Sledding on sand dunes is one of the most popular recreational activities on sand dunes, next to sandboarding. It consists of either lying on a piece of board face down or sitting on it while gliding down a sand dune. Sleds and toboggans for beach and desert dunes are built with a harder based where wax can be applied to reduce friction with sand.
What to use for sand sledding?
Sand Sledding Board
A sand dune sled (also known as sand toboggan in Australia, or as bumsled in the UAE and Southern Africa) is essentially a shorter, wider sandboard meant for sitting or lying down on your belly. The board is generally made of a hardwood deck with a laminated base meant for waxing. Sandsleds can then be equipped with a seating pad for extra comfort or hand grips for higher stability and maneuverability while gliding. Most commercial sand sleds come in two sizes – for kids and for adults. You can also make your own sandsled at home, out of a ply wood deck or by repurposing another type of board.
Sand Sled Wax
Sandboard wax needs to be applied to the base of your sled before every ride to ensure smooth sliding on sand. This type of wax is different from those you would use for surfing because they need to withstand higher temperatures without melting. It basically provides an additional protection layer between your sled and the terrain, which repels sand particles both making your ride faster and protecting your board from damage. Check out the best wax for sand sledding or how to make your own sand wax.
Sand sledding tips
Sand sledding is a very safe and family-friendly activity. In most locations that offer sled rental you will also receive local instructions. There are few things that you should keep in mind when going sand sledding:
- Check the terrain and environmental conditions. High humidity and wet sand will make your ride more difficult.
- Hit the dunes at dawn or dusk. Especially in desert locations, the sand can get REALLY hot during the warmest hours of the day.
- Wax small, but often. You only need to apply a little bit of wax before you descend – but you need to re-apply the wax after every ride for best results.
- Wear appropriate clothing. What to wear when sand sledding depends on your location: barefoot is okay at the beach, but closed shoes with socks are best for the desert or when the sand gets very hot.
- Protect your eyes and mouth. Sunglasses, eye goggles and a bandana or scarf around your neck are never a bad idea, especially with very steep dunes. Sand gets everywhere!
- Leave your valuables. Keep your phone and wallet somewhere safe while sledding. You can wear a fanny pack or leave them in your car – just make sure your pockets are empty.
- Don’t forget sunscreen, snacks and water! You will likely spend a few hours in a sunny, warm location while hiking up and down sand dunes. Stay hydrated and protect your skin.