Snobunjes have been around for about 10 years to help sledders across the Snowbelt from Washington to Maine free their stuck snowmobiles. We normally test and review only new products, but until last winter I’d never used a Snobunje. And after hearing from friends how “amazingly well” they work to help free a stuck sled, I figured I’d better get a Snobunje Rattler ($69.95) to use on my trip to The Snowies in Wyoming last March.
A foot-and-a-half of snow fell the day before we arrived, and it didn’t take long for it to produce a stuck sled. After a quick lesson from my buddies about how to use a Snobunje, I hooked it to a ski of the augered-in machine, took a few steps back to stretch the four elastic cords and leaned back while facing the sled. With my weight pulling on the machine, the driver eased into the throttle and the sled popped out — no sweat! — while the other two riders in my group watched. Without the Snobunje, we all would have been involved to get the sled out — digging, pushing and pulling.
Pulling with a Snobunje doesn’t move the sled; that’s the track’s job. The tool works because it reduces the amount of weight that the track needs to move so it can hook-up and drive out of a hole. Snobunjes use strong stretch cords bundled inside a corrugated tube with a hook on one end and a large handle on the other. It takes advantage of the force a person produces to pull out a stuck sled. When used properly, a person can apply pulling force over a 4-foot distance, which is much farther than pulling by hand.
Snobunje makes another model — the Cobra ($79.95) — that uses the pulling power of another snowmobile rather than a person. The Cobra is longer and produces up to 400 pounds of pulling force, according to Snobunje. If you’re going to ride where sleds are likely to get stuck, take a Snobunje with you to save muscles, energy and daylight for riding rather using them to dig, push and pull. I used my Snobunje many times during that trip and I’m completely sold on the concept. I won’t head into the backcountry without one ever again.
— Andy Swanson