Can You Snowmobile in the Rain? Is It Bad for the Sled? [Video]

Let’s face it, riding a snowmobile in the rain is never fun, but sometimes it’s unavoidable, especially on warmer days. Although snowmobiles can run in the rain, riders typically get completely soaked, not to mention the cold and smelly helmet. Therefore, the majority of riders wouldn’t purposely ride their snowmobiles in the rain!

If you have to ride in the rain for some reason, keep reading. We at PowerSportsGuide have compiled all you need to know about riding a snowmobile in the rain under one roof!

Can You Snowmobile in the Rain?

Although it is possible to snowmobile in the rain, it’s definitely not recommended.

No matter how good and waterproof your gear is, you will be completely soaked. Having water inside your helmet and goggles is a pain, but your jacket and bibs will also be soaked sooner or later.

As you might assume, riding in wet gear is far from ideal as it continually cools your body. Besides the cold, another problem is the smell coming from the soaked helmet.

Wiping off the visor can also be a challenge on a rainy day, especially if your visor is not heated, as the rain can quickly freeze on the surface. This can easily lead to poor visibility and risky situations.

Besides the wet gear, another problem with the rain is that it makes the snow conditions much worse. This can be an issue, especially if you are a trail rider, as rain can drastically worsen the condition of groomed trails.

In the worst-case scenario, trails have to be closed as the rain washes away the packed snow.

What’s more, riding on wet snow and slush not only results in a poor riding experience, but the track also causes a lot of damage to the surface of the trail.

Also, wet snow is prone to accumulating on the track and inside the tunnel as well. If this snow freezes and shapes into a “bridge” inside the tunnel, it keeps fresh snow away from the heat exchanger, resulting in overheating problems.

On top of that, if the trail crosses roads, you also have to be prepared for a lot of dirt, mud, and rocks.

Is Rain Bad for Snowmobiles?

Contrary to popular belief, rain is not bad for snowmobiles. Just think about it; snowmobiles are designed to be covered in snow and ice each day when they are in use. And when you store your sled in your garage, the snow/ice melts and becomes water that flows down to the ground. Therefore, snowmobiles are designed to be waterproof.

On the other hand, they are built to get wet, but not for staying wet for extended periods of time. This means storing a sled outside without any protection is never a good idea.

If you get caught in the rain, best practice is for you to bring your sled into a dry place as soon as possible and dry it off with a towel. But if it has gotten very dirty from the mud, it needs to be thoroughly cleaned before you store it.

Don’t forget that your gear also requires meticulous cleaning and drying.

It also makes sense to grease the skid and the fittings on the sled to avoid corrosion.

How to Snowmobile in the Rain

Although snowmobiling in the rain is a hassle, on longer tours sometimes it’s unavoidable. If you are in the middle of nowhere or you’ve spent the night in a cabin, you have to get back home somehow, even if it’s raining!

However, since the seasons are shorter and shorter each year, the most hardcore riders are even heading out in the rain to maximize their riding days.

Whatever reason you have for riding in the rain, you should thoroughly prepare for it.

For your convenience, we’ve compiled some vital tips on how to snowmobile in the rain:

  • Plan a short ride, and don’t go far from your home/cabin. Long snowmobile tours in the rain are definitely not recommended!
  • Choose a full-face snowmobile helmet, as they are more waterproof than their MX-style counterparts.
  • Consider a heated visor. To keep the visor clean, you should invest in a pair of gloves that have a little squeegee on the side of one finger. If you don’t want to replace your gloves, you can also purchase a separate snowmobile visor wiper that can be strapped on your thumb or finger.
  • Make sure that your clothing is waterproof. Best practice is to ride in a high-quality waterproof snowmobile suit or a special floater suit, as they are designed to keep all the water out. When you shop around, double-check the clothes’ decals; water repellent or water-resistant is NOT waterproof!
  • Try to keep water away from your body at any cost. Try to seal the collar as tightly as you can and wear no-gauntlet gloves, which utilize a long wrist to keep water away from the inside of the jacket sleeves. A pair of snowmobile handlebar muffs can also keep your gloves dryer.
  • Prevent water from leaking into your boots. The Intrepid Snowmobiler recommends covering your feet with durable plastic bags before you put your boots on.
  • Apply some waterproofing spray on your clothing and the handlebar muffs to increase their protective ability.
  • Don’t forget your luggage. You may want to wrap all of your stuff in a plastic bag before loading them into the saddlebag or tunnel bag. Having a set of dry clothes is gold when you reach your destination soaking wet!
  • Avoid riding at WOT. The faster you ride, the more water you can expect!
  • Don’t ride through larger puddles. Riding into puddles can spray a lot of water into the engine compartment. Also, you can soak yourself or other riders behind you.
  • When you reach your final destination, put on dry clothes immediately and place all of your gear onto a dryer.
  • Take care of your sled. Don’t forget to clean and dry your sled before you store it. If you’re a careful owner, you may want to give your sled a nice cleaning and after-ride care.

Takeaways – Can a Snowmobile Get Rained On?

If you have to ride in the rain for any reason, don’t worry, as snowmobiles can get rained on. Since these machines are regularly covered with snow and ice, they are designed to be waterproof.

Once the snow and ice melts, water finds its way out of the sled, as does the rain.

On the other hand, storing your sled outside is definitely not recommended in the long run, as rain and moisture can damage it in many ways.

Best practice is to store your sled in a dry secure place after a thorough cleaning and after-ride care!


The Intrepid Snowmobiler, The Daily Gazette

Recent Content