There’s an entire culture built around snowmobiling in Maine. Trails exist in abundance – an entire statewide system of them, actually. There are literally tens of thousands of miles of snowmobile trails in Maine.
But make no mistake, snowmobiling is not without risk. Aside from the obvious risks associated with the cold temperatures, there’s always risk of injury or getting lost while riding. You might literally travel hundreds of miles between population centers. Even day trips from snowmobile lodge, Camp Katahdin, will extend out 70 miles or more. That’s a long way from help should something unexpected happen.
Snowmobile Preparedness Kit
But with a little preparation, you can hit the trails confident that you’ll be able to handle whatever they throw your way.
Here are ten things you should always carry on any long distance sled ride.
- Multi-tool – A Leatherman or a Gerber multi-tool carried on your belt or in your pack will provide the essential tools for basic needs on the trail. In one handheld tool you have pliers, flat and Phillips screwdrivers, and a blade or two – basically everything you need for basic repairs on the trail.
- Spare parts and specialty tools – Speaking of repairs, consider adding at least a spare spark plug and a plug wrench to your kit. If your sled has any other quirks that can be dealt with out on the trail (drive belts, anyone?), be sure to add those parts too.
- Shovel – At a minimum, one of those folding camp shovels is a critical addition to your pack. If you ever have to dig for any reason, you’ll be glad you have one.
- Fire starter + Tape kit – I carry a couple sets of waterproof matches coupled with cotton balls soaked in Vaseline. I put the matches in one of those small, round waterproof match cases. Then I put the Vaseline soaked cotton balls in another. I orient them side by side with the caps on opposite ends and tape them together with black electrical tape wound around them a bunch of times. That way, I have both fire starter and tape with me should I need it. Make a second set with duct tape. I also stash lighters in multiple pockets.
- Saw – Much like a shovel, a folding limb saw comes in handy for any number of reasons. How else are you going to cut firewood?
- Whistle – For signaling. Hang one from a zipper on your pack and one on your jacket zipper. That way, you’re sure to have one when you need it.
- Avalanche beacon and probe – These are must-haves if you’re riding in places where avalanches may happen.
- Extra clothes – Not necessarily a full set but at a minimum, pack some extra gloves, socks, and a balaclava. Then at least if your hands, head, or feet get wet, you’ll have replacements.
- Flashlight – Do not bet your safety on a dollar-store version. Carry a reliable, durable light. The LED kind will last longer on a set of batteries. Speaking of which, throw in an extra set of batteries too.
- First Aid Kit – You don’t need to be outfitted like an EMT, but you should carry something more substantial than those little drugstore kits that will fit in a jacket pocket. If you have to use it, it will likely be for something more serious than a splinter, which is about all those little ones are stocked to treat. Add to your kit any specific medications you might need if by chance you don’t make it back to the lodge on schedule.
Hey, by the way, we asked a registered Maine Guide what they bring and how they prepare for a day full of sledding. Just for fun we put it together in a free guide available for downolad by clicking here:
I assume of course you never leave without a cell phone so I left it off the list. Be sure it’s charged up before you leave and shut it off completely while you’re riding. You won’t be able to hear or feel it ring over the noise and movement of the sled anyway.
Plus there’s a good chance it’ll struggle to find service out the remote areas. The battery will go down fast if it has to constantly search for a signal. Best to leave it off and fire it up only when you need it.
Also on the subject of your phone, be sure to pre-program local emergency numbers before you hit the trails. Name them clearly and test that your phone’s voice command function (if it has that option) can identify them when you speak. That way, if you have to get a call out in an emergency, you might not even need to take off your gloves to do it.
Riding the miles and miles of snowmobile trails in Maine are a great way to spend winter days. Hopefully, you’ll never need to use anything from your emergency kit. But it never hurts to be prepared.
Denney Lodge at Camp Katahdin is a new, luxury Hunting Lodge in Northern Maine that sits right on Maine’s ITS Connector 112. It sleeps 15 and comes with a brand new Chef’s kitchen. Step out your door and jump on your sleds to connector 112 for an amazing day trip. Read more about our lodge here:
Wendell Farm is our smaller property that also sits right on Connector 112. It’s an updated 1800’s Farmhouse with sled in-sled out snowmobile lodging. It sleeps 8, has a beautiful insulated porch with a spectacular view, and a barn with our friendly draft horses. Read more about Wendell Farm here: