The best toboggan sled

From bestreviews.com
By
Julia Austin
BestReviews

The Inuu people of Northern Canada use a special type of toboggan to transport goods and their children. It's made of two long planks of birch fastened parallel and sewed together using deer skin.

Whether you’re looking for a new way to enjoy the snow or you grew up with classic winter activities, you’ll enjoy catching speed on a toboggan sled. Toboggans have been around since long before the plastic sleds you can pick up at gas stations and toy stores today. Snow-dwelling communities once used these as a primary form of transportation because they move quickly downhill, are easy to steer and are just as easy to pull behind you when walking. A well-built toboggan sled like the Flexible Flyer Classic Wood Toboggan is the perfect way to enjoy some snowy hills this winter.

What to know before you buy a toboggan sled

They’re great for groups

Toboggans have a unique long and slender design that allows them to hold several individuals. In fact, you’ll find toboggans in multiple lengths with some suitable for up to four or five adults. If you’re looking for a fun way to get everyone in your family or friend group on one sled, a large toboggan is a great way to do it. The person in the front seat steers while each person behind them holds onto the waist of the individual in front of them.

They’re easy to steer and tow

Some more modern sleds like disc-shaped ones don’t allow much in the way of steering. You just have to walk to the top of the hill, hop in, ride down and wind up wherever the slope takes you. However, toboggans allow for a bit more control of the direction. Because there are no raised sides, you can use your feet to steer by gently placing your foot in the snow. If you want to turn left, gently place your left foot in the snow. If you want to turn right, gently place your right foot in the snow. Meanwhile, the attached rope on a toboggan makes it easy to pull uphill or across snow. 

You make close contact with the snow

Unlike other sleds, toboggans do not have any skis or runners. That means that they sit in close contact with the snow. Toboggans do not have raised sides the way other sleds do, either. Both of these features make for a riding experience that puts you in close contact with the powder beneath you, which is exhilarating for some sledders. 

Toboggan sled features

Material

You’ll typically find toboggans made of either wood, aluminum or plastic. If you want the traditional toboggan experience and an item that might last for generations, find a toboggan made of all wood. These are both durable and have a classic aesthetic. Aluminum is a good pick if you want something hard-wearing and less expensive than wooden toboggans. If you’re looking for something affordable, there are many plastic toboggans on the market today. These are lightweight and easy to clean.

Length

Consider how many riders you’d like to fit on your toboggan. Most models you’ll find can hold three children or two adults. However, there are extra-long toboggans, some of which can accommodate four children or three adults, or a combination of adults and children. If you want to ride with friends or family, look for a toboggan that’s six to eight feet long. If you want something just for yourself, a five-foot toboggan should do the trick.

Seat markers

If you do plan on loading up your toboggan with friends or family, look for one that has seat markers. These are most commonly found on wooden toboggans. Seat markers are simply small raised planks designating where each person will sit and working as dividers that keep riders from sliding into each other when going downhill. You don’t want the multiple riders in the back sliding forward and smashing against the rider in the front.

Toboggan sled cost 

Toboggans come in a variety of materials including plastic, aluminum and wood and for this reason, their prices vary greatly. Some plastic toboggans cost as little as $35 while some wooden toboggans cost $200.

Toboggan sled FAQ

How do you steer a toboggan?

A. In order to turn left, gently place your left foot into the snow. In order to turn right, gently place your right foot into the snow. 

How do you brake while on a toboggan?

A. To slow or stop the toboggan, simply pull the front of it upward. The more you pull it upward, the quicker it will brake.

Which toboggan sled should I get?

Best of the best toboggan sled

Flexible Flyer Classic Wood Toboggan: Available at Amazon

Our take: This is a beautiful wooden sled with classic features and a sturdy build.

What we like: With zinc-plated hardware and a wooden body, this sled is ready for years of use. It can accommodate roughly three adults or five children and has a weight limit of approximately 300 pounds. The long rope gives everyone something to hold onto for a secure ride.

What we dislike: The rope is thin and must be handled gently.

Best bang for your buck toboggan sled

Back Bay Play Lifetime Two-Rider 2 Packs Toboggan: Available at Amazon

Our take: This is a two-pack of durable sleds that hold one adult or two children each.

What we like: Made of heavy-duty plastic, these sleds are durable while also lightweight for transport. They have ergonomic grips to hold onto and long ropes. Each one can accommodate two children or one adult and can be ridden while seated or lying down. 

What we dislike: It can be difficult to steer.

Honorable mention toboggan sled

FUNBOY Giant Inflatable Luxury Retro Plaid Toboggan: Available at Amazon

Our take: This inflatable toboggan is perfect for packing when storage space is limited.

What we like: Thanks to an inflatable design, this toboggan takes up minimal room when packed down and is easy to carry. It’s available in several designs as well as two-packs and has reinforced rubber tracks on the bottom.

What we dislike: It can only be used on soft snow to avoid punctures.
 

Julia Austin is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.

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