Life Hacks
February 6th, 2018

What to Do When You Run out of Fuel

It’s usually a good idea to pack spare fuel when riding in the mountains. But sometimes you don’t. Maybe you’ve just planned a short day. Or the snow is deeper than you thought it would be. Or your destination farther. You got lost. Or you just had waaaay too much fun! For whatever reason, at some point in your mountain sledding lifetime, you’ll probably run out of fuel.


What to Do When You Run out of Fuel

Well, if you didn’t pack a spare jerry can of fuel, that means you’re going to have to get fuel out of another sled. That is one of the many reasons you should never ride alone!

There are a couple of ways to do this. The easiest of course is to use a syphon hose. But if you are one of the extreme minority who is well-prepared enough to pack one of these, congratulations. For everyone else, you’ve got to get a little creative when you run out of fuel. Here’s what it’s going to take.



Step 1 Bottle

You’re going to have to sacrifice a water bottle. If you’re got a plastic refundable deposit water/juice/pop/whatever bottle, perfect. Otherwise you might have to sacrifice your reusable bottle to the fun-times gods. If that’s the case, we don’t recommend trying to wash the gas out after and using it later. Just send that baby on to the recycling plant and hit up your local outdoors store for a fresh one.

Step 2 Position the Donor Sled

Get the sled with some fuel left into a position in which it can easily be tipped on its side. Parking it up on a snowbank on the edge of the trail works well. You may have to tip the sled as far over as almost onto its bars to get fuel out, depending on how much is in the tank. Make it easy for yourself by picking the perfect spot nearby.

Step 3 Tip the sled

Start tipping the sled over, but have your sacrificial bottle ready so you don’t spill fuel on the ground. If you’re having trouble getting any to come out, try rocking the sled back and forth to get the fuel sloshing around. Be ready to lift the sled back up to stop the flow when your container is nearing full!


What to Do When You Run out of Fuel


Step 4 Fill ‘er Up!

Carefully transport your fuel over to the empty sled and start filling. It will probably take quite a few rounds to get enough fuel exchanged, depending on the size of your bottle and how far you have yet to travel.


Take Care

It’s not the end of the world when you run out of fuel. With a little creativity, you can transfer fuel from one machine to another, even without a siphon hose. Just remember that you’re in the beautiful, pristine backcountry; try your best not to pollute it by spilling fuel everywhere!

Check out for more tips!


– MS