Sled Suit




About: Specializing in sewing, soldering and snacking. More stuff I do... I teach an interactive fashion and textile class called Wearable and Soft Interactions at California College of the Arts. www.wearablesoft...

Ever get tired of towing a sled up the slopes? Why walk down a snowy incline when you can sled down it! This sled suit combines the fun of sledding with the everyday ease of putting pants on.

Made with plastic shelving liner and a snow suit, this project will get you planking down slopes in no time. To sew through the flexible plastic, you will need access to a walking-foot machine or someone who is willing to sew the plastic down for you.

Thanks to user Natalina for letting me use her Disco Ball Helmet. Want one? Make it here!

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Step 1: Materials


[1] Snow Suit (preferably a retro one)

[1] 10 feet roll ribbed shelf liner

Batting or quilted material (optional)


Seam ripper

Matching thread


Access to a walking foot industrial sewing machine

Nylon thread (for walking foot)

Step 2: Find a Retro Suit

Check out Retro Ski Shop, Etsy, Ebay or other online retailers that sell retro snowsuits.

The suit should have full arm coverage and preferably be a one piece. This could work with a pant and jacket combo, but there is more potential for snow and water getting in the suit as you sled.

Choose a snow suit that fits your taste and size, your taste will need to angle towards the colorful and cheeseball side to fully appreciate the array of designs out there.

When you get a snow suit in your hands, you will be ready to move on to the next steps.

Notes on Fit

To ensure a decent fit, take measurements of the chest, waist and hip and add 4 inches.

Find the measurements on the listing, if they are close to your calculations, the suit is more likely to fit over your clothes and be comfortable to move in. A lot of sellers measure on the outside of the garment and when the clothes are laying flat, so the listed measurement of a waist of 30 inches, would be more like a 29.

Step 3: Seam Rip

You have the suit, let's get building!

In order to get in with the sewing machine, some seams need to be taken apart.

There will most likely be two layers to the snow suit, the outer fabric and the lining fabric. Both layers will need to be seam ripped.

Locate the side seam, that runs from armpit down to the ground, and the underarm seam that runs from the armpit to the wrist. Seam rip the outer and lining layer on both sides along these seams.

Step 4: Cut Shelving Liner

This sled suit focuses on the back of the suit, however I can see the sled material (liner) coming in handy placed elsewhere. On the palm of a glove, or on the front of the torso.

It's helpful to cut for one half of the suit, then use those pieces as the template for the other half. The only rule here is to leave a break in the liner where your body bends: the back of the knee, waist, around the shoulder, etc.

Starting at the bottom of a leg, mark how long the liner will need to be with some straight pins or chalk. Cut the liner to size width and length-wise. Rounding the edges of the liner pieces will add comfort when wearing the suit.

Step 5: Pin and Sew

The shelf liner is surprisingly soft, soft enough to pin through. Use medium to heavy weight pins, satin pins probably won't hold up. Be careful to only pin through outer layer. To make the suit easier to work with as it's sewn, start with one panel and keep adding from there.

Coming from the opened side and underarm seam sew down the panels using a walking foot machine. The heavy needles, thread are heavy enough to piece and stitch through the plastic and walking foot mechanism will make it very easy to sew over such thick material.

Keep adding pieces until they are all attached.

Step 6: Sew Some More

Now that the liner is stitched on, the seams that were ripped open need to be sewn back up. Turn the suit inside out and sew the outer fabric's seams back together. They can be accessed because of the opened lining seams.

When finished with the outer layer, the lining seams are all that are left. In order to sew these seams back together, the seam allowance will need to be facing towards the body, rather than facing the outer fabric, which is most likely how it was before it was taken apart.

Step 7: Get Out on the Slopes!

The sled suit is done and it's time to hit the slopes!



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23 Discussions


4 years ago on Introduction

For optimum safety and a super cool (cold even) sliding experience a suit of armour would probably be GREAT!! In fact, you might feel so safe you'd never take it off!


4 years ago on Step 3

yeah cool, i had this idea with a large recycled dog food bag, a super slippery one. I would put 2 pieces(or more?) of recycled carpet cut to exact size inside and reseal(not sure how yet? (glue tape or sew ?) yours reminded me of it thanks, mike


4 years ago on Introduction

Love it. What's life if you don't live it. To all those below and above worried about safety, don't you think life is a little too short to worry about something so trivial. The food you eat, the air you breath and the water you drink all pose risks that could endanger your life. Heck, the moment you walk out to get your mail from the mailbox you run the risk of getting hit by the mailman potentially texting while driving. Thank God that man didn't restrict themselves to these fears or we may have not made it past grunting at oneanother around the campfire.


4 years ago

Cool idea but very dangerous


4 years ago

Darwin Award is imminent; unless you'd like to end up paralyzed (or dead), don't try this! Seriously, you deserve what happens to you if you're dumb enough to "sled" in this suit. I understand that berating an instructable "author" is probably not acceptable; however, this is way too unsafe to ignore. Autodesk: for legal protection, it'd probably be in your best interest to just remove this.

7 replies

Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

I understand the logic you're presenting here but rocks are the least of my worries in a sled suit, generally speaking ice can be just as hard (or painful) as a rock and form a lot easier in frequently sledded hills. If this thing had a hard plating or something to that end to cover the flesh as much as possible it would ease up some of the issues to the other comments generally if you hit a rock on a sled you just fall over. (I live in one of the top ski destinations in the US Utah, and sledded a lot when I was young so I'm speaking from experience. I'd rather tip over on a sled through a rock usually doesn't cause this unless it's a really big one.

To the author he leggings sliding up isn't something you could avoid without maybe boots and a heel strap would help keep the legs from moving, but I'd still recommend some kind of under armor or exposed to cover the joints and back. Running down a hill even fresh snow always has bumps so there is some danger of injury. I would consider designing this with the same mindset as a skateboarder, or any high speed human body, you are giving greater surface area to your body that does allow for risk when it comes to injury but something like a hard shell carbon fiber underlay set in body forming plates would probably work better to atleast prevent scrapes and cuts and smooth out bumps. Plating wouldn't have to be custom to a body just broken into plates that cover the back arms and legs (and butt) etc but the back would have to be 3+ plates to give the user mobility. As someone who makes armor even cosmetic armor I can speak highly about mobility within hard shell armor.

As someone who is well versed in snow safety, I see nothing wrong with the sled suit. Someone below mentioned that going over a jagged rock could potentially injure the suit's user. I would imagine that whoever is using it is walking up a path similar, if not the path, as the descent. They should be able to clearly see the terrain they're sliding down. It's on the user to inspect whatever terrain they're going on. The suit itself is not inherently dangerous.

On top of that, the braking mechanism - your feet - would be applicable whether you're using a sled, toboggan, or this suit.

Using your logic, we had no need for seat belts or air bags in cars, since by paying enough attention you can avoid ALMOST all accidents... but, dude, that's not the way it works in the real world. Nor is everyone "well versed" in snow safety (especially kids! -easily the largest % of sledders)... and if you think this suit is even relatively safe, you sir are most definitely NOT well versed in snow safety.

Seat belts/air bags in cars and this sled suit are apples and oranges. When driving, you have to take into account the speed, location, road conditions, and the biggest and potentially most dangerous other factor: other drivers.

Having seen, responded to, and treated a multitude accidents on the snow, from minor scrapes to major/life threatening bodily trauma to yes, even death - and their respective causes - I think I'm in a decent position to say that sliding over a rock that is small enough to miss during the ascent of a sled ride with a slick suit isn't going to result in a Darwin Award. But hey, that's my own real life experience, whereas your hypothetical situation means this is "way too unsafe to ignore."


Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

How is this different from any of the other sled instructables? Injury/death is a risk you take on any "sled." At least she's wearing a "helmet."


Reply 4 years ago

A helmet will not protect your tailbone or back in the event you slide over a protruding rock. Typical sleds use a harder, more rigid plastic... that harder plastic will distribute any impact to it's underside "safely" and you'll only feel a bump; the sled may crack (depending on the impact), but buying a new sled is a cheaper price to pay than death.


Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

Normally, runners/hard plastic absorb the shock of uneven terrain and spreads it over the entire surface of the sled. Hypothetically, say someone discovers a hidden jaggy rock on the side of the hill they are sledding down.

Scenario one: Hard plastic or metal dish, the sled flips over.

Scenario two: A few mils of plastic stuck to your back, nasty cuts, broken stuff.


4 years ago on Introduction

Is snow going up the leg of the pants a problem? Can you tuck them into your boots or does the shelf liner make them too stiff?

1 reply

Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

It can be a problem, you can tuck in the cuffs of the pant legs, the shelf liner doesn't need to go all the way down. Some snow suits have really good liners with elastic around the ankles, which can help a lot.


4 years ago on Introduction

i'd do something about those cuffs if i were you. the way they are in the images, they make great ram scoops for snow.


4 years ago on Introduction

Great idea! Sir Earnest Shackleton could have used this on his rescue trip to South Georgia Island!

BTW, Maybe you could add friction patches at strategic places in the sleeves to help control the speed.

Haha, this is awesome. It reminds me of Dane Cook's sketch about slip 'n slides....more like slip 'n bleed :)