How to Dress for Snow Tubing to Stay Warm and Comfortable

A group of friends having fun snow tubing.

It’s tempting to drink a cup of hot chocolate and stay inside all winter, but you have to admit nothing beats the thrill of sliding down a snowy slope. Before you head to your favorite snow tubing hill, however, it’s imperative that you learn what to wear for snow tubing.

Dressing up for snow tubing involves more than just putting on a warm hat and some cozy gloves. Snow tubing means you’ll be making constant contact with the snow, so it’s important to keep warm and comfortable throughout your tubing session.

Wearing everything from a base layer to a neck gaiter can help reduce your chances of catching hypothermia. If you want to make the most of your day in the snow, read on to find out how to dress appropriately for snow tubing.

Base Layer

Thermal Underwear Women Ultra-Soft Long Johns Set Base Layer Skiing Winter Warm Top & Bottom Black
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The base layer is made up of all the clothes you’ll feel directly on your skin. They shouldn’t be too heavy or thick. In fact, they should be quite lightweight and capable of wicking moisture off your skin. 

Everyone sweats after a lot of physical activity, and that’s true even when we’re surrounded by snow. Imagine pulling a snow tube (or several, if you have kids!) up and around a tubing hill. Now, imagine doing that for several tubing sessions. What a workout!

Use underwear, leggings, socks, and a long-sleeved shirt made of polyester, polypropylene, or wool fabric for a thermal base layer. Even synthetic blends might do the trick! Just don’t wear cotton because it’ll leave you wet from sweat.

A good base layer will keep you insulated and moisture-free.

Warming or Mid-Layer

Amazon Essentials Women's Fleece Lined Pullover Hoodie Anorak, Light Grey Spacedye, Medium
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While the base layer is already meant to keep you warm, the warming layer keeps you even warmer. You probably already use a lot of “warming layer” clothing on non-snowy days! Think heavy material like fleece, down, and wool.

You can wear a fleece sweater over your polypropylene long-sleeved shirt or even just a down vest over your thermal base. It might be a hassle to put on indoors, but it won’t be fun if you underestimate the cold.

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Also, don’t forget about your legs! Your bottom half needs extra warming too, This could come in the form of thermal leggings.

Waterproof or Outer Layer

HOW'ON Men's Snow Jacket Windproof Waterproof Ski Jackets Winter Hooded Mountain Fleece Outwear Army Green S
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Snow is made of water, so a waterproof layer is a must for fun winter activities. This layer prevents moisture from making its way to your skin. It also acts as the body’s first defense against the cold.

For this layer, a waterproof or snow jacket paired with snow pants should do. Even waterproof jackets and pants can be lined with fleece, providing incredible warmth.

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When picking snow pants, choose a pair that cinches at the ankles to protect your feet and the rest of your legs. If there aren’t any stores selling snow pants near you, wear several pants layers: leggings first, then jeans or sweatpants, then nylon exercise pants.

Hats, Shades, and Scarves

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While waterproof jackets can protect your head from the wind, you’ll need a winter hat to keep it warm. Your neck should also be covered, but it’s best to avoid wearing long scarves because they can lead to injury. A good alternative would be a neck gaiter, which can also keep a tight hold on the lower half of the face, including the ears.

The upper half of the face doesn’t need to be left exposed either! A pair of sunglasses can protect your eyes not only from UVA and UVB light, but also from dirt and snow. If you’re afraid of them falling, you can also opt to use goggles.

Are helmets necessary when snow tubing?

Giro Ledge Snow Helmet - Matte Black - Size M (55.5–59 cm) (2021)
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Most parents have their kids wear helmets while tubing, but helmets can and should be used by everyone regardless of age. Helmets prevent the occurrence of head trauma. Helmet use can reduce the chance of head injury by around 50%, which is why many snow parks require guests to wear them.

A helmet might not keep your head warm, but it’ll definitely protect it. It’s worth buying your own or getting one from the tubing rental. Though it isn’t ideal, you could also wear whatever helmet you have as a last resort.

Gloves, Socks, and Shoes

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Of course, when playing in snow, we should always be mindful of our hands and feet. The fingertips and toes are some of the first body parts affected by frostbite.

Invest in some waterproof mittens or gloves, which are useful even after the tubing session is over. Snowball fights are bound to happen! When buying gloves, look for waterproof options first then choose which ones are most breathable. 

Snow boots are also a must when tubing. Go for high snow boots if you want heavy-duty protection, but low boots aren’t a bad choice.

Waterproof shoes could work, too, though they offer less traction. The best shoes for winter activities are still those with quality wool lining to keep the feet warm and comfy. If your shoes aren’t insulated, wool or thermal socks will function the same way.

Bring a bag of extra clothes

A bag full of winter clothes.

Whether or not you’re tubing with kids, it’d be wise to bring some clothes you and your family can change into. Snow can find its way under your waterproof jacket and melt. Or your base layer might already be soaked in sweat!

After a tubing run or an hour or so at the snow tubing park, you might want to change into some dry thermals. This is especially necessary if you aren’t tubing near your home. A change of clothes might even inspire the family to go for another tubing session!

Why wear layers

A woman in full winter clothes out in the cold weather.

No, you won’t look clunky wearing three layers on a snow hill. You’ll be warm, comfy, and protected from wind, snow, and injury. Besides, you can always shed one layer if you feel too hot, and you can always add more layers if you feel too cold.

Snow tubing is a fun winter activity. We hope this guide will help keep you and your family warm, dry, and enjoying yourselves longer!

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