Snowmobile Trailer vs. Sled Deck
There are pros and cons to both sled decks and trailers when it comes to picking the right one for your needs. If you’re looking for a transportation option that’s maintenance-free, easy to use, and versatile, a sled deck might be better suited for you. However, if maneuverability or speed are more important factors than ease of use or lack of maintenance… then a trailer may be better. In terms of specific features, each has its advantages
Sled Deck vs. Trailer: The Pros and Cons
Before we get into the nitty gritty of it all, let’s take a look at the pros and cons on both sides in a nutshell!
Pros of Trailers
- they can be easily hooked/unhooked
- low height, which means easier loading and unloading
- you can use them for hauling other vehicles (tractors, lawn mowers, etc.)
- larger trailers offer more capacity, up to 3-5 sleds and a lot of gear
- enclosed trailers are also available for more protection and security
- low center of gravity
- ideal for the largest long track sleds
Cons of Trailers
- higher costs (registration fees, insurance, inspection every year)
- more maintenance (tires, axles, bearings, lights, etc.)
- hard to tow in the mountains or on rugged terrain
- need a lot of space to store it when not in use
- your sleds will get very dirty (if the trailer is open)
Pros of Sled Decks
- keeps your sleds very clean compared to open trailers
- you can store your gear under it
- no yearly costs or inspection
- no maintenance
- better maneuverability and parking
- does a better job in the mountains
- better traction (weight above the rear wheels – less risk of getting stuck)
- can hold dirt bikes, ATVs, or other vehicles as well
- you can ride onto them directly from a snowbank
- you can use it in tandem with a trailer or camper
- much easier to store during the off-season
- less amortization – better resale value
- better fuel economy in transit
- others can drive the truck as well (towing a trailer needs practice)
Cons of Sled Decks
- it’s a hassle to load /unload the deck onto the truck
- they can only carry one or two sleds
- ideal for more mobile snowmobiles
- lack of storage space
- offer less protection than enclosed trailers
- shorter than sleds, so the tracks overhang on the rear
- decks have a very high center of gravity and getting down is tricky after loading the sled
- loading the snowmobiles onto sled decks is harder, more time consuming, and dangerous
When to Choose a Sled Deck Over a Trailer
If you are still debating which type of carrier is best for your machine, a sled deck or trailer, keep reading! First, let’s see when it is appropriate to choose a sled deck over a trailer.
A sled deck is recommended as the choice if you:
- have a bigger truck
- want to transport one or two snowmobiles
- your sled/sleds are more mobile
- live in the mountains
- want to reach the backcountry or your cabin, but the terrain is rugged
- prefer shorter day riders
- don’t like towing trailers
- can leave the deck on your truck for longer periods
- want to tow a trailer or a camper in tandem with the deck
- are looking for the easiest and cheapest way to transport your sled
When to Choose a Trailer Over a Sled Deck
When might you need a trailer instead of a sled deck? A trailer would be recommended when you need more stability or ease of transport.
- want to regularly use your truck for other purposes (removing the deck takes time)
- want the most protection (only enclosed trailers provide this)
- are afraid of loading your sled onto a sled deck
- want to transport other bigger vehicles on the trailer (tractors, lawn mowers)
- can store the trailer easily when it’s out of use
- have more than 2 sleds
- have a lot of gear
Sled Deck vs. Enclosed Trailer
When it comes to hauling snowmobiles on a sled deck or an open trailer, they are both similar in some ways. However, enclosed trailers offer a unique experience that is not found on other types of trailers. Thus, it is important to discuss them separately when looking for the best option for your needs.
Pros of Enclosed Trailers
If you’re undecided on what type of trailer to buy, one of the most important things to consider is how many snowmobiles you’ll be hauling. Enclosed trailers are perfect for those who have more than one sled, whereas open trailers can fit two snowmobiles tandem but can prove difficult to load and unload if your garage has limited space. Speaking specifically to where you live and ride, a trailer would work great in locations with lots of parking.
If you’re planning on bringing any fuel with you, the enclosed trailers provide plenty of room to store it. Additionally, they keep your gear and sleds completely dry and free from mud or snow. Heated trailers are also available, providing even more comfort when out riding in cold weather.
Finally, these trailers make great places to relax after a ride or get dressed for the next one – perfect for unwinding after an exciting day outdoors!
The biggest benefit to owning an enclosed trailer is that you don’t have to unload your gear every time. You can leave it all in the trailer when they’re not in use, which makes storage during the summer a breeze! Plus, these trailers are like Mini Garages on Wheels – so storing your gear isn’t a hassle at all.
- it keeps your sleds and gear completely clean and warm
- can transport more sleds and cargo
- offers higher comfort and security
- it’s a garage for your sleds when they are not in use (during the off-season as well!)
- loading/unloading is much easier and safer
So, if you are transporting more than two sleds regularly for longer distances, you can’t go wrong with a large, enclosed trailer.
Cons of Enclosed Trailers
Enclosed trailers have many advantages, but they come with disadvantages as well. For example, the cost of sled decks is much cheaper than enclosed snowmobile trailers, costing around $3,000-$5,000. In contrast, v-nose enclosed snowmobile trailers can cost anywhere from $10K to $20K!
We cannot forget their huge dimensions and weight. Another argument against enclosed trailers is that they require large towing capacities, which can be problematic when trying to maneuver them in tight spaces or transport a lot of cargo. Additionally, these trailers are often difficult to overload without risking damage, so it’s important to be mindful when using them.
- 5 snowmobiles: 3000 lbs.
- 5 riders: 1000 lbs.
- Gear/fuel/tools: 500 lbs.
- Snow and ice buildup: 1000 lbs.
- Trailer: 3500 lbs.
Total: 9000 lbs. – or even more!
If you’re looking to haul only a few sleds on your trailer, an enclosed one will still be quite heavy. That could be a problem in the mountains or on warm days. Every season, many snowmobile owners get stuck because when they arrive in the morning everything is frozen and the snow is set up. But by afternoon it’s easy for their wheels to get buried into the snow or mud. That’s why sled decks are much better choices in Spring rides – as weight is above rear tires of truck, this setup offers better traction and maneuverability
Let’s look at all the cons of enclosed trailers in a nutshell:
- hefty price tags
- more maintenance and owning costs
- harder parking and maneuverability
- much more weight
- higher risk of getting stuck
- hard to tow in the mountains and on rugged terrain
- need a place to store it when not in use
- you need a big truck to tow it
As you can see, there are pros and cons to both the sled deck vs. trailer contest! There’s no clear winner due to so many factors, but ultimately it comes down to individual preference. Sled decks can be a great alternative for smaller open trailers when transporting only a few items at a time or on warmer days. They’re also affordable and maintenance-free, making them perfect for cabin owners or riders who prefer backcountry rides.
When it comes to the sled deck vs. enclosed trailer debate, many say that it’s an unfair comparison as they are vastly different.
If you want to cover longer distances, or transport more than 2 sleds, you may want to consider an enclosed trailer. It offers more protection for the sleds and your gear, which means they will remain completely dry and warm.
The other main advantage is that you can store the sleds in the trailer when they are not in use. It’s very useful during the summer as the sleds won’t hog space in your garage.
If you are still hesitating on what to buy, a sled deck or an enclosed trailer, why not get both? If you can afford it, you will have a lot of flexibility this way.
It’s not a cheap investment, but don’t forget that sled decks don’t need any maintenance and using them means you don’t have to deal with an increase in fuel consumption in transit.
Credit: This content is modified from its original version and is based on an article so helpful we decided to re-present it here for our visitors. Click the link below to view the original article.
Snowmobile Storage Information
The Revelstoke Garage is now offering snowmobile storage for your sleds, trailers, snow bikes… you name it! We recognize the need for a dependable and hassle-free snowmobile storage solution in the Columbia-Shuswap region and are happy to bring local and businesses in Revy a low cost and secure option just minutes from town. Contact us for more details.