Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
- For the cricket meaning, see Sledging (cricket)
A sled, sledge or sleigh is a vehicle with runners for sliding instead of wheels for rolling. It is used for transport on surfaces with low friction, usually snow or ice but any grassy surface is good when it is not too dry. In some cases round river-washed stones make a good surface for sledges. Devices to be pulled across bare ground, such as a travois, are not generally called "sleds", although skids often are.
Sleds are typically smaller and simpler than sleighs, though this is not always the case. Both are lightweight vehicles whereas a sledge is more usually a low and rough farm vehicle designed for heavy haulage of loads such as cordwood, stone or ice blocks.
Alternatively, it may be pulled by animals, usually horses, mules, oxen or dogs. It may also be pushed or pulled by humans (playing children, a parent pulling a child, etc.). Man-hauled sledges were the traditional means of transport on British exploring expeditions to the Arctic and Antarctic regions in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Dog-teams were used by most others, such as Roald Amundsen. Today people use kites to tow exploration sleds in such climes.
A troika is a vehicle drawn by three horses, usually a sled, but it may also be a wheeled carriage.
The various categories of sleds include:
- Coaster sled
- Wooden sled/sledge
- Draft-animal sled/sledge
- Horse-drawn sleigh
- Dog sled
- Flying sleigh
- Bobsled - an Olympic sport.
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