best snow sleds

The Best Sleds In Canada

A colder climate and hills of snow should never lock one inside. Instead of waiting for summer, and wasting days in boredom, you can easily transform winter days into fun by sliding down those snowy hills that seem to block the sun. Ice slides, built of snow and covered with frozen water, back in my childhood, spent in Russia, were extremely popular. As kids, we would slide down sitting on a piece of cardboard. While it was fun and all, a proper sled would elevate it to a completely different level of excitement.   

Of course, besides excitement, you should always consider the safety and durability of a sled whether you are using it yourself or putting your kids on it. Nowadays, the market offers a broad variety of sleds for adults and children alike. However, not all sleds are made equal in terms of material, quality and safety. You can find anything from cheap toboggans to wooden old-fashioned sleds for toddlers to tubes which are often preferred by older kids and adults. With such an abundance of sleds choosing the right one might be a confusing task. That is why we won’t only talk about the best sleds you can buy right now, but also everything you would need to know before buying one. 

Our Top Picks

How to Choose a Snow Sled

Choosing the right sled for kids

It is crucial to remember that not every sled you see at your local Walmart or even online is designed kids-friendly. Certainly, it depends on the age and weight of your child, but some sleds still can be too fast or large for him or her. For a child to be able to easily maneuver a sled, it should be size appropriate, include handles and made of durable material. We will talk about different sled materials further, yet when you are purchasing a sled for a child, keep in mind that plastic, inexpensive sleds are often prone to cracking and breaking. If that happens in the middle of a fast ride, the result might be quite damaging.   

Besides general safety factors, a sled you pick for your child also depends on their experience and the type of sledding they would be doing. Little children find it comfortable to ride on higher, wooden sleds with back support which parents can pull and control. As soon as your kids get older and become more independent in their movements you can start looking for something like an inflatable sled. Those are much safer than plastic toboggans. However, there are some thick, high-quality plastic disks and long sleds for even older kids who want easy control and higher speed.    

Finally, as many pediatricians insist on children wearing helmets during sled rides, we must mention it as well. Snow that at the first glance is fluffy and weightless can be a very hard surface which is not only unpleasant but also dangerous to land onto. Thus, better be safe than sorry and protect your child’s developing brain with a helmet.   

Material

We recommend you stay away from cheap, thin plastic sleds. They can easily break and sharp edges can cause serious injury. And yet, not every plastic sled is easily destructible. Thick, high-quality plastic sleds like high-density polyethylene are typically lightweight (which makes them easy to pull up the hill), durable, affordable and impressively fast.   

Another material is foam which is also lightweight and durable, yet compared to plastic it provides much more padded comfort when sliding. The only downside (for those who are seeking adrenalin) is that foam sleds are slower than plastic ones.   

At the same time, inflatable sleds are as light and fast as plastic ones. They are also considered the safest ones: a hard-shell bottom minimizes drag. Meanwhile, a tube protects the knees and bottoms from the hard surface of the icy slope. The only two flaws we find about inflatable tube sleds are difficult to steer and that they can easily get punctured. (Make sure to use them on the hills that have enough snow coverage with no sicks or rocks on the way.)  

Finally, you can also find wood and metal sleds. They are longer-lasting sleds, however, they are typically heavier and can sink deeper into the snow.   

Weight  

If you are buying a sled for yourself or older kids, it only makes sense to avoid heavy models made from wood or metal. A sled should be light enough so you can easily drag it up the hill after each run. That is where foam, plastic or inflatable sleds come as the lightest options. If however, you are pulling a toddler, pay attention to heavier hardwood sleds, and provide back support and more stability.   

Weight also affects how sturdy a sled is. Overall, it has to be lightweight enough to pull it up the hill, yet sturdy enough to withstand accidental slides over rocks or wood.   

Finally, make sure to check the weight limit of a sled. Especially those sleds that are used for adults or multiple riders.   

Extra features

The safest sleds are the ones that have some sort of stirring mechanism. That is why something like a rope, handles, steering wheels, brakes and even padded cushions can add safety and comfort to your ride.   

Best snow sled for adults

STIGA Snowracer Toboggan King Size GT Snow Sledge Adult

Who said that only kids are allowed to have fun on a snowy slope? Parents can join their children in fun slides as long as they have a proper, weight-appropriate sled. Stiga Snowracer is one of the best sleds for adults (keep in mind that the same model is available in a smaller size, which is also cheaper, and can be used for older kids). As one customer noted it was nice to be able to join the kids going down the hill. Stiga is an awesome sled: it is made of metal. Front shock and brakes make this a blast, he added.   

Overall, this particular king-size Stiga Snowracer is meant to hold up to 220lb weight, which means it is suitable not only for one adult but also if you want to ride with your child. This sled features an extended frame and a large seat so you could comfortably fit with a little passenger. The robust steel frame also makes it one of the best heavy-duty sleds.  

We especially love the safety features of this Stiga sled. Heavy duty steel foot brake allows you to quickly stop the sled whenever you see danger ahead. Meanwhile curve ski system, (which is similar to the aerodynamics of skies) ensures maximum control and better carving. Another feature is front shock absorber supports, the factor that is responsible for the exceptional handling of a sled.   

Another satisfied customer noted that Stiga Snowracer came with tools to put together and easy-to-follow instructions. Took about 30 minutes to assemble. The sled weighs about 20 pounds and will fit two adults. I’m 5’11” tall 210 pounds and there is way more room on this sled than I need to be comfortable. Maybe should have gotten the medium-sized model. We had the original GT for 35 years and thought this would be easier to fit me as the smallest version does work but is tight for me but fits the kids. 

Pros
  • Comfortable 2-person riding. 
  • Break system.  
  • Curve Ski system. 
  • Reinforced, robust powder-coated steel frame. 
Cons
  • Expensive.  

Best sleds for toddlers

L.L.Bean Kids’ Pull Sled and Cushion Set

Most likely you are going to pull your toddles in a sled for at least the first three years. While this reason is valid enough to invest in a quality wooden, think that you could also pass this sled to the following generation. The quality of it is impeccable and we wouldn’t be surprised if after buying it now a few decades later your grandchildren would continue using this L.LBean sled.   

What we love about this sled is how well it combines the elegance of vintage-inspired design, the durability of the wooden frame and cushioned set for ultimate comfort. While the seat does not have buckles, a supportive back is more than enough to keep your child seating safely without tipping out.   

And if your think that a wooden sled must be a tough task to pull, L.L.Bean features metal bars underside of each runner. Those metal bars ensure effortless gliding over ice and hard snow. Such features also allow older kids to pull this sled with easy gliding.   

You can select from two sizes: 39 inches and 31 inches. While the difference might not seem significant at first, we do recommend going with the larger one, especially if you are planning to use this sled for many winters in the future. Based on many reviews, a customer also finds that a 39-inch version provides enough space to fit in two children (or some extra items you want to take to the hills like thermoses, snacks and blankets).   

Overall, most reviewers are genuinely impressed with the quality of this L.L.Bean sled and expect it to stay in the family for generations.  

However, one thing we have to warn you about is that sometimes regular use, wet snow and storage factors could make the poly finish come off the wood. However, there is no reason why you could not sand it and cover it with a layer of protective polish if such a defect occurs. 

Another (similar vintage style sled for toddles, however at a lower price): 

Streamridge Baby & Kids’ Traditional Vintage Style Wooden Winter Sleigh 

Pros
  • High quality wood.  
  • Durable and sturdy.  
  • Elegant retro-inspired design.  
  • Cushioned seat.  
  • Available in two sizes.
Cons
  • Expensive.  
  • After some time, poly finish starts coming off.  

Best sleds for kids 5+

It is recommended that children younger than five years old go sledding with an adult. But when your child is ready to slide down a snowy slope independently, we have two options to offer as the best sleds for kids five years old and older. For children sliding on their own, we suggest you pick either a plastic saucer-shaped sled (which is also one of the best budget sleds) or an inflatable tube one.

Best budget sled for kids

Slippery Racer Downhill Pro Saucer Disc Snow Sled

Slipper Racer is a family-owned business which understands and values winter traditions, particularly snow sledding. Before Slipper Racer hit the market, the establishers of the brand tried various sleds and never were satisfied with their quality and performance of them. They found that affordable sleds did not last longer than a season and could easily crack. After a few years of the developmental process, they came up with Slipper Racer. What makes their sleds stand out compared to other plastic, budget-friendly sleds is the “revolutionary plastic formula for the perfect firm-to-flex ratio and proprietary IceVex cold-resistant treatment to eliminate cold cracking”.   

Overall, based on many reviews Slipper Racer saucer discs are made to last, if not a lifetime but at least a few seasons of sliding down snowy hills. They are strong and durable due to flexible, yet slick-coated plastic that is not so easy to break even in low temperatures (IceVex cold-resistant treatment). As per the satisfied customer, we did spray the bottom with cooking spray, as suggested by other reviewers. The sled was easy for the kids to carry, did not crack or break, went fast, and the kids enjoyed sledding for hours! I think it was a great value for the price and our needs.  

Another person noted that they purchased 2 for kids. Lasted well this winter and will hold up for next year. It fit a 10-year-old well sitting cross-legged. Our 3-year-old used it too and had a blast! I’m not sure how it would hold up under an adult – my husband went down a couple of times with no issue but I’d recommend this saucer for kids.  

Another feature which makes Slipper Racer a favourite among many is built-in dual moulded handles for easy grip while sledding.   

Pros
  • Can be used by both kids and adults.  
  • Durable and flexible plastic.   
  • IceVex cold-resistant treatment.  
  • Built-in handles.  
Cons
  • Not big enough for older kids or adults (have to sit legs crossed.) 

Best inflatable snow tube (for kids and adults alike)

L.L.Bean Sonic Snow Tube

This is another L.L.Bean sled on our list, and although they might seem expensive at the first glance, the quality is unbeatable. The company has been around for over 100 years delivering anything you need for an active, pleasurable time outdoors. Just like that Sonic Snow tube offers a smooth and fast ride, compared to other tube sleds (based on many reviews).    

The Sonic Snow tube consists of four parts: the hard shell, the inner tube, the bottom, the cover, plus a tow rope. The hard shell is something we love about this tube sled. It offers knee and butt protection. It is useful for little riders who usually sit in the center of the tube, not on top of it. Meanwhile rigid bottom allows the Sonic tube to glide over snow bumps, on ice and fluffy snow alike. The rigid bottom also reduces drag which makes it a fast-sliding tube.   

As per the inner tube, it is also durable, however, if something would happen to it L.L.Bean sells replacements. Besides durability Sonic’s inner tube provides a cushy ride. Most reviewers noted the effect of the inner tube when gliding over snow bumps.  

As per one satisfied customer I bought one of these tubes last year, but my daughter wasn’t quite old enough yet for us to feel safe throwing her down a hill so we just dragged her around the yard in it. That was fun for a 3 1/2-year-old. This year she’s a big (literally, she’s tall!) 4 1/2 year old and we headed out to the town sledding spot after this weekend’s storm. There were at least 20 kids on the slope and our daughter went faster and farther than any of them, every time! The combination of the slippery bottom with the comforting stability of the tube makes for an awesome ride (yes, a husband and I each gave it a go as well!). I am thrilled with this and expect many more years of winter fun from it.  

According to the NY Times’ Wirecutter, easy-to-grasp tow straps allow even a 5-year-old to haul it back to the top of the hill. 

Another customer noted that his 4-year-old tried this out during the winter weekend event at LL Bean in Freeport, and she LOVED it. Huge smiles from ear to ear. So we bought one for her and our 2-year-old daughter for a Christmas gift, think they will like this gift! The tube is made very well, is stable, and is supposed to be quick on both packed snow and powder. We used it on packed snow/ice and it worked perfectly. Decided to go with the larger tube so they’ll be able to use it for a long time… plus mom and dad want to share in the fun! Looking forward to family tubing this winter. Very pleased with the purchase, and I think it safe to say our daughters will be, too! 

Pros
  • High quality tube. 
  • Fast and safe ride.  
  • Ideal gift option.  
  • Long lasting material.  
Cons
  • Expensive.  

Another tube sled at lower price (designed for two riders)

Franklin Sports Snow Tube Sleds – Arctic Trails Inflatable 1 + 2 Person Inner Tubes for Sledding

If you do not feel like spending over $200 on a tube sled, but still want to have a cushy ride, take a look at this Franklin Sports tube sled. This sled offers tandem sliding which is especially useful if you do not want to let your child ride alone or if you have younger and older kids who want to slide together.   

It is a reliable sled (although not as durable as Sonic Snow Tube), which is made of freeze-resistant PVC. Make sure to take it only on those hills that do not have wood branches or ice sticking out.    

Another useful feature of this ultra-affordable tube sled is the built-in handles. Two sets of handles allow both riders to steer and control the tube even on a bumpy slope.   

was hesitant to purchase this due to some negative reviews… Here is my experience with it. We bought 2 and they are completely worth it. It inflates perfectly well like a donut, reviews stating and posting pictures of it looking misshapen DID NOT have a strong enough pump. It’s rated to hold 130lbs, I went down the hill quite a few times with no problem, I weigh 160lbs. The snow was hard-packed, but the kids and I had no problems, no punctures. The best thing about a tube vs a plastic sled is that the ride is so much smoother and faster. To sum it up… it is cheap fun and fast.  

Finally, you do not only have to use this tube in the winter time. This inflatable tube can be also used in a pool or a lake during summer.   

Pros
  • Designed for two people. 
  • Durable PVC. 
  • Built-in handles.  
Cons
  • Not so durable.  

Best ice fishing sled

Pelican – TREK Multi-Purpose Utility Sled

Winter fun is not all about sliding down hills. If your idea of winter outdoor activity is about spending time at a lake, or ice fishing, you need a sled to pull all your gear. For instance, this Pelican Trek sled is a versatile toboggan which can be used for winter camping, hunting or fishing excursions. This sled is made of a heavy-duty RAM-X which provides shock resistance even in the toughest winter conditions.   

Besides durability, the Trek sled has a volume of 71L and can carry up to 130 lbs (60kg). You can fit in a fishing tent, gear, and a backpack and pull it with ease. The Pelican sled comes with a rope you can use to pull it.   

A satisfied customer noted a Great sled! So good in fact that I’ve purchased the smaller version for a little fun! This site is a workhorse for around the yard cutting firewood and moving branches and other debris. Shortly after I purchased the hitch to pull behind the UTV. Note the sled pulls a little heavy when loaded in the snow but it is almost weightless on ice with the runners underneath. I would recommend putting pins through the holes where the hitch is to be placed and using a bigger rope to pull. 3/8 is about the biggest hole you would want to drill along the edge of the sled for securing and towing by hand. This size rope isn’t the most comfortable for pulling heavy loads by hand.  

Finally, one of the last features we want to mention is pre-moulded High-density polyethylene (HDPE) runners. Those runners facilitate tracking and extend the lifespan of the sled. These runners are built-in with the mould of the hull. 

Pros
  • Available in three sizes.  
  • High-density polyethylene runners. 
  • Durable RAM-X material. 
Cons
  • Some customers noted that plastic was not as heavy and thick as they expected.  

Why Trust Us

If there is fun in the snow, we are coming along! But, besides the enjoyment that comes from sliding down hills, we understand the safety factor behind it. That is why most sleds we selected, although they might be more expensive than average sleds you can find, were tested by children and adults alike, and were proved to withstand any shock of bumping, jumping and sliding on a snowy slope.   

We also made sure to monitor the market, analyze customers’ reviews and see what other buying guides have to say. That is where you can see that we agree with such trustworthy sources as Wirecutter, The Spruce and the best products in terms of many products.  

Finally, all products we selected were not only approved by many customers but also earned at least four stars.

Questions and answers on snow sleds

How does a snow sled work?  

Does not matter the type, snow sleds are designed to slide across a low-friction surface, be it snow or ice. Whether they are made of plastic, wood or foam, each snow sled is meant to slide fast,   

Where can I buy a snow sled in Canada?  

You can buy a snow sled at Walmart, Canadian Tire, L.L.Bean and of course, Amazon.   

How to use a snow sled?  

A snow sled can be used to glide down a snow or ice surface of a hill. To steer it use your feet by sticking a left heel into the snow (to turn left) or right to turn right. To slow down put both feet out into the snow. If your sled comes with a rope or handles you can use them to control it.   

Who needs a snow sled?   

Anyone who wants to have winter fun on a slope needs a snow sled. Especially if you have children, and live in a colder climate, snow sleds might deliver the ultimate fun experience and treasurable memories. Besides, if you are into ice fishing, you need a sled not for sliding yourself but for transporting your gear from a car to a frozen lake.   

Toboggan vs sled: What’s the difference?   

The main difference is that a toboggan has no runners or skis on the underside. Typically the bottom of a toboggan slides on the snow directly with nothing else in between, whereas sleds will have runners or skis made to slide more smoothly. 

What are the types of sleds?  

Among so many sleds on the market, there are a few types that combine sleds of all colours and shapes. You can find inflatable tube sleds, toboggans, disks, sleds with runners and steering mechanisms and backcountry sleds. 

Read more

Content trail

Updated date

August 19th, 2022

About the author

Maria Kossman

Maria Kossman is an essayist, and content specialist at Rant-it.ca. Her writing appeared in a variety of fashion magazines. When she is not focused on reviewing and writing, she spends time exploring coffee shops, English literature and antique malls.
Other author posts

Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.