Gear Review: CFR iRack
For some of us, sledding started as a way to escape the hustle and bustle of ski hills and feel the freedom of backcountry snowboarding by way of untouched powder in places that only a sled could access. Heli-boarding is too structured, cat-boarding is too slow and both are too expensive to do every day all day, so using sleds is the next best thing. There are no rules on a sled, no referee, no patrol, no guide, no safety net, no boundaries, and the only limit is yourself; it’s the ultimate in freedom on snow.
Getting all your gear with you into the backcountry on your sled can pose a problem. It’s only a matter of time before you go to the store, hand over your money and head back home to bolt your new Cheetah Factory Racing (CFR) rack to your sled. CFR has had it figured out for a long time, so do yourself a favour and save a lot of headaches and go get a rack and the ski or board attachment system. The last CFR rack I had was one of the originals and had just shy of 30,000 km on it before it finally died.
The best part about CFR racks is the accessories: attachment systems for just skis, just boards, or board and ski combos. CFR also has a couple of choices for tunnel bags that attach to the racks; you have the option of the Dime Bag or the Quarter Pound Bag. I have no idea why they are called the Dime Bag or the Quarter Pound Bag; probably something to do with bulk, loose tea. Anyways.
The Dime Bag is the smaller of the two and has a low-profile design level with the top of the rack, perfect for lunch, extra gloves, loose tea and loose tea consumption accessories, water and a few tools.
The Quarter Pound bag is a monster and my personal favorite; you could probably fit 5 or 6 pounds of loose tea in the Quarter Pound bag. Anyways. This bad boy doesn’t have the same low-profile as the Dime Bag; it sits almost level with the seat on my M8000. But is the perfect size for carrying my usual selection of stuff which includes: dry sack of emergency gear, 8×10 tarp, big ass saw, water, thermos, lunch, gloves, toque, extra goggles, extra lenses, puffy jacket, rope, and some loose tea and loose tea consumption accessories. All things I used to put in my bag on my back. Now without all that stuff on my back, I’m free to tomahawk off any cliff on a snowboard and not have to worry about crushing my lunch; not to mention how much easier it is to hop around on the running boards and negotiate a sled through tight trees. The only downside to the tunnel bags is that the zippers are a little cheesey but as long as you don’t yard on them like you’re pulling on the ski of a stuck Viper, you should have no problems with them.
Without a bag in the rack, a 20-litre gas can fits in there nice and snug for the long missions, with lots of options for tying it down. I have been able to strap down a tripod, slider and fluid head with the Quarter Pound Bag in the rack and everything stayed secure and tight going down a whooped out trail. The only downside to the rack is with all that weight, the sled takes a beating and has been known to fold the Arctic Cat tunnels when loaded right up on long bumpy rides. However, CFR has come up with a solution and offers tunnel stiffening brackets for most current makes and models.
The construction of the rack is top notch with clean welds on all the joints and thick enough tubing that it doesn’t bend or break with normal use. If your rack suffers a terrible beating and you break something, the aluminum is thick enough to allow for easy repairs at a welding shop.
Installing the CFR rack directly to your sled is a breeze and only requires a drill, drill bit, and a couple wrenches. If you find you need any other tools, you’re doing it wrong; stop before you destroy anything and bring it back to the dealer for a professional install.
CFR also makes a bunch of other great products all used and endorsed by the Mountain Sledder staff.
Check http://cheetahfactoryracing.com/ for all the details.