So you have a snowmobile and you want to transport it to your favorite snowmobile trail? Well, this is a topic that brings up quite a number of questions, such as “how do you load a sled on a truck?” and “what is the best way to load a snowmobile in a truck?”
But let’s start by asking what exactly we mean by “load a snowmobile in a truck.” Well, at its most basic level, loading your snowmobile in a truck means getting it from point A to point B without damaging it. But these things are heavy and awkwardly long to load on your own.
So, how can you make your snowmobile loading easier?
Well, there are various ways to load a snowmobile onto the truck, the easiest of which is using a ramp. In this article, we’re going to discuss this method in detail, alongside other ways so you can load your snowmobile into a truck in the winter or any time of year without struggle.
Check it out to make your snowmobile loading easier!
How Do You Load a Snowmobile in a Truck
As mentioned, there are several ways you can use to load your snowmobile in the truck. These include using a ramp, human power, a snow ramp, or even creating a DIY snowmobile lift. Let’s now go over each one of these so you can pick one based on your specific requirements.
Using A Ramp
One of the most common ways (and most likely the easiest method) to load a snowmobile onto the truck is by using a ramp. This practice involves placing the ramp directly behind the trailer hitch of your truck so that the snowmobile doesn’t slide off the ramp.
But make sure you are using the right ramp for the job.
Look, you can’t just use any kind of ramp to get your sled on the truck. Instead, go for snowmobile loading ramps. These ones are specially designed with clear side panels so that you can glide up your sled safely and smoothly, thanks to their innovative design.
The problem with using ramps designed or other vehicles is that the ski runners could catch on the center rungs, and this could cause serious damage and even injuries.
If your snowmobile has studded tracks, then you should use a ramp purposely designed for those kinds of tracks or utilize some ramp grips to protect the center rungs.
You might want to use ramp extenders if the ramp angle leading up to the pickup truck is still too high. This will help lower the angle of the loading ramp by extending the length of the incline.
Attach The Ramp To The Pickup Truck
There are several different types of snowmobile ramps, but they can all be attached to the tailgate or bed of your truck. Start by unloading and unfolding the snowmobile ramp (if necessary) and place the truck side end on top of the truck bed or tailgate.
Some ramps will come with clamps that can be tightened to squeeze the truck bed and keep it in place. Others may include straps that can be attached to the hooks or loops on the truck bed. Most ramps, however, do have both of these.
You may use ratchet straps or a chain to secure the ramp to the truck. Note that the ramp should be connected directly to the hitch or solid metal part- do not connect the ramp to any weak parts such as plastic parts, as it could easily lead to snapping and breakages.
Also, the connection between the truck and the ramp should be right behind the ramp to keep things steady and not move side to side. Double-check to ensure that everything is tied, tightened and secured before moving to the next step.
Get The Sled In Line With The Ramp
Before you start driving the sled up into the truck bed, ensure that the snowmobile skis and track are well-centered with the ramp. Note that snowmobile ramps are designed with separate sections, so you need to make sure the alignment is perfect before riding up the sled.
Failure to do so may cause the snowmobile to slide and tumble, which may result in significant (and costly) damage and even possible injuries.
In case you are in the snow, you can maneuver your sled and straighten up by taking a wide approach. Alternatively, you can lift the rear end of the sled to get it properly aligned.
Driving The Snowmobile Up The Ramp
Now that you have everything checked and secured, and the snowmobile lined up properly, the next thing is to drive the sled up the ramp into the bed of the truck.
To do this, hit the throttle on your sled evenly to drive it up. Try not to give it too much gas; instead, try to keep the throttle steady good enough to get the machine right into the truck.
Give the sled some good power and then confidently drive it up the ramp. Do it carefully and don’t but not full throttle; you don’t want to move it all the way to the back of your truck. Also, consider driving the sled in front first so you don’t harm the windshield while transporting.
Tip: The secrete is to drive the sled directly onto the bed rather than stopping on the ramp. Getting on and off a truck bed or sled deck is always the most difficult ride, so don’t worry when doing this for the fast time. However, be patient and cautious because this normally requires practice, especially on steep hills.
Tying and Securing The Snowmobile
Once the snowmobile is in the bed of the truck, you need to keep it secured to prevent shifting while driving it up. Tying things down is crucial even if the truck’s tailgate closes. This will help to prevent damage to your truck and snowmobile, even if the tailgate closes.
There’s really no exact way of getting things tied up properly, but you might want to use ratchet strap tie-downs or just a rope. Some people even use bungee cords for the same purpose. You should attach ratchet straps to the rear end of the bar to ensure steadiness.
Meanwhile, keep the hooks in the suspension tight enough to prevent them from popping out when the truck hops around while traveling. The ratchet should be crisscrossed and properly attached to the bed of the truck to keep the snowmobile secure.
After that, check all the connections and make sure the snowmobile is properly secured. Then you can start driving the machine up the truck.
Tip: The simplest method to tie down your snowmobile on the truck is by securing it using ratchet straps. Drive the machine as far as necessary and engage the parking brake. After that, fasten the snowmobile to the bed’s corner tie-down loops. Although most people don’t tie down the back of the sled, it is best that you do the same for the front.
Using Human Power
This method involves basically involves the use of human power to load the sled to the back of your truck. Now, even if you consider yourself to be a strong person, you still need at least one additional companion to keep things from slipping. This method works best with at least 3 persons. The last thing you want is your snowmobile slipping off the ramp surfaces.
To do this, start by placing the snowmobile next to the tailgate. You want to get it straight and in the middle of the truck bed, much like how you would position the snowmobile when driving up a ramp.
Proceed by lifting the front end onto the truck’s tailgate. To make it easier, one person should be at the truck bed while the other two help to lift either ski. The persons on the ground should keep on lifting the front of the sled until the third person in the truck can get hold of it.
Once the skis are well set on the bed, the guy in the truck should help keep the sled steady while the other two moves toward the back to complete the lift. The two guys on the ground should then lift and push the sled’s rear end into the air for the guy in the truck to pull. This combined effort will make the machine slide into position right in the back of your truck.
Once you’re done loading the sled into the truck, the next thing is to get it well-tied down and secured. The steps and ideas for tying are the same as with other methods discussed here. Just be sure to secure the snowmobile and make sure everything is safely tied down before you start traveling.
Using a Snow Ramp
This method basically involves using a snow ramp or building one to load a snowmobile into the truck. In case you’re riding in a busy location with multiple snowmobiles, there might already be a ramp and some handy accessories in place that you can use instead of having to make one. It’s totally free in most cases, and you can find lots of snow ramps around parking lots to help haul multiple snowmobiles.
Now, this is more like the reverse of the other two methods in that instead of aligning the snowmobile with the truck, you just center the truck bed with the snow ramp. You can ideally back the truck right up to the snow ramp such that it touches the snow.
Once the bed is centered with the snow ramp, proceed by driving the sled up into the truck bed. It really is as easy as it seems. You just push the snowmobile into the truck bed while maintaining consistent throttle control because you don’t want to drive it too fast or too slowly. With too much gas, you might end up sliding hard into the back of the truck.
After that, get the whole thing tied down and secured for transportation. You can use a rope, ratchet straps, or any other kind of cordage to accomplish this.
DIY Snowmobile Loading Ramp
If you don’t want to use ramps, you can think about making a DIY snowmobile lift. It is a less popular technique for loading a snowmobile onto a truck, but it’s still a considerable approach.
So, how do you create your own snowmobile lift? To make a custom lift for your machine, you will need to fabricate a metal frame on which you can hang the sled. Then use a couple of hinges to connect the frame to the edge of the bed of the truck.
The biggest flaw with this kind of system is that the hinges must be welded to the frame and that means it might not be a good idea especially if you have a new truck.
But how does this snowmobile lift work? You ask. Well, the best thing about snowmobile lifts is that they are very easy to use. You will just need to move the front of the sled towards the front of the truck’s bed by lifting it with the hand winch. The winch can then be used to drag the entire sled onto the bed.
It is amazing how tough it is to load a snowmobile into a truck, but as you can see, it all starts with the right equipment. You will need a ramp to get your snowmobile onto the truck, which can be purchased at a snowmobile or outdoor equipment store. You will also need to have a vehicle that is high enough and has a large enough bed to carry your snowmobile.
Otherwise, snowmobiles are heavy, they are awkward, and they are long. All three of these things make it difficult to load on your own, and that’s where a ramp really comes in handy.
In case your snowmobile has front-end skis, you may want to remove them from the machine so that it doesn’t slide off the ramp. However, if you are using a trailer, you’ll need to use a two-wheel dolly to move the snowmobile into your trailer. Overall, snowmobile transport is a pretty simple process. That is if you know what you are doing.