Types of sleds: Pros and Cons

by | Nov 29, 2017

Types of sleds: Pros and Cons

Growing up on the farm, sledding was always the highlight of my winter days. There was and is nothing better than bundling up and spending hours outside gliding over the snow. To make sure your winter fun is the best ever this year, here’s a list of the different kinds of sleds and the pros and cons of each.

Wooden sleds with runners

These traditional wooden sleds with metal runners are awesome for gliding down your favorite hill. The ability to steer these sleds is a huge perk. Steering is especially important to dodge corn stocks and cow poo. Snow levels will be a big factor in how well these sleds work. If there’s not enough snow, the runners will get stuck in the grass and stop short. If there’s too much snow, especially if the snow is soft and fluffy, the runners won’t slide through it very well.

The amount of snow matters less with these classic wooden sleds if you’re pulling it behind a four-wheeler or other motorized vehicle. Make sure your rope is sturdy and consider wearing eye protection in case rocks fly back. Take advantage of the steering ability of wooden runner sleds to avoid getting sprayed with snow from the vehicle ahead of you. The benefit of this type of sledding is that you don’t need a hill. The downside is that it is risky and there is the potential for injury, so stay safe.

winter sleds


Toboggans are great sleds for piling on the people and whisking down the hill. On a toboggan, positioning is everything. If you’re in front, you’ll likely get plenty of snow blown into your face. If you’re in the back, you’ll have to push everyone down the hill and try to jump on at the last second. Try to position yourself in the middle of the sled to have the most fun. A downside to toboggans is that you have no control over steering. The bottom is flat and usually wooden, so you’ll need a pretty good hill to really fly.

Plastic sleds

Plastic sleds are awesome for speed and price. The slippery plastic bottoms can really fly down a snowy hill. There are tough, plastic sleds and foam sleds that have a shiny plastic bottom. The ones with a shiny plastic bottom will go faster but the thicker plastic will be sturdier. The low cost of these sleds makes it easy to play with until they break or blow away. Unfortunately, you can’t really steer these sleds. If you hit a tree branch or a rock, you’re going to feel it. It might even cut a hole through the plastic. Ouch!

winter sleds

Horse-drawn sleighs

If you have a couple horses, hook them up to a horse-drawn sleigh for romantic, wintery fun. These big sleds are fun to ride and sing as you snuggle up with loved ones. You’ll have full control over speed and steering, plus you don’t even need a hill. One downside of sleighs is the cost. These large wooden sleds are expensive, and if you don’t already have horses, it’s very expensive.