Household items to turn into DIY sleds, ranked

trash lid sled
The garbage can lid is still king of the DIY sleds, but if you can’t get one of those, there are some other options available to you. via Flickr user Michael Fleshman

The great end times snowstorm we’ve been fearing has come and gone, and you’ve got just one thing on your mind: survival at all costs. That and it’s finally time to do some damn sledding. You know where to do it, the better question is, how are you going to do it? Odds are you don’t own a sled, and it’s too miserable out there to trudge to a Sports Authority or other sporting goods store to get one. Look around you, though! You’ve got plenty of crap to use as fantastic sleds in and around your home. What should you drag out to that steep hill though?

Ew ew ew ew
Ew ew ew ew

10. Cat litter box

Yes, it’s physically possible to do this, and in some ways the kitty litter box is a good sled, with room to sit and a slick plastic surface on the bottom. On the other hand, good lord, the amount of washing you’d have to do to get rid of the smell and the knowledge that you’re sitting in a box that a cat shits in is so repellent we can only suggest this for the heartiest of cat people.


Not the recommended use, at all. But then, you've always been a risk taker
Not the recommended use, at all. But then, you’ve always been a risk taker

9. Dog carrier

Better than the cat box in the sense that you’re not in a litter box, but has risks of its own. Namely, the since there’s no room for you in the inside, you’re instead sitting on top and will probably be sent flying if you manage to get moving on it. Still, there’s a lot to be said for not sitting in a cat box.


What else is it doing in your house?
What else is it doing in your house?

8. Spare shelving

Hey, why not? Sometimes you’ve got an extra piece of shelf sitting around after you’ve put some in your closet and you’ve gotta do something with it aside from just shoving it in a corner and forgetting about it. It might be so heavy you can only use it on the slickest of hills and lacks steering capabilities, but for the true daredevil sledder, it could be a good time.


laundry basket sled
Looks great in a wipeout. via Flickr user Matt Hintsa

7. Laundry basket

Definitely will fit a human being, which is a positive. Definitely very very fragile, enough so that even if you try to do some steering you might crack it when you tug one way or the other. What the hell though, you care more about childlike glee right now and less about how you’re gonna transport your laundry in the event of a calamity.


Take out the stuff, add a human
Take out the stuff, add a human

6. Plastic container

If you have one that’s big enough, it’s similar to the cat box in size and shape, and it comes without the specter of those weird cat shit parasites sticking around for a ride. On the other hand, it’s not as if these things are built with the sturdiest plastics available to the world, so one hard crash and you might split your sled in half and be out of a valuable storage option. Still likely to be hardier than a laundry basket though.


air mattress sled
You could ride it un-inflated but where’s the fun in that? via Flickr user gahoward

5. Air mattress

Obviously don’t do this if you’re the one who currently needs it to sleep on, in case you somehow break it. If you’re lucky enough to live close enough to a local sledding spot that bringing a blown-up air mattress isn’t a huge burden, then go for it. After all, it’s got a slick bottom that should do well going downhill and you can get more than one person on it at a time. Just be careful not to bowl over your fellow sledders if you’re using a Queen-sized or above, since you’re taking up more space than usual.


cafeteria tray sled
Small, but packs a punch. via Flickr user Megan Squire

4. Cafeteria tray

Ah, now we’re talking. The plastic cafeteria tray is a great traditional sled replacement. The only problem is that if you don’t go to college, you might find it difficult to acquire a cafeteria tray. Now is the time to hit up that intern from your office who goes to NYU or Columbia or Hunter, the one who look up to you for some reason and invite him to Brooklyn for a cool older person hangout. College kids are dumb, they’ll fall for this.


You don't bake much anyway.
You don’t bake much anyway.

3. Baking sheet

You might not have a cafeteria tray, but you presumably have some metal trays you use in your oven because you’re allegedly an adult. A baking sheet is probably going to be a bit of challenge to sit on as you fly down a hill, but it’s also metal and can be sprayed down with Pam on the underside to get extra slick and build up speed. Just don’t wrap it around a tree, because your roommates might get pissed when they learn that’s how the baking sheet went missing.


boogie board sled
WHEEEEE. via Flickr user MabyCakes

2Boogie board

Your boogie board usually takes the winter off, just loafing around your apartment like some kinda lazybones. Put it to work by having it zip you down a steep hill at incredible speeds. The boogie board is larger than and has better steering than a baking sheet or cafeteria tray, which makes lying down on your belly to sled a less risky option. Still, sometimes you don’t want to careen face-first down a hill, which is where our old standby champion comes in.

1. Garbage can lid

Ah, the king of kings when it comes to DIY sleds. In the suburbs, these are easy to come by because almost everyone is a property owner and therefore you can just just snag you own garbage can lid for the day. In New York though, we don’t own our own garbage cans, the landlord does. And, because they don’t want you going off sledding with it, the lid is probably chained to the garbage can itself. If yours isn’t though, you’ve got a slick, maneuverable, human-sized vessel with which to fly down hills. Just don’t ever let your landlord find out you did this.

Additional sled suggestions by Conal Darcy and Tim Donnelly

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