Which snowboarding backpacks are best?
If you tend to lose track of time when snowboarding, you probably spend long days on the slopes. Bringing some food, water and extra gear along with you is always a good idea, which is why a snowboarding backpack is such a good investment.
Snowboarding backpacks are specifically designed for snowboarding. They have a large storage compartment and pockets like a traditional backpack, but they also have special storage for your board and often your helmet too. If you’re looking for a padded backpack with plenty of pockets of your gear, DAKINE Heli Pro 20L Backpack is a top option.
What to know before you buy a snowboarding backpack
Snowboarding packs are available in a few styles, so you can choose the perfect option based on how often you snowboard and what conditions you usually face.
- Daypacks: These snowboarding backpacks are best if you snowboard at a resort or on a mountain with a chairlift. They’re generally smaller, so they don’t hold very much. They’re still big enough to carry extra gear like gloves and goggles, an additional layer for cold days, a water bottle and other small items.
- Freeride packs: These snowboarding backpacks work well if you typically spend the entire day on the slopes. They’re large enough to carry everything that a daypack can, but they may have special pockets for safety gear like an avalanche shovel.
- Backcountry packs: These packs are ideal if you typically snowboard in off-trail areas where you might have more safety issues. They offer a larger capacity so you can fit more gear like extra layers, food and water. They also have pockets for avalanche tools like a shovel and probe and often have a special area for wet gear.
A snowboarding backpack’s capacity is an essential feature because it determines how much space you have for your belongings. Backpack capacity or volume is measured in liters. The most common sizes for snowboarding packs are:
- 10-20L: This size backpack is best for quick snowboarding trips at your favorite resort or other areas served by a lift.
- 20-35L: This size backpack works well for longer day trips on the slopes at a resort or other area served by a lift.
- 35-55L: This size backpack is best for multi-day snowboarding trips where you may be camping overnight.
- 55-70L: This size backpack is really more suited for long camping trips that might require a tent and other heavy gear.
If you want to be comfortable out on the mountain, a snowboarding backpack must fit well. You’re wearing layers when you’re out in the snow, so it’s essential to consider that when choosing a size. Some backpacks are available in different lengths, allowing you to choose an option that best fits the length of your torso. Manufacturers often provide a size chart to help you decide what size and length are best for you.
After you’ve settled on a size, it’s important to test your snowboarding backpack with some weight inside it. You can then adjust the various straps to get the best fit. Make sure to attach your snowboard to see if it still feels comfortable with the added weight.
What to look for in a quality snowboarding backpack
Storage and pockets
Like a traditional backpack, a snowboarding backpack usually has one central zippered compartment for storing large items. It should be easy to access so you can grab your supplies as needed. You can find some packs with back or side access zippers as well. This allows you to get to things at the bottom of the backpack without unpacking everything inside.
Most snowboarding backpacks have additional pockets for smaller items to help keep your gear organized. Look for a pack with pockets that have waterproof zippers to keep your things safe and dry out on the slopes.
Board carry system
All backpacks designed specifically for snowboarding have a carrying system for your board. Most backpacks allow you to carry the board vertically or horizontally. Carrying your board vertically means positioning it straight up and down at the back of the pack, while horizontal carrying positions the board sideways across the pack.
Helmet carry system
For safety reasons, it’s always a good idea to wear a helmet while snowboarding. Some snowboarding backpacks include a system for attaching it to your backpack when you’re not wearing it.
Hydration bladder compatibility
Some backpacks are compatible with a hydration bladder system if you use a bladder to stay hydrated while snowboarding. They have a dedicated sleeve or compartment for both the bladder and hose. Just make sure any pack you choose has the right size compartment if you already have a bladder you want to use.
For a backpack you’ll wear to snowboard, water resistance is key. Opt for a pack made of waterproof material so you don’t have to worry about the items inside getting wet if you fall in the snow.
How much you can expect to spend on a snowboarding backpack
Small daypacks with a 20L capacity or less and fewer pockets range from $30-$60, while larger packs with a 30L capacity and more storage options generally cost $60-$120. For the largest packs with extra safety features, you can pay $120-$300.
Snowboarding backpack FAQ
Is a backpack necessary for snowboarding?
A. If you’re new to snowboarding, you probably shouldn’t wear a backpack. It can throw off your balance and affect your riding. Experienced snowboarders headed into the backcountry should definitely take a pack to ensure they have all the necessary supplies, including water, food and safety equipment.
What should I carry in my snowboarding backpack?
A. Most snowboarders use their backpacks to carry water, food, extra clothing and sunscreen. If you’re snowboarding in the backcountry, you should also bring safety gear like an avalanche shovel, beacon and probe.
What’s the best snowboarding backpack to buy?
Top snowboarding backpack
What you need to know: This durable, decent-sized pack is perfect for a day of snowboarding and offers a comfortable fit that won’t slow you down on the slopes.
What you’ll love: It’s made of waterproof 600D polyester for plenty of durability. It has padded shoulder straps and a padded waist belt that are both adjustable. It has 20L of space to hold plenty of supplies and equipment. It lets you carry your board either vertically or horizontally.
What you should consider: It isn’t hydration bladder-compatible and doesn’t have a water bottle pocket, either.
Where to buy: Sold by Backcountry
Top snowboarding backpack for the money
What you need to know: This lightweight and comfortable pack has many of the same features as high-end snowboarding backpacks but at a much friendlier price point.
What you’ll love: It’s made of durable 600D ripstop material and offers an 18L capacity. It comes with a 2L hydration bladder. It fits adults and children with its adjustable design. It comes in five color options and costs less than many similar packs.
What you should consider: Some buyers find that the included hydration bladder is prone to leaks.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This versatile backpack has a convenient top-loading design and can fit all your most important snowboarding gear.
What you’ll love: It’s made of durable, waterproof polyester. It has a large center compartment and two individual boot pockets on either side. It includes a detachable mesh bag for your helmet. It’s available in three colors.
What you should consider: The bottom of the bag is hard plastic, so it can sometimes feel uncomfortable when the pack is full.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Jennifer Blair writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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