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Types of Sleds: How To Choose the Right One

November 04, 2022 6 min read

If you ask us, there’s arguably nothing better than sledding. Sure, bringing Frosty to life is great, and snowboarding is a blast, but when it comes to the best of the best winter activities, sledding simply can’t be beat. It’s just about the most fun that anyone of any age can have in the snow. 

Yup, it doesn’t matter if you’re two or 102 —sledding is for everyone. That said, with so many types of sleds on the market, it can be tough to know which one is right for you. Not to worry, though; FUNBOY is here to help.

In this post, we’re diving into the world’s most cherished winter pastime to uncover the various types of sleds to choose from. So if you’re on the hunt for an awesome Insta-worthy sled that’ll last a lifetime — keep reading.

But First, What’s So Great About Sledding Anyways?

One word: everything. But don’t just take our word for it, sledders.

Check out these hidden benefits of sledding:

Benefit #1: Sledders Get a Great Workout.

The Department of Health and Human Services recommends healthy adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise a week. While this can sometimes be a difficult feat to achieve, walking uphill through the snow delivers incredible cardiovascular benefits. It can also help to strengthen your muscles and bones. 

In other words, sledding is a fantastic workout — and the best part? There’s an awesome reward waiting at the end: a laugh-out-loud ride to the bottom of the hill.

Benefit #2: It’s Outdoors. 

Did you know that those who are closer to nature tend to be healthier in general

Being outside not only helps you to get essential vitamin D from the sun but also offers an escape from the soul-crushing demands of living in a fast-paced digital age. 

A couple of hours in the fresh air and sunshine — unplugged from social media — can do wonders to ease tension while helping to lift your spirits. 

Benefit #3: It Brings the Fam Together. 

Whether due to conflicting schedules or not enough time in the day, spending time with family and friends can sometimes be easier said than done.

Fortunately, sledding is an easy winter activity that all family members can do together. So the next time it snows, don’t resign yourself to staying indoors.

Rally up the troops and get outside for some exhilarating sledding fun.

Is Sledding and Snow Tubing the Same Thing?

Kinda, but not exactly.

You see, snow tubing is basically allowing gravity to do its thing so that your inner tube can take you on a fun, jolly ‘ol ride downhill. Confused? Go to the top of a snowy hill, plop down your tube and ride it all the way down to the bottom. That, friends, is referred to as snow tubing. 

In short, the biggest difference between sledding and snow tubing is the apparatus that’s used to get to the bottom of the hill. If you’re going sledding, you may use our Retro Plaid Toboggan or Metallic Champagne Snowmobile Sled.

If you’re going snow tubing, on the other hand, you may opt for an innertube like our Candy Striped Snow Tube or Happy Face Snow Tube.

Hold Up — What’s a Snow Tube? 

Great question! And an important distinction to understand because the terms sledand tubeare often used interchangeably, but despite what some people may think — they are different. 

Simply put, snow tubes (also called “donuts) are oversized inner tubes with a round cut-out section in the center. Rather than lying down as you would on some traditional sleds, you sit across the top of the tube. As you zip down a slope, you hold onto the handles on either side for support. 

Snow tubes can be purchased just about anywhere (especially if you live in an area that sees a lot of snow), but we’ll be honest, they’re not all created equal. That said, if you want a high-quality inflatable snow tube that’ll last many winters to come, we suggest opting for one made of thick vinyl material — like the ones from our inflatable snow sled and toboggan collection.

Not to toot our own horn, but our commercial-quality snow tubes work just as great as they look. Featuring a reinforced dual-layer base design, we’ve created a strong and durable snow tube with a flat base for silky-smooth downhill sledding (toot, toot!). 

What Are the Different Types of Sleds?

Just like snow tubing, sledding involves gravity — take your sled to the top of a hill and ride it down to the bottom.

As mentioned previously, the main difference lies in the apparatus that’s used to get from point A (the top of the hill) to point B (the bottom of the hill). Snow tubing requires a tube, whereas sledding requires a sled.

With this in mind, here are some of the different types of sleds you can choose from:

Toboggan

To most folks, the word “toboggan” refers to the classic flat-bottomed wooden sled with a turned-up front lip like those depicted on old-timey Christmas cards. In their early days, they sported wooden slats.

These days, however, toboggans can be plastic or inflatable and fit more than one person — hence why they are often called the “minivan” of sleds. 

Unlike snow tubes, toboggan sleds offer a slow ride to the bottom. Control them by shifting your weight while gliding downhill. This comfortable ride is great for school snow days — everyone can feel like an Arctic explorer with this sled. 

Saucers

Are you a speed demon? Opt for a saucer sled. These speedy, single-person disks are much faster than toboggans and can zip downhill in a matter of seconds.

That said, they can’t really be steered, so they’re usually best suited for open hills with no obstacles (think: trees, rocks, little kids… ).

Runner Sleds

These nostalgic sleds are typically made of wood and have two to four metal runners on the bottom. Apply a bit of wax to condition the runners, and these babies can really fly.

The only downside to runner sleds is that they are pretty heavy and can sink in soft snow. But, if the weather conditions are right and the snow is compact, a runner sled can be a treat. 

Just keep in mind the weight if you’re shopping for a little one. More often than not, these sleds are too heavy for tiny tots to drag back uphill, even with a pull rope. 

Instead, opt for a lightweight sled from our Kids Collection, like the Rainbow Checkered Racer Sled or Groovy Rocket Sled. 

Inflatable Sleds

Gone are the days of heavy metal, wood, or hard plastic sleds. Today, inflatable sleds are all the rage — and it’s easy to see why. Not only are these sleds lightweight and super easy to carry, but it only takes a few seconds to inflate and deflate. This means that you can free up some space when it’s time to put your winter toys away in storage. 

Plus, if you’re taking the family on a winter vacation, you can easily pack your inflatable sleds with you. That’s right — no bulky snow sleds taking up space in the car!

Of course, these aren’t the only reasons why we love inflatable sleds. In addition to being lightweight and easy to store, inflatables are incredibly fast. So if you have a need for speed (and want to avoid pulling a muscle via a heavy sled), an inflatable sled is definitely for you. 

(Just don’t forget the electric inflatable air pump! Or a take-anywhere Foot Pump.)

Snow Conditions for Sledding

The snow is falling, and winter break is calling: It’s that time of year again. Typically, the optimal snow conditions for sledding are wet and sticky.

The type of snow has a big impact on winter sports of all kinds, especially sledding. Luckily, modern sleds can adapt to more climates than their OG wood predecessors.

For example, wooden or plastic toboggans need the most snow — two to four inches. However, inflatable tubes are, in our opinion, some of the best sleds since they don’t need much snow at all (if any). 

Ready toSleigh?

And there you have it — the many different types of sleds available on the market. From toboggans and runner sleds to saucers and tubes, these sleds are sure to make this winter season your best one yet!

Just be sure to purchase from a reputable company that makes durable sleds built to last. Not sure where to shop? Check us out here at FUNBOY!

Whether you’re on the hunt for a lightweight toboggan, luxe snow sleigh, or retro snowmobile, you can count on us to have just what you need for your next sledding adventure.

Sources:

Exercise: How much do I need every day? | Mayo Clinic

Health Benefits of Being Outdoors | Right as Rain by UW Medicine

What is the Difference Between a Sled and a Toboggan? | Sports N' Hobbies


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