MLine Sled Deck Review: Three Years of Abuse on the Road
MLine has a reputation for building tough, good-looking sled decks. So when Mountain Sledder went looking for a new deck to haul around our toys, the manufacturer was high on our list. After three years of use and abuse, here’s our MLine Sled Deck review.
Full disclosure—this sled deck was purchased in a trade of equivalent value advertising space in our magazine. This in no way has any influence on the outcome of this review.
MLine Sled Deck Review: MLine Pro Deck
One look at the MLine Pro Deck will tell you that it’s a quality product. The finish is excellent and it looks bomber. But this wouldn’t be much of a review if all we did was look at it. We wanted to find out how the deck holds up and performs under regular use. So we spent three years hauling sleds and all kinds of other stuff around with it. Finally, we can confidently tell you what we think of this unit.
The Great Stuff
Looks and Durability
The #1 thing that really stands out with this unit is how good it looks after three seasons of hard use. Besides a few scuffs on the Infiniboard Pure Polymer Decking, it looks basically brand new. The polymer decking is tough and prevents your deck surface from turning into a skating rink of death after snow and ice build-up on top.
This thing is built as solid as they come. It’s going to last, and you will definitely be switching this deck from truck to truck. There should be no need to buy a new sled deck every time you replace or upgrade your truck.
Let’s talk a bit about extra tie-down points. Sometimes you want to grab some lumber or some other item that requires the truck, but you don’t want to pull your deck off to do it. The Pro Deck has three tie-down points on the headache rack, five on the decking itself, and four on each side rail. MLine obviously thought about running errands and hauling things other than just sleds and ATVs.
On some sled decks, pulling out the retractable sides is a three-man job; they tend to stick and bind after time when the poly-coating starts to wear out. Some manufacturers use round tubing for the retractable sides, but the round tubes have a very small surface area to make contact, resulting in premature wear on the poly-coating. And bare aluminum doesn’t slide very well on aluminum. MLine uses square tubing, which spreads the weight of the retractable side over a greater surface, which reduces wear and drag on the sliding surfaces.
The headache rack on the Mline deck is bomber! On some decks the rack will stop you from driving your sled through the rear window by accident for sure, but you might wonder about its strength in an accident. Not with this deck. You get the feeling that there is no way anything is coming in the back window.
When the sides are pushed in, they do not stick out beyond the cab of the truck. This gives your setup a tidy, streamlined profile. It’s nice to not have to worry about clearance while you’re driving around town all winter.
Every aspect of the loading ramp is well thought-out. It’s a one-piece telescopic ramp that extends 10′ for a good loading angle, even on big trucks. There’s no need to mess around with coupling two separate pieces, like the ramps offered by some other manufacturers. The ramp is decked with superglides for durability and control when loading, and has bumpers at crucial points so that your carbides won’t catch and damage the deck or ramp. That said, if you run a narrow ski setup, you’ll want to be pretty precise when loading.
Under the deck—below the ramp storage—is a dropped cross-member which can be pulled out. MLine calls this their Ramp Assist Bar. It really helps when you are manipulating the ramp by yourself. The bar makes it easier to hook up your ramp and move it around. It also helps prevent the ramp from accidentally dropping and slamming into your tailgate. These guys are sledders, and like we said, they have thought of everything!
The Not so Great
It’s heavy. The MLine Pro Deck is built to last, but you will need two men and a few kids to lift this deck in-and-out of your truck each season. Good thing it’s a job that only needs to be done twice a year. Or leave it in all year, it looks great!
Although the light under the deck is an incredibly handy feature, the switch placement on ours is difficult to reach. And our switch is no longer working; however, we suspect this is a wiring issue due to the location of the electrical outlet on our truck and pressure placed on the plug due to the location of the leg.
On our F-350, the 5th-wheel receptacle is located directly in-front of the rear driver’s side leg on the MLine sled deck. This may be different on other trucks, but we had to plug in the deck before final positioning of the deck and really crank over the wire as it came out of the receptacle. Of course there’s not much MLine can do about the receptacle placement on our truck, but it’s worth mentioning.
Who would have ever thought that there could be such a thing as too much light? Well, the big light bar option that came on the headache rack looks cool but is a bit of overkill. It certainly lights up the night, but its brightness and location will blind you when loading up in the dark. We might go for a couple of spot lights next time instead.
MLine Sled Deck Review: Verdict
MLine products are in the higher end of the cost spectrum but this is one of those cases where you get what you pay for. If you want a high-quality sled deck that looks great, works like it should and will probably outlast your truck, then an MLine sled deck is the ticket. Mountain Sledder highly recommends the MLine Pro series deck without reservation.
A sled deck is arguably the most versatile option for getting your sled to a trailhead. But loading and unloading can be a challenge the first few times. Keep a finger on the brake lever and try to avoid the sled deck loading fail at all costs!