Keep it Together

Pack Smart - Riding Gear for Snowmobile Trail Adventures

Mar. 01, 2007 By Tony Severenuk
Quite a few people have emailed me about our trip on the Snow Train in Northern Ontario (available at http://snowmobile.off-road.com/snowmobile/article/articleDetail.jsp?id=225453). Mostly they are wondering how we managed to pack enough gear to last us for 5 days away from the truck. It wasn't intended to be a trade secret so we decided to share it here.

First thing is to plan..plan..plan....  Before you even start dreaming of a wicked trip like that, you need to have the whole thing planned out. There are three basic categories: mechanical, medical and clothing. Make sure you consider each of these items when you're creating your trip plan.

Inside of your detailed trail plan should be how many fuel stops you'll need and where they are going to be.  This dictates either the amount of spare fuel you carry and where you stop each day.  You don't want to end up in the middle of no where without fuel.  Once you estimate how many fuel stops you're going to be doing, you need to plan on how much oil you'll need. One tank of gas will also use about one quart/liter of oil. Since it's not recommended to mix types of oil so you should either call ahead to see if you can find your brand of oil. I opted to carry my oil with me on this particular ride so I picked up a Polaris Oil caddy that bolts in under the hood.  It attaches in minutes with 4 rivets and holds two quarts of oil.

Note that it goes in the same spot as the battery on electric start models, so if you have electric start you'll have to look for a different carrier.

You're going to have things that you need to get to all the time, like your wallet and trail map. I've seen many riders with tank bags between their legs but I find it to be bulky and it cramps my riding style. I prefer to have a windshield bag up front where it's out of the way. In addition to the other items already listed I carry a knife, a folding saw, toilet paper and handlebar muffs for really cold days. Installation is a snap (literally) as you snap the center in through the center windshield dart and then you put some Velcro on the hold to hold it down

You're definitely going to want to pack more than your standard tools on a long trip. In addition I packed various nuts and bolts that are commonly found on my Polaris sled plus some bearings, thread locker, spark plugs and other miscellaneous pieces. They fit perfectly in the clutch cover bag and they are easily accessible (although you hope to never have to use them).

That leaves your personal items and I tend to pack them in one of two places. Items that I don’t want to freeze (like contact solution, toothpaste..) I pack in the trunk. On Polaris sleds the heat exchangers connect to each other inside the trunk so it stays a bit warmer in there. Everything else crams into the saddle bags. Like the other items I've included in this article they attach easily to your sled with two rivets and two straps that wrap around the bumper.

Clothing tends to be very bulky and if you try to cram stuff into the bags you won’t fit much in. As a result I used some vacuum bags that I first roll my clothes up in and then they take up 1/3rd the room once they are in the saddle bag. The other advantage is that the vacuum bags keep the clothes dry while on your trip. I used these (https://www.spacebag.com/travelbag/901723/) but you might be able to find similar ones to your liking.

 


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