How to Pack for Snowmobiling: The Safe Way
According to snowmobile enthusiasts Sam Schroetter, Safety Specialist at Hayes, and Clay Hendricks, Product Manager at Hayes, there are some key essentials riders should pack before venturing the snowy trails. On the work front, Schroetter is Hayes safety implementor. Outside the office, he enjoys trailblazing on his snowmobile through the most recent Wisconsin snowfall. From the vehicle perspective, Hendricks provides insight into the critical items needed to have a mechanically smooth ride!
IN YOUR OPINION, WHAT ARE SOME MUST-HAVES FOR A SNOWMOBILE TRIP?
“Always take a buddy. First, there is the fun factor – it’s more fun to ride with someone else! But also, there is a safety factor to it. Two brains are better than one. If anything goes wrong, you have somebody with you if you get hurt or have problems trailside. If you are hurt or unconscious at any point, you always have someone else with you who might have something in their pack that is critical in the moment,” Schroetter explained.
OKAY, BRING A BUDDY, CHECK! NOW, CAN YOU GIVE ME THE LAUNDRY LIST OF ITEMS YOU’D PACK?
“My list usually includes the following: cell phone with a GPS app, spare gloves, spark plugs, lighter, rope, and zip lock bags to keep out moisture, snacks, protein bars, water bottles, USB charge pack, balaclava, a beanie hat, zip ties, super glue, and a Leatherman multitool” Hendricks listed. Schroetter highlighted the importance of packing things that can combat the lack of sunlight and condensation caused by wintry conditions including: a waterproof flashlight/light source, fire starter, first aid kit, compass with a backlight, windproof gloves, sealed plastic box to store electronics, tow equipment, and emergency locator devices.
WHAT SPECIFIC ITEMS WOULD YOU AND/OR YOUR BUDDY TYPICALLY WEAR FOR A SNOW TRIP?
“I dress in layers… because chances are, you’re going to be wearing the wrong thing by the time you get out there. Like an onion, you can peel off layers as you ride to be more comfortable. I also bring an extra pair of gloves with me, but I do not bring any other body or chest layers.” Hendricks responded.
LET’S TALK ABOUT COMMUNICATION WHILE ON THE TRAILS. WHAT DEVICES BESIDES CELL PHONES DO YOU PACK WHEN BOONDOCKING?
“If traveling in a group, walkie-talkies that are battery-dependent are useful in an emergency. Service reception is usually weak on backcountry roads, so having an alternative communication outlet is useful,” Schroetter said. Hendricks also responded, adding, “My backpack actually has a whistle built into the buckle on it… so like the whistle on the buckle of your chest strap will get someone’s attention if you didn’t have a walkie talkie.”
YOU MENTIONED STORAGE OUTSIDE OF YOUR PACK. WHERE ELSE CAN YOU STORE ITEMS ON YOUR SNOWMOBILE IF YOUR PACK CANNOT HOLD EVERYTHING YOU NEED?
Each of the snowmobile MFG has their own system for packing luggage that integrates
well with the sled, of course there are aftermarket options as well. If that’s not your style, resort to a backpack to carry your essentials with you. Depending on trip length, your backpack or bag size might need to be larger.
ANY FINAL TIPS YOU WANT TO SHARE WITH US RELATED TO THE PACKING PROCESS?
“Pack according to how you are traveling, whether in group or solo. Having these essential items not only benefits you as the rider, but it provides a helpful resource for individuals traveling alongside you,” Hendricks concluded.