Planning a snowmobile trip is no easy task. There is a lot that goes into formulating a plan and then remembering everything you will need. Our goal with this article is to do our best to help you make planning your next snowmobile trip a breeze. Snowmobile season is right around the corner and you have some planning to do so let’s get into this.
Planning Your Snowmobile Trip
Have you ever went on a trip and not realized that you forgot something of importance until you got there? We have. Talk about starting a fun trip with the squad off on the wrong foot. Now you are stuck either buying a new one of whatever it is you forgot or hoping you are able to rent on from somewhere. The headaches begin and the expenses rise. To help avoid this from happening to you we created a essential gear list that can be found at the bottom of this article.
Driving To Your Destination
A large deciding factor on whether you drive or not likely depends on if you plan on bringing your snowmobile with you or not. If you are bringing your snowmobile with you there will be more items to pack than if you are not bringing your snowmobile. You will need things like oil, extra spark plugs and belts if you plan on bringing your own snowmobile.
Outside of the needed items for your snowmobile, you will need the gear you actually wear while snowmobiling. Helmet, goggles, gloves, boots, jackets, bibs, socks and all your avalanche gear must be packed in order to have a successful trip. See the full gear list at the bottom of this article for reference when you are packing.
Typically when we plan a snowmobiling trip out west we first decide who will be going. Make sure you pick people to go with that you can stand being around in a tight vehicle for up to 15 hours, if traveling from the Midwest. It could be an extra long trip if the people you are going with annoy you. Once you have decided who will be going, get your group together and discuss where you will be going and how you will be getting there. Another key topic to discuss is how the travel expenses will be covered. We like to put all the gas on one card for the whole trip and when we get back split it up amongst the number of people that went.
Now that you have decided who is going, where you are going and how the travel expenses will be dealt with it is time to figure out where you will be staying. Do a quick google search or call a local business to get lodging recommendations. This will likely be one of your biggest trip expenses. Make sure everyone in your group is onboard with the decision you make on where you will be staying. Keep in mind the distance this location is from rental services if anyone in your group plans on renting a snowmobile when you arrive as well as eating options and gas stations. Likely the place you stay will be fairly centralized to the necessities such as these, but it never hurts to make sure.
It is time to pack! This is where things get stressful for us. It seems like there is so much to remember when packing for a snowmobile trip. Make sure you pack enough clothes that you have something new to wear everyday. It is likely you will not be doing laundry while on this trip so having clean, dry clothes to wear after a day of riding is going to be needed. On top of your clothing you will obviously need all of your riding gear. To keep this simple we made a list of the essential gear you will need to make sure is packed. This can be found at the bottom of the article.
If you are bringing your own snowmobile make sure you purchase a license for where you will be riding. This can be done online before going or once you get there at a local gas station or shop. If you choose to do so online prior to leaving you will want to do it well in advance as they will mail you the stickers to put on your snowmobile. We usually just get the licenses when we arrive at our final destination. This costs around $30 USD to $50 USD.
Remember, once this trip is fully planned it is important to let someone you know that is not going on the trip what your plans are. This ensures someone will know where you are at all times if something tragic happens while you are gone. It is always better to be safe than sorry.
Flying To Your Destination
If you are planning on flying to your destination you will not have to worry about packing the right things needed for your snowmobile. The place you rent from will supply you with whatever may be needed for the snowmobile you rent. This is a huge convenience, but it does come with a cost. Renting is expensive, in fact the last time we rented was in Island Park Idaho and for a week it cost around $1500 USD.
Starting to plan for your snowmobile trip when flying requires a little more attention to detail logistically than planning a snowmobile trip where you will be driving to your destination. With that said you will still need to choose who you are going with and where your destination will be. Finding lodging should be done before embarking on your adventure. Do this by searching the area you plan to travel or call some of the local businesses and ask if they have any recommendations. You will need to make sure you can get transportation from the airport to wherever your lodging is. Keep this in mind if you plan on taking an Uber or Lyft.
Once you have decided where you are going and when, start looking for your airline tickets. We all know airline tickets are not cheap, so you may want to start this search early and keep an eye on the prices. Fly into a major airport that is close to your final destination. Whether you rent a car or get a ride it is going to cost you extra. We suggest budgeting around $750 USD for your airline ticket and the ride from the airport to your lodge.
You will want to pack all of your riding gear just as you would if you were driving to your destination. Make sure you are aware of your airline’s rules as far as baggage goes and be prepared to pay extra for that as well. We all know a lot of gear is required when snowmobiling. If you are bringing your avalanche backpack with you it is important to make sure the airline you are flying allows these or if they have any certain rules for them. If your backpack operates on compressed air you may run into issues. Either rent one at your final destination or do not bring your compressed air cylinder, but instead buy one when you arrive at your final destination.
A lot of snowmobile rental places will offer gear rentals as well. Chances are high that if you are flying you are looking for convenience when planning your snowmobile trip. Renting everything as far as the gear and snowmobile from the same place may save you time and money in the end. Look into the options before you load up all your snowmobiling gear.
As you can see, planning a snowmobile trip when flying to your destination is a little more complicated than planning a snowmobiling trip that you will be driving to your final destination. Driving allows you more flexibility in your planning, especially when you bring your own snowmobile and gear with you. With that said, flying also has its perks especially for those who want to cut down their travel time and maybe do not have all the gear they would need to do a snowmobiling trip.
Gear List: The Essentials
- Balaclava (face mask)
- Goggles (2 pairs)
- Gloves (2 pairs)
- Hand Warmers
- Base Layer Upper
- Base Layer Lower
- Insulated Jacket and Bibs
- Monsuit (instead of jacket and bibs if you have one)
- Riding Boots and boots for around the lodge
- Avalanche Backpack
- First Aid Kit
- Headlamp or Flashlight