The winter season is almost upon us, and while some people are not looking forward to wearing three layers of clothes and almost ice skating their way to work, others are super excited about the approach of the winter holiday and getting to enjoy all the perks that snow has to offer.
Amongst those perks, there is one childhood activity that, to this day, is a favorite amongst plenty of children and adults: sledding. But gone are the days when children used wooden and metal sleds, and the variety of options out there can be overwhelming for parents who are used to seeing just one type of sled. No worries, we’re here to tell you more about the different types of snow sleds and help you make an informed buying decision for adults and children alike.
Types of Snow Sleds
Believe it or not, snow sleds have evolved a lot from the classic wooden and metal sleds that were used decades ago. Today, sleds don’t just come in different shapes but are also made from a wide range of materials. You may be wondering why in the world are there so many types of sleds to choose from? Well, each type comes with its own advantages and drawbacks, and some are suitable only in certain situations and with specific types of snow. So, what are your options?
Toboggans are sleds often thought of as being made from small wooden slats and having that curved front side. However, the design of these sleds has suffered many changed over the past years, and they can also be made of plastic or be inflatable. One of the main reasons why toboggans are still so hip is because they are relatively easy to control by shifting your weight from side to side. There are larger models out there that are more suitable for multiple people use.
If you have your heart set on a toboggan and would like to try a customer-praised and durable product, this Slippery Racer toboggan is one of the best products of its kind.
Made from durable plastic, this sled is available in four different playful colors to cater to the tests or boys, girls, children and adults alike. The plastic used to make this sled has been treated to be more resistant in the face of cold.
It comes with a pull rope so that you can easily drag the sled through the snow and uphill towards your next adventure. Due to its design, it’s one of the sleds that offer the most control over the direction. It is big enough to hold two children under the age of 10 but is also good for one adult.
Sledges are probably the most classical snow sleds you can think of. Sledges are typically of two types. There are really large sledges that can accommodate quite a lot of people and are usually drawn by animals (like horses or dogs). However, there is also your smaller and more traditional type of sledge, one that can accommodate one or two people and is typically made from wood.
This classic Flexible Flyer is the type of sled some people envision as “a real sled” from their younger years or classic films, and there’s a good reason: Flexible Flyer has been making sleds like this one since 1889. But that’s not the only reason the design has persisted for all this time; its powder-coated steel runners, durable wooden and steel construction, steering bar, and two available sizes (both large enough for an adult) mean this is a sled built to last and to grow with its owner.
At 48 or 60 inches long and just under 15 pounds, the Flexible Flyer is larger and heavier than most modern sleds. But its durability, functional good looks, and nostalgia factor can’t be ignored. This sled is especially popular as a gift from grandparents to grandchildren and as a photo prop, but mostly it’s popular because it’s fast, sturdy, big enough to hold a couple of people, and can be steered a number of ways (by hand, foot, or pull rope), meaning it works for just about every sledding scenario.
Saucers are easy to recognize because of their shape and plastic or metal construction. This is the type of sled that, in the right snow conditions, can reach quite impressive speeds. They have circular shapes and are mostly designed to be used by a single person. However, these types of sleds are not easy to control, so they are not the best option on rough terrain or a slope that’s filled with obstacles.
This sled has the classic disc design. Although it might be traditional, this sled ranks as one of the best sleds for kids. Made with high impact plastic, it can withstand use and abuse. With plastic handles, your kids can steer the sled down a hill. The controls may not be perfect, but they do give you some power. The slick bottom makes this sled surprisingly fast.
Ideally, this sled is only for one person. That said, you may be able to fit two people on it.The total measurement is 25x25x25”. While it may not be as large as some other sleds, its small size comes with some benefits. Due to its light weight, this sled is easy to carry up hills. Additionally, you can load it into the smallest of cars and fit multiple sleds in one vehicle. If you’re looking for a small but durable sled, this Airhead Classic should be your top pick.
Snow tubes have gained a whole lot of popularity over the years. Because they are inflatable, they are much more comfortable compared to other types of sleds. They have a donut-like shape and elevated edges to give you more stability over slopes. However, you can also find snow tubes in a toboggan shape. If you choose a snow tube, make sure it has side handles so you can get a good grip and not fall off as you’re going downhill.
When it comes to good snow tube with playful design, the GoFloats products are always worth considering. From unicorn to ice dragon, there are five different models to choose from, each of them more fun to look at than the last. Made from thick raft-grade vinyl, this snow tube is designed to be more durable compared to its competition. It’s also treated to be more resistant in cold weather compared to your average snow tube.
It is 45 inches wide, making it perfect for children and adults alike. There are side handles that provide a good grip and proper stability as you’re facing the slopes. It is lightweight and very easy to carry. To make inflation easier, you can use an air mattress pump.
Snow scooters are the only sled is used while standing. It is basically a snowboard with a steering handle, kind of like a scooter with no wheels. The handle makes it easy to steer but it’s also true that there are other types of sleds that are easier to control. Snow scooters are general foldable, which makes it super easy to carry or store them.
You are going to love this snow scooter which doesn’t just look awesome, but is also very practical for both children and adults. It comes with a led module located on the front side which makes it easier to ride even in low light conditions. The LED module allows you to select between multiple modes, such as strobe, fade, or flash. You can also add a second light module at the base of the scooter but this is a separate purchase.
It is made from polyurethane and is suitable for children above the age of six, as well as for adults that weigh a maximum of 220 pounds. Since it’s foldable, you can easy collapse it and take it back uphill. The fact that it only weighs 0.24 pounds makes it super lightweight and easy to carry around.
Kicksleds or Dogsleds
A kicksled is a little different from the others. It is also known as a “spark” and it is kind of like a chair that sits on top of metal runners. Its name is given by the fact that you propel the sled by kicking your foot into the ground. Since this type of sled has handlebars, that’s how you maneuver it. It is a great sled for hard and slippery surfaces so if you’re sledding on snow, this is the right product for you. Also, due to its construction, the kicksled can be used by two people, with one kicking in the back and one seating on the front passenger seat. This is the design favored for dogsledding, as well, as the rider can stand and the seat can be used for carrying a pack.
Wooden Foldable Dog Sled Kicksled
Made from solid maple wood with a Teflon band under the runners for a smooth ride. Includes a simple step brake system
This classic wooden kicksled features a rawhide snowshoe weave on the seat, a foldable design, and a modern-day upgrade to its old-fashioned appeal: the runners are Teflon-coated for a smooth and fast sojourn. This model holds one child and one adult and can be attached to any harness type for dogsledding.
Sled vs. Snow
What is really interesting about these sleds is that it’s not the type of sled you should be worried about when it comes to choosing which one to use on a specific type of snow. What actually matters isn’t the shape of the sled, but the construction. That’s right, if you want to know what sled to use in a specific snow situation, they you will need to pay attention to the materials used in its construction. Here is what you should know:
Plastic sleds are good for rough terrain. Because they are lightweight, plastic sleds are easier to control and you can ride them across rough terrain without them suffering any damage. They are often preferred because they are inexpensive but also because they are easy to carry around.
Vinyl sleds typically come in the shape of inflatable tubes and sleds. Because vinyl is a lightweight material, it is also one of the most comfortable options on the market. The combination between the material and its ease of maneuvering, sleds that are made from vinyl are most suitable for deep snow. Vinyl compromises durability for speed, which means you can’t use this type of sleds on rugged terrain or ice, as the materials can easily take damage. They do work, however, on open hills with tons of snow.
Foam sleds aren’t as popular as other options on the market, which is a real shame because they are more comfortable compared to a plastic sled, for instance. Granted, they aren’t the fastest sleds out there, but they are good on rough terrain and perform well in just about all the conditions where you would normally use a plastic sled.
Choosing the right type of sled isn’t always easy because there is an overwhelming variety of products on the market, each with its own advantages and drawbacks. When you’re out shopping for a snow sled, you will first need to know what the snow conditions are wherever you’ll be using it because not all materials are good for any type of slope. Once you get that out of the way, consider who will be using the sled. Some models are big enough and have the weight capacity to support both children and adults. Others offer more control over the sleds while some models are focused mostly on the durability product.