Kicksledding with Kids? Favorite Kicksled Accessories Explained
Child Safety Bracket
The Child Safety Bracket is a must to keep small kiddos and toddlers safe on the trail. We recommend using it until age 4-5. But if needed, an older child can still use it.
The bracket is easy to use. Once installed, it flips up and down. So, when it’s not in use, it can flip up and be out of the way for riders who do not need the Child Safety Bracket. It can stay on your kicksled all winter without ever needing to take it off. While a belt or scarf can be rigged up, these options might not prove as safe.
EXTRA Foot Rests
A set of foot rests come standard with your ESLA kicksled. They are made of plastic and clip 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 boot to grip the surface. Adding one set of extra foot rests to the runners can be useful with multiple kids.
The extra foot area actually 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. The standing child holds on the the handle bars along with the adult. This works especially well if you have two children a few years apart. The younger one can sit, while the older stands. And they can take turns.
Traction Footwear: Microspikes or Crampons
If you plan on hitting the trails with your kiddos, traction is important for the adult kicking the sled for two reasons. One, traction helps you get more power out of your kicks. Two, safety; when you need to stop or slow down, you need traction.
The traction device that we use is crampons. They go right over winter boots and they have metal spikes that dig into the slippery surfaces. And they are great for most winter activities, not just kicksledding.
If you are going to be pushing 1 or 2 children, this can add up to a lot of weight. If your boots are slipping on the ice and snow, when you kick, it makes it difficult to get very far. While I often brag that I can kicksled 4 miles with both of my kids riding, my crampons are the true hero of that story.
If you are trying out small rolling hills on your kicksled, you can drag your foot to slow down. But slowing down on hills becomes more difficult with the added weight of children. Dragging your feet with crampons over your boots will slow you down faster, making it a safer option.
There are several companies making crampons and we have tested quite a few. Check out our post on the best crampons for kicksledding.
The safest option for hills is to get a Double Brake. If you plan to kicksled in an area with no elevation change or on lakes, a brake is not necessary. But you should not attempt a hill of any size in icy conditions with a child passenger without crampons or a brake.
Kicksled Double Brake
If your main kicksledding trail has bigger hills, or you will be kicksledding with dogs with a child on the seat, you should consider getting a brake for your kicksled.
The ESLA double brake works by pressing down your foot. This causes the brake to dig into the snow, thus slowing your sled. The brake is spring loaded and easy to use. 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.
When children are operating their own kicksled on a trail they should always wear a helmet. It is a great idea for little passengers too, especially if there is a dog in the mix. While it’s awesome to use your kicksled solely as a snow stroller and walk, it’s more fun to get adventurous. But just like other winter sports, higher speeds and hills require a helmet.
Any winter helmet made for skiing and ice skating will work.
Other items to consider:
Ski goggles for kids are helpful for blocking the wind, sun and snow while they ride. Look for ones that are specially fitted for kids that mention anti-fogging. They are also helpful for adults, especially in Jan. and Feb. in Minnesota when its really cold.