What And How To Pack For A Snowboarding Holiday
I'm totally guilty of overpacking.
I admit it. We've been hit with overweight luggage on more than one occasion and felt the pain of lugging around way too much luggage. In my defence, it's really hard to pack for winter and summer AND spend over 12 months without a base. And the thought of having to buy something on the road that we already have kills me!
BUT, in saying that, we're pretty kick ass at packing for a snowboarding holiday. You'd hope so after all the times we've done it right?
So here's our packing list. You can totally use it as a ski trip packing list too, just swap out the snowboard gear for ski gear!
Unless you are planning on hiring all your gear, you'll need a snowboard (or ski) bag. Carrying your snowboard or bubble wrapping it is not an option. I've seen the damage to our snowboard bags over the years from being transported around on snowboarding trips. Without one, our boards would be in pretty bad shape.
Tip: Look for a snowboard bag that is going to fit the largest board (if you have more than one) but make sure it isn't too long. We made that mistake once. It reduces the sturdiness of the bag, makes it cumbersome and at the end of the day, no one really wants a floppy one do they?
We recently purchased a Dakine High Roller Bag because it is thicker and would fit both of our gear in it. We love it. It is solid and sturdy and has three interior compartments to separate our boots and gear.
SNOWBOARDS (OR SKIS) & BINDINGS
Do I really need to say more? I hope that you wouldn't be carrying around your snowboard bag without a snowboard in it!
Tip: If you are carrying more than one snowboard, take the bindings off and try to have some sort of layer in between the two so that one doesn't scratch the other. Pack some socks into your bindings, fold them down and do up the straps. If you have taken off your bindings, remove the base plates and put them in a zip lock bag along with the screws so you can keep them all together.
I'm so glad to see that there are more people on the mountain with helmets than those without. In my early days, what prompted me to buy a helmet was when I caught an edge as a beginner. I was barely moving but managed to catch an edge and bang! I smashed my head on hard ice. I've had friends who have cracked and dented their helmets. None of them were doing anything extreme. Enough of the safety rant, just make sure a helmet makes it into your luggage!
BOOTS AND SOCKS
Stuff your boots with socks and tighten the laces to keep them compact in your luggage. On the topic of socks, make sure you have proper snowboard or ski socks. There is a difference and having the wrong ones will make your time on the slope a little less comfortable. I am totally in love with Stance socks at the moment. They are so comfortable and a perfect length. They also come in a left and right sock so that cushioning and support is applied at the right points. And their designs rock.
Tip: take out your boot lining each day after snowboarding or skiing to dry. You'd be surprised how damp they can get. Damp = smelly!
There are loads of different types of gloves and mittens. Mittens are great for colder climates and you can buy lighter gloves or park gloves for spring skiing. Pop these into your helmet when packing.
Investing in a good pair of goggles is totally worthwhile. Technology has come so far that there are different lenses available for snow goggles to match the conditions and variations in light. It's pretty important to be able to see the contours in the snow, which can be quite difficult in low light. I've just started using the Oakley Prizm lens, made specifically for snow sports, in Jade which is suited to both sun and clouds. Pack your goggles into your helmet on top of your gloves to prevent scratching. They should come with a microfiber bag which doubles up as a lens cleaner too.
Tip: when buying snow goggles, make sure they fit properly. If air can get through them, they will fog up.
THERMAL base layers AND NECK WARMER
On most days I will wear base layer leggings along with a long sleeve base layer top with a t-shirt over it. I'm a massive fan of Icebreaker merino wool base layers. They are warm without the bulk, comfortable, breathable and odour resistant.
Tip: Go for a long top that will stay tucked into your snow pants. Having a cold lower back is no fun!
I also wear a neck/face warmer to protect against the cold, wind and sun. These little pieces of material make such a huge difference! Fold them up and stack them on top of your goggles in your helmet. Your goggles will now be secure and protected in your luggage.
JACKET AND PANTS
These guys can pack a bit of weight. Roll them so they don't take up too much space in your luggage or put them into large zip lock bags.
Knee guards, impact shorts, back protectors. These are very much a personal choice. I always ride with knee guards because I have dodgy knees and seem to knock them a lot, even in everyday life. I only wear impact shorts if I know I will be spending time in the park but I know a lot of people who won't ride without them. Protective gear is intended to be worn under your ski pants and jacket so keep that in mind as they can add extra bulk. I am a massive fan of D-30 & G-Form technology. The material is soft and flexible but stiffens on impact to absorb and disperse energy. They are super comfortable to wear, low profile and you can throw them in the wash which is an added benefit!
SUNSCREEN & LIP BALM
If I think about the sun, I'll get a tan. It doesn't take me much. Everyone tells me that I should be proud of my 2 day google tan that looks like I have been snowboarding for an entire season but it totally looks out of place when the ski holiday is over and you are somewhere like tropical Queensland! On a serious note, sun protection is important. And when you change climates rapidly on your ski holiday, the sun, wind and cold can wreak havoc on your skin. Pocket sized sunscreen and lip balm are a good choice. I always have lip balm in my pocket but am guilty of forgetting to reapply sunscreen throughout the day because I don't have it my pocket.
Tip: keep lip balm and sunscreen in your pocket!
If there're no photos, then it didn't happen, right? But seriously, who goes on a snowboarding or ski holiday and doesn't take any pictures? Or any holiday for that matter. Pretty much anything with snow on it becomes instantly beautiful. If you have a fancy camera, pack it. I wouldn't have a clue how to use one so I just stick to my trusty iPhone and GoPro.
Keeping hydrated is important all the time but even more so when you are at altitude. Most ski resorts have free drinking fountains and taps available in their lodges. I like to carry a hydration pack with me so that I can drink water throughout the day.
Tip: Go for a small and lightweight hydration pack that you can wear under your ski jacket. The snow/winter tubes with insulation don't work. I've tried them and in really cold temps, they freeze up. Wearing your pack under your jacket will make sure that it doesn't freeze up and it will make sure you don't get tangled up on the chairlift too.
LOCK AND TOOL
Thankfully we haven't ever had our boards stolen. But we know people who have. A cable lock is an easy way to secure your snowboard to the rack and will give you piece of mind.
Our zip tool is probably the handiest bit of equipment that we have. It travels everywhere with us. It fits easily into a pocket and has a phillips and flat head screwdriver, allen key, squeegee and wrench. We use it to take our bindings on and off, make adjustments on the go and to tighten screws. We've had it for over 10 years and it's still as good as ever.
snowboard holiday packing list
Here's a checklist of what to pack on your next snowboarding holiday. Select this section and right click to print if you want a paper version.
Snowboard or ski bag
Snowboards or ski's
Gloves or mittens
Base layers or thermals
So there you have it. That's what is in our snowboard bag. I hope you find this list useful. What's in your snowboard bag? Let me know in the comments below and share this with your riding buddies! (Make sure you click on 'subscribe via e-mail' to be notified when we write back).
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Disclosure: Some of the links in this article are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, we may earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase. We only recommend products or services that we use personally and believe will add value to you. If you open our snowboard bag, you'll find all of these items in there!