5 Tips For Buying Snowmobile Clothing…
Snowmobile clothing and snowmobiling gear can make or break your snowmobile tour fun. They can even affect snowmobile safety on a snow machine. The snowmobile magazines display an overwhelming variety of clothing brands. Many models and features exist in jackets, pants, helmets, boots, gloves and under layers.
They all claim to be good for any kind of snow conditions, snowmobile tours and snowmobile vacations. And as you can see in the snowmobile video below, options range from bargain basement specials to top of the line high tech offerings. And everything in between, so how does an adult snowmobiler choose what to wear and how to dress for Canadian snowmobile tours?
Tip #1 – Chose Purpose-Made Snowmobile Clothing
Let’s start the discussion with the premise that the smart choice is clothing and gear purpose-made for snowmobiling in Canada. There are many other kinds of seasonal wear such as that made for everyday winter use, skiing and other outdoor activities. But snowmobile clothing and snowmobile gear is the only type specifically designed for riding a moving snow machine on snowmobile tours.
It’s made to handle various weather and snow conditions, varying terrain and long periods of time. What’s more, each piece of riding gear has an integrated function within your entire sledding ensemble. So my recommendation is to stick with clothing made for snowmobile touring.
Tip #2 – Choose Good Quality
Next, there’s a range of quality levels in snowmobile clothing and snowmobiling gear. Often even within the same brand. I’ve tried many different items over the years. I’ve also talked with lots of snowmobilers about what they wear and how they like it. It’s safe to say that the old adage “you get what you pay for” applies to snowmobile touring – maybe more so than usual.
That’s in part because once you’re committed to your purchase, you’ve got to live with it. Live with it on long, cold rides, in extremes that can go from balmy to sub-arctic, and likely for many years of use.
And remember, once you’re on the snow far away from home, you’ve got to grin (or should I say, shiver) and bear it. At least until that snowmobile ride’s over. In my experience, cheaping out on snowmobile clothing and ride gear leads to freezing your butt off. And that’s one of the quickest ways to get turned off snowmobile tours for good.
Which is not to say that you have to break the bank when shopping for what to wear or how to dress. As with anything else, the latest and greatest normally sell at a premium.
But every brand has models that are tried and true. Many desirable features are affordably priced. Typically, there are also deals to be had early in the fall on non-current stock (check out online stores, snowmobile shows and dealer sales). Same goes near season’s end. But do your research beforehand on what you need. Don’t be lured into buying an inappropriate item just because it’s on sale.
Tip #3 – Choose The Right Size
No matter how much (or little) you spend, if it’s the wrong size or fit, you won’t be happy. That’s why I highly recommend always trying on each item of snowmobile clothing or snowmobile gear before purchase. Moreover, do it while wearing everything that’s going to be under it (e.g. – all under layers and TekVest for snowmobile jacket. All under layers and boots for pants; balaclava, No Fog Mask, sunglasses for helmet). Because of what needs to be worn underneath, the size you normally wear for everyday clothing can only be your starting guideline with riding gear.
Another reason to upsize is that you need to be able to move freely. It’s important to be unrestricted while riding your snowmobile in a variety of snow conditions. As well, you’re more likely to suffer the cold in any snowmobile clothing or snowmobile gear that’s snug or too tight.
And unless you’re one of the lucky few who never puts on any weight, you may also want to allow a little growth room. Finally, wherever possible, purchase gender specific clothing. It’s cut and fit to best accommodate the size and shape variations between men and women.
Tip #4 – Choose Comfort Features
You can’t go wrong choosing a snowmobile suit that’s waterproof and breathable. Good waterproof material commands a premium price. But it’s worth every penny if you do a lot of snowmobile touring and encounter a wide variety of weather conditions. Waterproofing tends to have windproof properties that cut wind chill penetration as well as keeping water out. So a suit featuring this material provides double protection.
I also look for lots of vents in a snowmobile jacket. These enable me to open or close one or all to help regulate the temperature inside the jacket. This is especially valuable during spring riding or when I’ve exerted myself somehow like when digging out a stuck sled. Watch for sales to get the best deal on jackets with these benefits.
Tip #5 – Choose Function Over Fashion
One final note. Shopping for the right snowmobile clothing and snowmobile gear shouldn’t be about making a fashion statement. Sure, there are lots of flashy colours and many opportunities to coordinate with your snow machine or significant other. Or just to look chic and suave.
None of which will matter if you’re always freezing off some part of your anatomy on snowmobile tours because you chose fashion over function.
My advice is go through all the steps to select the absolute best quality, features and benefits you can afford. Only then worry about if it’s available in the perfect colour or looks best in the mirror.
That being said, for snowmobile safety I do recommend a bright, colourful jacket and helmet. This way you are highly visible on snowmobile tours to others at all times. Especially at road crossings, in snow dust and after dark.
Over the years, I’ve also learned many tips about selecting the proper snowmobile jackets, pants, helmets, boots, gloves and under layers. So what do I wear on snowmobile tours? As you can see from the accompanying photos, I’m a fan of FXR snowmobile clothing and snowmobile gear. Check out my product reviews on FXR jackets and helmets.
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The tips and advice in this blog are the opinions of the author, may not work in every situation and are intended only for the convenience and interest of the reader, who has the personal responsibility to confirm the validity, accuracy and relevancy of this information prior to putting it to their own use.