Survival Must-Haves when Snowmobiling in Maine

Be Ready for your Maine Snowmobile Trip

Many folks consider a charged cell phone an essential item to bring on a snowmobiling trip.  Often, in Maine’s remote wilderness it won’t be good for anything other than taking pictures or telling the time!  That means don’t count on using it to call for help if you get stuck out in the woods.  There’s a good chance you won’t have reception!

Heading off into Maine’s winter wilderness requires a level of preparation, no matter what winter activity you’re getting into.  Here are some essentials you don’t want to leave home without when heading off on your snowmobile trip in Maine.

  1. A Plan– This is always something you should start off with.  Know how far you and your group can handle riding each day and take the weather into account.  Plan your mileage and stops so you don’t run out of fuel.  Tell someone where the trailhead is you parked.  Also, let them know where you are going and when you expect to be back.  That way we know when and where to send the search party if needed!
  2. Layers, Layers, and more Layers– Staying warm and dry are key, and temperatures can fluctuate drastically from day to night in Maine.  Underneath the obvious jacket and snow pants, you should have one or two lightweight layers made of wicking material.  After the base layers, you should have a medium weight fleece jacket for your upper body.  Fleece long underwear or thin sweatpants will cut the windchill on your knees and legs.  These should be removable if you get too hot and easy to put back on if you get cold again.  Don’t wear cotton socks as they will make your feet sweat and then freeze.  Polyester or synthetic socks are best, and bring an extra pair just in case!  Thick gloves are a given, along with a balaclava and additional neck warmer.  You’ll be glad you have it with you when you get into the wind out on Moosehead Lake!  If you get cold easy it wouldn’t hurt to keep a compressible down jacket in your backpack or rear compartment.  While you’re at it, throw a few hand and foot warmers in there too, just in case.
  3. Food and Water– Water is essential for outdoor activities any time of the year.  Make sure you keep it in a place where it won’t freeze solid.  Food keeps everyone happy, and can be the difference between life and death if you get stuck in the deep Maine woods, or if you have someone with you who gets “hangry.”  Bring foods that are high in protein and carbs to give you the extra energy you’ll need.
  4. First Aid Kit– At the very least have a basic first-aid kit with you.  It also helps to include a tampon or two which works great to slow bleeding or start a fire.
  5. Fire Essentials– Aside from tampons it helps to include some form of tinder.  Things like cotton balls covered in petroleum jelly or birch bark, and a lighter, waterproof matches, and flint when all else fails.  Don’t forget a saw.  Not only does it work great for cutting firewood but it also comes in handy if a tree has fallen and blocks the trail.
  6. Toolkit– If you’ve ever broken down anywhere you know how important this is.  A basic kit should include different screwdrivers, needle nose pliers, a multitool, and a variety of sockets and wrenches that fit your machine.
  7. Other Survival Essentials– Duct tape (of course!), super glue, flashlights and extra batteries, pocket flare, thermal blanket, a small tarp to use as a sleeping barrier or to create a make-shift shelter if needed, a contractor bag (this can also be used like the tarp but packs smaller), rope or paracord (you can’t have too much rope!), and a whistle.
  8. Fog-X– It becomes really hard to see when your face shield is fogging up.  Especially if you are cruising across a lake in a white-out.

Non-Essential Items that are Nice to Have When You Want or Need Them!

All of these items you can survive without but if you have room for them, why not bring a little extra convenience and comfort along?

  1. Spare Fuel– It’s never fun to have a perfectly fine machine that won’t run because it’s out of fuel!
  2. Two Way Radios– These are great to communicate with your group, and don’t forget the spare batteries.  These aren’t absolutely necessary if your group follows the practice of looking behind them often to make sure everyone in the group is there.  When someone falls behind, the rider in front of them stops and waits until they see them again, which follows all the way to the beginning of the group.
  3. Satellite Phone– If you do get stranded in a remote area with no cell reception, having a satellite phone is the only way you will be able to reach anyone who isn’t just passing by.  Most trails have enough traffic on them that you stand a good chance of someone coming through who can get help for you.  Also, a part of your group could go ahead for help while part of the group stays behind.  Again, don’t forget spare batteries!
  4. Muff Pot– Nothing beats a hot lunch on the trail!  Get a hot lunch or dinner without the worry of starting a fire with a Muff Pot.  It’s a snowmobile muffler-mount food warmer and cooker that cooks everything from baked potato to chicken while you ride the trails!

What other items do you bring along when you go snowmobiling in Maine?  Let us know in the comments below!

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