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Snowmobile Basics—Be Prepared

Any time you venture into snowmobile terrain, some risk is involved. You could be stranded because of mechanical problems. You might be caught in unexpected severe weather. You might be injured, or you simply might lose your way. It’s best to be prepared for any potential problems.

Before You Leave ... Tell someone where you plan to travel and when you will be back.

What to Bring Along

Map and Compass

Topographic maps provide the most useful information for navigating terrain because they show the area in three dimensions. Purchase a good orienteering compass and learn how to use it with a topographic map.

First-Aid Kit

Carry a first-aid kit, and take a first-aid course so that you’ll know how to respond in an emergency.

Survival Kit

In addition to the items listed above, you should carry:Items to bring along

  • Signal flares
  • Waterproof matches
  • Hand axe
  • Flashlight
  • Tarpaulin
  • High-energy snacks such as candy bars

  • Food and water for emergencies including enough for one extra day for each day of your trip

Other Useful Items

  • Radio for weather updates
  • Mobile phone and GPS unit

GPS unit


Global Positioning System (GPS)

Global Positioning System (GPS) The Global Positioning System (GPS) is a navigation system based on a network of 24 satellites. Users with a GPS unit can determine their exact location (latitude and longitude) in any weather conditions, all over the world, 24 hours a day.

Iowa Department
of Natural Resources
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Snowmobile Basics
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Online snowmobile vehicle safety handbook last modified: December 27, 2007
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