Staying Warm on a Sled

Snowmobiling is a wicked cool way to spend your winter. It sure as hell beats sitting inside, watching re-runs of Bonanza. Hopping on that sled isn’t as simple as wearing a pair of long johns and your leather work gloves. You need to use your head when it comes to being out in the snow, especially when you’re hurdling into the wind at mach 1. Sure, the first 5 minutes is going to be a blast, but soon after your fingers are going to go numb and your body core temp is going to drop faster than OJ’s credibility. A smart rider knows what he’s up against. This world has several different riding climates. I live in Michigan, so our winters are generally pretty mild compared to Nome, Alaska. However, that’s no excuse not to be prepared.

Base Layers:

I believe the base layer is the most important layer. This is the most immediate protection on top of your body, so you want to make sure this layer is done right. The base layer, (or, thermal layer), should consist of a stretching, or an athletic style comfort fit. It should also be breathable and moisture wicking- keeping the moisture off your skin. An added bonus to any base or mid layer is that it is anti-microbial and anti-bacterial.

Mid Layers:

Again, our theme here is breathable and moisture wicking. There are several manufacturers who make a mid layer that also functions as a base layer. My recommendation is- where do you live? If you live in Nome, Alaska where the temps are -50F, I would use a base and mid layer. If you live in Michigan where a low temp is usually mild, you could probably get away with a quality mid layer. But again, this all depends on the environment, the type of riding, the outside temp, etc. If you’re questioning the weather, wear both a base and mid layer. You can always lose layers.


I don’t know about you, but I like my feet to be toasty warm. Cold feet can put a damper on your whole day. That’s why it’s important to wear socks engineered for snowmobiling. Those crusty old wool socks that grandma used to make you wear on snow days aren’t going to cut it.  The best socks are 85% Merino wool and have a high thermal retention value. Merino wool is common in high-end, performance athletic wear and usually commands a premium over synthetic fabrics. Merino is excellent at regulating body temperature, especially when worn against the skin. The wool provides some warmth, without overheating the wearer. It draws moisture (sweat) away from the skin.

Bibs or Pants:

The snowmobile bib or pant you choose will protect your legs and part of your torso from the outside elements. When deciding on what bib or pant to go with, think about how active a rider you are. Next you’ll have to  consider sizing. The question you are going have to ask yourself is, will this fit me? Think about the layers you’re going to wear under those bibs or pants. If you usually wear a medium, you might want to bump up to a large if you’re going to be wearing numerous layers under them.

If you’re a casual rider and you only hit the trail on nice days, entry level or mid level gear may be right for you. Gear from Castle X is right up your alley. For the price, you’re still getting a quality product that offers a durable water repellent, waterproof and windproof membrane, YKK zippers, snow cuffs that seals out snow and more. You don’t have to break the bank to ride smart.

If you’re a more aggressive rider, you may want to bump up in quality. Klim has products that  integrate several types of highly technical Thinsulate™ Insulations, strategically comfort mapped to provide extra warmth where needed along with great flexibility and odor control. GORE-TEX® Performance Shell fabrics provide a breathable yet waterproof barrier to keep the weather out while drawing moisture away from the skin and out of the garment. Equipped with a long list of technical features and functionality, Klim is the right choice for extreme riding conditions.


Same deal with jackets as the bibs. If you’re a casual rider, you probably don’t need to rob your children’s college fund to be protected. Castle X has many jackets that will perform well under most conditions. Ventilation is the key. You want ventilation where you sweat. The chest, arm pits and back. You want to get that moisture away from your body as quickly as possible. Castle X has products specifically engineered to keep you warm, but dry as well.

Klim makes jackets that offer the aggressive rider everything needed to stay warm, dry and comfortable in the most extreme range of conditions. Comfort Mapped GORE-TEX® Pro Shell technology allows the rider’s thermal requirements to be precisely managed. The list of technology & advantages of Klim gear is huge.

  • GORE-TEX® Three-Layer Pro Shell Comfort Mapping Technology
  • High tenacity and ripstop nylon shell materials
  • Heavy duty nylon in high wear areas
  • Most breathable Gore-Tex® material available
  • Max flow ventilation: 3 ports
  • Wide open pit zips with interior storm flap
  • Aggressive patterning
  • 6 external pockets (2 chest, 2 hand, 2 cargo)
  • Interior mp3 headphone port and securing loops
  • Helmet-friendly adjustable collar
  • Welded technology
  • Double storm flap construction at front zipper
  • Max visibility 3M Scotchlite™ reflective trim
  • Removable shoulder pads
  • Snow dust skirt
  • Double stitching for durability
  • Integrated internal hand gaiters
  • YKK® zippers throughout
  • Water resistant YKK® zippers in exposed areas
  • Glove-friendly zipper pulls
  • Waist adjustment
  • Bottom hem adjustment
  • Fleece-lined comfort collar and beard flap
  • Adjustable velcro cuffs
  • Kill switch D-ring
  • 500D Cordura® underlays
  • Internal pocket key clip

This is an all out extreme performance jacket. The best of the best. If you want a jacket that will last for years, this is the route to go.


Snowmobile helmets come in a variety of styles. The most popular is the full face snowmobile helmet. This type of helmet covers your entire head. They have a flip up shield you look through and  a breath box that is usually removable. The breath box helps to reduce fogging of the shield.

Another style is the modular snowmobile helmet. This style of helmet features a front section that flips up. By having this feature it allows you to flip up the front of the helmet when you are taking a break from riding. Its also very popular with people who wear glasses.

Usually modular helmets work by having a button in the chin bar of the helmet. You press the button and then lift the front of the helmet up. When you want to have the front down, simply pull it down until it snaps shut.

In addition to the above two styles of helmets, there is the sno-cross style of snowmobile helmet. This style is very similar to a dirt bike helmet. It has the duck bill visor attached to the helmet. You look out from the helmet via the eye port. You’ll need to use goggles with this style of helmet. In most cases these helmets have a breath box. Sno-cross helmets are popular with more aggressive riders and those who race.

There is no right or wrong here. Your choice in helmets is based on your personal preference. I prefer a modular helmet with a sun shield because I wear eyeglasses.


A good set of gloves will keep your hands dry and warm. Look for features like Thinsulate or Gore-Tex. A quality glove will have double stitching, gauntlets, water-resistance and breathable materials.

That’s the basics of snowmobile gear. If you have more questions about snowmobile riding gear, give us a shout at 866-601-3827. Kendra will be happy to walk you through setting up the perfect gear for your type of riding and environment. You can shop more snowmobile gear at