Thursday, 27 January 2005 | Tags: , , ,

Toboggans come in all shapes and sizes and are made from a variety of materials. Whatever you pick, they all amount to pure exhilarating fun and - believe it or not - fitness!

The Basics

  • Some toboggans are as simple as a plastic mat, while others get more technical with steering and braking mechanisms:

    • Roll Up Sleds/Crazy Carpets are inexpensive, thin sheets of plastic with handles that roll up for easy carry/storage. They’re hard to control and easy to fall off.

    • Snow Saucers are lightweight plastic saucers or disk toboggans that are pretty inexpensive and can go fast, but aren’t always easy to control.

    • Molded plastic sleds come in different lengths and may accommodate more than one rider. All have handles and some have footrests and back rests. Popular and affordable.

    • Traditional wood toboggans are long and narrow with boards that curl upward at the front. Available in different lengths, they are heavier to carry and can be more expensive than plastic ones.

    • Three-ski sleds are typically wood or wood-combo sleds with one ski in front and two in back (like a tricycle). Designed for older children (5+), they can be steered and usually have foot brakes. They are usually more expensive and may require assembly.

    • Inflatable PVC tubes usually have a reinforced bottom and are designed for one person. Make sure you buy a winter version because summer beach inflatables don’t stand up well in the cold.

    • Foam boards are similar to boogie boards with a coated bottom for faster sledding. They are lightweight and easy to carry. Look for ones with handles.

  • Check out the bottom of the toboggan and make sure it’s smooth. If there’s any sort of molding, it can get stuck in fresh powder and slow you down.

  • A rope makes it easier to pull back up the hill or to tow tiny riders. If there’s no rope attached, make sure there are holes where you can attach your own.

  • When in-store, run your hand up and down the inner and outer sides of the toboggan to make sure there are no sharp edges that could cause an injury.

  • Sleds with brakes may sound like a good idea but many braking mechanisms are made from plastic components that break easily instead of braking.

  • Some toboggans have age or size/weight recommendations for your child’s safety. Make sure you read the labels.

Other Considerations

  • Protect precious heads with a helmet. A hockey helmet or a ski helmet will do the trick.

  • Traditional wooden toboggans are a little slower, so try applying some ski wax to the underside to give it some speed.

Be Aware

  • Some toboggans are designed for towing toddlers and small children rather than going downhill. They usually have sides on them. Don’t use them for downhill sledding because they may cause injury.


We invited some 10-year-old diehard tobogganers to help us these toboggans:

  • Wacky Carpet (plastic sheet): $2.99
  • Mountain Shredder (plastic molded): $16.99
  • Orbiter Saucer (plastic disc): $19.99
  • Snow Crusher (foam board): $39.99
  • Toboggan (traditional wood): $49.99

Sledding Test

  • In soft powder, the Orbiter got stuck so it wasn’t much of a ride.

  • The wooden toboggan was a nice safe ride, but didn’t satisfy our testers on speed.

  • The Snow Crusher was very fast–maybe too fast! It was difficult to control and often flipped.

  • The Mountain Shredder was fast, comfortable, and went straight.

  • The inexpensive Wacky Carpet was fast, but hard to control and stay on top of. Once your clothes got a little damp, it was very slippery.


The molded plastic Mountain Shredder delivered a fast, comfortable, straight ride. Did we mention how fast it was? Speedy!


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