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How to Find Snowmobiling Gear for the Kids

Start early! Plus other tips for gearing up the family
youth snowmobiling gear Arctic Cat ZR 120 Polaris RMK KHAOS Klim FXR
Make sure the kiddos are all properly equipped for comfort and safety, and every family outing will be a winner.
Equipment has improved over the years. Most of us no longer use Wonder Bread bags as boot liners, and the insulated coats of yesteryear that had Randy from the movie classic A Christmas Story exclaiming, “I can’t put my arms down!” are a thing of the past.

However, with the increase in quality, the cost has gone up as well. And while I may spring for a name brand snowmobiling outfit for myself with the justification that it will be used for several years, it is much harder to drop that type of cash on a growing kid. 

This gearing-up obstacle has many people leaving their kids at home or introducing them to the snowmobile sport when they are older. Bad idea!

Getting your family involved in the activities you love helps to foster family bonding, and snowmobiling provides an opportunity to get out during winter, when most kids are facing a screen with glazed-over eyes and a zombie expression. If a good day riding is a boost for your mental health, imagine if your whole crew participates!
youth snowmobiling gear Yamaha SnoScoot FXR
■ Assessing Your Needs
The first step is creating a chart with everything your family needs from head to toe and their sizes. (See a sample chart below.) Keep in mind when your kids get a little older (as is the case with our 10-year-old, Ella), there are two sizes that may work between kids and adult sizes. With shoes, a good rule of thumb is to add two sizes to the youth size to get the adult women’s version.

Another part of the assessment is taking stock of what you already have. If you have something, cross it off the list and put it in a place where you will be able to find it later. Also, let your family and friends know you are shopping. We’ve found some great items via family members who were on the lookout for
a good deal.
youth snowmobiling gear Arctic Cat ZR 120
■ Used Quality Clothing Beats New Cheap Clothing
Consider buying quality used items. There are many quality snowmobile clothing manufacturers, including those advertising in this magazine. And, while those items
might be too much for the budget new, there are opportunities to buy them used.

I have rarely found name=brand items in thrift stores, although this could be different in your area. However, there are several online options. In doing a quick search, I was able to find a couple coats that would work for my daughter, including a KLIM coat on eBay, and a Castle X coat on Facebook Marketplace. 

Try these options before hitting the stores:
  • Facebook Marketplace
  • Craigslist
  • Poshmark
  • Local classifieds, whether through newspaper or online resource
  • eBay
  • Amazon
  • Snowmobile swap events that are affiliated with snowmobile shows
youth snowmobiling gear
Also, check the manufacturers’ websites for specials or discontinued items. These often are sold at a steep discount.

■ Protecting Little Fingers and Toes

When we first started outfitting our kids, we had nice coats, but cheap gloves and boots. I suggest going the opposite direction. Hands and toes are always the first to get cold and when they do, it makes for miserable riding. Get tall waterproof insulated boots that fit well, and pair them with tall snowmobile socks. Socks are the one thing you usually don’t want to layer, so this makes having a quality sock imperative. Also, consider mittens for children. They tend to keep the hands warmer. We also look for mittens that come high on the arm, as they fall off less. 

Taking kids along as riding companions is not always easy but is worth the effort. Consider this an investment in the future. You are developing riding buddies that you can have throughout your life. Good gear and cheerful parents will help them enjoy the sport, so pack candy, smile and be patient.
youth snowmobiling gear Klim American Snowmobiler
youth snowmobiling gear boots snow pants
With a good-fitting helmet, coat, pants, boots and toasty gloves, the kids will be all set for a great day on the snow with mom and dad.
youth snowmobiling gear Yamaha SnoScoot FXR
youth snowmobiling gear Arctic Cat
11 TOP GEAR TIPS FOR FAMILIES
  1. Start early; finding deals takes time. However, if you are six months or more ahead of your riding season, remember to anticipate your child’s growth.
  2. If possible, purchase gender neutral colors and styles. Having gender neutral options makes it easier to pass the gear down to younger children and broadens the audience if you chose to sell the item once your children have outgrown it.
  3. If you are renting your snowmobile, check to see if they offer clothing rentals. This may be your best option if you are only going once or twice a year.
  4. Give gear to your children or spouse as birthday or holiday gifts. Incorporating gear into your holiday budget might make it easier to swallow.
  5. Get involved with your local snowmobiling club, this is a group of like-minded individuals that will be a great resource for purchasing and selling gear, as well as knowing where to find items locally.
  6. Stops at warming huts, bonfires in the backcountry, and restaurants on the trail do wonders for less than stellar gear. Make sure to plan for these stops when taking younger riders.
  7. Test your gear on shorter rides to make sure it is adequate. If your gear is not up to grade it is better to know that on a 2-hour ride rather than a 10-hour ride.
  8. Make sure your kids are old enough to communicate when they are cold, and check with them often. As a driver, you are often out of the wind and using a lot of energy to keep you warm. Your 2-up rider might be more exposed to the elements and isn’t working as hard. Communication is key to keep everyone not only comfortable, but safe as well.
  9. Take backups. Taking kids means you will never pack light. An extra pair of goggles, socks, and gloves (even boots if you have them) should always be taken in case they get wet. Your back-up set doesn’t need to be expensive, but you should have them.
  10. Check the weather. Warmer days are the best for bringing kids, especially if you are introducing them to the sport.
  11. Remember to layer clothing for variations in temperature. Wearing layers is the best riding option for you, and kids are no different. A good base, mid, and top layer will help to ensure your kids are comfortable if the conditions change. Stay with moisture-wicking material; cotton is not your best option.
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