If you're looking for the right ski backpack or snowboard backpack there are a number of things to consider. The biggest and most important decision is use case: are you looking for a day bag for in-bounds resort skiing? A light backpack for brief backcountry day trips? Or full on multi-day expedition backpacks? Below, we have compiled our favorite and best performing backpacks used by our team here at Glade:
Our go-to in bounds day ski backpack, the Ortovox Free Rider 18L is the perfect companion for a day spent a the resort. With a built in back protector, eight cushioned pads, and ski and snowboard fastenings, you're set for any in bounds hike or climb. The pack is compatible with any hydration system you might have, and has ample space for extra gear and layers.
The Osprey Kamber 32 is the ideal ski backpack for ski touring missions. The pack features multiple options for ski and snowboard carry and offers easy access to critical avalanche tools like your shovel, probe, and beacon. Ample space for gear, ice axe attachments, and critical padding are all included in this 32 liter pack as well.
Coming in a variety of sizes, the BCA Float series is the standard by which all other avalanche airbag ski and snowboard backpacks are measured. The bag creates buoyancy and decreases your burial depth but also protects your head and neck from trauma in an avalanche. The BCA cylinder system is also sufficiently lightweight, making for seamless backcountry travel.
Dry main compartment
Dedicated shovel and probe sleeves
Diagonal ski carry (optional snowboard carry attachment sold separately)
Dual ice axe carrying system
Compression formed back panel with internal support
Adjustable waist belt for optimized fit and sizing
What should I pack in my ski or snowboard backpack?
While your list of equipment to pack will change depending on the mission and whether you are going in-bounds or out of bound, there are some essentials that you'll always want with you. We recommend checking out our ski trip packing list to help you with this.
Choosing skiing and snowboarding helmets can be one of the most important gear purchases of the season. We are often asked for our opinion on the best ski helmets, but before we get into our picks for the season, here are the different features of a ski and snowboard helmet you should be taking into account:
Skiing and Snowboarding Helmets 101
The easiest way to make sure you have picked the best ski helmet is proper fit. The shake test is the best way to determine whether or not your helmet fits: shake your head up and down and side to side with your helmet on. Does it move around at all? If so, you'll want to readjust the fit or move to a new helmet size.
There are three main types of ski and snowboard helmet construction: In mold, hard shell ABS, and soft shell. The rule of thumb with helmet construction is that most / all helmets are designed for a single, significant impact. After one impact it is almost always a good idea to get a new helmet as the construction has likely been compromised.
Ventilation is important to keep air flowing through the helmet and preventing over heating. This helps keeps your goggles from fogging up and makes your ski day more comfortable. We recommend looking for helmets that have adjustable vents so you can adapt to changing conditions on the mountain.
There are a number of agencies that rate ski helmets for impact safety. In the U.S. the most common certification is ASTM F2040 - you should confirm that your helmet passed this certification before purchasing.
Best Ski and Snowboard Helmets for 2018 - Our Picks
The ultimate in low profile and lightweight protection. With MIPS technology and level 1 ventilation, we find ourselves reaching for the Pret Cynic X over every other helmet we've tried. Bonus: they fit great with our goggles.
Updatedwith a new compression formed convertible liner for this season, the K2 Diversion is a fantastic skiing and snowboarding helmet for someone looking for both light weight and safety. The Diversion's hybrid design combines the best elements of molded and hard shell constructions.
Made with MIPS technology, the Trooper II is our favorite high end free riding ski and snowboarding helmet. The helmet is one of the safest on the market today and includes built in audio capabilities and a 2 year warranty.
MIPS technology reduces rotational forces
TCF shell is lightweight yet strong and rigid
EPS foam provides shock absorption
Impact Shield inserts distribute shock
Occigrip adjustment dial for a custom fit
Other things to consider when purchasing a ski or snowboarding helmet
Compatibility with goggles
Most new helmets on the market have matched the curvature of the helmet to modern goggle styles. To be safe, you want to avoid goggles that are too tight (pushing the helmet up off your head) or too open (leaving a gap between the helmet and goggles). Our ski and snowboard goggles are designed to fit with most new helmets on the market today.
Ski helmets serve as the main source of coverage for your head and face. You'll want a helmet that has adequate lining to keep you warm, and adequate ventilation to keep the sweat away. You don't want to be adding extra layers under your helmet (beanies, balaclavas) as this can change the fit of your helmet and compromise safety.
MIPS is a relatively new technology that consists of a "helmet-integrated, low friction layer designed to reduce rotational motion transferred to the brain from angled impacts to the head." In short, this adds another element of protection that can help prevent certain head injuries.
When it comes to buying the best ski socks, it is paramount that you find a pair that is comfortable, warm, and durable. We've had our fair share of mishaps with ski socks, so we thought it would be helpful to outline what you should be looking for, and some of our favorites.
Ski Socks 101
Socks come in a wide breadth of materials. The biggest thing here is to avoid cotton at all costs. Merino wool typically does the best job of moisture wicking and warmth at an efficient weight, but you might have to pay a bit more for this luxury.
The weight of the sock directly effects how warm the sock will be in your boot. This is largely dependent on where you ski and the conditions of the day. Typically anything around mid-weight is sufficient for everything but the coldest of days.
Many ski socks have padding on various parts of the sock to improve comfort on the mountain. If you suffer from shin bang, padding on the shins can help mitigate painful contact with your ski boot. If you have some hot spots in your boots, padding on the ankle, foot, and toe can help relieve some of this pressure as well. If you find that you are perfectly comfortable without padding it's probably not necessary, but it's worth considering if you have foot, ankle, or shin pain throughout the day.
Our go-to socks in just about every scenario. Darn Tough is a Vermont based brand that makes ski socks at the highest level - with a lifetime guarantee. The Function 5 socks are made with merino wool and were developed with boot fitters to protect the 5 most common pressure points.
Another crowd favorite, the Smartwool PhD socks are built to last and offer great warmth to weight ratio. We've found this sock to versatile, turning to it for both in bounds resort days and touring expeditions.
A lot of our customers ask if our goggles are suitable to be used as snowmobile goggles as well as for skiing and snowboarding. As snowmobiling often takes place under the same conditions as other alpine sports, our goggles are well built for a day spent on the sled. That said, there are a few specific lens types you'll want to look at if you're going to use our goggles for snowmobiling rather than skiing or snowboarding.
The main thing you want to look for in snowmobile goggles is ability to mitigate fogging and handling variable light conditions.
With this in mind, we're happy to answer any questions you may have about our lens technology or suitable for a day spent snowmobiling. Just ask!
Snowmobile Goggles - Changing light conditions
Because of the long days and huge amount of terrain covered in an average snowmobiling excursion, you need to make sure you are prepared for all light conditions. We recommend pairing an everyday lens with a low light lens, or going with an all in one photochromatic lens to help mitigate glare and cut through cloudy, overcast, or snowy conditions.
Snowmobile Goggles - Fogging
You absolutely need a pair of goggles that have robust anti-fog features. All of our goggles come with double lenses, anti-fog treatment, and ample ventilation. We're so confident that our goggles won't fog up that we offer a free replacement pair up to one year after the date of purchase!
The Glade photochromatic Flux™ goggle is our most innovative technology packed into one lens. The lens tint changes with the conditions so you are covered in everything from bluebird days to blizzards. With no need to swap lenses, this goggle affords you the luxury of one less thing to worry about while bombing through variable conditions and unknown terrain.
The Glade Pulsar™ goggle comes standard with a polarized lens, anti fog coating, anti-scratch treatment, low light lens options, and a lifetime warranty. The perfect everyday goggle, the mirrored lens reflects glare and keeps your eyes protected during long days on the snowmobile.
All lenses come polarized
Magnetic lens/frame connection for easy transitions
Rimless design for maximum peripheral field of view
We get a lot of questions from our customers about what skiing and snowboarding gloves we recommend. While there are a number of different factors that go into this decision, we've created a basic outline for how you should think about buying gloves as well as some of our favorites on the market today.
Snowboarding Gloves and Ski Gloves - Gloves vs. Mittens
A common debate amongst skiers is ski gloves vs. mittens. Ultimately, you have three separate configuration options with your ski and snowboard glove set up: glove, mitten, and lobster claw. Mittens will be the warmest, but you will sacrifice a bit of dexterity for that added warmth. Lobster claw gloves are usually a good middle ground, and gloves are less warm but offer the most control and dexterity. If you choose to go with gloves, we recommend pairing the set of gloves with some warm liners as this way you're prepared for any temperature conditions you might encounter.
The Best Ski Gloves and Best Snowboarding Gloves for 2018/19
This three finger ski and snowboarding glove is the weapon of choice for our team here at Glade. A great middle ground between glove and mitten, the Hestra Leather Fall Line stays warm through any conditions while still allowing us to have great range of motion in our fingers and hands. We think this is the best ski glove and snowboarding glove on the market today for everyday use.
For warmer spring days many on our team choose the Dakine Phantom glove. The breathability and snug fit mean you'll have maximum pole grip and you can avoid hand sweat on those bluebird April days. At only $100, it's a decent deal as well.
INSERT: GORE-TEX + Gore Grip technology / Waterproof and breathable
For ultra cold days we turn to the Black Diamond Mercury Mitten. At $110, in terms of warmth it's the best bang for your buck you can find. The split fingered liner helps avoid the traditional 'mitten' feel.
100% waterproof BDry insert stays with removable liner
Lightweight, abrasion-resistant, Pertex Shield shell with four-way stretch
Removable liner features 340 g PrimaLoft Gold Insulation and high-loft fleece lining
Goat leather palm, plus palm patch with Kevlar stitching
The Give'r 4 Season Glove is a great insulated glove for warm days on the slopes, a day spent snowmobiling, or working outdoors in the cold. While we wouldn't recommend this as a "do everything" ski glove, it is a versatile option for those looking for a work glove to keep them warm in a variety of situations.
100% Waterproof All-Leather Glove
Customize with hand-branded initials (up to 3 characters)
Optional All-Natural Wax Coating
40 gm Thinsulate Insulation Lining
Other things to consider when buying skiing and snowboarding gloves
Synthetic vs. Leather Gloves
Without getting too deep into the details, we almost always going with a leather glove over a synthetic ski or snowboard glove. Leather is naturally water resistant, and when treated can be completely waterproof. We've found that leather gloves tend to last longer and are more pliable than synthetic gloves, but a bit pricier.
The purpose of the cuff is to keep snow from getting inside your jacket. Because jackets come in many shapes and sizes, we recommend pairing your cuff to your ski jacket. This means your cuff style will largely be personal preference - as there isn't a huge different between short or long cuffs as long as the snow is staying out of your jacket.
The waterproof characteristics are the most important part of your ski glove beyond the warmth. A good skiing and snowboarding glove both prevents water from getting into the glove and allows sweat and other water vapor to escape through a breathable membrane. Breathability is really the key here, as most low end gloves prevent water from entering, but are lacking on the breathability front leaving you with sweaty hands all day. If you ski in drier climates (Utah, Colorado) waterproofing isn't paramount, but this is still something to keep in mind when purchasing skiing gloves.
If you are concerned with having dexterity to maneuver poles, helmet straps, and jacket zippers, it probably makes sense for you to look into getting a pair of gloves with additional liners for especially cold days. Unfortunately dexterity and warmth are often a trade off.
Anti fog goggles are a critical piece of any ski and snowboard gear set up. When choosing ski goggles, it is vital that you ensure the lenses come with an anti-fog treatment or coating to ensure you can stay on the mountain even in damp and humid conditions. So, what exactly should you look for in an anti-fog snow goggle?
What to look for in anti fog goggles
Double Lenses: Double lenses create a thermal barrier between the two layers of material that reduce fog more than any other feature of the goggle. You should look for goggles with double lenses, no exceptions.
Anti-fog treatment: Another preventative measure involves a hydrophilic coating on the inside of the lens. This prevents moisture build up on the lens and in turn helps reduce fogging. Be careful, if you rub or wipe the inside of the lens this coating could get worn down.
Ventilation: Ventilation increases air flow through the goggle and reduces fogging by preventing moisture build up within the goggle. Look for goggles with ventilation on the frame both above and below the lens. Don't be fooled by high tech goggles with fans or motors in them, these are largely unnecessary and only serve to add bulk to the goggle.
Storage: Absolutely do not put them in a damp ski bag immediately after skiing. Let the goggles dry fully before storing them in a dry place.
Tips: Avoid putting the goggles up on your forehead and try to keep moving. If you take a fall and get some snow inside the goggle or on the vents, try to clear this as efficiently as possible.
But what if I'm skiing on a foggy day? If you frequently ski in foggy conditions, we recommend going with a dedicated low light lens or photochromatic lens to help battle the conditions. These lenses will allow more light through the lens and enable you to see through the fog. If you're going to be skiing powder, chances are you'll be in some hairy conditions occasionally.
Glade anti fog goggle treatment: All of our models are double lenses and are coated with an anti fog goggle treatment on the inside of the lens. We have ventilation on both the top of the frame as well as the bottom, and our Challenger model has additional vents etched into the lens. We're so confident that our goggles won't fog up that we offer a free replacement pair up to one year after the date of purchase!
Ski goggles and snowboard goggles are one of the most important pieces of gear you can buy for skiing and snowboarding, so it's important that you do adequate research and figure out the best ski goggles or best snowboard goggles for you. This could be anti fog goggles, polarized ski goggles, or anti-scratch goggles.
One of the most common questions we get from new skiers and snowboarders revolves around proper ski clothing. While there is a wide variety of gear styles - we believe the framework outlined below is the optimal gear set up for most days on the mountain.
While everyone's ski trip is a bit different, there are a few items no skier or snowboarder can live without. Here at Glade, we're prone to forgetting something on almost every trip, so we've developed a system to help us prepare for any trip whether it's a weekend road trip to the local hill or multi-week powder hunting expedition to Japan. If this is your first trip, check out our skiing vs. snowboarding post to get a handle on which might be a better fit for you. If you already have the trip planned, check out our essential ski trip packing list below:
Need some gear for your next trip? Check out our collection of goggles! Not sure how to prepare for a day on the mountain? Check out our What to Wear Skiing post. Don't forget to wax and tune your equipment before you go! If you'd like to do it at home, check out our tutorial on how to wax a snowboard.