Toboggan Tank and Top Bag Selection Guide

Toboggan Tank and Top Bag

A Classic Toboggan Tank setup with Top Bag riding high!

This article is all about outfitting your toboggan: how to choose a style of toboggan tank, what length of tank is appropriate, and info about using stove bags and top bags.  If you’re looking for information about our toboggans themselves, please see our toboggan selection guide.

Tanks are a specialized fabric cover sewn and designed to fit your toboggan and help secure your load.  Our tanks, and their smaller brethren, the stove bag, are available in both Classic and *NEW* Speed Lash lineups. The body of the bags in “speed lash” and “classic” lineups is identical: 1000d Cordura bottoms with 400d top flaps.  The difference lies in their closures.

Top bags, as the name suggests, ride atop your load, and their design allows you to access the contents through the full-length zipper without having to un-lash anything.  They are perfect for keeping handy items you need to access frequently throughout the day.

1. Classic vs. Speed Lash Toboggan Tank and Stove Bag

i. Classic Toboggan Tank and stove bag

Toboggan Stove Bag

Classic Stove Bag

The classic bags are equipped with polyester straps on either side and steel hooks to close the bags.  They are then lashed tightly to the toboggan using a separate lash strap and steel buckle that is secured to the toboggan itself.  The entire system is extremely rugged, and also has the advantage that the classic tank or classic stove bag can be closed securely even when not on the toboggan.  However the two-step process of closing up the tank, and then securing it to the toboggan is slower than our new “Speed Lash” system.



ii. Speed Lash Tank and stove bag

speed lash toboggan tank

Speed Lash tank and top bag – click to see more detail

The speed lash tank has a polyester strap sewn on top of it that hangs down both sides of the bag.  These hanging ends have plastic clips and tension buckles which are designed to clip to the toboggan’s running line and be cinched.  This closes the tank and secures it to the toboggan in one action.  This is much faster than the classic system and is a great way to improve efficiencies and spend more time camping or hauling and less time lashing! The disadvantage of this system is the plastic buckle.  We’ve seen about a 2% failure rate in our testing (ie. expect to break about 1 buckle in 50 days of use).  With each bag we supply 4 extra plastic buckles, which can be replaced in seconds in the field with no tools.  We think this disadvantage is worth the time savings, and this is our preferred style of tank.

Video Explanation, if you want more details of the above listed differences:

2. Selecting Your Toboggan Tank Size

Start by looking at the packable space of your toboggan.  Because the hood curl uses some of the length of the plastic, our 12′ toboggan has 10′ of packable space, for example (we try to make this very obvious in the description of our toboggans). Next you will want to decide if there are any items that won’t be going inside your tank, and how much length they will take.  For example, you may want to pack your stove into a separate stove bag to keep rust, ash or oil off of your other items.  Typical stoves take up approximately 2′ of space.  So in this example, an 8′ tank would be appropriate for a 12′ toboggan that has 10′ of packable space, and which will have a 2′ stove packed separately.

3. Using a Stove Bag

stove bag

Lots of extra room for easy stuffing with mitts, or adding tiddly bits!

Your steel (or titanium!) stove doesn’t need much protecting from the elements.  But your toboggan and the rest of your kit would benefit from having your stove wrapped up for transport.  Our stove bags come in the same “classic” and “speed lash” options that our tanks do, and are available for some of the most popular models of Kni-Co stoves.  Many other stove manufactures will have similar dimensions, but if you’re looking for a custom sized stove bag, don’t hesitate to let us know, and we’d be happy to do that for you!

4. Top Bag Sizing

12' trail toboggan with tank and top bag

The system coming together: a 12′ toboggan with 10′ packable space. 2′ stove, 2′ wannigan, 6′ tank and 4′ top bag.

Top bags ride atop the tank and are secured from the bottom of the bag, allowing you to open the full-length zipper on top without removing any lashing.  They are compatible with or without classic or speed lash tanks.  We tend to store water bottles, axe, sunglasses and other small items in here.  They are available in 4′ and 6′ lengths.  We tend to favour the 4′ length.  The 6′ length has greater capacity, but the tendency or temptation to stuff a 6’er full of various items you don’t really need can make it harder to find your sunglasses or wool hat when you really want them!

5. Bungee Cords

The last little bit of the picture is a couple of bungee cords, secured with girth hitches to the running line of your toboggan.  These are used to secure the really big items, like your parka, to the top of your load without having to cram it into a top bag.  The girth hitches prevent you from losing loose bungees in the snow around camp.

All of the Toboggan Outfitting Mentioned on This Page: