Everything You Need to Know about Kicksled Accessories: Snow Runners, Crampons, Brakes and More
This guide will teach you everything there is to know about available accessories to improve your kicksledding ride!
Our ESLA kicksleds come standard with regular snow runners. Snow runners are made of plastic and clip onto the steel runners on the kicksled. They are held on to the steel runners with a ziptie and by pressure. They are made of a lightweight plastic, they don't add much weight to your kicksled.
Snow runners are the most important accessory you will want to get for riding the trails because they allow you to glide on packed snow. Without the snow runners, kicksleds will only glide on icy trails or frozen water bodies.
While kicksledding in very cold temperatures, some people find success waxing their runners. When it is really cold -15+ the cold does have some effect on glide.
Over time, runners will accumulate scratches from tree roots, gravel and other debris. Replacement runners are available.
Wide Powder Runners
There are two widths for snow runners: regular (1.4 inches) and wide (2.2 inches). The wide runners allow the sled to better navigate deeper snow. The different is noticeable. But, they do not turn your sled into a snowshoe that can navigate really deep snow. The more snow, the more effort needed to push through. If you want to reach higher speeds, stick to the trails with packed snow. In some conditions, the wide runners are a bit slower than the regular width runner. On a nicely packed snow trail, the wide runners are a bit slower as there is more surface area in contact with the snow. We have done side by side tests in these packed snow conditions with both the wide and regular runners. The difference is slight, nothing that is going to slow you down if you are in a group, but worth mentioning.
Traction Device: Crampons and Brakes
If you plan on hitting the trails with your kicksled, traction devices are important for two reasons. First, traction helps you get more power out of your kicks. Second, traction allows you to stop your sled, especially on hills.
Traction Devices: Crampons
Crampons (or sometimes called spikes or microspikes) are an accessory worn over snow boots. The stretchy rubber band goes around your boot and holds on a set of chains and spikes to the bottom of your boot. The spikes grip into packed down snow and ice giving you more power for each kick. This extra power makes a huge difference when carrying a passenger and when trying to reach high speeds. There are several companies making crampons and we have tested quite a few. Check out our post on the best crampons for kicksledding. (Spoiler alert: we are really into the Hill Sound FreeStep6 Traction crampons and we do sell those)
If you don't have a brake, crampons are also necessary for stopping your sled. When a kicksled is moving too quickly, such as down a hill, you drag the bottom of your spike covered foot. Without a brake, you should not attempt anything more than a tiny hill in icy conditions without crampons. Definitely NOT a sledding hill or anything close to it. Crampons do mark up the plastic footrests a little bit over multiple seasons but this does not affect the foot rests. Crampons can also be used for a variety of other winter sports and are a good investment for winter lovers!
The ESLA brake is spring loaded and easy to use. Pressing your foot causes both sides of the double brake to dig into the snow.
If your not wearing crampons, a brake is highly recommended. Brakes are more effective than crampons when it comes to stopping quickly. Especially on hills. Crampons do the job well but both are recommended if you will be riding anything steeper than tiny rolling hills. The use of a brake does not eliminate the need for crampons. Remember, crampons will help power your kicks. To be safe and fast, get both crampons and a brake.
A set of foot rests come standard with your ESLA kicksled. They are made of plastic and clip on to the steel runners. This gives your feet added surface area so you are stable when standing on your sled. Foot rests also have some texture to help your feet grip. If you have little children, having two foot rests on each runner can be pretty great. This allows room for a standing rider in front of the adult. We call this “Ridin’ Doubles” because essentially it allows you to ride with two children at once. This is perfect if you have two children a few years apart. One can sit, while the other stands.
Child Safety Bracket
The Child Safety Bracket is a must for small kiddos and toddlers. The bracket flips up and down. When it’s not needed, flip it up. It will be out of the way for bigger riders or when you need to use your sled as a chair. It can stay on your kicksled all winter without ever needing to take it off.
It is an excellent idea to seek out a helmet for your child. This is especially true if you plan on taking any risks with your sled. While it can be great to use your kicksled solely as a snow stroller, it’s fun to get more adventurous by reaching higher speeds or trying out small rolling hills. When you introduce these risks with a child rider, a helmet is the safest option. When children are operating their own kicksled on a trail they should always wear a helmet. Ski goggles are also helpful for blocking the wind, sun and snow while they ride.
Now you are an accessories expert! Add your accessories for safe, comfortable and speedy riding!
If you are interested in accessories for kicksledding with your dog, check out this article.