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!
Most ESLA kicksleds come standard with runners. Runners are made of plastic and clip on to the bottom of your kicksled. Because runners are lightweight plastic, they won’t add much weight to your sled. 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 them, the kicksled doesn’t move as quickly in these conditions. (Kicksledding on ice is the time to take the runners off. Especially if the ice is uncovered with snow.) While kicksledding in very cold temperatures, some people find success waxing their runners. Over time, runners will accumulate scratches from tree roots, gravel and other debris. Replacement runners are available.
There are two sizes of runners: standard (1.4 inches) and wide (2.2 inches). The wide runners allow the sled to better navigate deeper snow. But, they do not turn your sled into a snowshoe that can navigate deep snow.. Every inch of deeper snow, increases the power needed to move. If there is 3-4 inches of snow, the wide snow runners come in handy. If you want to reach higher speeds, stick to the trails with packed snow or on the ice.
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.
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)
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 a hill of any size in icy conditions without crampons. Crampons do mark up the plastic footrests a little bit over multiple seasons but this does not affect the foot rests much. Crampons can also be used for a variety of other winter sports and are a good investment for winter lovers like you!
Kicksled brakes work by pressing your foot. This causes the brake to dig into the snow, thus slowing your sled. The ESLA brake is spring loaded and easy to use. If you don’t have 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 only downside is the added price. 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 clips on to the steel runner. 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. Once 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! Grab your accessories for safe, comfortable and speedy riding!