There are many reasons why you might want to take a backpack out with you when you hit the slopes, maybe you’ve got young kids that will need food and drink or maybe you just need somewhere to store that extra pair of gloves. Whatever the reason, you may be wondering if it’s possible to take a backpack when you go snowboarding.
You can snowboard with a backpack and it allows you to carry useful items such as food, drink, and sunscreen. It is recommended to remove your backpack before riding lifts and to keep it in front of you on your lap, this will prevent the straps from catching on something.
This article will look at the advantages and disadvantages of snowboarding with a backpack. If you’re unsure whether or not to wear one, you’ve come to the right place.
Why Snowboard With a Backpack
A backpack whilst snowboarding can be a good idea for a number of reasons and by having certain items to hand at all times it can make life that little bit easier.
While snowboarding, its important to drink water before, during, and after your time on the mountain. Having a backpack allows plenty of storage for drinks to ensure you stay topped up with fluids.
The importance of staying properly hydrated whilst on mountain can’t be underestimated, it ensures our organs perform at their highest ability, our brain functions are optimal, and our muscles and joints are working to the best of their ability. For those that suffer from altitude sickness, hydration can play an important role to prevent feeling lightheaded and out of breath.
Before purchasing a backpack, check to see if its hydration compatible. This will allow you to add a bladder complete with a hydration line, this means you can take occasional sips as you go instead of chugging a whole bottle before you head out. If you plan on riding in sub-zero temperatures, check that the hydration line is insulated, otherwise, it will freeze.
When your out riding you’re going to be burning a lot of calories, anywhere between 200-600 calories an hour, and so it’s important to keep those energy levels up.
Packing small snacks can provide a much-needed energy boost and tide you over until your next meal, anything from a snickers bar to a granola bar will do the job.
Packing a small meal can also be a good idea. This will save you from having to join long lines at the lodge cafeteria and can also save you a small fortune over the cost of a holiday.
If you plan on riding anywhere outside of the operation of lifts then a backpack is essential. Most backpacks will have straps and clips for ice picks, shovels, spots for avalanche probes, and lots of room for extra clothing, food, and any additional safety items.
Another added benefit is the straps for attaching your snowboard to for when your hiking.
Carrying your snowboard with your arms restricts your movement and is more tiring. By taking the weight onto your back it allows the free movement of your arms and legs so you can focus solely on traversing.
Provisions For Kids
If you’re a parent and snowboarding with young children, a backpack is your magic bag that can produce an energy-boosting snack, a fresh pair of socks, or even just a drink of water.
Anything you can think of the little whippersnappers might need, it goes in the bag (within reason of course) and this ensures everyone has a great day.
Nothing is worse than having hungry, cold children that want to go home, and on the other hand, nothing is better than seeing their eyes light up when you produce a kid balaclava and a tasty snack and they realize they’re going to be okay.
Snowboard Backpack Essentials
Resort Map: Be sure to pick yourself up a map of the resort at the lodge before heading out. Key points of interest will be listed on here, such as slopes, lifts, restaurants, first aid stations, restrooms and lodging.
Cellphone: In case of an emergency its a good idea to keep this with you, ensure its in a waterproof and shockproof case so it doesn’t get damaged. It’s also great for capturing those epic panoramic photos whilst on top of a mountain.
Gloves: Its always good to have a spare pair of gloves especially in rainy conditions.
Water: As previously mentioned staying hydrated is important, look out for hydration compatible backpacks.
Sunglasses: Its good to give yourself a break from goggles when your descending the slopes, and when you do be sure to keep those eyes protected from UV rays.
Extra Layers: If the temperature drops, you’ll be glad you packed that extra fleece.
Sunscreen: Always wear sunscreen to prevent damage to your skin, even in cloudy conditions its important to wear and regularly reapply it.
Balaclava or Beanie: We lose most of our heat through our heads so when your heading to and from the lodge, throw on one of these to keep you warm.
First Aid Kit: If you’re going backcountry riding then having some basics first aid kit is a must e.g. emergency whistle, blister kit, band-aids, gauze, ibuprofen (if muscles get sore).
Snacks: Keep those energy levels topped up and bring along a bar of snickers or two.
Hand Warmers: Chuck a couple of these in your bag in case your hands get cold and they’ll certainly put a smile on your face.
Lip Balm: Having this on hand can help protect your lips from the elements.
Beer: Okay, maybe this ones not essential but there’s something incredibly refreshing about having a cold one up a mountain.
Disadvantages of Snowboarding With a Backpack
The downside to snowboarding with a backpack is having the actual sensation of something being on your back. Its an added weight and you will have to carry it around with you everywhere you go.
It won’t make much difference in terms of restricting your movement, but, it is there, and let’s face it, it feels much nicer not having it on.
To novice snowboarders, it can feel a little awkward at first and might take some time to get used to.
There have been some high profile incidents of people getting their backpacks caught in chairlifts however these are a rare occurrence and can be avoided by removing the bag before getting on the lift and putting it in front of you on your lap, ensuring there are no flailing straps.
Choosing the Right Backpack For Snowboarding
If your planning on wearing a backpack all day on the slopes then you’ll want to make sure you get something that ticks the following boxes:
- Small to medium sized
- Hydration Compatible
A good tip to keep in mind is to leave a bit of extra room in your backpack in case you need to shed a layer.