as a giant lever and the weight of the rig tended to cause a fair amount of motion at highway speeds. As a result, we moved both channels in towards the vehicle and cut off the excess material at the rear of the carrier. In the process, we changed from a welded rear channel and bolted front channel to a welded front channel and bolted rear channel. In addition, stiffeners were added to reduce rotation. The net result was to move the rig in towards the center of gravity of the vehicle. This appears to have helped to some degree.

We created tie down attachment points on each channel. We took a scrap of box tubing and cut it into 1/4 in. long sections. The sections were welded to the outside edges of the channel and provide secure locations for ratchet tie downs. We found that standard ratchet tie downs can release and replaced the tie down hooks with clips with gates.

The rig carrier was originally built for our old truck, a 1998 Ford Expedition. Years later, the rig carrier is still in service with an occasional coat of fresh paint.

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