Snowmobiling in Minnesota is a wonderful winter activity, but if you’re not properly, it can be a bad experience. Here are a few tips about how to dress for snowmobiling so that every ride will be a great ride. Yes, many are common sense, but it’s amazing how many people you see that violate these simple rule.
Dress In Layers — Dress in layers to stay comfortable while snowmobiling. The layer next to your skin should pull sweat away from the body — known as wicking — so it can dry. If moisture stays against he skin, it will make you cold. The wicking layer should fit tightly because if doesn’t contact the skin, it can’t pull moisture away. Never wear cotton against the skin because it dries very slowly. Instead, wear polyester, wool or poly-wool blends.
The next layer should be insulation to trap heat around your body. Fleece garments are popular mid-layers. Shop for mid-layers that include polyester or other breathable materials to further improve moisture-wicking abilities of your apparel.
The shell is the final stage of layering. A waterproof/windproof shell is preferred for obvious reasons. Most outer layers of snowmobile jackets also include insulation, so factor that into your snowmobile apparel set-up.
Wear Quality Snowmobile Boots and Gloves — Hands and feet are more vulnerable to cold weather while snowmobiling because the body focuses circulation on protecting its internal organs instead. It’s relatively easy to keep the torso warm with layers, but you can’t “layer up” the hands and feet, which is why it’s important to wear quality snowmobile gloves and snowmobile boots.
Look for snowmobile gloves that are made with dense insulation and durable construction so a seam won’t open up while on the trail and cause frostbite. Gauntlets are nice because they prevent snow and cold air from traveling up the jacket sleeve.
Many snowmobile boots are rated for comfort down to a specific temperature. Focus less on that number and instead think about how you’re wired. If your feet don’t typically get cold, shop for a boot with less insulation, but if your toes are sensitive, buy a bulkier boot. And no matter what, always wear quality, moisture wicking socks.
Don’t Overdress — Maybe you remember winter days as a kid when dear ol’ mom would dress you in so many warm, puffy layers that you looked like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. Maybe that worked while standing on a street corner to wait for the school bus, but that won’t work for riding a snowmobile.
For many people, snowmobiling is a physical activity that accelerates the heart rate and makes the body sweat. Wearing too many layers will cause the body to sweat profusely and dampen clothing, which will make you feel cold when the activity level drops. This is a dangerous situation because the clothing will not dry if against your skin, so your body temperature will continue to drop and possibly lead you to hypthermia.
For enthusiasts who live to go snowmobiling in Minnesota, the cold air of winter is much anticipated. Dress right so that cold air doesn’t bite you this winter.