A Nod To The Nodwell

I’ve watched a fair number of Winder Matt’s Offroad Recovery videos. Partly to see what kind of stuff folks did wrong that got themselves stuck. Partly to figure out what Matt does that lets him just drive circles around stuck folks and pull giant RVs out of the muck with a Jeep.

There’s also “another guy” that popped up. “Casey’s Offroad Recovery”. He was pulling folks out of OMG stuff using “Noddy”, a WT? IS that thing? The proper name of them is a “Nodwell”. I had no idea…

It is kind of like an industrial sized Snow Cat that uses tires to drive a sort of U in the treads. His is a Nodwell 110. There’s also what looks like a smaller Nodwell 60. Comes in Diesel or Gas or whatever… (looks like engine of the day is an option…) This one is a water truck for fire fighting:

Nodwell 110 for Fire Fighting

Nodwell 110 for Fire Fighting

But Wait, there’s more!

It also is designed for swamps, shallow rivers, muskeg, mud, sand and just about any other impassible terrain. Here a Cadillac Driver decided to swim up river and found out river bottoms have holes in them… (Maybe if he spent more time fishing he’d know about looking for holes in the river bottom where the big fish like to settle in…) But really, a Cadillac? Something about a LOT of money causes folks to think reality doesn’t apply to them quite as much. A whole lot of the “Stuff stuck where you ought not go” tends to be the luxury end of the 4 x 4 market. Old Jeeps not so much…

He also does the usual Jeep XJ like thing with a rubber rope “tug and go” stuff. Just another Buba J. who has a whole lot of clue about something guys with more money than brains find out they need. ;-)

Here’s Matt and a “friend” where the friend manages to roll his Lexus / Toyota Land Cruiser…

But back at the Nodwell:

Little did I know. Made by a Canadian to gain access to all sorts of places in Canada that you just can’t go otherwise. From muck to frozen, it goes.

They even have a users group and a used online market. A “Water Truck” version for $12K on up to fancy ones in the $40k range. It would cost me more for the land to park it on, the trailer to haul it, and the Dodge Diesel to tow the trailer…

So who came up with this idea? Why, Mr. Nodwell, of course!


Bruce Nodwell, OC (May 12, 1914 – January 20, 2006) was a Canadian inventor who invented the Nodwell 110, a multi-purpose two-tracked vehicle capable of traversing a wide variety of adverse terrain, including sand, mud, muskeg, swamp, and snow.

In 1970, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada, Canada’s highest civilian honor
, “for his contribution to the opening of the Canadian North through his inventions and development of various types of tracked vehicles”. A mountain in Antarctica “Nodwell Peaks” and a lake in NWT bear his name.

The lake is named that due to one sinking in it…

A large lake in Canada’s North West Territories is called Nodwell Lake (Lat 67.4539, Long -135.3115). During the early days of geophysical exploration in the north, the Nodwell vehicles were often sent out onto lakes once the ice was believed to be strong enough. The tracks in the snow would speed further freezing for other equipment. A Nodwell 110 fell through the ice of this lake and from then on it was known as Nodwell Lake. The crew was able to quickly exit out of the “Escape Hatch” on the roof that was standard equipment.

Nothing like a Factory Standard Escape Hatch to tell you it’s the right off road vehicle for those particularly touchy jobs ;-)

Need one? Or just can’t help yourself?


1992 Nodwell CF60S Water Tanker
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Seller Responsiveness:
Manufacturer: Nodwell
Model: CF60S Water Tanker
Condition: used
Year: 1992
Sale type: Used
Hours: 16125 hours
Stock number: E20-0320
Category: Equipment
Subcategory: Speciality equipment
Listing ID: 58070296

Or maybe something fancier with an arm and dumping and stuff for folks in Europe:

2003 Nodwell 60C tracked dumper with palfinger pk12000 trac
Steenwijk, Netherlands
Seller Responsiveness:
Manufacturer: Nodwell crawler carriers & dumpers
Condition: used
Year: 2003
Operating hours: Construction
Scope: Caterpillar
Category: Crawler Carriers & Dumpers in Netherlands
Subcategory: 7.283
Subcategory 2: Transport
Subcategory 3: Machinery and construction
Listing ID: 60720810
Operating Hours:
Field of application:
Neat Nodwell 60C with Palfinger PK12000
– Nodwell 60C dumper
– 7,283 hours
– all books included
– Incl. box spareparts (filters / gaskets / pumps / belts / sprockets / tracks / bearings) and spare wheels
– worked at British Antarctic Survey
– 6 cylinder cummins engine
– Plafinger PK12000 crane,
– 266 hours
– 14,2 m workingrange,
– 6.360 kg capacity
– including 3m extra lifting JIB
Price is ex. VAT, trade-in/transport possible

Just in case you need something with Antarctic Experience so you know it can “go there” ;-)

Or maybe you get yours delivered to you in Fairbanks, ready to run up to Nome, and you have some questions. Well, just get in touch with the Users Forum:


Take your moose hunt to the next level!
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Nothing like taking your Nodwell on a Moose Hunt to let you know you have become a True Alaskan!

It’s like a whole ‘nother world… and I want one. Sigh.

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
This entry was posted in Emergency Preparation and Risks, Favorites, History, Human Interest. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to A Nod To The Nodwell

  1. another ian says:


    From what I’ve seen on KOO’s site (King of Obsolete) you could likely salvage that vehicle. He isw based at Lynn Lake in Canada – at the end of the road north. He has a fine fleet of 1950’s vintage IH crawlers which were used for ski train supply runs. One of which was sunk for about 3 years. The water is obviously different from what we get as they just drain it out and go – no did-assembly required. He’s still looking for a D4 that sank about 50 years ago – or was as he’s been Peking Pox locked down since the end of March last year.


  2. John Hultquist says:

    I’ve been noticing all the gizmos used by house/buildings workers to get their jobs done.
    Why? Because I’ve had some remodeling done and thus exposed to things I’d missed.
    Likewise, where would I encounter a Nodwell?
    I’ve recently noticed wide-tracked farm equipment. Small to large.
    Here’s one: http://www.tractordata.com/news/2015/08/deere-9rx-quad-track-tractor.html

    Kubota makes smaller things and some have wheels front and tracks on the back.
    Called “Half-Tracks”

    Found a web site I didn’t know about: Foundation for Economic Education (FEE)

    This one mentions ‘The Ultimate Resurce’ by Julian Simon

  3. E.M.Smith says:

    @John Hultquist:

    There’s even retrofit kits to put such triangular tracks onto pickup trucks. Tracked farm tractors have been around since as soon as tracked vehicles existed. Typically folks use wheels wherever they can (more convenient and cheaper) but tracks wherever they must (muddy a lot, soft and low traction surfaces). You see this in a lot of the rice combines. (I’ve posted videos on rice combines in the past). Folks use wheels where they can (controlled water, easy drying like in low humidity dry seasonal California) but tracks where they must (tropical with heavy rains in many seasons often at times when you want to be in the field, and not enough drainage to dry the dirt to a foot deep or more).

    Ancient Tractors used giant wheels for the same purpose (up to 10 foot or MORE tall) that have a huge contact surface with the dirt. Often with paddle teeth on them.

    Yeah, grew up in farm country and “into” tractors ;-)

    I just wish I had some plausible reason to buy them ;-)

  4. another ian says:


    Better do some back reading at KOO before you buy one of those outfits. He had to extensively modify his before it worked

  5. YMMV says:

    I can’t let this go by without a nod to the “ultimate all-terrain wheelchair”

  6. Bulaman says:

    Similar things were/are used in the logging industry. Very productive but the track gear is expensive to refurbish (every 2000 hours).
    Currently you can get them here:


  7. E.M.Smith says:

    Matt & Casey know each other! (Sound level is very low)

  8. Double on Tundra says:

    Nodwell’s main competition for swamp haulers in the 70s was Foremost.

    The first one I saw just seemed to be a normal flatbed chugging towards me through wet ground on a pipeline right of way north of Nipigon. Then it climbed up out of the muskeg on those giant tracks.

    Built in Foremost, Alberta. https://www.foremost.ca/foremost-mobile-equipment/tracked-vehicles/

  9. philjourdan says:

    That is awesome! I am gonna get me one! :-)

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