Proper Gear to Wear While Riding to Stay Warm
There is nothing quite like hitting the trail for the first time, opening that throttle on the snowmobile, and taking off into the Black Hills for a good afternoon of snowmobile riding. It can, however, be a dangerous trip if you are not dressed properly. Having the proper gear for your snowmobile trip can make the difference between having a great time and ending up with frostbite. To ensure that you have a great time, here is a guide of the proper gear you should have when you rent your snowmobile for an afternoon on the trails.
Wool socks are the best and will keep your feet the warmest. Smartwool socks are the best and will keep your feet dry and warm. You can purchase snowmobile socks at any sporting goods store, but wool socks are useful for not only snowmobiling but for other activities as well, such as hiking, sledding, or skiing. Wool socks will help to keep your feet warm, but also prevent them from perspiring too much inside your boot. It is a good idea to carry an extra pair of socks with you, just in case you get your wet or you feel your feet getting cold.
Having proper boots to wear will help to keep your feet dry from snow or rain and keep them warm during your ride. The key to having good boots is to make sure they are waterproof. If you do not have waterproof boots, your feet will be wet within minutes and you will be miserable the rest of the afternoon. Proper snowmobiling boots have rubber, waterproof bottoms and have a good lug sole for traction, which is important when out in the hills during winter. It is also important that your boots are slightly higher topped than normal boots to help repel snow. Make sure your boots are comfortable and you can easily move in them and they are not too tight, as that could cut off circulation and make your feet cold.
It is crucial that you have proper gloves to keep your hands warm to help control the snowmobile controls. Gloves should repel water and wind in order to keep your hands warm. Inserting an extra wool or fleece liner inside the gloves will help to keep your hands warmer during cold temperatures. Mittens are the warmest option, however, make sure that whatever you choose you are able to control the snowmobile controllers.
Having the proper headgear is crucial for a good time on the trails. A helmet is a must and having extra eye protection or a face mask is also not a bad idea. A face mask will help to keep your face warm under your helmet and cut the wind while riding. A full face helmet is recommended as it completely protects your head from not only something happening if you crash, but also helps to keep your head as warm as possible. Goggles are also an added bonus, depending on the type of helmet you have, as it will help keep the snow out of your eyes while riding, giving you better visibility.
Shirts & Pants
Layers, layers, layers is the key when riding. The more layers you add at the beginning, the better. You can always take layers off if you get too hot, but you cannot add layers on if you get too cold out on the trail. Make sure you wear a coat and snow pants while riding, especially if they are wool or polyester. Stay away from cotton in any of your layers. South Dakota winters can be unpredictable and brutally cold, but if you dress appropriately, you could have the time of your life on the trails.