There are four different ways to put a snowmobile in the back of a truck. The cheapest solution would be to ride the sled onto the truck bed directly from a snow bank, or to lift the machine by hand with a buddy. If you are looking for a professional solution, you can consider investing in a snowmobile loading ramp or a snowmobile lift.
Any one of these would be a great alternative to a regular trailer! If you want to learn more about these four solutions, this post is for you.
We’ve compiled the pros and cons of each of these solutions, along with many useful tutorial videos on how to load a snowmobile.
You can also learn how to build a snowmobile ramp, or even a custom lift.
No fluff and no affiliate links for the “best snowmobile loading ramps,” just the info you need!
How do You Put a Snowmobile in the Back of a Truck?
The most common way to put a snowmobile in the back of a truck is by using a loading ramp. These special snowmobile loading ramps cost around $200-$500 depending on the model, but they do a really good job. Let’s see how you can load your snowmobile step-by-step using a ramp!
1. Attach the Ramp
First, you have to be sure that you select a ramp that is designed for snowmobiles. Snowmobile ramps are uniquely designed with side panels. If you try using an inappropriate ramp, you risk damaging your sled or even the truck. As a rule of thumb, the longer ramps are better as they are not as steep. You can also consider a ramp extender for a smoother transition.
Put your ramp in place and attach it to the truck for safety reasons. Best practice is to secure it to the hitch with a strap. You can also attach the ramp to the tailgate by installing a special connection system.
2. Align the Sled with the Ramp
One of the key steps in this process is to align your sled with the ramp. If the sled approaches the ramp at an angle, it may end up being seriously damaged. Best practice is to always load the snowmobile facing forward. If you feel your sled is not exactly in the right position, don’t be afraid to adjust it again.
3. Load the Snowmobile onto the Truck Bed
The hardest and most stressful step is arguably riding your snowmobile onto the truck bed. Why? This is because if you don’t apply enough throttle, there won’t be enough momentum to go up. But if you apply too much, it may cause serious damage, just like in this case:
The main concern is that if you try loading your snowmobile with too much speed, you risk damaging the sled or even the truck.
Because of this, it’s critical to load the sled at a safe but decent speed. The most important rule is to keep your finger on the brake lever, and to use it before you reach the truck bed! This trick will help reduce momentum and safely stop the sled.
Best practice is to avoid stopping on the ramp and ride right onto the bed.
Don’t worry, because for many beginners the hardest ride is always on and off the truck bed or a sled deck. Loading a sled properly requires practice especially on steep ramps, so be patient and careful!
How do You Tie Down a Snowmobile on a Truck?
The easiest way to tie down a snowmobile on a truck bed is to secure it with ratchet straps. Move the sled forward as far as possible and set the parking brake. Then secure the snowmobile to the tie down loops, which are in the corners of the bed. Although many owners only secure the rear side of the sled, it’s highly recommended that you tie down the front as well.
Just run the straps through the bumpers and tightly secure them to the tie downs. Once done, make sure the sled can’t slide off.
On some new trucks, the tie down loops are covered with plastic. But don’t worry as they feature a metal center. Moreover, they are welded to the frame, so they are very strong. Most owners have no problem tying down their snowmobiles on the truck with these loops.
If you are looking for something more professional, you can find special solutions on the market:
Aside from the sled, don’t forget to tie down the ramps and your gear as well!
Easy Load Snowmobile Ramps for Truck Beds
As you can see, loading a snowmobile on a truck can be tricky and dangerous. If you try to load your sled too fast, you could land in the truck’s rear window!
If you are afraid of doing this, an easy load snowmobile ramp is for you. Simply put, this ramp is a mix of a regular ramp and a sled deck. At first glance, it looks like a regular ramp, but it has a lot of rollers, so you can slide the whole ramp with the sled on it onto the truck bed!
Mainly the price as these ramps cost around $1,000-$1,200! As it’s quite expensive, if you purchase one you should probably chain it to the truck when you leave it unattended.
Another issue could be that it weighs around 90-100 pounds. This means they are “easy load” but not “easy move” ramps! Their weight makes them harder to move around in your garage when they are not in use.
But many say that the buildup of snow and ice in the bed could be a problem, as it makes it difficult to move these ramps. Sure, you can remove the snow and ice with a shovel, but let’s face it, it’s not convenient.
How do You Make a Snowmobile Ramp for a Truck?
If you like these ideas but you find the factory-built snowmobile ramps too pricy or heavy, you can consider making your own ramp.
How do you make a snowmobile ramp for your truck? DIY easy load snowmobile ramps can just be made of plywood, while regular ramps usually feature a hardwood or metal frame with plywood on top. It would also be wise to install some slippery material on the sides, and a few pieces of wood in the center to provide a better grip for the track.
For your convenience, we’ve compiled the best DIY snowmobile ramp ideas under one roof!
DIY Snowmobile Ramp Ideas I – Regular Loading Ramp
The price of factory-built snowmobile ramps range from $200 to $500, so many owners prefer building their own ramp over buying.
If you want to make a snowmobile ramp yourself, we highly recommend this video:
DIY Easy Load Snowmobile Ramps
If you want to build a DIY snowmobile ramp, but you prefer easy load ramps over the regular models, you may also find this video helpful:
In general, plywood sled ramps are much cheaper and lighter compared to the factory-built models.
Although they are less stylish and need some maintenance, you can move them around much easier, and don’t have to worry about someone stealing it!
How do You Load a Snowmobile Without a Ramp?
Let’s face it, loading ramps are not for everybody. They are huge, heavy, and it’s a pain to store them when they are not in use. If you leave them in the truck for the whole season it completely hogs the bed.
But how do you load a snowmobile without a ramp? The most common ways to put a snowmobile on the truck bed without a ramp are lifting it by hand, using a snow bank as a ramp, or with a custom snowmobile lift. Let’s take a closer look at each!
DIY Snowmobile Lifts
If you don’t like ramps either, consider building a DIY snowmobile lift. It’s a lesser-known way to lift a snowmobile onto the back of the truck. No ramp, no hassle!
How do you make a snowmobile lift? To build a custom lift for your sled, you will have to weld a metal frame to hang the sled on. You also have to connect this frame to the edge of the truck bed with tow hinges. Finally, you need to install a small hand winch in the front of the bed. You can see a great example on this video:
The main drawback of this system is that you have to weld the hinges to the frame. Thus, maybe it’s not the best solution if you have a brand-new truck!
How does a snowmobile lift work? Snowmobile lifts are very easy to use. By using the hand winch, you can lift the front of the sled, then move it towards the front of the truck bed. Finally, you can pull the whole sled onto the bed with the winch.
Build a Custom Snow Ramp
Another common way to load a snowmobile without a ramp is by using a snow bank as a natural ramp. Just back up your truck to a snow bank, and ride your sled directly onto the bed.
Be careful, approach the bed slowly and keep your finger on the brake lever. It’s completely free, and in most cases, you can find a lot of snow banks around parking lots.
On the other hand, if you choose this solution you should always keep a shovel on the truck. This is because you never know when you will have to build a snow bank or make it higher to reach your truck’s bed!
You can see the process here:
How do you Lift a Snowmobile onto the Truck?
If you can’t find a snow bank nearby, you can still lift the sled by hand.
To lift a snowmobile onto the truck by hand, you will need a buddy or two to help. Move the front of the sled behind the tailgate. Grab the front of sled as low as possible and lift it carefully. Place the skis on the tailgate, get another grip and lift the rear side of the machine. Finally, move it forward towards the front of the bed.
Be careful, as lifting a snowmobile takes a lot of physical effort, therefore, this is not recommended for everyone!
Can You Load Your Snowmobile Alone?
You can easily load your snowmobile alone in many ways. The cheapest way is to simply use snow banks as natural ramps. But you can still use regular snowmobile ramps, easy load ramps, or DIY snowmobile lifts to load your snowmobile onto your truck by yourself. Finally, it depends on your budget and personal preferences.
Will a Snowmobile Fit On Your Truck Bed?
Now that you already know how to put your sled onto your truck, are you sure that it will fit on the bed?
Before you try to put your snowmobile in the back of your truck, you need to make sure it will fit. Basically, it depends on two measurements: the length of your snowmobile and the size of your truck bed. As a rule of thumb, snowmobiles fit on many truck beds, as the average sled is only 9-12 feet long
But let’s move on and take a closer at the average length of truck beds:
- Short bed: around 5.5 feet
- Standard bed: around 6.5 feet
- Long bed: around 8 feet
As you see, truck beds are typically shorter than an average snowmobile. Because of this, the end of the sled will stick out the rear. But how much will it stick out?
For your convenience, we’ve compiled the most common sled lengths and truck bed sizes in one chart. We do the math, so you can read from the chart how much overhang you can expect depending on the size of your truck bed:
Snowmobiles vs. Truck Beds – CHART
|Sled Length (‘)||Bed Length 5.5′||Bed Length 6.5′||Bed Length 8′|
As you can see, the overhangs vary wildly depending on the truck bed size and the snowmobile’s dimensions. Let’s see the best and the worst cases!
Will a Snowmobile Fit on a Long Bed Truck?
Yes, the good news is that even long track snowmobiles conveniently fit on long beds. As the average length of long beds are around 8 feet, the sled will only stick out a little bit. That’s why long bed trucks are the best choice if you want to haul a snowmobile on a truck.
Will a Snowmobile Fit on Short Bed Truck?
It’s safe to say that short track snowmobiles fit on short bed trucks. Based on the chart, you can expect a 4-5-foot overhang. On the other hand, if you want to transport a long track sled on a short bed, this could be very dangerous or even illegal as the overhang would be quite long!
As an example: the Ski-Doo 850 175 Summit X is more than 14.5 feet long. If you try to place this sled on a short bed, the overhang would be 9 feet long! Thus, it’s not recommended that you transport such a huge snowmobile on a short bed.
Because of this concern, if you want to haul a long track snowmobile on a short truck bed, you will have to double check the dimensions as well as the laws to stay safe and legal!
Protect the Tailgate
Even if it’s legal to transport a snowmobile on your truck bed, be careful as it can damage the truck or even the snowmobile in many ways.
The most critical point is probably the tailgate, which is prone to being damaged by the sled.
Even there isn’t a lot of weight in the rear of the sled, the dynamic forces during transport can damage the tailgate.
To prevent this, many owners place a piece of plywood below the sled to reduce the stress on the tailgate. If the overhang is significant, you can consider a bed extender for better support, or even a sled deck.
As you can see, there are many ways of putting a snowmobile on the back of a truck. The most common solutions are:
- snow banks as natural ramps
- regular loading ramps
- easy load snowmobile ramps
- DIY snowmobile lifts
- lifting the sled by hand with help
Before you try to put a sled on a truck bed, it’s recommended to check its dimensions and weight, so you don’t exceed legal limits.
This is our short guide on how to load a snowmobile onto a truck bed. We hope you like it!