Staying warm while snowmobiling is not just about comfort; it’s about safety. As the winter season blankets the beautiful landscapes of Canada, thrill-seekers eagerly await the opportunity to partake in one of the most exhilarating Canadian winter experiences.
While snowmobiling promises a rush like no other, the biting cold of Canadian winters can be a formidable adversary. But how can you ensure that you remain toasty during your snowmobile adventure?
How to stay warm when snowmobiling
It’s important to layer up and protect your extremities, as exposure to cold temperatures for prolonged periods can lead to frostbite, hypothermia, and other cold-related ailments. As such, staying warm while snowmobiling is essential not only for comfort but also for safety. Here’s a comprehensive guide to ensure you remain toasty and protected during your snowmobiling adventure:
Having base, insulation, and outer layers may sound like a lot, but each one is essential to keep you warm. Just as you’d insure your snowmobile with the right type of coverage, you must also insure your body against the cold. Dressing in layers is akin to having various types of auto insurance - each layer serves a unique protective purpose.
The base layer can be likened to the foundational insurance policy you’d secure for any precious asset. This layer serves as the first line of defence against the cold and is crucial for comfort and performance in cold climates. Much like how a tailored liability insurance policy fits an individual’s specific requirements, your base layer should fit snugly against your skin.
Materials matter immensely when it comes to this layer. Opt for moisture-wicking materials like merino wool or high-quality synthetic fibres. Merino wool, for instance, is a marvel of nature. Its fibres are soft against the skin, have excellent thermal properties, and can absorb moisture without feeling wet.
On the other hand, advanced synthetic fibres are engineered to wick sweat away from the body, ensuring that it evaporates quickly. By preventing sweat accumulation, these materials effectively guard against the chilling effect sweat can have once it cools down.
Another critical aspect is the fit. A snug fit ensures that the material remains in contact with your skin, facilitating effective moisture wicking. It also reduces the risk of cold spots forming, a common issue when moisture gets trapped.
If the base layer is your primary insurance, then the insulation layer acts as the comprehensive coverage – it’s the hearty buffer between you and the biting cold. Its primary role is to trap and retain the warmth your body generates, creating a warm microclimate around you.
Materials like fleece, down, or advanced synthetic insulation are popular choices for this layer. Fleece is soft, breathable, and has excellent insulating properties, making it ideal for activities where you might sweat.
Down, on the other hand, boasts an unmatched warmth-to-weight ratio, providing ample insulation with minimal bulk. However, it’s worth noting that down can lose its insulating properties when wet. Advanced synthetic insulations have been developed to mimic the loft and warmth of down but retain their insulating capabilities even when damp.
It’s like having an all-encompassing insurance coverage that safeguards you against every eventuality. You’ll be grateful for this layer when the temperatures drop, and the winds start to howl.
Navigating through snowy terrains and battling harsh winds can be likened to navigating through the unpredictable scenarios of life, and for such instances, you’d want the best protection in place. The outer layer in snowmobiling gear acts as this robust shield, providing comprehensive protection against nature’s challenges.
As comprehensive or collision insurance shields against unexpected damages, the outer layer fends off external elements like snow, sleet, and wind. Ensure that your outer layer is constructed from materials that are not only waterproof but also breathable. This ensures that any moisture from sweat or melting snow is effectively wicked away while preventing external moisture from seeping in.
Modern snowmobiling gear often integrates several advanced features, like built-in insulation that provides an added layer of warmth and reinforced areas that offer protection against abrasions during falls. Some even come equipped with reflective elements to increase visibility in low-light conditions or advanced ventilation systems that allow you to regulate your body temperature with ease.
Your hands, feet, and head are the most susceptible to cold. These body parts are more susceptible to cold due to their distance from the core and reduced blood flow during cold conditions. Ensuring they remain warm can significantly enhance your snowmobiling experience.
Using insulated, waterproof gloves and hand warmers can keep your hands warm and agile. These are essential for both comfort and safety as your hands are constantly at work when snowmobiling, managing the controls, throttle, and brakes.
Gloves designed specifically for snowmobiling come with insulation layers that trap heat and external waterproof materials to fend off snow and moisture. Hand warmers can be activated and placed inside your gloves, providing several hours of warmth.
It’s important to ensure that your gloves fit well. Too tight, and they may restrict blood flow, making your hands colder. Too loose, and you lose dexterity. A glove with pre-curved fingers can offer better grip and flexibility.
Wearing insulated/waterproof boots, layers of socks, and toe warmers will protect your feet. Your feet, being the farthest from the heart, can be among the first to feel the chill. Moreover, they’re often in contact with the cold snowmobile floorboards or snowy ground during stops.
Make sure you wear dedicated snowmobile boots to keep your feet warm, as they come with thick insulation and a waterproof exterior. For socks, start with a thin, moisture-wicking sock and add a thicker wool or synthetic sock over top. Wool, in particular, retains its insulating properties even when damp and is naturally odor-resistant. Finally, similar to hand warmers, toe warmers can be placed in your boots to provide added warmth.
It’s important to look for boots with a good grip to handle icy conditions during stops or dismounts.
Wear a balaclava or ski mask and a helmet to protect your head and neck. It’s a well-known fact that a significant portion of our body’s heat escapes through the head. This is especially true during intense physical activities like snowmobiling. That’s why it’s vital to keep your head warm.
Wearing a balaclava or ski mask provides a snug fit around the head and neck. It protects against wind chill and prevents heat from escaping. A full-face snowmobile helmet not only provides protection in case of accidents but also offers insulation.
It’s important to ensure your helmet has a dual-pane, anti-fog shield to prevent fogging. Some helmets even come with built-in breath deflectors, which help direct moisture away from the helmet visor and reduce fogging.
Essential snowmobile clothing and gear
Snowmobiling demands specialized clothing and gear, such as helmets, snowmobile suits, proper layers and goggles, to ensure snowmobiling safety, comfort, and optimal performance in cold and often unpredictable environments. While we discussed in detail earlier how to stay warm when snowmobiling, the following list provides a more general overview of the types of snowmobile gear and clothing anyone planning to go out snowmobiling should have. Proper equipment not only enhances the riding experience but also ensures safety and protection against the elements.
Riders should have the following:
- A helmet, such as a full-face, modular, or snowcross-style.
- Base layers.
- Insulation layers.
- Outer layers, including snowmobile suits, gloves, and boots.
- Balaclavas or neck gaiters.
- Protective gear, such as knee and shin guards, body armour, and wrist or hand guards.
- Tow rope and basic repair kit.
- Avalanche safety gear, including an avalanche beacon (transceiver), a probe, a shovel, and avalanche airbags.
- A backpack for snacks and essentials with a built-in hydration system.
Top-ranking snowmobile gear brands
From your footwear to your headgear and all that lies in between, the choices for snowmobile gear are vast. Here’s a glimpse at some of the top brands offering snowmobile equipment, ensuring you remain cozy on your rides or have your snowmobile prepped for the season:
- Castle X
What to look for in a quality snowmobile suit
Insulation, breathability, and waterproofing are just some of the things that you should look for when finding that perfect suit. After all, these suits aren’t just any winter outfit; they’re specially crafted with the needs of the snowmobiler in mind.
A top-notch snowmobile suit will have various features that enhance comfort, protection, and functionality. When searching for high-quality snowmobile suits, here are the things to look for:
One of the primary functions of a snowmobile suit is to provide insulation. A quality suit typically employs a combination of materials to trap body heat. Whether it’s down, synthetic fibres, or a blend of both, the insulation ensures you remain warm even when you’re stationary or when temperatures plummet.
While insulation is vital, breathability is equally crucial. As you navigate trails or open fields, the physical exertion can cause you to sweat. A suit that doesn’t breathe can trap this moisture, making you feel wet and cold. High-quality snowmobile suits are equipped with materials and features that allow moisture to escape, ensuring that while the cold stays out, unwanted moisture can escape.
Snowmobiling can expose you to various forms of moisture, from falling snow to water splashes. A quality suit will have waterproof outer layers, often reinforced with treatments or coatings, to ensure you stay dry.
The chilling effect of the wind can be more menacing than the actual ambient temperature. Given the speeds at which snowmobiles can travel, a windproof suit is indispensable to shield against the biting wind chill.
Safety is paramount. Many quality suits incorporate reflective patches or strips. These elements enhance visibility, ensuring that other snowmobilers or vehicles can spot you, especially in low-light conditions.
Pockets and storage
Practicality matters. Quality suits will often come with strategically placed pockets, sometimes even with waterproof zippers or compartments to store essential items like gloves, goggles, or even snacks.
What not to wear when snowmobiling
Cotton, denim, and baggy clothing are just some of the things you should not wear when snowmobiling. While enthusiasts often focus on the essentials to wear for warmth and protection, it’s just as crucial to understand what to avoid. Incorrect clothing or riding gear can compromise your safety, hinder performance, and detract from the overall experience. Here’s an in-depth guide on why these and other items should be avoided when selecting proper riding apparel:
A common mistake, especially among beginners, is the reliance on cotton materials. Cotton is notorious for its moisture-retention properties. When you sweat or encounter snow, cotton will stay wet. This not only makes you feel cold and damp but can also lead to hypothermia in more severe conditions.
This is especially risky in the case of cotton socks. Wet feet not only feel uncomfortable, but prolonged exposure to the cold can lead to frostbite. So whatever you do, don’t wear cotton socks. Opt for materials like merino wool or synthetic materials that wick moisture away and retain heat even when wet.
Jeans or denim
While jeans might appear as a sturdy choice, they’re highly unsuitable for snowmobiling. Once they get wet, jeans can become extremely heavy and rigid. This restricts mobility, making manoeuvres on the board difficult. Plus, denim offers no insulation, leaving you vulnerable to the cold. Instead, invest in snowmobile pants or insulated bibs made of materials designed for cold-weather activities. These usually come with waterproof and breathable layers.
Oversized or baggy clothing
While the baggy look is indeed a part of the winter sports culture, there’s a fine line between style and safety. Excessively loose clothing can limit your ability to move freely. Plus, there’s the added danger of the clothing getting snagged on objects, such as tree branches or lift equipment.
Though they might seem like a stylish way to keep warm, scarves pose a risk. The long, loose ends can easily get tangled in the snowmobile or snag on a tree branch, posing a strangulation risk. Neck gaiters or balaclavas are safer alternatives that provide warmth without the danger.
The importance of proper eye protection on the slopes is twofold: protection against UV rays and shielding against snow and wind. Regular sunglasses fail on both fronts when compared to snowmobile goggles. Goggles provide a more comprehensive field of vision, fit snugly around the face to prevent fogging, and won’t fall off during your rides.
Dangling accessories or jewellery
Similar to scarves, any loose or dangling jewellery can be hazardous. Whether it’s necklaces, loose belts, or bracelets, there’s always a risk of them getting caught on something, leading to potential injury. It’s best to leave these at home.
Don’t forget your snowmobile insurance
In many places throughout Canada where snowmobiling is a popular winter activity, such as British Columbia, Quebec, Alberta, and Ontario, having snowmobile insurance isn’t just recommended; it’s often legally required. This insurance can cover damages to your snowmobile, potential medical expenses following an accident, and liability in case you injure someone or damage property. Just as you wouldn’t drive a car without auto insurance, don’t ride your snowmobile without proper coverage. Whether you’re snowmobiling across frozen lakes or sitting patiently by your ice fishing hole, embrace the beauty of winter with confidence and caution! Contact BrokerLink today for your free snowmobile insurance quote.