What to Wear Snowmobiling?

If you are new to snowmobiling, it can feel overwhelming to know what you need to wear when you ride. If you have tried other winter sports, you might already have some gear, but you also might need to purchase new equipment. 

I’ve been a snowmobile enthusiast for most of my life. I grew up riding trails in Colorado as a kid, and I still have a love for my favorite winter activity. I know through first-hand experience what you need to wear. 

This post will highlight all of the important items you need to wear when you snowmobile. I’ll touch on cold-weather clothing, safety equipment, and everything else that I think is essential or optional. I want to make sure you are ready for anything that comes your way. 

Let’s get to it. 

The Essentials

Here are all the essential equipment items you need to wear when you go snowmobiling. Having these will make sure you stay warm and comfortable to enjoy your time out in the snow. 


Every rider needs a good snowmobile jacket to help them stay warm, dry, and ready for anything out on the trails. Make sure you get one that fits you properly and isn’t too loose or too tight. You don’t want extra material flapping around and want to have a full range of movement. 

A good jacket needs to be waterproof, and I always like to have a hood so you can bundle up when the weather gets really cold. If you want added warmth, go with an insulated option, but a shell can work just fine too. 


Pants are another essential piece of snowmobile gear. You need to make sure your lower body stays warm and dry when you ride. Pants need to be waterproof, and you also want to make sure they are durable, so they last a long time. 

You can get snowmobile pants in a few different styles. Regular pants will sit at the waist. Bibs will have shoulder straps that sit on your body like suspenders. The type you choose comes down to personal preference. 


Snowmobile gloves are also critical in nearly any type of riding that you’ll do. No one likes having cold hands, and when your fingers get frozen, that can ruin an otherwise incredible day on the trail. 

There are many different types of gloves out there, and you can choose between all sorts of sizes or styles. If you are riding in really cold conditions, you might want to wear mittens. If you want added dexterity and grip, standard gloves should be fine. 


You could technically ride with any type of footwear, but you really need to invest in a good pair of snowmobile boots if you are serious about riding. You need to keep your feet warm, and you also want to have a good grip on the rails of your machine.

I always like to get pretty heavy-duty snowmobile boots. This will ensure that you keep your feet warm and can hike in the snow if you get your sled stuck or want to go exploring. Make sure your boots are fully waterproof and durable. 


Snowmobile helmets might not be required everywhere, but I think they should be and highly recommend that you always wear one when you ride. You don’t want to risk your life, and helmets are a critical piece of safety equipment. 

Helmets for snowmobiling come in several styles, and you can choose full face helmets or open face helmets, depending on your preferences. Make sure that whatever option you choose is safety-rated and gives you good visibility. 


If you choose to wear an open face helmet or no helmet at all (not recommended!), you need to wear goggles to give you clear visibility in the snow. Goggles will help you see in variable light conditions and protect your eyes from harmful UV rays. 

There isn’t much difference between snowmobile goggles and skiing or snowboarding goggles. If you already have a pair sitting around that you use for other winter sports, they should work fine for snowmobiling. 


You also need to wear layers underneath all of your outer cold-weather clothing. The number or type of layers you choose is up to you, but they are important because they will help you stay warm when it gets really cold. 

I recommend wearing a base layer and a mid-layer underneath your jacket. A base layer should be thin and made of synthetic material of natural fibers that aren’t cotton. A mid-layer is more like a sweater or light jacket. 

Socks also fall under layers, and you’ll want to make sure you have a good pair of these to keep your feet and toes warmer when you ride. I suggest going with merino wool or any winter sock that isn’t made of cotton. 

Optional Items

If you wear all of the items I mentioned above, that should keep you covered in most situations. But I’ll list some other optional equipment that you might want to wear as well. 

Body Armor – These are basically pads that give you added protection from a fall. If you are a hardcore sledder, you might want to consider wearing armor

Backpack – Some riders like to carry a backpack with them when they ride to haul extra food, water, or equipment. Just make sure it’s balanced and fits your body correctly. 

Snowsuits – If you want to roll your pants and jacket into one item, consider wearing a snowsuit for snowmobiling. These are very comfortable and warm.    


Here are some commonly asked questions relating to what to wear snowmobiling. 

How many layers should you wear snowmobiling?

It’s always better to be overprepared than underprepared, so I recommend wearing a base layer, mid-layer, and outer shell or jacket when snowmobiling. You can always take layers off, but if you don’t have them when it gets cold, you’ll wish you did.  

What to wear under a jacket or under snow jumpsuit?

When I wear a jacket, I usually wear a base layer and then a mid-layer. This gives me enough layers to stay ready for everything. When I wear a jumpsuit, I don’t always wear a mid-layer because the suit is warmer, but I still wear a base layer.  

Are ski pants good for snowmobiling?

Ski pants can work just fine for snowmobiling. You can technically wear any type of waterproof pants when you ride. Just make sure that the pants are thick enough to keep you warm, or wear a good base layer underneath for added insulation.   

How do I keep my feet warm while snowmobiling?

Having good snow socks and snowmobiling boots is essential for keeping your feet warm when you ride. You also want to keep snow out of your boots because they will get colder when wet. Feet warmers are another option you can use for added warmth.  

Final Thoughts

Use this guide to help you get ready to ride. Make sure you have all of the essential items in your closet to stay warm and handle any type of weather that comes your way. From there, the optional gear can help you meet any preferences or needs you have.

About Chaz Wyland
I’m a snowmobile fanatic. I live for riding and am out on the trails or backcountry as often as possible during the winter months. I was born and raised in the Rocky Mountains and have snowmobiled in dozens of North American locations. When the snow is falling, you’ll find me on a sled.

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    Hi Chad, Thanks for the info. We are headed to CO in a few weeks to snowmobile. My son is in size 14 boots. Can you recommend a not so expensive brand boot for this trip. I’m sure that this will be the only time considering we live in GA.

    • Chaz Wyland

      Hi Tiffany,

      That’s awesome you guys are planning a snowmobile trip! I think Columbia is a good budget brand for boots, and there are plenty of other options out there. You might want to consider visiting a local army/navy surplus store in your area or when you get to CO – those stores often have cheaper boots than other retail stores. Some snowmobile rental locations also offer cold-weather clothing for rent (including boots), so that’s something to look into as well. Hope that helps!