You may have noticed many times that many pro skiers or snowboarders wear backpacks very often while going on the snow, now the question is why do they do so, what do they keep inside it, and should you also replicate the same strategy? In this article, I will be solving all these questions.
Wearing a backpack while skiing or snowboarding makes it convenient, you don’t have to go back to the lodge often to get the things you need, you will have all the necessary things right on your back. Secondly, carrying a backpack can save your life sometimes in cases of emergencies like an avalanche.
Carrying a backpack while skiing can be very beneficial but it has some drawbacks too which I am going to discuss further and at the end, I will be telling you whether you should wear backpacks while skiing or not.
So Stay tuned!
This practice is although followed by most of the back-country skiers this is something that every skier should do.
Benefits Of Wearing Backpacks
We all know how beneficial backpacks are in our normal life but is it beneficial in the ski world? Following are some benefits of wearing backpacks while skiing.
The main reason why people wear backpacks is convenience. Everything you need will be in one place making it more convenient for you. You will not have to visit the lodge again and again and you can focus more on your skiing rather than the other things.
You can keep an extra mid-layer in case you get cold so you can wear it, you can take some small snack items and many more things.
Although ski accidents are not very common but still they happen. Carrying safety equipment can prove to be life-saving for you in emergencies.
I see a lot of people taking a Go Pro inside their bag to shoot their skiing trip which is a great idea and a lot of fun. You can post the videos on Instagram, Youtube, or whichever social media platform you use and share them with your friends and family relatives.
Drawbacks Of Wearing a BackPack While Skiing / Snowboarding
There are a bunch of mistakes people make while carrying a backpack while skiing making it a huge drawback for them while skiing. But, all these drawbacks/mistakes can be solved using some small tips which I am going to cover at the end of the article.
Unbalance While Skiing
I see a lot of times people wearing backpacks full of loads that weigh a lot. This makes them feel uncomfortable and they see many problems in balancing skiing. If you’re a complete newbie to skiing, then you should carry very few things.
If you have a habit of wearing heavy backpacks then it is completely fine to carry some things with you but you should not fill your bag more than half when you are new to skiing.
Many times, people get their backpacks stuck on the ski lifts. I asked one person who is working as lifty for several years that whether should we wear backpacks or not while skiing and this is what he said;
“As a lifty who watches people get stuck and end up hanging from lifts by backpack strap/buckles, I strongly recommend NOT wearing a backpack while skiing/riding. Doesn’t matter how awesome a skier you think you are, your backpack will get stuck at some point (just ask ski patrol, they too get caught”– Charles Shackleford
I partially agree with him but you know this can be avoided with some proper tiny techniques which I am going to discuss at the end.
Who Should Wear Backpacks While Skiing?
Although wearing backpacks is very common in Backcountry skiers but Everyone should wear backpacks even if they’re in a ski resort because it makes it very convenient and easy for you to take on essential things you need like water, extra clothing, etc. without going back to the lodge.
Should You Wear a Backpack While Skiing?
I recommend almost every skier to carry a backpack because of the benefits we get. And all the drawbacks can be avoided. If you are with your family, then at least one person should carry a backpack. If you are going with your family then backpacks can turn out to be magical for you.
That magic bag can produce snacks, gloves, chocolate, etc. anything that your kid may want. So, if you’re going to ski then wearing backpacks is a must-go. Although one bag is enough you can carry two bags to stuff more things – one for mom & one for dad.
If you’re going alone, then also wearing backpacks can be helpful because you may need some things at any point, and then going back to the lodge can take a lot of time of you giving you less time to enjoy.
Best Backpack For Skiing
The best backpack for skiing is the Osprey Soelden 32 because of its comfortable fit and lots of organization. it weighs only 2 lbs and has a capacity of 22,32L. Unfortunately, it is not available on Amazon but they are selling it on their official website.
You can also look for some other ski backpacks on Amazon by clicking here but I found the Osprey 32 to be far better than the other backpacks because of its comfort and a ton of space to put things in.
What Should You Keep In Your BagPacks While Skiing/Snowboarding?
So, now you know the benefits and importance of wearing a back while skiing, now it’s time for you to keep some stuff in your backpack you are going to take. So, here are some things that you should put in your backpack.
1. Food & Snacks
That’s obvious although and you all know why it is important. Here is a small list of food or small snacks that you can carry while going skiing.
- Chocolate Bars
- Apple Slices (Don’t take bananas)
- Peanut Butter
- Clif Bars
- Granola Bars
- Pocket Bacon
- Energy Chews Like – Honey Stinger Energy Chews
2. Water (Must)
Well, you may think that’s obvious but I see many people not taking water bottles with them because they think there’s no need for water in Winters which is partially correct but some other instances come to play as well.
Although we don’t need water so often in winters still you should carry a bottle of water because when we are exercising, we need to take fluids.
Simply take a bottle of water, you can take hot water if you prefer drinking hot water in winters, normal water will also be completely fine.
Then put the bottle inside the bag – most of the bags have a bladder beside them (especially for water bottles) so carrying a water bottle won’t take any space of your bag.
3. Emergency Kits (Optional)
Carrying an emergency kit is important but not a must thing but I would suggest you take a small emergency kit with you, no one knows when accidents are going to happen so we should always be prepared.
Things You Should Have In Your Emergency Kit:-
- Avalanche Transceiver (to contact others during an avalanche- Must for backcountry skiers) – Back Country Access Tracker 2 is a great affordable option.
- Avalanche Probe – You can find this probe easily on Amazon.
- Map/compass – There are a bunch of options for compass on Amazon that you can try and typically all work the same way.
- Small Blanket
- Duct tape
- Survival Kit – One survival kit that I use and I recommend everyone to use is actually not a survival kit but it has many things that are in a survival kit, I bought it because it had 32 items for only $48 which is a pretty sweet deal. You can find it on Amazon here. It also contains many other things that I talked about above.
- First Aid (Bandages, Painkiller, Burn cream, etc. ) – Consider buying a complete first aid kit instead – here’s a link to the best one which contains almost all the things that a first aid kit should have and is very cheap as well.
4. Extra Layer (Optional But Highly Recommended)
You should always carry one extra layer in your bag pack, it could be a mid-layer or a ski jacket. As you may feel cold while skiing and then you can wear that extra layer you have brought anytime.
Secondly, if you may think that you are just wearing too many layers and feel too hot, then you can easily take off one of your layers and put it inside the backpack.
You can also carry a buff with you, it has many uses – keeping your neck and head warm, can be used as a hat, band, etc.
You can also carry one extra pair of gloves.
5. Go Pro or Any Other Camera (Optional)
Recording the beautiful moments of the ski trip makes your trip memorable. Almost every skier carries a camera with him while skiing. Most people use a Go-Pro because of its picture quality while skiing and its adjustability and compatibility. You can use other cameras as well but using a Go-Pro is highly recommended.
You can find Go Pro on Amazon.
6. Daily Need Items (Must)
- Portable Charger (Battery Bank)
- Sun Cream
- Handkerchief or Tissues
These are some of the things you should carry while going to ski or snowboard, there would be many other things that you might also want to take with you, so feel free to add those pieces of stuff.
Tips For Skiing With a Backpack
1. Don’t Over Stuff Your Bag
Make sure your bag is not too heavy to handle, you may not be able to ski with a heavy backpack so make sure your bag is only filled 2/3 of it.
2. Tighten Your Backpack
Properly tighten your backpack so that it does not shift or shuffle when you ski. Also, don’t leave your straps loose, keep them tightened.
3. Take Your Back Pack Off On The Lift
Many times people get stuck with their backpack and hang upside down from the chair lift (One example is shown in the below video). You should always take off your backpack and keep it in front of you while going on lifts or you may take off one strap and keep the backpack aside.
What Do Heli Skiers Carry In Their Backpacks?
Answered By Aaron Boodman,
- Two collapsible ski poles – one for pushing through flats, and one jury-rigged to act as a mount for the camera
- the extra middle layer (never used, we were moving so much we were always sweating)
- extra glove liners
- extra helmet liner
- general-purpose snowboard tool
- 1 camelback water (froze instantly, useless)
- 1 large package of beef jerky
- 1 bag roasted almonds
- 2 packages sour patch straws
- 1 flask whiskey
(Credit: Aaron Boodman – Read his complete answer here)
Wearing a backpack while skiing is all about convenience and I recommend everyone to wear backpacks too because of the benefits we get but don’t overfill your bag and make sure you take off your backpack and keep it in front of you on ski lifts to avoid lift accidents.