How to Go Sledding if You Don’t Have a Sled (Use This Instead!)

how to go sledding without a sled
sled alternatives

Whether you are on a tight budget or you simply don’t own a sled, I’ve got you covered. There is no reason to miss out on a fun day of sledding because you lack a proper sled!

There are tons of options and substitutes that you can use for sledding. These include:

  • Trash bags
  • Garbage can lids
  • Large storage bins
  • Shower curtains
  • Baby pool
  • Inflatable pool tubes/toys
  • Inflatable mattresses
  • Rafts
  • Yoga mats
  • Cardboard

Now you don’t have an excuse not to have an awesome day sledding! Head out to a hill near you and try one of these amazing options today.

What to Use in Place of a Sled

If you are in desperate need of sled but don’t have the time, funds, or proper facilities to buy a sled you have many options. The art of sledding simply calls for something that is smooth, waterproof, and reduces the amount of friction, thus gliding across the snow.

This is why the options for substitute sleds are endless. You literally only need something that is waterproof, smooth, and big enough to sit on or lay down on.

You may discover some downsides when using something other than a sled. Using things not for there purpose usually do. Makeshift sleds may break easier, be uncomfortable, and will most likely be difficult to steer and maneuver.

Don’t let this stop you from trying out one of the many options listed be below!

1. Trash Bags

Using a trash bag instead of a sled is one of the oldest tricks in the book! All you have to do is find a large heavy-duty trash bag (preferably the kind used for lawn and leaves) and slide your legs and bottom into it. The next step is finding a steep hill to zip down.

You might find that you need to bring more than one “sled” when using a trash bag, in case there are any holes or rips.

2. Shower Curtains

how to go sledding without a sled
sled alternatives

Believe it or not, shower curtains actually make a great substitute sled. They are not only extremely waterproof but are also much more durable than a plastic bag.

I’d suggest folding and taping the shower curtain or cutting it up into smaller pieces if you go with this option.

If you go with the full shower curtain, it can be a bit too big.

3. Kiddie Pool

This makeshift sled is not for babies! You can get going pretty fast in one of these and you can also fit more than one person in it. Another reason as to why a baby pool is such a great option for sledding is that it is made out of a similar durable plastic material that most plastic sleds are made out of. So grab your unused baby pool and fly down a snow-covered hill today!

4. Garbage Can Lids

A garbage can lid is another great option. Not only are garbage can lids fairly durable, but they also resemble a saucer type sled that you can buy in the stores. Just please make sure that the lid is clean before you use it.

This option may be a little bit uncomfortable to sit on and can be a little hard to grip on to while flying down a snowy hill.

5. Tarps

This substitute works best with the snow is packed down or icy. Tarps can be very slick on the snow and can offer quite the ride! Be sure that the tarp you are using doesn’t have any holes in it.

You will also want to resize the tarp with tape as they can be large.

6. Cafeteria Tray

I like to call this option the “college special”. Many college students know this trick and will often use their University’s trays as a sled. If you don’t have access to a cafeteria or would rather not risk taking your school’s property you can find some cheap ones online.

7. Large Storage Bins

Many people use large plastic bins to store items in their house. If you have one, you are in luck! Not only is this bin good for storing old VHS tapes but it is also perfect to use sledding. All you have to do is hop in and fly to the bottom of the hill.

Be careful and try not to lean too far forward or you might tip over.

Inflatable Mattresses

Inflatable mattresses are a great option for those who are sled-less. They normally have a plastic bottom that is slick in the snow and a more grippy top that will allow you to stay for the wild ride. Use this option at your own risk! Inflatable mattresses tend to be an expensive product and can easily be ripped and destroyed.

8. Yoga Mats

Namaste! Who knew yoga mats could make a great replacement for a sled?! Simply grab your yoga mat and you are set to have a fun time sliding down the snow-covered hills. Be sure to hold on tight. This “sled” is more like a magic carpet ride.

9. Inflatable Pool Toys

Do you have a large inflatable duck, shark, or unicorn? Any of these will work great for those who want to sled without a sled. They slide easily in the snow and provide a zinger of a ride!

how to go sledding without a sled
sled alternatives

10. Boogie Boards

Boogie boards are extremely slick in snow condition. If they can glide over water then they can glide over snow. The best part about boogie boards is that they are somewhat steerable and have a leash that you can use as a handle. You will be surprised at how fast these guys can fly down a hill.

You are almost guaranteed to win a race using one of these!

11. Cookie Sheet

You may not have access to a cafeteria tray but I can almost guarantee that you have access to a cookie sheet or baking pan. These also make for a perfect sled substitute. The hardest part about using a cookie sheet is figuring out what you are going to cook the post-sledding cookies on!

12. Laundry Basket

Laundry baskets are big enough to fit half your wardrobe in and they are probably big enough to fit you as well. They may be fragile and difficult to steer but nothing says adventure like flying down a steep hill in a basket meant for carrying clothes!

13. Sleeping Bag

Stay warm while you sled. That sounds like a good policy to me! Sleeping bags are normally made out a slick/waterproof material on the outside that can be great for sliding down a snow-covered hill in. Make sure you don’t have a hole in the bag or you might get snagged.

14. Kayaks

Believe it or not, snow kayaking is an actual thing. Kayaks supposedly work great if you don’t have a sled…they work so great that there is an actual snow kayaking competition. Who knows, maybe you’ll get so good that you can win in a competition.

15. Inner Tubes

Much like pool toys and inflatable mattresses, inner tubes work wonders in the snow. Rarely does anyone have a spare inner tube lying around, waiting to be used as a substitute sled. But if you do, I highly recommend using one. Not only do they go super fast, but they are also easier to steer and are extremely durable. Check out our post about where to find the best inner tubes for sledding!

16. Cushions from Outdoor Furniture

This may be a stretch for some people but I promise that it works. If you have outdoor furniture that is made out of a slicker waterproof vinyl, they will work great a sled. If you are lucky, you will find a big enough cushion to lay down on while flying down the slopes.

17. Cardboard

When in doubt, you can use the age-old trick of sliding down a hill using straight cardboard. A folded cardboard box can be surprisingly effective and last longer than most expect. They will, however, become wet and won’t work anymore. So grab some old moving boxes today and turn them into a sled.

18. DIY Sled

Don’t own a sled? Why not just make you one yourself?! In fact, you can easily make one with common household items. All you’ll need is a garbage bag, one thick box, and duct tape. If you have all of these, you are more than ready to build your own sled.

You can construct your own sled by following ten simple steps on Instructables Outside website. This page will walk you through the process of building a sled and you will be able to enjoy any hill that desire to slide down once you’re done!

Another way to make your own sled is to use a dog bed and wrap it in a trash bag or tarp. This not only makes a slippery sled but is also super comfortable to sled down on. Just make sure that you don’t fall asleep while sledding and ask your dog if it’s ok to use their bed before you make it!

Geoff Southworth

I am a California native and I enjoy all the outdoors has to offer. My latest adventures have been taking the family camping, hiking and surfing.

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