The book Snow Walker’s Companion by Garrett and Alexandra Conover is the classic manuel for anyone interested in winter trekking and camping. The Conover’s have years of experience winter camping and snowshoe trekking in the wild lands of Maine and Canada. The book contains a wealth of experience for the information on just about everything one needs to know to live comfortably and productively on the snowshoe trail.
Back when we were starting out building Dog Toboggans for the sustenance hunting and trappers of the North a fellow stopped by my shop one day with information on Hand Toboggans. His hobby was snowshoeing and winter camping. He was quite interested in my toboggans and inquired if I could make something like he had in mind.
He’d done some research and had some interesting documentaries on early “Hunting Toboggans”. Apparently these where the first toboggan sleds made to follow the snow shoe trail.
I was interested and he recommended Garrett and Alexandra’s book. I did one better and gave Garrett a phone call. Since then I’ve appreciated the phone calls and letter exchanges we have had over the years. Those were enjoyable conversations and a most generous soul.
After discussing hand toboggans with Garrett, I felt well prepared to design and build my first toboggans for hand hauling. We’ve done a bit of refining over the years but for the most part my instructions came with the R&D work the Conover’s had already completed.
Winter Trekking is a niche sport that is becoming more and more popular with each season. What I’m gathering from the hand haulers is that perhaps more so than the other niches, they develop greater affections for their wooden toboggan!