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How to Pick a Snowmobile Suit

When purchasing a snowsuit, think about what the activity suit will be used for. Will it be it for snowmobiling, ice fishing, snow blowing the drive way, or for tobogganing with the kids? Also determine how often you will be using the suit. This will determine what type and cost of suit will be most reasonable to purchase.

Joe’s Sports and Surplus stocks two piece snowmobile suits for men, women, youth and children. There are few things to consider which will help with your final choice:

  • Fabric of jacket and pants
  • Reinforced high wear areas
  • Snow skirt present in jacket and pant legs
  • Hood or Hoodless jackets
  • Type of waist straps on the jacket
  • Manufactures rating for cold
  • Quality of zippers
  • Stitching
  • Fit and Comfort

Fabric of Jackets and Pants

Depending on the suit it will be made most likely be made of nylon, polyester, or a combination of both types of material.

Nylon has a silky texture to the touch. Nylon fibres are smooth, non-absorbent and dry quickly. Dirt doesn’t cling to this smooth fibre nor is it weakened by chemicals and perspiration. Nylon is stronger yet weighs less than any other fibres. Nylon fabric lasts longer and has a very good resistance to abrasion, fungi, insects, chemicals and mildew. It is elastic and resilient and responsive to heating. Nylon melts at high temperatures.

Polyester is strong and has a fibrous feeling to the touch. It is wrinkle resistant and therefore keeps it shape. Polyester fabrics perform better than nylon for moisture management because polyester is more hydrophobic. Polyester shrinks on heating and catches fire soon after nylon as melted.

Generally, snowsuits either come with a polyester or nylon shell. The internal padding and inner lining of most snowsuits are polyester. Generally, nylon shelled jackets and pants are more abrasion resistant to rough use, so if you going to wear the suit a lot either snowmobiling or ice fishing, nylon is the way to go. For snow blowing the driveway or causal tobogganing with the kids a light polyester blend outer shell may more suitable.

Reinforced High Wear Areas

When purchasing a snowsuit check to ensure that all high wear area such as pant knees, bottoms is reinforced. Generally, Cordura is the best material for these high wear areas. Cordura is a dense nylon 1000/280 denier weave which is very lightweight (about 11 oz. per yard) and breathable. It has excellent resistance to scuffing and pilling under demanding conditions.

Snow skirts present in jackets and pants

A very key part of the snow suit is the presence of snow skirts. Snow skirts act as barrier to keep snow from migrating up through the jacket or up through pant legs. This is a key feature is very valuable when snowmobiling through deep snow or powder and ensures that the rider stays warm and dry.

Hood or Hoodless Jackets

Depending on your activity some suits come with a removable hood or no hood at all. If you are using the suit primarily for snowmobiling where a balaclava and helmet is worn, a hood can be a redundant feature. However, if you are using in situations where a helmet not necessary, a hood can be a key feature on a cold day when warmth is needed.

Type of Waist Straps on the Jacket

Depending of the style of jacket, waist straps or used to provide a closer fit of the jack to the body. A variety of fastening devices are used ranging from clip-in buckles to a sliding buckle or Velcro fasteners. Which type you pick is up to your personal preference. Buckles can sometimes catch passing objects. Velcro is more form fitting.

Manufactures Rating for Cold

For each snow suit you are considering, check the manufacturers cold rating. Most suits fall in the range of -60 degrees Celsius to -75 degrees Celsius. If you are generally susceptible to the cold consider the higher rating.

Quality of Zippers

The quality of the zipper in a snowsuit is a very important feature. Generally try to find YKK toothed zippers on the jackets and the pants. YKK Zippers are the most famous zippers in the world and stand for high quality and durability. Lower priced suits may use coil zippers primarily on pants and pockets. This type of zipper is quite functional but is prone to coming apart with rough or hard use. If you are not hard on your suit, a coil zipper which has a self-righting feature when it comes about is a reasonable option.


Good stitching prolongs the life of a snowsuit. Look for suits that are doubled stitched. Double stitching ensures seams will be quite sturdy and will resist separating.

Fit and Comfort

This is most important feature of the snowmobile suit. When trying on a suit, ensure that the jacket provides free moment for the arms and shoulders and is not too tight. The pants should also allow freedom of movement allowing you to squat on the floor without having any riding-up issues. Generally, a suit that feels looser retains heat better and a tight suit will lose some of its thermal properties.

Joe’s Sports and Surplus offers a complete range of GKS Snowmobile suits and Choko Snowmobile suits ranging from the economical to premium style. We have a suit that will fit your needs. Come on down and try on a snowsuit and see how we can make your snow activities more fun and comfortable.