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Snowmobile Basics—Before You Ride
Dress for Cold Weather

As with any outdoor winter recreation, you need clothing that will keep you warm and dry.

  • Remember that the “wind chill factor” can lower your temperature considerably. If the thermometer reads 30°F and you ride at 25 miles an hour, your exposed skin feels a wind chill temperature of 0°F.

Wind chill chart

  • Cold weather conditions call for clothing that is worn in layers. Layers offer superior insulation. Also, as weather warms up, you can shed a layer at a time to stay comfortable.
  • Layers should include:
    • A vapor transmission layer (material such as polypropylene). Worn next to the body, it should release moisture from the skin while retaining warmth.
    • An insulating layer. Weightier or bulkier than the first layer, it should hold warm air around you.
      • Wool is the best all-around insulation in both dry and humid conditions.
      • Polar fleece or other synthetic materials are also good in high humidity.
    • A protective outer layer. Available in various weights and materials according to conditions; it should protect the inner layers from water and wind.
  • Wear a warm head covering under your helmet.
  • Gloves with gauntlets will keep cold air from blowing up your sleeves.
  • In extremely cold weather, wear two layers of socks—a heavy wool pair over a light pair.
  • Do not wear:
    • A scarf or loose clothing, which may get caught in the snowmobile’s machinery or snag in branches and bushes
    • A fixed bubble-style face shield, which doesn’t provide proper ventilation to prevent fogging or frosting
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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