Why should a little wintertime weather limit your motorsport fun? Forget spending the snow day inside. When the world is covered in snow and ice, it is the perfect time to get out on a snowmobile. Whether you are completely new to snowmobiling, doing casual tours or gearing up for racing season, it is essential to have proper snowmobile riding gear to keep yourself warm and safe while tackling the elements.
Head & Eye Protection
Snowmobiling comes with some danger and risks, but then again, most fun things do. However, a reliable helmet can make all the difference when it comes to safety. Unfortunately, helmets are one of the most frequently overlooked pieces of gear. Head injuries are the leading cause of death or injury when snowmobiles crash or overturn. Wearing a helmet substantially reduces the risk of head injury, but some new riders mistakenly forgo this crucial piece of gear.
Typical reasons for not wearing a helmet are that the helmet is uncomfortable or inconvenient, but this does not have to be the case. There are a variety of popular winter helmets to choose from, so all riders can find a style and fit that is comfortable and workable for them. Here are a few of the most common styles:
Conventional full-face: These helmets are the optimal choice for maximum safety, affordability and protection from the cold. They have chin protection and a visor that lifts up and down to shield the eyes.
Modular: The modular helmet is comparable to the full-face helmet in most ways, with the added feature of being able to lift the entire front of the helmet from the chin bar. Some modular helmets may also have inner-breathing masks. This helmet is good for riders who want full access to their face quickly.
Snocross: If you are planning on some extreme snowmobiling, a snocross helmet is ideal. Rather than having a visor, the front of the helmet is open, allowing riders to use separate goggles to achieve a wider field of vision. The snocross helmet also has improved ventilation and a peak near the top of the helmet to shield you from sun and flying debris.
Hybrid/Dual Sport Helmet: This helmet is similar to the snocross helmet but uses a visor to shield the face as opposed to goggles. If you want the sportiness of a snocross helmet, but prefer not to use goggles, the hybrid is right for you.
No matter how confident you are with snowmobiling, accidents can happen at any skill level. A helmet should always be at the top of your list when choosing gear.
Should the worst happen, you do not want to get into a high-speed collision without sufficient snowmobile body protection. Aside from a helmet, another key piece of the safety equation is wearing the right armor. Body protection is exceptionally important if you are doing races, jumps, or other types of extreme snowmobiling. Your chest and torso are home to a multitude of vital organs, so you want to ensure they are protected with a durable motorsport vest. Trust us, these are not your grandfather’s argyle vests. Motorsport vests are typically constructed with firm, plastic outer shells to cover the front and back of the rider’s torso. They also commonly feature interior foam padding on the front, back and sides. They should be puncture-resistant and stand up against impact, while remaining lightweight and comfortable. Usually the straps are adjustable, but it is best to make sure you have a proper fit when wearing the vest. You do not want it so loose that it slides on your body or so tight that you are uncomfortable while snowmobiling. The best part about purchasing a motorsport vest is that it can be used for all types of activities, from snowmobiling in winter to motorbike racing in summer.
Last, but not least, be sure to protect your extremities before heading out into the snow. If you are participating in more challenging courses, it is definitely worthwhile to get knee guards, shin guards and elbow guards. While a broken arm or leg might not be as serious as a head injury, no one wants to deal with a slow and painful healing process or time away from riding.
One of the eternal struggles of wintertime is staying warm but not feeling suffocated under layers of material. Fortunately, snowmobile jackets and suits are specially-designed to offer an ideal balance of flexibility and warmth. With the multitude of choices, you can select gear that does not leave you out in the cold, but also does not limit your agility while riding. There are a few different options for winter jackets and suits depending on your preference and riding style.
If you are looking to log some hours on the trail, you need a heavily insulated jacket that provides a mixture of warmth and ample ventilation. A trail jacket does not need to be as flexible as a jacket for other styles of riding, since most of your time is spent sitting down on the snowmobile. On the other hand, for a more active type of riding such as mountain courses or snocross, you need a jacket that is movable enough not to hinder performance. Choose a jacket with little to no insulation, and instead, utilize base layers, such as a snow bib, to keep you warm. Mountain or snocross jackets should be lighter and allow you to achieve more bend at the waist and sit or stand easily.
With any good jacket, look for features such as a ventilation areas, a tether D-ring, waterproofing and reflective material for increased visibility. Finally, do not forget the small, outermost layers including warm, moisture-wicking socks, winter gloves and boots. Snowmobile boots are sturdier and more heavily insulated than an average snow boot. They also have the traction necessary to handle icy conditions. Gloves should be waterproof and have palm pads for enhanced grip so that your hands stay firmly in place throughout your ride.
As you prepare to suit up and hop on the snowmobile this winter, consider whether your snowmobile riding gear is offering you the best combination of warmth and safety. Select from the best snowmobiling gear on the market, so that you can stay protected and make the most of the snow.