To decide if a trampoline can stay out in winter, you have to consider how much of a winter do you have. If you have a mild winter, then your trampoline can stay out all year round. If your winter is moderate, you might just protect the trampoline with a cover. On the other hand, if your winter is severe, with deep snow and big winds, you’ll want to dissemble the trampoline and store until spring.
Ah, the changing of the seasons, the beautiful colors of fall, the first flurry of snow, and a sinking feeling when you realize you haven’t winterized your yard enough! You’ll look out your window and see the trampoline turn white, and come to the sinking realization that you’ll need to be out there kneeling in it pretty soon.
Why is winter (and snow) bad for trampolines?
Most trampolines can easily deal with a light fall of snow that you regularly brush off. It can even be fun to bounce in. Heavier snow can cause damage by permanently stretching the steel springs.
Other winter damage can come from blizzard style winds. This can cause a trampoline to fly around the yard causing damage to property and itself.
Depending on where you live, and how sheltered your trampoline is in your yard, you might find that your trampoline is subjected to a smattering of snow or a heavy downpour.
The thing is, snow looks light, but if it piles up, it can weigh a lot. And it depends on what type of snow it is. Whilst one cubic foot of light and fluffy snow weighs around 7 pounds, compacted wet snow might weigh as much as 20 pounds per cubic foot.
In the worst scenario, if you have a 15ft round trampoline, your mat is probably around 14ft in diameter. This gives around 154 square feet of mat area. If you have wet compacted snow of a foot deep, at 20 pounds per cubic foot, this is over 3,080 pounds of snow just resting on your trampoline mat. This is over 1.5 tons!
You won’t have much snow under the mat to support it from the bottom either. When it snows, the snow is going to land on top of the mat. This will just be dead weight on the mat dragging it down.
If that much weight just sits on the trampoline for a couple of months, there’s likely to be some strain on the springs. It’s definitely not going to help the trampoline! It can even cause the trampoline to break, see below!
Quality does matter here. Some springs are more robust than others. If you are in a heavy snowfall zone, do be sure to investigate this further before purchasing.
If you have a moderate to heavy winter, you’ll want to winterize your trampoline. This means getting it ready for snow season. You’ll have years more use out of it.
How to winterize your trampoline for a moderate winter
For a moderate winter, and you know you’ll be able to attend to the trampoline on a regular basis, following these few steps means that you’ll have years more enjoyment from your trampoline.
- Take the pads off the trampoline. These pads are most likely to get wet and then grow mildew and mold. The snow will fall and melt at the start and end of the winter season, giving the potential to become soggy.
- Clean the mat. This ensures that there’s no acidic organic matter (read bird, bat or insect droppings) that might eat away at the mat over time. You can use regular dishwashing liquid, such as Fairy, or even carwash liquid. You just want a mild detergent. Give light scrubbing circles with a gentle brush or scourer. Don’t use a steel brush or steel wool as it may damage the mat. Hose off all of the suds and rinse it clean.
- Move the trampoline to a sheltered part of the yard. You might even have a garage or barn big enough to store it, but find any place out of the wind is ideal. Trampolines can really cause some damage if they start flying through the air!
- Anchor the trampoline to the ground using an anchor kit. This will help the trampoline stay stable even when it’s windy.
- When snow falls, brush it off daily so that the snow doesn’t get a chance to build up. A snowblower can get too hot and melt the trampoline mat. And the corners and edge of a snow shovel can damage the mat. You want to use a soft broom or brush.
Never store a trampoline sideways in winter.
Whilst it will stop snow building up on the mat, it is now much more likely to become a wind missile, and blow around your yard and cause untold damage. I’ve seen videos of trampolines flying over chicken coops and garages – they can really get the speed up. The trampoline itself is also likely to be permanently damaged as the frame can bend depending on what it hits.
Don’t bury the legs in soil or gravel.
It feels like it would be a good idea, but it’s not. You don’t want to bury the legs of the trampoline if there’s any chance that someone will bounce on it. The legs need to be able to flex and absorb the energy.
How to winterize your trampoline for a harsh and severe winter
If you live in an area that gets heavy snow and/or driving winds, you’ll need to take your winter preparations up a step.
The best winterization for severe winters is to dismantle the trampoline and pack it away. If it’s too cold outside to spend more than a couple of minutes out there, you do not want to be on your trampoline every day brushing off last night’s snow. And if you get gale force winds, there’s only so much that an anchor kit can do.
For you, we just need to accept that packing the trampoline away for the winter is the best and safest thing to do.
Can a cover help protect my trampoline in winter?
If used correctly, a cover can help protect your trampoline, and extend the life of the trampoline.
In summer, they can be used to protect the trampoline mat against harsh UV sunlight that can deteriorate the mat. In winter, if you have trees overhead, they can protect against acidic sap or bird matter, or even decaying leaves and berries that might land on the mat.
The cover will also protect the padding over the springs from rain and frost. You will need to make sure the underside of the cover and the padding over the springs dries out. The pads do have a tendency to mildew if not dry.
There are a few types of trampoline covers that you can put on leaving in the poles and mesh in place. However, depending on the type of trampoline you have, you’ll probably have to take down the enclosure net. Some protective covers even have a small drain hole in the center to help clear any pooled water.
NOTE: A cover won’t protect you from the weight of snow, as the snow will just sit (quite nicely!) on top of the mat.
In mild climates, you may be able to leave your trampoline outside all winter. You can just brush off any snow as it falls and anchor your trampoline firmly into the ground. However, if you get a lot of snow or strong winds, you’ll want to dismantle your trampoline to protect it and extend its life.