We consistantly get this question every season and figured to set the record straight. It's relatively simple too, here's the quick math.
- Sled: 600 lbs (with gas)
- Trailer: 400 lbs (conservative)
- Gear: 80 lbs
Now what car can tow 1,100 pounds? Pretty much all of them actually and all you have to be aware of is 'tongue weight' of a trailer. Tongue weight is measured by the amount of weight the trailer places on the vehicle when hitched. Every trailer needs tongue weight and you want to shoot for about 100 lbs or so; if you don't have tongue weight then your trailer will bounce off the ball; an extremely bad situation which can actually be very damaging for anyone involved.
A larger truck can handle up to 750 lbs of tongue weight and even a Tacoma can handle about 300-500 lbs depending on the model. However a single axle trailer should be moderately easy to pick up at the tongue and hitch up as a gauge for weight.
Back to cars though, any car these days can handle 1,100 pounds of towing and you're hyped because you save the cost of a big ass truck AND you're still getting out there. Depending on the vehicle, you could even tow 2 sleds on a trailer with a friend; something we personally did with a Volvo Wagon for years.
The only complexity you run into is access capability, specifically in the Northwest. We have very low valleys with pretty sharp cut offs for snow line given the moderate climate. Basically what that means is, you have to climb way up on a forest road to reach snow. In between that there could be wash outs and land slides which is only where the sled deck and truck really save the day. Otherwise, the moment you hit 3" of snow, you should be unloading your sled!
Traveling in 3" or more in a truck is useless. You can cover that ground 6x faster on a sled; it is simply more efficient.
If you're worried about turning it around, don't be. You can turn a 1 place sled trailer around yourself and re-hitch it after the car gets pointed in the right direction. A 2-place may be a little tougher but still manageable alone. Technically you always have a friend to help you cause you shouldn't be riding snowmobiles alone in the mountains!
Hopefully this article helps dissolve the misconceptions related to what's required to go snowmobiling. It's about getting out there and trust me; we all had ghetto ass sedans towing our even crappier sleds to the mountain.
Everyone starts somewhere and who cares what other people think. Just go do it!