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Snow Tube vs. Sled: What’s The Difference?

October 02, 2020 6 min read

Once the snow has blanketed the ground, it’s time to get outside for some winter fun! There are many different ways to slip, slide, and skate your way to some winter adrenaline, but there's nothing quite like the thrill of sledding down a snow-covered hill on a sled or inner tube. Sledding and snow tubing may be similar, yet there are some subtle differences between the two that'll help you to decide which is best for you. 


Snow Tube vs. Sled 

Throughout history, sledding has evolved quite a bit from being strictly a form of transportation to what is now a fun favorite winter tradition. Flopping on a sled to zip down an icy slope is a long-standing practice. From the classic trusty toboggan to the flying saucer, snow sleds come in a wide variety of fun styles for hours of fun. Additionally, snow tubes have become increasingly popular over the years as the go-to way to sled, but what exactly is the difference and which one is better?

Let's compare.


Snow tubing is basically allowing gravity, the snow, and your inner tube to take you on a fun, jolly ride downhill. Still don't get it? Go to the top of a snowy hill, plop down on your innertube and ride it all the way down to the bottom. That, my friends, is referred to assnow tubing

You don't need to be a slope or mountain expert to enjoy the thrill of this winter activity. In fact, you don't even need to have large muscles or incredible balance. So long as you can sit down and hold tight, snow tubing is definitely for you. 

Snow tubes are basically oversized inner tubes with a round cut-out section in the center. They are often referred to as "donuts" because of their shape. Rather than lying down as you would on some sleds, you sit across the top of the tube, holding onto the handles on either side for support, and zip down the slope.

Snow tubes can be purchased at many sports stores or online. While there are many inflatable snow tubes on the market, all snow tubes are not created equal.  Cheap Snow Tubes that are made from thin materials won’t last more than a few runs before popping. 


Snow Tubes | FUNBOY

You’ll want to make sure you purchase an inflatable snow tube from a reputable USA based company that’s made from heavy duty cold weather vinyl that resists cuts, tears and punctures. FUNBOY’s line of Snow Tubes goes above and beyond providing dual layer bottoms of super thick snow-rated vinyl that withstands temperatures up to -25 degrees and double welded seams to withstand almost anything! Additionally FUNBOY’s Snow Tubes feature a flat bottom perfect for downhill sledding as compared to a standard donut hole tube where snow can pile up and stop you in your tracks.  

Tubes for single riders are typically round, but they can also be found in more unique shapes as well. Most of them have handles. A two-person snow tube may also be round, "double donut" style, or elongated, similar to inflatable snow sleds. All tube styles come in a variety of colors and/or fun, vibrant prints. 

Sounds like a blast, right? We think so too! Snow tubing is, without a doubt, an excellent way to zip down a snowy hill. 


Just like snow tubing, sledding involves sitting on a sled at the top of a hill and allowing gravity to do its thing to take you on a fun-filled ride down a snowy hill. 

When it comes to snow sleds, there are a few styles to choose from, and which one you pick can greatly influence your ride down the hill.


Ah, the good old classic toboggan! These popular sleds are sometimes referred to as the "minivan" of sleds because unlike snow tubes, they can carry multiple people down the hill at once. They are flat-bottomed sleds, historically made of wood and now adapted into a variety of materials, and can be controlled with a little shift in weight from side-to-side or your hands. Toboggan sleds have the potential to speed down the slopes if snow conditions are right. 

Toboggon | FUNBOY

FUNBOY’s new line of toboggans, including a super cool plaid version, will give you all the best parts of this type of sled! Make the most of your snowy day by zipping down snow covered hills to your heart’s content. 


If toboggans are the minivans of sleds, the saucer is the mini car. Shaped in a circle and able to comfortably fit one person, these super sleds are quick and offer a much faster descent than toboggans. Due to their design, though, saucers aren't as easy to steer and offer very little control. 

Runner Sleds

Runner sleds are typically made of wood and have two to four metal runners on the bottom. Add a bit of wax (or your mom's cooking spray) to condition the runners, and these babies can really fly! Their major downfall, however, is that they basically just sink into soft snow and are virtually unusable until the sledding hill has been compacted and conditioned by other sledders. They are also generally much heavier and a little more challenging for the little ones to drag back up the hill. 

On the other hand, FUNBOY’s snowmobile sled glides perfectly over just about any kind of snow conditions. It gives you all the benefits of the runner sled, with none of the drawbacks, so get ready to float over the deep snow. 

Inflatable Sleds

When it comes to sledding, nothing will bring a bigger smile to your face than zipping down an on a retro snowmobile sled. Inflatable sleds are the new kids on the block when it comes to sledding, but boy, are these things a hoot! Made from the same material as snow tubes, inflatable sleds are extremely lightweight, making it incredibly easy to trudge back up the hill for another go. Additionally, these sleds make for a much more comfortable option than traditional wooden, plastic, or metal sleds. 


If you are looking to ride down the hill in style, look no further and get yourself one of FUNBOY’s inflatable sleds. They come in a wide variety of fun shapes and styles and are sure to leave everyone smiling from ear to ear. The best part is that FUNBOY Snow Sleds can work in a variety of snow conditions, from light coverage to deep snow!

Okay, so which one is better: Snow tubes or sleds?

They are both great! Sledding and snow tubing are both very similar and will both leave you and your besties giggling for hours on end. When deciding one versus the other, it's a good idea to consider the terrain and any obstacles that could affect your ride down the hill.

If you’re looking to whirl down a steep snowy open hill? Snow tubing is more up your alley. But both are great options! FUNBOY carries all kinds of sleds, from sleek snow tubes to family friendly toboggans, so that you can be sure to pick the option that’s best for you. 


Tips For Snow Tubing and Sledding

Sledding and snow tubing are both extremely fun. They are both great winter activities to get outside, take in some fresh air, and feel refreshed. Slide down an icy slope on a snow tube or sled and allow the adrenaline, excitement, and the rush of the sweet, chilly winter air to reinvigorate your spirit. 

Here are a few snow tubing and winter tips to take into consideration before you head for the slopes:

Layer UP.In the winter, it gets cold. Like,really cold. Before heading outside with your favorite innertube or sled, be sure to bundle up and dress in warm layers to avoid catching a cold - or even worse, hypothermia

Hydrate.Speaking of hypothermia - did you know it's more likely to set in when you're dehydrated? Always keep a thermos full of your favorite warm beverage on hand when playing in the snow. 

Pick the right hill.Be sure to pick the right hill before sliding down it. Stay away from hills that are close to parking lots or roads and have many obstacles like trees, rocks, boulders, bumps, poles, etc. Also, avoid hills that are near icy ponds and lakes. 

Wear sunscreen.Summer isn't the only season that requires sunscreen. In fact, when there is snow on the ground, the sun's UV rays can be even more intense than the warmer months of the year. Why? Because snow is extremely reflective. On a sunny winter day, clean, fresh snow can reflect up to 90% of UV radiation. This means that you can be exposed to almost a double dose of harmful UV rays that come directly from the sun and reflected off snow-covered surfaces. Protect your skin and slather on a good quality sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.



So, snow tube vs. sled - what's the difference, you ask? 

Snow tubes are round inflatable sleds made of a strong vinyl material that is usually very lightweight. Sleds, on the other hand, come in a wide variety of shapes and styles but tend to be a little on the heavier side. Both snow tubes and sleds have their pros and cons, but both are guarantee to provide an unforgettable time! 


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