Toboggan vs. Sled

By Jaxson

  • Toboggan

    A toboggan is a simple sled which is a traditional form of transport used by the Innu and Cree of northern Canada.

    In modern times, it is used on snow to carry one or more people (often children) down a hill or other slope for recreation. Designs vary from simple, traditional models to modern engineered composites. A toboggan differs from most sleds or sleighs in that it has no runners or skis (or only low ones) on the underside. The bottom of a toboggan rides directly on the snow. Some parks include designated toboggan hills where ordinary sleds are not allowed and which may include toboggan runs similar to bobsleigh courses.

    Toboggans can vary depending on the climate and geographical region. Such examples are Tangalooma (Australia) where Toboggans are made from Masonite boards and used for travelling down steep sand dunes at speeds up to 40km per hour.

  • Sled

    A sled, sledge, or sleigh is a land vehicle with a smooth underside or possessing a separate body supported by two or more smooth, relatively narrow, longitudinal runners that travels by sliding across a surface. Most commonly sleds are used on snow or ice, but in certain cases they may be used on any surfaces, especially on ones with relatively low friction, such as sand or wet grass. They may be used to transport passengers, cargo, or both. Shades of meaning differentiating the three terms often reflect regional variations depending on historical uses and prevailing climate.

    In Britain sledge is the general term, and more common than sled. Toboggan is sometimes used synonymously with sledge but more often to refer to a particular type of sledge without runners. Sleigh refers to a moderate to large-sized, usually open-topped vehicle to carry passengers or goods, and typically drawn by horses or dogs. In Scandinavia particularly a sleigh may also be drawn by reindeer, as for Father Christmas.

    In American usage sled remains the general term but often implies a smaller device, often for recreational use. Sledge implies a heavier sled used for moving freight or massive objects (syn. “stone boat”). Sleigh refers more specifically than in Britain to a vehicle which is essentially a cold-season alternative to a carriage or wagon and has seating for passengers; what can be called a dog-sleigh in Britain is known only as a dog-sled in North America.

    In Australia, where there is limited snow, sleigh and sledge are given equal preference in local parlance.

  • Toboggan (noun)

    A long sled without runners, with the front end curled upwards, which may be pulled across snow by a cord or used to coast down hills.

  • Toboggan (noun)

    A similar sled of wood, pulled by dogs, possibly with steel runners, made to transport cargo.

  • Toboggan (noun)

    Something which, once it starts going (figuratively) downhill, is unstoppable until it reaches the bottom.

  • Toboggan (noun)

    A knit cap, designed to provide warmth in cold weather.

  • Toboggan (verb)

    To slide down a hill on a toboggan or other object.

  • Toboggan (verb)

    To figuratively go downhill unstoppably until one reaches the bottom.

  • Sled (noun)

    A small, light vehicle with runners, used, mostly by young persons, for sliding on snow or ice. A “sled” in this sense is not pulled by an animal as a “sleigh” is.

    “The child zoomed down the hill on his sled.”

  • Sled (noun)

    A vehicle on runners, used for conveying loads over the snow or ice. contrast “sleigh”, which is larger

    “”Mush!” he yelled at the dogs pulling the sled.”

  • Sled (noun)

    A snowmobile.

  • Sled (verb)

    To ride a sled.


Toboggan Illustrations

Sled Illustrations


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