Can Two People Ride on a Snowmobile? [Safety Guide]


Yes, two people can ride on a snowmobile as long as it’s designed or modified to accommodate two passengers. This means the sled should have a longer seat or a separate passenger seat behind the operator. Besides this extra seat, a rear handgrip is also required for safety purposes. If you want to know how to ride a snowmobile with a passenger, you are in the right place.

We at PowerSportsGuide did the research and compiled everything you need to know about double snowmobile rides under one roof.

From the best snowmobile passenger seats to vital double riding tips, we’ve got you covered!

Can Two People Ride on a Snowmobile?

Taking your friends or relatives as passengers is a great way to introduce them to snowmobiling. It’s not only much easier but also far less expensive than operating two separate sleds.

If you want to rent a snowmobile, it’s also good to know that most rentals offer sleds that are equipped for double rides. However, be prepared to pay an extra passenger fee beyond the regular rate. But in many cases, it’s still much cheaper than renting two sleds!

Double rider snowmobiles also come in handy if you want to take your child for a ride. As younger children are not allowed to operate snowmobiles by themselves, they can only try this sport as a passenger.

Let’s move on and check how your snowmobile can be modified to carry a passenger.

What is a 2-up Snowmobile?

2-up snowmobiles are also called double rider snowmobiles or 2-person snowmobiles. Simply put, 2-up snowmobiles are designed or modified models that can carry two passengers safely and legally. Factory-built 2-up sleds are typically known as touring snowmobiles. It’s safe to say these convenient models are the SUVs of the snowmobile industry!

As their name implies, they are designed to provide comfort for the driver and the passenger as well on longer tours.

Instead of quick adrenalin rushes, these machines are designed to ride hundreds of miles on groomed trails, even with a passenger.

They come with convenient passenger seats with adjustable backrests and handlebars. They also feature large windshields, longer and wider tracks, and heavy-duty suspensions to handle the increased weight.

Moreover, the high-end models are equipped with heated seats and grips, communication systems, speakers, and many other bells and whistles.

OEM Snowmobile Passenger Seats

If you already own a snowmobile but it’s not a touring model, you can still turn it into a 2-up sled by installing a passenger seat. (As long as you don’t exceed your sled’s weight capacity.)

Fortunately, every snowmobile manufacturer offers passenger seats for its newest models.

The huge advantage of these OEM snowmobile seats is that they fit onto the sleds perfectly, which makes the installation much easier. They usually come with special connection systems like the Ski-Doo LinQ connectors.

Thanks to their design, the passenger typically sits higher than the driver on these seats, which gives them a better view. That’s why OEM snowmobile passenger seats are so popular!

Seat Jack for 2-up Snowmobiles

If you have a vintage sled or just looking for cheaper alternatives, you should take a look at aftermarket snowmobile passenger seats.

One well-known manufacturer is Kimpex, which offers universal as well as brand-specific aftermarket snowmobile seats.

These Kimpex seats are also known as Seat Jacks. They are equipped with backrests, handgrips, handguards, and heating systems depending on the model.

How much does a snowmobile passenger seat cost? Prices vary widely depending on the make and model, but they typically range from $300 up to $1000!

Even if they are expensive, they are worth every penny. This is because it can be dangerous to carry a passenger on your snowmobile without a properly designed and adapted passenger seat.

Thus, using a DIY snowmobile seat is definitely not recommended!

Adjusting The Suspensions

If you want to regularly ride your snowmobile with a passenger, you may want to adjust its rear suspension system for more comfort and safety.

This is necessary because the extra weight is located above the rear suspension of the sled. It usually results in more ‘sag,’ in other words the whole sled will sit lower with a passenger on it.

If the rear suspension is too light it can’t handle the extra weight. But if it’s too stiff, it leads to bumpy rides and less comfort for your passenger.

Best practice is that you adjust the rear suspension until it reaches the optimal sag. Are you wondering where this sweet spot is?

Simply put, the sag with the passenger on the sled should be the same as it was with you sitting on the saddle alone.

If you regularly ride your sled double, you should consider investing in a heavier spring. There are plenty of heavy-duty rear springs on the market specially designed for double snowmobile rides.

The additional benefit of tweaking the suspension is that you can change the center of gravity as well. This can result in more stability and better control.

Beyond the suspension, you may want to adjust the limiter straps, install studs or even longer carbides to handle the increased weight.

Can Three People Ride on a Snowmobile?

The general rule is that the majority of snowmobiles can carry one or a maximum of two riders. This is because every snowmobile has a certain weight limit, which should not be exceeded! Surprisingly, there are a few heavy-duty snowmobile that can accommodate three passengers. This means that three people can ride on these snowmobiles safely and legally!

One of the most popular 3-seater snowmobile is the Arctic Cat Pantera 7000, which is definitely worth a closer look!

Snowmobile Passenger Trailers

If you want to take more passengers with you, you can consider investing in a “snowmobile passenger trailer.”

Some well-known models on the market are the EQUINOX Snowcoach trailers.

These small trailers can accommodate more passengers, or plenty of gear.

They are available in open and enclosed versions. The big advantage of the enclosed design is that its huge plastic shell and windows can keep the wind and snow out!

Snowcoach trailers offer smooth rides as they feature gas shock suspensions. What’s more, the manufacturer offers bigger trailers to accommodate more passengers. No one needs to stay home!

Drawbacks?

Beyond the hefty price tags, these trailers dramatically change the riding experience. You can forget aggressive cornering!

Instead, you have to ride very carefully to keep the trailer and your passengers safe.

Another cool addition of Snowcoach trailers is the optional ATV conversion kit. If you have an ATV or a UTV, you can use this trailer year-round!

How to Ride a Snowmobile with a Passenger

Riding a snowmobile with passengers can be tricky, especially for the first time. Here are some of the best tips to stay safe while riding double:

Practice first. If you are a beginner snowmobile rider, it’s highly recommended that you get some practice alone first. Once you have same riding experience and can control your sled with confidence, you can consider taking a passenger with you.

Safety equipment is a must. When it comes to double snowmobile rides, both you and your passenger should always wear helmets and eyewear. Unfortunately, you can see many passengers on snowmobiles without helmets! This can be dangerous in many ways, so never take a passenger for a ride without both of you wearing a helmet. Additionally, it also makes sense to wear a chest protector, as it can protect the passenger’s body if he or she is accidentally pushed into the handle grips.

Different handling. Be prepared for a different riding experience. Having a passenger on the sled changes the center of the gravity and the steering as well. What’s more, the extra weight requires more bodywork from you! It’s wise to start with shorter trips with a passenger to get used to the different handling.

Safety first. When you ride with a passenger, the most important rule is always to stay safe. Keep in mind that your passenger is completely dependent on your decisions. Because of this, best practice is to operate your sled at safe speeds at all times. Take it slow, and obey all of the rules and regulations. It’s also wise to educate your passenger on how the controls of the snowmobile work. If your passenger makes contact with the throttle accidentally it can lead to dangerous situations!

Stay on the trails. Riding double is always much harder, especially on hard terrain. That’s why many riders prefer riding only on trails if they carry a passenger, and with good reason.

If you try to ride in powder with a passenger, there is always a much higher risk of getting stuck in the deep snow.

Additionally, handling the sled in powder is also much more difficult with the extra weight.

Therefore, best practice is to stick to the trails, as these are always the safest place for double rides!

The right body position. The right body position is always the key to safe snowmobile rides. This is doubly true if you are not alone. Let’s see what the best riding position is for you and your passenger on a sled!

Which Riding Position is Recommended When Carrying Passengers on a Snowmobile?

The best riding position for both the driver and the passenger is sitting. In addition, the passenger always has to sit behind the driver. This means, contrary to popular belief, children shouldn’t sit as a passenger in front of the driver. This is because in case of an accident, the handlebar can cause serious injuries to the child!

Why Should a Passenger on a Snowmobile Stay Seated?

The passenger always has to stay seated on the snowmobile as this results in the lowest center of gravity. It’s very important to ask your passenger not to stand up on the sled while it’s in motion. It can dramatically change the maneuverability of the sled, especially when cornering.

Besides this important rule, there are many additional tricks on how your passenger should act on the sled. To stay safe on your rides, your passengers should:

  • wear the helmet, proper clothes, and other protectors if available
  • sit on the seat at all times
  • keep their feet flat on the footrests
  • hold the handle grips securely
  • don’t extend their arms outside
  • lean with you into the turns
  • they should let you know when they are scared or worried

Crossing roads with a passenger can also be tricky. Sometimes it’s safer if the passenger stays on the sled, while in other cases it’s better if he or she gets off and walks across. Finally, it always depends on the situation, which should be evaluated by the driver.

What is a Tandem Snowmobile?

Tandem is considered to be the most efficient way to ride a snowmobile double in the mountains. Simply put, tandem on a snowmobile means that the rider is standing on the right running boards, while the passenger is on the left. If you want to learn how to ride tandem on a snowmobile, don’t miss this tutorial video:

Keep in mind that this is not the safest way to ride a sled with a passenger, so it’s not recommended at all!

Conclusion – How Many People Can Ride a Snowmobile?

How many people can fit on a snowmobile?

As a rule of thumb, one to three people can ride a snowmobile, depending on its design and features. The majority of sleds are designed for solo rides, as they feature a single seat. Fortunately, many of them can be equipped with a passenger seat and handgrips, offering rides for two people in this way. Some of the biggest snowmobile models come with an extended weight capacity and longer seats for three passengers.

If you want to regularly ride with passengers, best practice is to invest in a touring snowmobile. These sleds are designed to handle more weight safely. They are also equipped with many essential accessories for double snowmobile rides.

There are many advantages of snowmobiling double. You can share the fun with your friend and/or relatives. It’s also much cheaper than maintaining a second sled!

As the final word, always operate your sled at a safe speed if you carry a passenger. The extra weight dramatically affects the handling of the sled, which can be surprising in many situations!

Get some practice first on shorter trips before you head out on longer rides with a passenger.

Ride safely!

References:

http://www.saferiderssafetyawareness.org/riding-your-snowmobile-with-passengers.html

https://snoriderswest.com/article/safety/how_to_stay_safe_while_carrying_a_passenger

https://intrepidsnowmobiler.com/snowmobiling-double-passenger/

https://www.snowmobile-ed.com/wisconsin/studyGuide/Carrying-a-Passenger/50105101_700066640/

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