When winter comes and you have a hill nearby, the first thing that comes to mind is the joy of sledding downrange at high speeds on a good old snow sled. And the only thing that is better than sledding downhill, is watching your kids have fun with their tiny toboggans or sleds. In this article we shall discuss how you can choose the best snow sled for your child, and how you can make sure that a particular snow sled is built to be safe.
Below, we have listed 4 of the best snow sleds for kids that are currently available on the market. Take a look at the material used in each of the sleds, and decide whether or not the size would be right for your child. Choose the one that suits your needs, and remember that larger sleds are heavier and are much more difficult to drag uphill. They do offer more control while sliding downhill, and have better load tolerance compared to smaller, lighter sleds.
Lucky Bums Snow Kids Toboggan Sled
A toboggan is the most basic type of sled possible and has no steering controls at all. Lines and ridges on the base keep you steady as it slides downhill. The large base areas of toboggans make them great for riding on unsettled, flaky snow which is what you encounter right after a snowstorm. Once you ride a few times down the hill on a toboggan, it makes the snow harder and more settled, after which the rail-based sleds can come in handy. Luckily for the kids, the toboggan is a much easier sled to lift uphill and most 9-12 year olds will love this plastic toboggan from Lucky Bums, thanks to its simplistic design and light weight.
It is 48” long, and can seat 2 kids aged between 7-12 years, or up to 3 smaller kids. The entire body is made of hard yet flexible plastic, which will not snap or crack in the cold. There is a pull rope included along with the sled, so you or your children can comfortably drag this 4 pounder up the hill. The dimensions of this plastic sled are 48” x 18” x 5.8”, and it has cut-out handles on both sides for safety. The underside is really smooth, so even the lightest of kids can accelerate to crazy speeds on just about any hill slope, even ones that are not steep.
STAR BUDGET PICK
Pipeline Snow Arrow LazerSled Ride On
If you have a lot of children in the household, and one sled is not enough for all of them, why not get each of them their own little sled? Yes, you’re concerned about the costs of getting each child his or her own sled, but consider the Pipeline Snow Arrow. This inflatable snow sled costs as much as a couple of pizzas, and can provide an incredibly fun experience to any 5-year old.
The design is rather unique, with a shape that resembles an arrow head. There are cool stripe patterns on the top, and the whole body is made from one solid piece of 16-gauge PVC for maximum rigidity. It is recommended for kids aged above 7, although your 5-year old son can still have the time of his life in this 36” x 24” inflatable. Easy to carry around, just remove the valve stopper after you’re done and pack it up into your kids backpack. This sled is designed for one-rider use only.
Paricon F47 Snow Screamer Foam Sled
The PARICON F47 is a 47” snow sled made with speed and stability in mind. It is actually a slightly modified inflatable toboggan, and has room for either one adult, or two children. There are 2 sets of foam-covered handles sewn onto either side for dual rider usage, and the body is covered with colorful graphics that can be seen from a mile away in the snowy landscape.
The entire weight of this plastic toboggan is just 2 pounds, despite its size of 47” x 22” x 3”. The reason for that is the inflatable design, which utilizes extra tough PVC and foam. It is not as tall as the Lucky Bums toboggan, but is wider which results in extra stability at low speeds. The control is pretty limited, so forget about steering this thing while speeding downhill.
Flexible Flyer Steel Runner Sled
This sled from Flexible Flyer can be used by both adults as well as slightly older children. It will fit kids as small as 5-7 years of age, but we recommend that you only allow children aged above 10 on this thing because smaller children will not be able to control such a heavy metal sled, especially the steering system. There are three sets of knees for support, and the rails are made from metal while the top boards are made from birch wood.
The steel runners are powder coated for maximum corrosion resistance, and slide effortlessly on all types of snow as long as the snow is packed densely. Loose or extra thick snow will pose problems for this sled, so make sure to wait a few days for the snow to settle down before you pull this 60” behemoth to the hill top. It weighs 56 pounds, and is 24” in width. If you’re in a real hurry to use this sled as soon as the snowfall ends, take a toboggan along with you and do a couple of runs downhill with the toboggan to flatten the snow and create a nice, densely packed layer for your Flexible Flyer Steel Runner Sled.
Choosing the Best Snow Sled for Kids
While snow sleds are basically flat, slippery surfaces that are meant to slide on top on snow, there is much more to them than the eye can see. You see, sleds can vary quite a bit in terms of the material used for their construction, as well as shape and size. Not every snow sled with a professional sounding name and bright colored patterns on top is good, since a lot of them will probably snap loose at the joint as soon as they hit a bump midway down the hill, and in the case of some cheaply built sleds you might even lose control due to a failure of the steering system.
If you’re wondering what material is the best for building snow sleds, you first need to consider the shape and design of your sled. If it is a toboggan, the optimal material is plastic. If it is a longer sled with metal runners or rails underneath, you probably want the chassis or frame to be constructed from the same metal as the rest of the sled, while the top board can be made from wood or plastic, or a combination of both. Heavier sleds will typically include a steering system which is controlled by a steering rod or wheel – the steering system may consist of rollers or fins that are attached to the rear of the sled.
If the sled features a steel undercarriage or runner, make sure that the rivets are also made from steel. If you use screws or rivets made from any other material, it will corrode over time due to the chemical reaction that will occur when two dissimilar metals are exposed to sunlight and moisture – this reaction is quite similar to the reaction that happens inside a basic power cell. The end result will be corroded metal. Rivets could snap in the middle of a downhill slide, and the result could be really catastrophic. If the sled uses a wooden top board, make sure that it is made from a hard and durable wood such as teak, oak, birch, etc.
Heavier sleds are more difficult to carry uphill, but are much easier to control and can hold larger weights. Talking of weights, it is extremely important to select the sled based on the age group of the kids, and make sure that the sled is rated to carry the amount of load that you expect to put on it. For example, if your kid weighs 80 pounds, get a sled that is rated to take at least 130-150 pounds of weight to be safe. Also check the design of the handles on the sled, make sure that they are firm and stable. Plastic sleds usually feature cutout handles, while wooden and metal sleds will have handles that are bolted onto the frame.