Planning a Snowmobile Trip: What to Pack and Where to Go

A Little Planning Goes a Long Way. Trust Us.

Hey off-roaders, Jake and Ted here from the Offroad marketing team. We’re stoked to announce to all of you that we now have navigation and discovery tools for snowmobilers in the same App you’ve been using for dirt. Just pull up your Offroad App and switch over to Snow Mode with a single tap.

Alright, so you’re ready to plan a snowmobiling trip. Now, what? 

Here are a few of our planning tips (learned from personal experience and, let’s be honest, a few mistakes along the way): 

Know Where to Go and Download Your Maps

Sometimes we luck out with ten inches of fresh pow nearby, and sometimes we have to chase the snow. That’s okay, it’s all about the adventure. Use onX Offroad Premium to find the best riding areas. Look for snowmobile trails, lake beds, big bowls, and open meadows.

You can also use the app to read avalanche forecasts, check out slope angles, and find recreation points like trailheads and parking areas. You do not want to navigate a narrow road only to find you have to turn around. That’s a quick way to ruin a good trip. Look for parking spots and trailheads in Premium.

Don’t forget to utilize one of the app’s best safety features by downloading your offline maps. As you’re checking out what zone you want to ride, simply tap “Offline Maps” in the lower menu, select “New Map,” choose your map resolution, and save. Now, you’ll be able to access those maps and have full GPS capability without service. You’ll also still have access to your Tracker, Tools, trail details, and can even continue to add your Waypoints. Have the confidence to go farther knowing you’ll be able to find your way back.

Ready to Plan a Snowmobile Trip?
Try the onX Offroad App for Free.

What to Pack and How to Avoid Disasters

Mark fuel stops in the App, just in case.

Can we stress the “just in case” a little more? Even if you’re not planning on a long trip, know where to find fuel in case you get lost or end up staying out twice as long as you anticipated. In the App, zoom in to see fuel stations and add a Waypoint so you can locate them quickly.

Pack Like Your Life Depends on It.

We’ve made plenty of mistakes, (no need to repeat them here…) but they’ve helped us learn valuable lessons along the way. Take our advice: pack like your life depends on it, because it does. Here are some of the items we never leave home without for our sleds, our trucks, and ourselves.

Sled Pack List:

  • Tow straps or NRS straps (in case you break something or need a tow) 
  • Siphon (in case you run out of fuel) 
  • Tools and “clutch tool”
  • Spare belt, spark plugs, zip ties, and tie wire
  • Lighter for fire (use siphon for gas if you need to)

Truck Pack List:

  • 2-stroke oil
  • Coolant
  • Extra beacon batteries (AAA) 
  • Spare “buddy” radio

Operator Pack List:

  • Offline maps (save these in your Offroad App in case you lose service. These could save your life.)
  • Portable phone charger
  • Radio
  • Avalanche beacon (check the batteries!)
  • Avalanche probe
  • Shovel
  • Waterproof gear and lots of layers
  • Spare gloves
  • Whistle (In case the radio fails. They’re usually built into all backpacks now.)
  • Plenty of water and food

Know Your Sled

Most new sleds are fairly maintenance free, but if you have an older sled, or want to dive into the mechanics of your vehicle, here are a few places we recommend starting:

  • Know proper belt tension
  • Check coolant levels
  • Chain case oil (if you have a chain case)
  • Grease zerks
  • Know proper track tension 
  • Check torque specs on bolts, especially the front end (A-arms) 

Keep Your Cell Phone Warm and Dry

After your avalanche beacon and common sense, navigation may be your most important tool in the backcountry. Since your Offroad maps are on your phone, make sure you keep your phone in a warm, dry place. Use a waterproof bag and stick it close your chest. The bag will help condensation from building up. It doesn’t hurt to pack a portable battery charger, just in case.

Get to the sled!
Try the onX Offroad App for Free.

Go Shred

No matter where you’re at, the high peaks of Colorado or the forested trails of McCall, Idaho, we’re all out riding for the same reasons: to feel the thrill of ripping through snow, to laugh with our friends, to be in nature, and to find new adventures. Go have fun! And if you see us on the trails, be sure to say hi.

Ted Livingston

I am a keyboard warrior, soup maker, full-time husband, and father of twins and a German shepherd. Occasionally I get out and play in the dirt or snow, and when I do, I usually make bad decisions. Just kidding. But really, isn’t getting stuck half the fun? I race things on two and four wheels but usually don’t win. Go fast. Take chances.