Nothing is worse than being super cold while trying to enjoy a winter day of sledding. Sledding can be extremely enjoyable if the right clothing options are chosen.
Generally, when sledding, one should wear a thermal base layer with a waterproof overcoat. Additional layers can be added. These in-between layers are warmest if made out of fleece or wool. Scarfs, gloves, hats, and thick socks should also be worn.
What you should wear and how much you should bundle up is dependent upon how cold the weather is and how long you are planning on being outside for. That being said, there are a few general guidelines that you can follow to ensure that you are warm and comfortable while sledding.
Breakdown of What to Wear Sledding
Comfort while sledding is not only dependent on how warm you are, but also on what type of layers you use to keep yourself warm.
For example, it would not be wise nor would it be comfortable to wear two layers of denim jeans in order to stay warm. The key to layering is selecting the right items made out of the right material.
This is especially true when it comes to winter activities such as sledding and tubing. These activities require you to be able to free move and bend your arms and legs. Wear too many layers or too stiff of layers may make you feel claustrophobic and restricted.
The type of winter clothes that you choose to wear can not only make you comfortable in cold conditions but can actually save your life. Sledding is normally a safe activity but if an emergency situation were to arise, you would want to be fully prepared.
The base layer is the layer that is closest to your skin. This layer is one of the most important layers. Depending on the type of garment or fabric you choose to wear, it can either make your sledding experience comfortable or miserable.
It is key that the layer of clothing that is closest to your skin be one that draws moisture away from your body, rather than attracting it or soaking it up.
It is almost guaranteed that the physical activity involved in sledding and tubing will cause your body temperature to rise, thus making you sweat.
I can 100% attest to this from personal experience. I have been sledding in negative degree temperatures and have still sweated from the physical exertion of carting my sled back up a hill.
You should always select a base layer article of clothing that will keep your body dry. Sweating in cold weather can be dangerous as your body temperature drops when the sledding is over.
What to Wear
A base layer should pull the moister away from your body helping you keep warm and dry.
I would suggest buying thermal underwear made out of polypropylene or wool. Avoid cotton at all costs. Cotton will soak up any ounce of sweat or melted snow that reaches it.
Warming Layer (Mid-Layer)
The warming layer is the one that goes over the base layer. As the name implies, it is the layer that ultimately keeps you warm. This layer will differ depending on how cold it is outside.
I often double up on the mid-layer when going sledding. It can get quite cold and it is always comforting to know that you have another warming layer, just in case.
What to Wear
For the warming layer, you will want to choose a fabric like wool or fleece, that is known to be insulting.
Your options include things such as a wool sweater, a down vest, or a fleece top and pants. Synthetic fleece is always a good option because it is lightweight and is normally affordably priced.
That being said, make sure to select a warming layer that is not too heavy and restrictive.
Waterproof Layer (Outer Layer)
There is nothing worse than having a soaking wet mid-layer while sledding. A cold and wet mid-layer can make your sledding experience miserable. For this reason, a waterproof layer is a must!
Your waterproof layer works as a barrier between you and the snow. In addition to that, it can shield you from the brutal winter elements such as blizzard snow conditions and brutally cold wind chill.
Your waterproof layer is usually the most expensive one but is worth spending money on.
What to Wear
The waterproof layer consists of snow pants and a waterproof jacket. If you decide to go sledding in an area that known to be especially cold, I would suggest finding a “down-lined” jacket.
The majority of outer layer clothing is made out of nylon or polyester. These two materials ensure that you keep dry and are typically very durable.
Oftentimes ski jackets will have a zip out fleece liner on the inside. This is a great option! Not only is this jacket perfect for your waterproof layer, but it also includes a warming layer.
Head, Hands, and Feet
It is not uncommon for only your toes, fingers, or ears to be cold while the rest of your body is perfectly warm. Our outer extremities are more susceptible to the cold than our core.
Sledding requires us to use our hands and feet quite a bit as we go up and down the hill. It is absolutely important to take the right measures to ensure that our head, hands, and feet stay nice and warm.
What To Wear
As far as hats go, be sure to get a hat that covers your ears and insulates your head. I would suggest getting a beanie that is made out of merino wool, fleece, or polyester.
You want to make sure that you get gloves that are waterproof and lined with a warm material on the inside.
To ensure that your toes are nice and cozy I would recommend getting thick wool socks. Wool helps wick the water away from your skin and will keep you warm. The shoes you choose are also important. Be sure to buy boots that are waterproof. Boots with a wool lining are an option worth looking into.
Lastly, don’t ever underestimate the power of scarves and face masks. Scarves protect your neck and face from the elements. This is especially important for sledding.
Why Layering Is Essential
The nature of sledding requires that there be cold weather in order to keep the snow around. I love sledding but sadly I get cold very easily. This can become problematic when you are in the middle of the mountains on a cold wintery day sledding.
I can’t tell you how many times I have completely underestimated the power mother nature when I have gone sledding. Sledding hills can bring very temperamental weather that can leave you uncomfortable, or worse, unprepared.
This is why layering is so essential. Layers can work in our favor and can help us adjust to the changes in temperature that weather brings.
In addition to that, the constant physical activity required by sledding can warm our body temperature up thus making us uncomfortably hot. In this instance, layers are perfect because you have the option to take them off.
The opposite can also happen. As we stop our physical activity to rest our body temperatures lower, thus making us too cold. There is always a risk of a temperature drop when sledding.
Wearing layers can help us combat these changes in temperatures and can provide the most comfortable sledding experience possible.
Always make sure that you have a change of clothing when you go sledding. I can’t tell you how many times my clothes have gotten soaking wet after a long day of sledding.
It is so refreshing to have a change of dry clothes with you. This will make your drive back more comfortable, and you’ll have something if you get too wet or it is colder than you thought it would be.
Extra clothing can maximize the comfort of a sledding trip and in some cases even allow you more time for your winter activities.