The process of making a sled cover was challenging, mainly due to the lack of precise guides available. Although the experience wasn’t entirely positive, it taught me a great deal about the considerations and precautions one must take while embarking on such a project. The cover I made wasn’t perfect, and I made mistakes along the way. However, I believe my experience can serve as a guide for others to learn from, helping them avoid the pitfalls I encountered. This article is a record of that endeavor, sharing the knowledge I gained and the errors I made, with the hope that it will aid you in creating a better DIY snowmobile cover at home.
Benefits of Homemade Snowmobile Cover
Homemade snowmobile covers can be a budget-friendly alternative to expensive commercial ones. By choosing your own materials, you can create a durable cover at a fraction of the cost.
During my research, I discovered that a decent snowmobile sled would set me back at least $80. Lower-priced covers didn’t seem up to par, while the ones that were, cost up to a whopping $150. It made me think, that with that budget, I could probably create my own snowmobile cover. This could be a more affordable and equally effective solution to preserve and protect my snowmobile.
Instead of relying on a one-size-fits-all solution, you can tailor your homemade cover to your snowmobile’s exact dimensions. This customization ensures a snug fit, protecting your snowmobile more effectively from the elements.
Any added features on your snowmobile like mirrors, storage racks, or custom headlights, among others, may change its dimensions and overall profile. This means that commonly available one-size-fits-all snowmobile covers may not fit your sled perfectly. They may either be too tight, risking damage to your add-ons, or too loose, which could allow for unwanted exposure to the elements. Therefore, creating a homemade snowmobile cover grants you the flexibility to accommodate any modifications to your snowmobile, ensuring a proper fit that’s custom-made for your specific setup.
When making your own cover, you have complete control over the quality of the materials used. You can opt for high-grade, weather-resistant fabric that suits the specific conditions your snowmobile will be exposed to.
You have a wide choice of materials for your DIY snowmobile cover. One option would be to use a heavy-duty canvas. This fabric is known for its durability and water-resistant properties, making it a perfect choice for shielding your snowmobile from the elements. Another fabric to consider is vinyl. It’s waterproof and can withstand harsh weather conditions, ensuring maximum protection for your snowmobile. You could also consider marine polyester, which is resistant to UV light, water, and mildew, ensuring long-lasting performance. Remember, no matter the material you choose, make sure you incorporate an elasticized hem or an elastic cord into your design. The elastic will ensure your cover fits snugly around your snowmobile, offering superior protection and keeping the cover secure, even in windy conditions.
Add As Many Extra Features You Want
Creating a homemade snowmobile cover also allows you to add as many additional features as you want. For instance, you could include a zippered area for filling up gas without having to remove the entire cover. This is a convenience that is often found in more expensive covers but could be easily incorporated into your DIY project at a fraction of the price. You could also add as many straps and buckles as you want that will hold your cover properly when you’re transporting your snowmobile on your pickup truck or open-trailer.
How to Make Your Own Snowmobile Cover
Here’s how you can build your own snowmobile cover at home in a detailed manner:
- Measuring Your Snowmobile: The first step is understanding the dimensions of your snowmobile. This will help you determine how much fabric you need. Measure the length, width, and height of your snowmobile, and don’t forget to account for any added features or modifications. It’s important to remember that you want your cover to have a bit of give, so add a few extra inches to your measurements for a good fit. From my experience, I found that adding an extra 10% to the measurements was the perfect amount to accommodate for any miscalculations or errors during the process.
- Choosing Your Material: The next step is to choose the right material. It needs to be durable, waterproof, and preferably breathable to prevent moisture build-up underneath the cover. When I was making my homemade snowmobile cover, I chose a heavy-duty tarp material. It had the durability and waterproof qualities I needed, and it was also easy to handle and cut to shape.
- Cutting Out Your Cover: Once you’ve got your material, use your measurements to cut it out. Remember to add the extra inches you accounted for in your measurements. This is the time to be as precise as possible, ensuring your cover fits just right.
- Adding Extra Features: Now, this is the part that makes your DIY snowmobile cover truly yours. There are several additional features you can add to make your snowmobile cover more functional and tailored to your needs.
- Straps and Buckles: Adding more straps and buckles can help secure the cover even more, especially during transportation.
- Reflective Strips: This is a safety feature that I highly recommend adding. It improves the visibility of your snowmobile when covered, especially in the dark.
- the Vent Covers: These help to prevent moisture build-up and maintain air circulation.
- Pockets: These are useful for storing small items or tools that you might want to keep with your snowmobile. Remember, adding these features will require additional materials and time but they can make a significant difference. I particularly found the reflective strips to be very beneficial when I made my homemade snowmobile cover.
- Final Assembly and Testing: The final step in making your homemade snowmobile cover is to assemble all the parts and attach any extra features you’ve decided on. Sew all the edges and attach the straps, buckles, reflective strips, and pockets. Also, don’t forget to attach the vent covers where needed. Once everything is in place, it’s time to test your DIY snowmobile cover. Install it onto your snowmobile and check if it fits snugly and securely. Make sure all the extra features like straps, buckles, and pockets work as they should. I remember, when I tested my homemade snowmobile cover, I had to make a few adjustments to make it perfect. But the effort was all worth it in the end.
Common Mistakes You Should Avoid When Making a Sled Cover
While creating a homemade snowmobile cover, there are a few common pitfalls that many tend to fall into. The first mistake is using inappropriate material for your DIY snowmobile cover. The fabric used should be durable, water-resistant, and capable of withstanding harsh weather conditions. Materials such as heavy-duty polyester or canvas are typically recommended. I once used a thinner material, thinking it would be easier to work with, but it ripped during the first snowstorm.
Another common mistake is improper measurement. A snowmobile cover must fit snugly; it shouldn’t be too loose or too tight. Forgetting to account for the snowmobile’s height, width, and additional features like mirrors and handlebars can lead to a poorly fitting cover. In my experience, it’s better to measure twice and cut once to avoid any miscalculations.
A third common mistake that people often make while crafting a DIY snowmobile cover is neglecting to test the cover throughout the process of making it. It’s crucial to periodically fit the cover on your snowmobile as you’re crafting it to ensure that it fits properly and adjusts accordingly. If you only attempt to fit the cover after it’s finished, you might find that it doesn’t fit properly or some features don’t work as intended, and it’s much more difficult to make adjustments at that point. I learned this the hard way when I made a cover without trying it on the snowmobile until it was done, only to find it was too tight around the handlebars. It took a lot of additional work to fix this issue, which could have been easily avoided with periodic testing.
My Experience & Thoughts
Creating a homemade snowmobile cover was quite an experience for me. I enjoyed the process and I genuinely respect the time and dedication it takes to create a DIY snowmobile cover. However, it’s important to acknowledge that this process requires a lot of time, especially for those of us who aren’t expertly skilled in cutting, sewing, and similar crafts. It took me quite some time to get a handle on these tasks and even then, I ended up with a cover that didn’t quite fit my snowmobile like I wanted it to.
After reflecting on my experience, I decided to start purchasing my snowmobile covers from Seal Skin Covers. They are a well-established brand in the USA, having been in the industry for over 15 years. They’ve managed to build a reputation for producing high-quality snowmobile covers that are durable, well-fitting, and aesthetically pleasing.
Indeed, making a DIY snowmobile cover can be a favorable option for those who are proficient at sewing. This project provides an opportunity to tailor the cover to the exact dimensions and specifications of your snowmobile. Moreover, you can select the materials based on your snowmobile’s specific needs and your personal preferences. However, keep in mind that it requires patience, time, and a certain level of craftsmanship. But, if you’re good at sewing, crafting your homemade snowmobile cover can become a satisfying endeavor, saving you money and giving you a cover that fits your snowmobile like a glove.
However, for me, it became too labor-intensive, especially considering the effort I put into making a cover that didn’t quite meet my needs.