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Help me design a collapsible wheeled travois for emergency use

 
Posts: 91
Location: Winters, California
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I like to go hiking with my giant breed dog, who weighs nearly as much as I do. We stick to well-groomed trails, not really roughing it, but we're in rattlesnake territory. If she were to be bitten or otherwise injured, it would be impossible for me to carry her out. I may be able to pull her in a wagon or similar, but it's not realistic for me to drag that with us every time we hike.

I recently learned about the travois, and saw that a few people have made wheeled versions like this: http://mediad.publicbroadcasting.net/p/wunc/files/styles/x_large/public/201405/Orig_Chase_Raleigh.jpg

What is the feasibility of designing one that can be carried in pieces on one's back, and assembled if an emergency occurs?

You would need to have the main poles in smaller pieces, then attack (tie?) them together to assemble. (Or they could be hinged, but it would need to be a very strong hinge to not break in use.) The wheels would be separate and somehow attach to the bottom pole/axle. The cloth middle that carries the dog (or injured person?) would be the easiest part - get some heavy duty canvas and sew in sleeves for the poles to slide into.

I am not a skilled maker when it comes to wood and wheels. What kind of wood would be strong enough but also lightweight? What's the best way to attach the pieces together? How could the wheels attach? Explain it to me like I'm a child.
 
pollinator
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pollinator
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Unless you are completely fixed on building the travios idea, you might want to look at collapsible game carts. there is a lot of different brands so can't recommend one specific.





Opposite of travios is folding wheel barrow, this is rated up to 150 lbs, but if your dog is large not so sure how well it would fit inside.
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Allsop-Home-And-Garden-WheelEasy-LE-Folding-Yard-Cart-Ground-Ad-Wheelbarrow/173723527904?hash=item2872baaae0:g:5YgAAOSw0TBcL6VW



You likely could find some of those game carts pretty cheap at garage/yard sales. Or use the idea to make your own version. Same with the folding wheel barrow idea. You could likely design and build your own version of one of those.
 
Juniper Zen
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Thanks for the suggestions, Devin. The single wheel on the folding wheelbarrow wouldn't provide enough stability, especially if the dog shifts around while in it. The collapsible game cart is a good lead. I'd have to see one in person and think about how to add fabric to support the dog and not have her on top of the wheels...
 
pollinator
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They make very inexpensive, foldable, lightweight emergency stretchers. One of those could have wheel adapted easily or just dragged, though either way it would be a bumpy ride. In a traditional drag travois I guess the long lodge poles had a certain amount of spring to them when dragged. With a sharp knife and enough cordage assuming enough saplings nearby a travois

If it was a human who was bit who needed carrying my preferred method would be the dead man carry, arm and leg slung over the shoulders. Doesn’t sound comfortable for a dog. They make very sturdy pet carry harnesses, and I suppose it would be easy to adapt one to a pack back type frame so the weight of the dog was carried high, perhaps with the help of a strap across the forehead, or a tumpline. I used to carry a very heavy wannigan on canoe trip portages over rough trails that would have been impossible without the tumpline across the forehead to help carry the weight.
 
Devin Lavign
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A lot of people do this with with the game carts.



And then some sort of light weight plastic to make fenders? So the wheels wouldn't be a problem?
 
Devin Lavign
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You can likely find a lot of used game carts for sale on craigs list or at yard sales. Which could make it a lot cheaper. Just make sure to research the general prices new first before looking at used ones.
 
steward
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Bonus points if you can rig it so that the dog carries the travois while you're hiking
 
pollinator
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Have you thought of carrying veterinary antivenin for dogs for post bite use, if that occurs?  The window of treatment is pretty narrow, and trying to carry the dog out takes time.

There also are some pre-bite vaccines available (specific to the species of rattlesnake you might encounter).

Here is a site in CA that offers more information, but be sure to research carefully and get professional advice before making medical decisions.

https://animalmedcenter.com/treatment-rattlesnake-bite/
 
Juniper Zen
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Ah, a foldable emergency stretcher is a great idea! Hadn't occurred to me. I would use straps to immobilize the dog on it. I would still need wheels on the bottom to make it a truly viable option.




Between the high cost and shelf life, I don't think carrying antivenin is practical. For me personally, I'm not hiking so far from civilization that I couldn't get my dog to the emergency vet quickly once we were back at the car. The issue is getting the dog from the field to the car. For someone who goes on week-long camping trips in the bush, that may be a different calculation.
 
Devin Lavign
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Awesome, hope you can figure out a workable set up. I like the stretcher idea as well if you can figure out a way to add some wheels to it.

Shouldn't be too hard. You could put a bit of PVC pipe in the feet, then feed an axle through that, then you can attach wheels to the axle.
 
Mike Haasl
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The bigger the wheels the better.  I'd say a kid's mountain bike sized tire at the minimum if you need to go over rocks/branches.  If it's a really flat maintained trail you could probably go smaller...
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