Snowmobiling with kids on board is very different from riding with an adult.
If you are a snowmobiling buff and you want to introduce it to your kids at an early stage, then what better way to do it than using a caboose.
A caboose is a carrier attached behind the sled. Riding with kids means you might need additional luggage like an extra change of clothes and more snacks if you do not have a muffpot. The caboose is perfect for carrying those.
This article aims to provide detailed information about a snowmobile caboose to help you prepare snowmobiling before the season peaks.
What is a Snowmobile Caboose?
A snowmobile caboose is a wagon towed behind a snowmobile, mostly to pilon your kid behind you. A snowmobile caboose helps carry not only your child on your ride but also provides extra room for your gears and toolkit.
Most people use a caboose to carry their little ones and give them the experience of boondocking. Sometimes more than one kid can be accommodated in a caboose, and the whole family can enjoy the winter riding experience together.
A caboose is attached to the back of your sled and keeps kids warm and protected.
A snowmobile caboose looks like an egg that opens up and has enough room for two people, and skis are attached to them to keep them moving on snow while the snowmobile works as an engine that hauls them around.
Should You Build a Snowmobile Caboose?
Building a snowmobile caboose is not rocket science. Well actually, it is science, but it’s a science that can be mastered at home to make a caboose all by yourself.
The key to building a caboose that won’t fishtail on turns in certain snow conditions is to attach the skis beside the caboose and not under it to make it low and wider than the towing vehicle.
The ski stance of the caboose should be around 10 inches wider than that of the snowmobile’s, which is towing it, and this can be considered the rule of thumb while making a caboose.
Below are a few steps mentioned to complete making your snowmobile caboose
Step 1: A hood needs to be chosen first – the one that matched the tow sled. Once the hood is chosen, lay out a sheet of plywood, and place the hood on top. Now using a marking pen, trace around the shape of the hood. You may have to extend the length of the caboose by adding an extra few inches on the back of the hood on the sheet of plywood you are using to trace the shape. Or it can also be the exact size of the hood traced onto the plywood depending on the intended passengers.
Step 2: Once you have the shape of the hood on the plywood, use a jigsaw to cut according to the shape traced and make sure it fits the hood after being cut.
Step 3: By cutting and welding the square tubing, you need to form a square tubing the same size as the plywood. Then two bars need to be cut off square tubing; it should be cut in the same length as the ski stance. Once that is done, now you need to weld these two bars approximately one foot in from the back of the metal frame in a square-shaped manner across the square tubing frame.
Now cut two hitch pieces of equal size, this will extend one foot from the front of the frame. The next step calls for placing a two-inch long piece between these two hitch pieces at the front and weld it in place. To both the crossbar, weld these hitch pieces, and the tubing frame, and also at the front where it crosses the frame
Step 4: Next, the half-inch washer needs to be welded on the end of the half-inch rod and slide the spring on the rod and sliding the rod through the square tubing that was welded between the hitch pieces in Step 3 above, slide the other spring on.
Now weld another washer so as to hold the springs in place. The springs have no preload, but they are used to take some of the spasmodic jerks of the ride when bringing the snowmobile to a stop or while starting the same.
Step 5: On each side of the crossbar, weld a 3″ long piece of the two-inch square tubing. A hole needs to be drilled through the square tubing, the size is whatever it fits in the spring saddle of the ski that is chosen. You need to ensure that the ski still is movable when it is bolted in place.
Step 6 requires the backrest to be cut and shaped with about a 15 degree back slope, and then to the rear of the frame, weld the same. The handgrip fits under the hood, and also is used for the passengers to hold during a bumpy ride.
Step 7 is about the carpeting of the caboose. Take exact measurements of the flooring of the caboose, cut a carpet according to the same, and glue it to the floor.
Step 8 constitutes installation of the hood onto the metal tubing frame, use either sheet metal screws or pop rivets to secure it in place. You may then use insulating foam that is sprayed over the interior to give a more permanent seal.
These are the basic steps of constructing a caboose for your snowmobile. You can use your ideas to modify from here on. ‘The world is your oyster’, feel free to let your creativity take shape.
Should You Purchase a Snowmobile Caboose?
It is always a matter of personal preference. A caboose for your snowmobile can be bought separately. Manufacturers like Equinox do build them, but in the end, it is upon you if you would like to buy a caboose or make it for yourself.
Many people build it themselves according to their intended measurements and convenience.
However, if you have ample time at hand and want to make it an event out of it and involve the family in the experience as well, you can always build your caboose. Also, if you have a tight budget, go for making one yourself as buying one can be a little at the higher end.
How to Buy a Snowmobile Caboose
There are a few things to consider while buying a snowmobile caboose.
The caboose should be roomy and spacious enough to fit not just one kid but, if required, more than one kid sometimes. There must be enough room for two at least and also for extra gear and luggage.
It should be comfortable enough for your kids to enjoy the ride and not suffer throughout the ride in discomfort. The seats should have cushions to add to the comfort of the kids.
Wider than the snowmobile
The caboose should be wider in size than the towing vehicle so that there is no risk of it getting fishtailed on turns.
It should also come with a canvas cover. It is an essential part of buying a caboose for when during the off-season when the caboose lies without use, you can cover it nice and snug to protect it from weather conditions.
Equipped with seatbelts
Safety first! This holds true for your snowmobile caboose as well. For your children’s safety, your caboose needs to be equipped with seatbelts. It is easier to get the ride a bit bumpy in rough terrains so that the children do not topple around, the seatbelt is a very important safety agent.
Snowmobiling is a fun family activity, but with children, it is risky to involve them sometimes because of safety issues. Also, with a child abroad, there are a lot of factors one should take care of.
A caboose is not enough to make the experience of including your children a better one; other necessary safety measures with your kids should also be taken in order to make sure they are perfectly protected and well shielded.