Things to Use to Go Sledding Without a Sled

What Is a Sled?

You must first comprehend the idea behind a sled in order to know how to construct one. A sled is a kind of miniature vehicle that is made to support the weight of a person and slide through snowy terrain without collapsing.

With this definition, practically everything that fits the criteria is acceptable. Sleds may cost up to $70 for a simple, no-frills model that is just big enough for children, so some prefer to build their own. For adults, the price of high-end alternatives might reach about $500.

Every time it starts snowing heavily outside, you know it calls for awesome sledding the next morning. The winter weather isn’t just an excuse to binge-watch your favorite shows while eating soup or hot cocoa; it offers an exciting opportunity to embrace the blizzards fully. However, outdoor winter activities like snowboarding and skiing can be expensive because of their gear.

And among the many fun snow activities come sledding. No sled? No problem! This is the one winter activity that you and your kids can do for free, even if you don’t have any gear (along with building a snowman). Sure, you can buy a sled, but you can still go back to your childhood roots. Remember when all that mattered was who can go down a hill the fastest without wiping out? You can still do it now and let your kids have this experience, instead of just letting them sit indoors in front of their gadgets. Here are some things to use so you can go sledding without a sled:

Garbage can lid

Garbage can lids are the king when it comes to DIY sleds. In the suburbs, this can be easy to come by because almost everyone in the block owns this. But as a courtesy to the neighbors, please use your garbage can lid. This kind of lid as a sled is easily maneuverable can contain even adults, and can fly down the hills. Depending on how hard you hit, you may need a hammer to tamp the lid back to a decent shape.

Cafeteria trays

The plastic cafeteria tray in your lunchroom is a great sled replacement. The only problem is that if you don’t go to high school or college anymore, you may find it challenging to get a cafeteria tray. But think about it – these hard plastic trays are perfect. Given the abuse that these trays go through the course of their lives and the unimpressive food served on these trays, using it for fun at snow can be therapeutic for you and the cafeteria tray.

Baking tray

You may not have cafeteria trays, but as a mom, you may have some large metal trays that you use with your oven. A baking tray can be a bit of a challenge to sit on as you slide down a hill, but it’s metal so it can be sprayed on with a cooking spray on the underside to make it speedier.

Boogie board

This board usually takes time off during the winter, stored in the garage, accumulating dust. But you can put it to work during winter by having it zip you down a steep hill at high speeds. It’s larger and has a better steering ability than a lid, a baking tray, or a cafeteria tray. However, you may not want to go down face first in a hill.


A large piece of cardboard works great as a free, DIY sled. Take out those Amazon boxes sitting in your garage and make a sled out of it. It’s fairly durable for afternoon sledding, and it’s something you won’t be upset with ruining. With a bit of duct tape and trash bags, you can transform it into a useful sled. If the snow is soft, you can bend the front up a little, so it won’t get stuck as you slide down the snowy hill.

Laundry basket

A laundry basket can fit a human being, which is a good thing. A laundry basket is fragile, so it’s a better bet for your kids between three to five years old. It’s surprisingly versatile, though it’s not all that fast, and if you try to do some steering, it may crack. But still, it will be so much fun for your little ones.

Plastic bin

We all have at least one of them at home filled with random stuff. Empty it temporarily for your mini outdoor adventure. Choose one that’s big enough to fit a person. Plastic bins are durable for storage, but not built with the sturdiest plastic to be unbreakable for sledding. One hard crash and you may split it in half, but it’s still more durable than a laundry basket.

Plastic bin lid

 If you can’t fit in the plastic bin anymore, at least sit on the cover.

Outdoor cushions

Yes, you can also use a soft item for sledding. Use outdoor cushions with a cover made of stronger material than your typical bedroom or living room cushion. Grab one from your patio set, throw it in a hefty bag, and prepare for a fun and fast ride. This works well because the stuffing inside makes bumps a little less severe for your kids.

Baby pool

blow up baby pool

For whole family fun, use your baby pool at home. An inflatable pool that has been worn out or will never be used again due to some minor damages is the best candidate to use for sledding. It is because you have to turn it inside out (because the inner side is smoother), especially when the snow is soft. The baby pool can accommodate a family, which is great if you also want to sled with your kids.

A mattress

Obviously, you don’t want to use the mattress someone is currently using to sleep on. But if you have an air mattress, you are willing to risk for fun, then go ahead. It can work as a makeshift inflatable sled. After all, it goes well downhill, and you can use it to get more than one person at a time.

Old tarpaulin

A tarp works best as a sled for icy, hard snow, as it can push you faster down a hill. You can’t use it in soft snow because it will only get bogged down. If you don’t have an old tarp, you may also want to use an old trash bag instead.

Cat litter box

Given that it’s clean, a kitty litter box can be a good sled. It offers room to sit on, and a slick plastic surface on the bottom. However, if it’s already used, the amount of washing you’d have to do to get rid of the smell knowing that this is where the cat relieves itself can be a repellant thought. This is only advisable for people who are comfortable with getting their hands dirty.

Dog carrier

It can be better than a cat litter box because you will not be sitting on a spot where the cat pees and defecates on. Also, it’s super durable. But still, it comes with risks. Since you or your kid won’t fit outside, the rider will be sitting on top and may be sent flying if you manage to continue moving on it.

An old door or spare shelving

Do you have a detached door or an extra piece of shelf sitting in your garage or basement? Make it useful by using it as a sled. Just loosen a few screws and hardware, and it will be ready to go. It may be heavy, so use it only on slick hills.

Office chair mat

If you have an office chair mat that is smooth on one side and doesn’t have the pokey pikes, use it – they can be used as a sled in a pinch.

Cupcake trays and baking sheets

Do you bake frequently? Grab your kitchen’s largest metal baking or cookie sheet, then head outside to the snow. Want to ensure that your sled slides down the slope quickly? To coat the bottom of the pans, try bringing along some cooking spray or grease from your kitchen.

family sledding with their kids image

Insert tube and pool floats

Keeping with the aquatic theme, inflatable inner tubes and other types of water floats (imagine the flat types you’d use in a pool) may make excellent sleds. Simply be mindful of pebbles, twigs, and other items that could puncture the floats, or keep a repair kit close at hand. If you ride the hill in an inner tube shaped like a flamingo, unicorn, or any amusing animal, you get bonus points.

Mats used for workouts and yoga

If you have a mat that you use for working out or for yoga, you may try using it as a sled for the day.

kids playing in the snow image

Skis or snowboards

The likelihood is that if you do not have a sled, you also do not have a snowboard or skis, however, you may. Although we cannot guarantee that the mountains in the Triangle will be as adventurous as well-known ski destinations, it could be entertaining to give it a shot.

Bathroom seat

Although a News & Observer from 2010 shows some Raleigh homeowners using toilet seats to sled down a snowy driveway, we do not advise ripping apart your home only to locate a sled.

Heavy-Duty Trash Bags

This choice has been used for sledding by many individuals, and you ought to place it first on your list as well. All you need are the same rubbish bags that landscaping businesses and contractors use. Since the bag is made of plastic, it will easily glide over the snow.

Additionally, it is quite simple to use. All you have to do is roll up to your midsection, put on some of the bags with your legs inside, and wear proper protective clothing. up a hill, then descend.

Other small boats include kayaks

If you prefer to cruise down one of North Carolina’s numerous rivers, perhaps you have a kayak or other small boat available. You might have a lot of fun paddling if you replaced the usual flowing waters with snow. 

Vinyl Curtains

Do you have any old vinyl curtains in storage somewhere? Without a sled, just cut it into two substantial but linked pieces, climb on, and begin sliding. While sledding, you will need to grasp two “extensions” you have cut out in order to maintain control of the sled and prevent falling off.

Inflatable Toys

You may use some of the pool toys you have laying around as a sled. Simply inflate the toys to the top and climb on.

Toys that float in water are made of a mix of materials that also allows them to hold weight and glide on snow with ease. However, given there is always a chance of harm, you should only use toys you can quickly replace.

woman holding sled while standing on snow image

Safety Tips: Sledding

One of the few wintertime outdoor activities that both kids and adults may enjoy is sledding. It might be simple to overlook how hazardous sledding can be with all the fun and excitement involved. It is crucial to bear in mind that hundreds of kids experience sledding-related injuries every year, and there are some simple safety precautions to follow.

Common injuries from sledding

  • The most frequent sledding injuries are bruises, cuts, and broken bones
  • Children aged 6 and under frequently get head and neck traumas

Getting Ready to Sled

  • Make sure everything is in working order. Do not sled on surfaces with protruding edges or fissures
  • Make sure kids are prepared for the winter by dressing them in gloves, hats, and boots
  • In order to avoid brain injuries, encourage young children to wear helmets. Fitted bicycle helmets, multi-sport helmets, and sports helmets are all good choices

Tips for Sledding Safety

  • When using a sled hill, kids under the age of 12 should never be left unsupervised
  • Sledding should be avoided near trees, fences, or light posts
  • Always descend a slope in sled feet first. Never sled while facing the other direction or on your stomach
  • Do not pack the sled too full. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for your sled’s weight capacity and suggested passenger count
  • Never sled on a public road or in the street
  • Never ride a sled that is being towed by an automobile, an ATV, a snowmobile, or any other motorized vehicle
  • Driveways, slopes, and hills that finish in a roadway, parking lot, drop-off, river, or pond should not be used for sledding
  • Use a tube only in areas approved for it, which are frequently found at ski resorts. When there is not enough free space, tubes can be very hazardous and difficult to navigate.


As long as you can locate any plastic materials that can support some weight laying around, making your own sled is fairly easy. To be safe while having fun, you should take all the essential safety precautions and never use anything you do not want to harm.

With small children, some of the homemade sled ideas are inappropriate, while others are challenging to regulate. Therefore, when out in the snow with your kids, stay away from areas with very steep slopes or those near trees and only employ alternatives that let you maintain control.