Sled and Toboggan Buying Guide

It’s hard to beat the thrill of tobogganing, or the way it brings the whole family together for a day of fun. This sled and toboggan buying guide will have you conquering the big hills in no time.

Sledding and Tobogganing 101

One of the best ways to beat the winter blues is to get outside in the snow, and sledding and tobogganing are two of the most enjoyable, family-friendly options. Activities range from peaceful — pulling small children along snowy paths — to exhilarating — careening down steep hills on toboggans and snowboards. With a bit of research, you'll soon be sliding over the trails in the fresh winter air, relishing the sounds of people laughing and having fun.

Types of Sleds and Toboggans



A sled is a type of lightweight frame designed to glide effortlessly over snow and ice. Some have flat bottoms, while others feature narrow strips of metal or wood mounted on the bottom as runners. A sled's design determines how it moves, so you should choose a design that suits your preferences. Sleds with flat bottoms work well on soft snow, while sleds with runners are faster on hard, icy snow. If your sled has a grooved bottom, it will tend to go faster and slide downhill in a straight track. For greater steering control, you can choose a sled with handgrips. You can also opt for a snow carpet, which is an extremely lightweight, easy-to-carry sled with a flat bottom, and sometimes with handles.


A toboggan is a long, narrow sled curled up at the front. Most toboggans have grooved bottoms to help them slide fast and straight. They're also generally quite lightweight, which makes them great for sliding down snowy hills, and easy to carry back up and start all over again. Some toboggans are equipped with railings along the sides. It helps keep the crew aboard, but hey, falling out is half the fun anyway. 

Snow Tubes & Snow Saucers

These inflatable tubes are designed for sliding, spinning and bouncing down snow-covered hills. If spinning’s your thing choose a donut-shaped tube: you’ll get a 360 view of all the action. Rectangular models will hold a straighter line and go just as fast. Both shapes provide a lively, bouncy ride, which is an exhilarating way to slide down the slopes. Snow saucers are also circular in shape, but they're not inflatable and don't have a hole in the middle for seating. As with round tubes, trying to steer is a losing proposition. Just push off, hold on and enjoy the ride. 

Enclosed Sleds

These large sleds provide protection from the elements and are intended to be towed behind a car or snowmobile. They range in size from solo flyers to deluxe models that can fit the whole family. In addition to being loads of fun, an enclosed sled is also extremely practical for transporting goods and materials. 


Pull-sleds are designed to transport people or goods over snow and ice. If you have kids who aren’t old enough to sled downhill, you can sit them in a pull sled and haul them along icy paths using the attached rope or handle. Pull sleds are typically made of either wood or plastic. Some models are mounted on runners, which makes for a quicker ride on hard snow. Flat bottoms work better in soft snow but the ride is a bit bumpier. You can also find pull sleds with seatbelts to strap in young children. 

Sleds for Kids

There are many different kinds of sleds for kids. These include inflatable snow tubes that give maximum bounce, easy-carry foam core discs, beginner snowboards with adjustable handles, and sleek snow racers with functional brakes and steering wheels. Kids' sleds are usually equipped with handgrips or levers, so you can feel better knowing your child has something to hold on to as they fly down the trails. Pull sleds with child seats are a fun option for both kids and parents. You should look for a model with seatbelts to help keep your little one safe and secure. 


Snowboarding is great sport for older kids and adults. Snowboards are shorter and wider than a traditional snow ski, but like skis you wax them to go super fast over ice and snow. It's one of the most exhilarating ways to fly down a hill, and advanced snowboarders compete in a wide range of races and skills competitions. Snowboards are designed for different skill levels, so you can choose a model appropriate for you. For instance, if you’re a beginner, you can buy a plastic snowboard or a snowboard with a handle at the front for added balance and steering. More advanced snowboards are made with a combination of fiberglass, wood and plastic. 

Sled & Toboggan Safety Tips:

• Ensure the trail is relatively free of debris and trees before sledding or snowboarding downhill
• If your child is using a saucer, sliding carpet or other snow sled that’s difficult to control, make sure that the sled is equipped with hand grips or levers
• When sledding downhill, children should wear a well-fitted helmet and toboggan hat for added safety and warmth
• Choose hills far from roads, lakes or ponds

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Sled & Toboggan Maintenance Tips:

• Keep hand levers on sleds and toboggans well-lubricated
• If your toboggan or sled is equipped with runners fastened to the bottom with staples, you should remove staples that become loose and replace them with woodscrews
• Regularly wax the bottoms of your sleds and toboggans for better performance

How to Toboggan

Before tobogganing, make sure that your hands are well protected. Wear a pair of insulated gloves so that you can have a good grip on the sled or on the hand levers while moving over more slippery terrain. Once your hands are taken care of, there are a wide variety of sledding techniques to choose from. You can choose to sled in a sitting position or lying on either your back or stomach. To make sledding more exhilarating, twist and turn your sled or the steering wheel as much as you can. If it’s the first time out for your kids (or you!), do yourself a favour and tackle the small hills first. After a few minor wipe-outs your whole crew will be ready to “steep” it up.  
This article is intended as general information. Always be sure to read and follow the label(s)/instruction(s) that accompany your product(s). Walmart will not be responsible for any injury or damage caused by this activity.



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