If you’ve ever been thrown from your sled, you know it can be an eye-opening, terrifying experience. I’ve taken a few spills and tumbles over the years and have been lucky to walk away basically unscathed each time.
A helmet is a must and should always be worn whenever you ride. But a lot of people like to wear chest protectors as well. I don’t typically wear body armor aside from a helmet, but I know plenty of snowmobilers who do.
Broken ribs or worse are possible if you get thrown from your sled, and a chest protector can help with that. If you are a racer or generally like to cruise fast on the trails, extra protection is almost essential.
Let’s take a quick look at some of the best snowmobile chest protectors here, so you’ll have an idea of some options that can keep you safe and your torso intact on the trail.
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One option that’s been around for a long time and makes a variety of excellent chest protectors is TekVest. The company that makes these, TekRider, started over 25 years ago and has been perfecting body armor and specialized protection equipment geared specifically for snowmobilers.
You can find a variety of TekVest’s geared for different styles of riding. Whether you are a casual trail rider or race all season long, you’ll see quality performance and superior protection from any of these.
This is the most basic and most affordable TekVest. It’s a solid option for the rider who doesn’t hit the trails that often but wants extra protection when they do. And it’s also a good option for a lightweight chest protector.
The Freestyle is an all-purpose design that will work for any type of rider. Its lighter weight will give your versatile applications on the trails or in the backcountry, and it is the top-selling TekVest and very popular.
It’s a little cheaper and lighter than other options because it doesn’t provide as much coverage. But you can attach standard TekVest shoulder pads for a little extra if you want to.
It’s super comfortable and durable, so it will offer stand-out protection for many seasons, even if you take a beating from time to time. It’s also thin and fits easily underneath a jacket or snowsuit.
This is the flagship model and the original TekVest. It’s an awesome chest protector that comes in every size imaginable and has been used by riders across the world with excellent results.
The Super Sport will give you great coverage and protection against injury, and it also adds a layer of warmth. This is made possible by a fleece collar and some additional material to keep in body heat when you’re riding.
Think of it as an armored snow jacket. It has pockets on the front to keep all of your accessories and can be easily thrown on over your existing cold-weather gear. It can also go underneath.
This protector will give you good coverage over your torso and shoulders to help prevent injuries. There is a reason so many people have used this model over the years. It works, and it’s warm.
The Super Sport is expensive, but it will last for years, maybe even a lifetime.
This is the most high-end offering from TekVest and will give you the most protection. And it’s also the most expensive.
The cost is well worth it for anyone who wants a focus on safety or has experienced a rib injury when riding.
The Trail Pro is a top-of-the-line option that gives you serious safety while also coming packed with a bunch of other features.
It has two water-resistant front pockets that allow access from the front and back sides of the vest. This means you can access whatever you need without exposing your hands to the snow.
The vest is also well-ventilated and gives you plenty of airflow, which comes in handy when you are out in warmer conditions. It’s also essential because the Trail Pro’s thicker nature means it can get a little stuffy.
It’s comfortable and easy to get on and off as well. TekVest has dominated the chest protector market for years, and the Trail Pro is a top option that demonstrates why the company has such a good reputation.
Other brands make Tek Vests as well. This one from Klim is another top option that rivals what TekRider puts out. Klim is one of the top snowmobile gear brands, and although their stuff is expensive, it’s also quality.
It’s a comfortable option that gives you a slim profile with adequate protection. Designed to be worn underneath your other cold-weather gear, this vest is slim and has a durable strap to keep everything snug and secure.
It’s also lightweight and breathable, making it great for warmer conditions or anyone who runs hot on the trail.
Other Chest Protector Options
Tek Vest chest protectors are the best way to give you the most protection on the trail, but they aren’t the only option. If you want to save a few bucks and still get additional padding with safety in mind, pullovers and other types of guards are out there.
Dennis Kirk has a good selection of protective gear for snowmobilers on their website.
509 also makes an R-Mor Protection Vest that is a slimmed-down version of a TekVest and a lot cheaper. This is a good chest protector for anyone on a budget.
Safety equipment is important, but so is riding safely in general. A chest protector and a helmet can save your life and your body in an accident while always riding under control and within your ability levels can prevent an accident from happening.
Regardless of your skills and experience, accidents can still happen, and often they are out of your control. Getting geared up with the best protective snowmobile gear can help you stay after it for many more winters to come.About Chaz Wyland