Skidding Logs with ATV and Tractors [The 360-Guide]

When we hovered into the forestry forums, we’ve noticed people having trouble dealing with one particular thing. And that’s the after-feeling skidding of logs.

To be precise, they get in a dilemma in between two of the most practiced manner- skidding logs with ATV, and skidding logs with the tractor. You can use both of these skidding logs. But what will be best for you depends upon the amount of work needed?

Other than vehicle choosing, everything else is almost the same. You can install arches and winches in both ATVs and Tractors. After that, all you need to do is pulling.

So, let’s figure out what’s the best vehicle for you how to skid logs with that-

Choosing the Right Vehicle for Skidding Logs

skidding logs with tractor

You know, the age of horse logging or handy logging is long gone. Now we have automotive and vehicles to do that on our behalf.

If you haven’t chosen a vehicle yet, then you still have time to get the right one for you. And if you already have bought a vehicle, then you can always switch to the one best for you. Just wait for the right opportunity.

So, what’s your situation? Do you have a small budget? How much logging are you expecting? For how long do you want to use? What are your log sizes?

If your budget is small, then that a point for ATVs. One point for tractors if you have a long-term project. Because after some years of regular use, ATVs tend to lose performance. Tractors are way better at this.

Your vehicle HP will determine whether your vehicle is good for pulling long and heavy logs or not. But the norm is to use tractors for skidding logs when the load is heavy.

In reality, a 20 HP tractor can pull a 30-inch diameter and 12 feet long log with some techniques and attachments. But an ATV with four-wheel drive can easily pull that kind of load. So, in case of power ATV gets the point (In the case of big tractors the scenario is completely opposite).

Based on these factors choose your vehicle. Now that you have a tractor or an ATV, it’s time to go through the skidding process.

Process of Skidding Logs with ATV and Tractors

As we’ve stated before, skidding logs with ATV and skidding logs with tractor are almost the same. For both vehicles, you need to choose what will hold up your logs while skidding.

2 common tools needed for this process are log arches and winches. Now let’s explore the use of both these tools-

1. Using Log Arches

With log arches, you can hold up your log in a frame supported by 2 axles. As a result, you get-

  • Less weight dragging on the ground
  • Less stress on the vehicle

Besides these advantages, there are more. Your tractor or ATV will be safer with the use of log arches. You will be able to steer more easily. Moreover, your chances of getting a rollover accident will decrease. Wheels were invented because there were many problems with dragging. So, try out arches for logging.

Here are a few of our recommended best log arches that you can stick to for your next purchase-

2. Using Winches

Let’s imagine that your log is in a patch of timbers. Or worse, it might be at the bottom of a ravine. Most of the time it’s hard to reach trees in a trail with log arches. In these situations, only winches can save your day.

Just attach the winch to your chainsaw and pull that log towards your ATV or tractor. The best part about log skidding winches is that the winch frame bears all that pulling force. So, the chain saw remains stress-free.

If you spend a few bucks extra, then you can get the remote-control winches. You won’t need to walk back and forth between the vehicle and log for adjusting.

In case you are looking for the best ATV winch, here are some selected list by the professionals–

Chokers with Winches

Pro loggers use a choker to connect the winch line to a log. You can wrap this cable or chain around the end of a log. When you reel in the winch line, the choker pulls tight. The drawback for the chokers is, it’s difficult to wrap around a log when it lies flat on the ground.

Here are a few of our recommended best logging choker that you can stick to for your next purchase-

Logging Tongs with Winches

Logging tongs are better in this situation. You just have to drop the tongs on the log and set the hooks. Hallelujah! You’re ready to pull. But logging tongs tend to come off once the pulling begins.

Here are a few of our recommended best skidding tongs list-

Log Grapples with Winches

You can try out the Timber Tuff TMW-54 log grapples as the ultimate solution. But it is a bit heavy on both cost and weight.

Skidding Sled with Winches

Skidding logs with ATVs can bring real damage to the ground and the log itself. It’s not unnatural for a log to plow on the ground or hurdle on a stump. In this situation skidding sled comes to the rescue.

The skidding sled is a heavy cone of plastic that fits onto the end of the log. This allows the log to slide over rocks and other obstructs easily.

3. Using Both Log Arches And Winches

Most of the pro loggers advise on using both log arches and winches. They use winches to pull the log to the vehicle. Afterward, they use the arches to pull logs to the end destination.

Recommendations and Safety Measures

We have gathered up some recommendations and safety measures that would help you while pulling logs with tractor or pulling logs with ATV. So, let’s go through those-

  1. Make sure that the logs are cut at right manner, which would make them easily carriable.
  2. Do not take loads greater than the weight of the ATV.
  3. Fill up the tires with liquid like water or antifreeze solution for better stability and load capacity. Fill up the tires while maintaining a liquid to air ratio of 1:1.
  4. Buy the only ATVs that have four-wheel drive with reverse.
  5. Make sure your engine is liquid-cooled. These engines tend to last longer.
  6. Put some weight on the front to prevent rollover.
  7. Always use helmet, gloves, and eye protection while skidding logs.

These recommendations will make your log skid pretty easy.

Bottom Line

No matter how easy it seems, skidding logs with tractor or ATV is pretty hard. But we believe that by now you know everything to make this task easy.

Good luck and Happy Woodworking!

Kevin Smith

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