Skiers and snowboarders use bags and backpacks for a number of different purposes on the slopes. The type of skiing and boarding you are performing, and your proximity to patrolled groomed ski slopes will influence the kind of bag or pack you chose to take with you up the mountain.
Available in a range of sizes, colours and configurations, backpacks are the most popular type of bag for carrying your gear up the mountain. Different size backpacks allow the wearer to carry more or less gear depending on where they intend to go and how long they intend to be out adventuring. Carrying capacity can range from 10L to around 70L for mountaineering expeditions.
Although skiing and snowboarding backpacks look a lot like regular hiking packs, they will usually come with a range of features not found in backpacks suited to other outdoor disciplines.
A carry system for your skis or board allows you to strap your skis or board to your pack when hiking to locations that are inaccessible by riding alone. Different systems allow for different carrying configurations. Some might hold your board horizontally or vertically, while those designed specifically for skis usually hold them vertically at a slight angle, or on either side of your pack touching at the tips like an A-frame.
Airbags are a relatively modern form of avalanche safety equipment, an inflated airbag built into your pack can improve your chances of survival in an avalanche by keeping you near the surface of the snow giving you a better chance of digging your way out, and of rescuers locating your position.
A separate compartment for avalanche safety gear is designed to keep your safety equipment in one easily accessed location, and to keep it dry and ready to use at a moment’s notice.
Hydration Bladder – some bag manufacturers will build hydration systems into their packs. This makes keeping your fluid intake up while you are on the mountain easy and painless helping you to stay at your peak level of performance for longer.
Other Types of Bags
Ski and snowboard bags are great for keeping all your gear in one place and ensuring that it doesn’t get damaged while transporting it to your skiing destination. Bags will typically have a waterproof inner lining that allows you to easily wipe away any dirt or tip out any excess water if you happened to put your gear away while it was still covered in snow. Ski bags in particular will usually have straps for keeping your skis from knocking against one another.
Double ski bags are designed to house two sets of skis and will have interior straps that keep each pair from damaging the other. Larger ski and snowboard bags that carry multiple sets of gear will sometimes come equipped with wheels so you can let the bag take the load.
Compact Hydration packs are a great option for those who are planning on only spending their time on groomed trails and don’t need to carry that much extra gear with them. Hydration packs should have a separate compartment housing the bladder and come in a number of options in terms of their additional storage capacity.