Few winter activities are as thrilling as snowmobiling. It offers an activity suited for athletes and adventurers of all skill levels. But, to get the most out of your snowmobile, true enthusiasts know to enhance their vehicle with the proper accessories.
Snowmobiling accessories are more than just cargo bags and riding apparel. Accessories can enhance the safety and functionality of your snowmobile, creating a more comfortable and secure ride. This guide will explore various accessories to help you create the best-equipped snowmobile for your next backcountry or trail adventure.
Essential Safety Accessories
If you must pick a single accessory to pair with your snowmobile, always consider safety products first. Snowmobiling can prove dangerous for poorly equipped snowmobilers, particularly when traversing rugged backcountry terrain. Consider these essential safety accessories for your favorite snowmachine:
Head protection comes hand in hand with the adrenaline-fueled fun of snowmobiling. Therefore, it’s crucial to find the right helmet to suit you. There are three main types of helmets: modular, full-face, and snocross.
- Modular helmets provide more range of vision than full face and allow for easy eating and drinking on the go.
- Full-face helmets typically provide more protection from the elements but risk overheating or fogging the shield.
- Snocross helmets have grown in popularity for their lightweight build and clear field of vision - but these helmets come with no shield and require a separate pair of goggles for full protection.
A lot of thought can go into choosing the proper goggles for your snowmobile ride. But ultimately, you want a pair of goggles that keep your vision clear no matter the elements you face. Look for key features like anti-fog coatings, anti-scratch lenses, and helmet compatibility. If you plan on night riding, you’ll want to select goggles with night lenses or the ability to swap out lenses.
Snowmobiling comes with many risks, but frostbite is one of the most hazardous. Not wearing the proper snowmobile suit can lead to excessive cold exposure that results in frozen extremities. You’ll need a snowmobiling suit designed to retain warmth and wick away moisture to avoid such injuries. Avoiding cotton clothing at all costs is critical, as cotton merely collects moisture and allows frostbite to develop. Look for suits labeled insulated, waterproof, windproof, and moisture-wicking.
When playing in the snow, boots are always the way to go. The best boots for snowmobiling should offer a variety of features, including waterproof materials, removable liners, and ankle brace technology to prevent sprains and breaks. When fitting the boots, ensure they reach high enough up the ankle to stop snow from creeping in.
Gloves play a critical role in preventing frostbite in alpine terrain. But, of coMaxim Burse, there are hundreds of snowmobiling gloves on the market, so how to choose the right one? First and foremost, look for gloves featuring waterproof materials and insulated linings. Gloves should keep water away from your hands at all costs.
Snowmobiling-specific gloves generally come in four models - lobster, three-finger, five-finger, and traditional mittens.
- Lobster gloves separate the thumb, index and middle finger, and ring and pinky finger, into three sections, allowing for more dexterity but losing warmth.
- Three-finger gloves separate the index finger from the rest, creating three pockets (one for the thumb, one for the index, and one for the remaining fingers.) The three-finger glove offers more dexterity than lobster and more warmth than five-finger gloves.
- Five-finger gloves offer the most dexterity but lose the warmth of mittens.
- Mittens provide the most warmth of the glove options but the least dexterity.
Keeping frigid air away from your face and neck not only enhances the ride but protects your skin. The best balaclavas for warmth and comfort feature wind and waterproof technology and a fleece liner for added insulation.
First Aid Kit:
Injuries happen with snowmobiling - so always keep a well-stocked first aid kit on hand. Ensure you include blankets, bandages, and sports wraps on hand in addition to wound care and pain medications, just in case. In addition, it’s not a bad idea to keep a flare gun and glow sticks in a first aid kit in case you get lost or stranded in the wilderness.
Why is it important to wear a helmet when snowmobiling?
Head injuries are one of the most common injuries to occur while snowmobiling. But, wearing a helmet can prevent or significantly reduce the gravity of a head injury.
What should I look for when choosing snowmobile boots?
When selecting snowmobile boots, you’ll need waterproof boots with sturdy lug soles that provide enough traction for slippier terrain. Additionally, look for the warmth rating on a boot - always select a boot certified for the weather conditions you expect to experience. Typically, a solid snowmobile boot is rated for at least -45 degrees F weather.
Can I wear my regular winter jacket instead of a snowmobile suit?
Not all winter coats equal the protection of a snowmobiling jacket. Remember that snowmobiling jackets are designed for the frigid temperatures and physical demands of the sport - most winter coats are not designed to withstand those rigors. You could end up with a damaged winter coat, and that means a freezing ride back on the snowmobile.
Comfort and Convenience Accessories
Once you’ve outfitted your snowmobile for safety, you can turn to accessories designed for a more comfortable ride. You’ll find these accessories as popular choices for avid snowmobilers:
Who doesn’t like packing snacks and supplies for a snowmobile trip? A backpack designed for snowmobiling can withstand icy weather, repel water from your valuables, and provide easy storage for your trip.
Snowmobile Heated Grips:
If you want to keep your hands extra toasty while adventuring, you can add heated grips to your snowmobile handles.
Handguards mounted to your snowmobile handles help protect your hands from wind and snow or the occasional flying debris.
Even the best snowmobile helmet can fog or ice over, given the right environment. An electric shield helps reduce fogging by lightly heating the helmet shield. Most shields are helmet-specific, so select one designed for your brand.
Snowmobile covers protect your snowmobile from the elements when you aren’t riding them.
Trail maps and GPS devices:
Keeping a trail map or GPS device on you when snowmobiling helps you stay on track during your ride and avoid getting lost in the wintery terrain.
What are the benefits of using a snowmobile backpack?
Snowmobile backpacks provide storage that most sleds do not have. They allow you to bring more supplies with you on the go.
How do I choose the right size and type of sled cover?
A decent sled cover will provide several layers of protection, including a waterproof layer, a soft inner layer that protects the windshield, and a tough outer layer to protect from dings and scratches. You can usually find the right sled cover based on the brand and model of your snowmobile. Or, measure from the tip of the front hood to the end of the tail to find the measurements.
How can a GPS device improve my snowmobiling experience?
With a GPS device used alongside your snowmobile, you don’t have to worry about getting lost. It allows you a greater sense of security and can help you navigate new terrain.
Avid snowmobilers aren’t shy about adding performance tech to their sled. You can enhance your snowmobile to have better traction, steering, and even sound by using some of the following accessories:
Snowmobile studs can improve the traction of your sled on hard-packed snow and ice. The tiny metal studs also help reduce stopping time and distance.
Carbide runners serve the valuable purpose of enhancing the steering and cornering of a sled. In addition, they allow your snowmobile to slide across ice and snow more efficiently.
Ski skins, strips of synthetic materials traditionally used on skis, add flotation to your sled while reducing the chance of backsliding. They also help prevent snow buildup on your skis
High-Performance Shock Absorbers:
Snowmobiling usually involves plenty of jumps and drops. High-Performance shock absorbers reduce the impact of those jumps, Improving stability and comfort for riders and preserving the longevity of your sled.
Adding a high-performance exhaust system achieves two things for your snowmobile: it enhances performance while giving the sled a beefier sound: two parts performance, one part style.
How do I know when it's time to replace my snowmobile studs?
You can usually assess if you need new snowmobile studs by checking for missing studs, torn or missing tracks, and cracked rubber. If either of these signs appears, you need to replace your studs.
What are the benefits of using ski skins?
Ski skins provide several benefits, including reduced backsliding and enhanced control on uphill terrain.
Can installing a new exhaust system void my snowmobile's warranty?
It depends on the warranty, but usually, installing aftermarket materials will not void a warranty. However, it’s best to check with your snowmobile dealer or manufacturer to be sure.
Maintenance and Repair Accessories
Maintenance is a regular (and critical) part of snowmobiling. The proper maintenance tools will help keep your snowmobile running smoothly for its entire lifespan.
Getting under a snowmobile for repairs is difficult unless you have a snowmobile lift.
You should always carry a snowmobile toolkit on your alpine journey - you never know when you’ll need a repair. Essential snowmobile maintenance and repair tools include spark plug tools, replacement spark plugs, screwdrivers, pliers, a wrench set, and a tow rope.
Fuel and Oil Additives:
If you want to improve your snowmobile’s performance and longevity, give it the proper fuel treatments. Octane boosters, enzymes, and ignition cleaning fluid can help improve your snowmobile’s engine functionality and gas mileage.
As previously mentioned, repairs happen - and they usually are unexpected. Keep commonly replaced parts in your snowmobiling kit for emergencies. Include the following tools: A spare fuel line in case of a crack or leak. Extra oil in case of leaks. And extra belts in case of a crack or break in your engine.
How often should I perform maintenance on my snowmobile?
You should always give your snowmobile a once-over before the season kicks off. During that once-over, conduct an oil change and thorough inspection of the vehicle. Additionally, always perform a routine maintenance check on the vehicle’s studs, track, and skis before any trip.
What should I include in my snowmobile toolkit?
A snowmobile toolkit should, at minimum, contain a screwdriver and wrench set, spare spark plugs, a tow cable, and extra oil in case of a leak.
What are the benefits of using fuel and oil additives?
Fuel and oil additives designed for snowmobiles help extend the engine’s longevity and performance. In addition, they can improve mileage, clear fuel lines, and help boost vehicle efficiency.
Even the best snowmobile needs high-quality accessories to create the perfect ride. No matter what accessories you choose, remember to select high-quality products that will keep up with your active lifestyle. Remember, choosing the right snowmobile accessories can provide a more comfortable and secure experience and help your snowmobile perform at its best.
Are all snowmobile accessories compatible with all snowmobile brands and models?
No, some snowmobile accessories are brand-specific. Always check with the manufacturer to see what brands their gear works with.
What should I consider when choosing snowmobile accessories?
You should always consider three things when choosing your snowmobile accessories: quality, functionality, and warranties—generally, the better quality of the materials, the warmer and more durable the gear. Additionally, you should always look for equipment that provides the most functionality for the price - look for products with better temperature and waterproof ratings and positive customer reviews. As for warranties, it’s always safer to purchase products with a warranty in case of damage.
Can I rent snowmobile accessories instead of buying them?
Yes, sometimes you can rent snowmobile accessories at your local ski lodge or snowmobile vendor. However, the accessories available depend solely on what the vendor offers and has in stock. If you want guaranteed access to specific accessories, it’s best to reserve them ahead of time or buy your own.