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Snowboard Essentials: What Should Be In Your Gear Bag?

Published on 10/17/2023 · 9 min readThere's nothing worse than getting to the slopes and realizing you forgot a key piece of gear! Check out this guide for everything you need in your snowboard bag!
Skye F, Snowboarding Expert
Gaelen Mast, Snowboarding Expert
By Curated Experts Skye F and Gaelen Mast

Photo by G Point Studio

As I’m writing this, tomorrow is opening day at my home mountain. As I look at my screen right now, my gaze is right above my pile of snowboarding gear that I tried to organize, try on, and wash to ensure that every last item is accounted for. Making sure I have all of the essentials will make that first trip back on the mountain — and each trip after that — easier and more fun. After I packed my favorite essentials for snowboarding, I compiled them all into a list for you to check out! If you have the items listed below, you’re going to have a warm, dry, and fun day of riding, no matter the conditions.

The Basics: Board, Boots, Bindings

First and foremost, the trio of board, boots, and bindings is an obvious addition to the list. Hopefully if you’re reading this article, you can skip right through this section, but if you still have questions about these three items, no worries!

The Board

Photo by Dmitry Molchanov

If you don’t have a properly-fitting board, it’s going to make riding that much harder and your day that much less enjoyable. A board that’s too long is going to be excessively difficult to control and maneuver, and if a board is too short, it’ll easily become unstable at higher speeds. Unfortunately, there’s no perfect science to find your exact board size, and that’s because there isn’t just “one size” you should stick to.

Snowboard sizing is mainly determined by weight, so the best way to find out if a board size is good for you is to check the weight range of a board you’re considering (the weight range will change depending on what size you’re looking at). There’s a lot of other factors that can determine your board size. A Curated Snowboard Expert can help you out with fine tuning, but looking at a board’s intended weight range is a great place to start.

Pro Tip: Once you have an idea of the length of your board, make sure to think about what type of riding you’ll be doing. Fast, aggressive riders should choose a stiff flexing board with lots of camber like the Jones Mountain Twin or the CAPiTA Mercury for stability and responsiveness. On the other hand, park riders should opt for something with a soft flex and a true twin shape like the Bataleon Disaster or the Salomon Sleepwalker for versatility and playfulness in the park.

The Boots

Photo by PressLab

When you put on a brand-new pair of boots, your toes should be just kissing the end of the boots (a bit of pressure here is fine), and your heel should feel like it’s locked in place. The inner liner of boots will “pack out” or become slightly larger as you use them, meaning that if a boot is a little big when you first try them on, they’re going to be be way too big after a couple days of riding!

A rider who is mostly focused on comfort and ease of use should opt for a soft flexing boot with an easy-to-use single BOA like the Vans Aura OG (men’s) or Vans Encore OG (women’s). But an aggressive rider who needs top performance should look for boots with a stiff flex and a hybrid lacing system like the Vans Invado Pro (men’s), or the Vans Luna Ventana Pro (women’s).

Pro Tip: Need a new pair and want to see all your options? Head over to this link to find the perfect new set for this season.

The Bindings

Photo by Irina Green22

Also an essential part of the trio, your bindings should match the flex of your board and boots as closely as possible. The better matched they are, the better they will be able to transfer energy from your body to the board and respond to all of your body movements for precise, quick control. Just like with boots, a soft flexing binding like the Ride C-2 will focus on comfort but won’t be nearly as responsive as stiff flexing bindings like the Ride C-6.

The Clothing

Having layers and gear that will keep you consistently warm and dry is the second most important aspect of making sure you have all the right equipment. If your gear doesn’t keep you warm and dry, chances are you’ll be spending more time in the lodge than on the slopes.

Snow Pants and Jacket

Photo by Dennis van de Water

The key for these is to make sure they’re waterproof yet breathable! Insulated options are also popular because then you don’t have to stress as much about layering. Some of the most popular jackets on Curated include the Burton Covert 2L and 686 3-in-1 form jacket for men, and the Volcom Bolt 2L and Burton Jet 2L jacket for women. Some of the most popular snowpants on Curated include the North Face Freedom pants for men, and the North Face Freedom pants for women as well.

Layers

Make sure to wear thin, lightweight, moisture-wicking layers so you can add and take them off as you need! Merino wool or polyester are great fabrics to look for if you are unsure of what to purchase. Remember: The keys are lightweight and moisture wicking! There’s many different styles of baselayer tops and baselayer bottoms you can explore right here on Curated!

Goggles

Be sure to get the right frames and fit for your face. It’s also important to have the right lenses for the right conditions. A Curated Snowboard Expert can help you determine what sort of lenses you’ll need based on where you ride most often. We’ve got everything from the budget-friendly Smith Frontier goggles to the high-tech and highly popular Oakley Flight Deck goggles.

Gloves or Mittens

Photo by Press Master

It’s going to be a bad day without these! Make sure they’re warm enough for your body. Some people run really hot and prefer pairs with less insulation. On the other hand, if you get really cold (I’m looking at you, people with poor circulation), make sure you have gloves that are well insulated. Above all else, make sure they’re waterproof! Some of our most popular options include the Dakine Titan Gore-Tex gloves, Burton Deluxe Gore-Tex gloves, and the Flylow Insulated Unicorn mittens.

Helmet

Not much to say here ... It’s cool to wear a helmet; not cool to have a concussion and miss out on any part of the season. Wear one! Bonus points if you get one with multi-directional impact protection system (MIPS). This is the latest and greatest safety technology available! Some of our most popular options include the Smith Scout MIPS, Smith Mission MIPS, and the Giro Ledge MIPS.

Socks

Photo by Bublik Haus

Make sure you’re not wearing your old, cotton socks with a hole in the big toe. Invest in a pair of snowboarding socks (Darn Tough socks are my personal favorite) to keep your feet dry, warm, and comfortable. You’re going to want socks that are thin and sleek so that they don’t interfere with the way your boots fit. Since snowboard socks are designed to work this way, they will still be warm enough and keep you dry.

Face Mask

Photo by Vera Petrunina

To keep your face warm, make sure you have at least one or two of these stashed in your snowboard bag. It’s great to have a backup to switch out to if one gets wet! I prefer fleece-polyester or merino-wool neckies/masks to keep my face and neck dry and warm, but there’s a wide assortment of styles and colors we sell right here on Curated!

Season Pass/Lift Ticket

Either pick this up at the lodge or bring it with you, but make sure you have one before trying to get out on the lifts!

Pro tip: Buying your lift ticket ahead of time will likely save you money and ensure that you get one before they sell out, which is a real danger on busy resort days!

The Extras

Photo by Lukas

None of these items on the list is essential for getting yourself out on the mountain safely, but in my opinion, they make a world of a difference!

  • ChapStick: Snow, cold temperatures, and wind are a recipe for disaster in terms of your skin and lips! Having a small stick of ChapStick can do a world of wonders!
  • Money / ID: Unless you packed your own food and drinks, having some cash will definitely come in handy during lunchtime and for après-ski! If you’re picking up a lift ticket or a pre-purchased pass, make sure to keep your ID on you and the credit card you used to purchase the ticket — just in case.
  • Phone: Keep your phone charged. It’s always helpful to program Ski Patrol’s number in your phone, just in case you get into an emergency. You can also grab a print version or mobile-friendly version of your mountain’s map!

The Extra Extras

Photo by Christopher Beck

The following items are not ones that I always pack, but they can come in handy, depending on the day.

  • Hand / Toe Warmers: These are a personal preference, but if your body runs cold or you’re out on a freezing day, you might want to pack some of these just in case.
  • Sunglasses: A necessity for sunny days, spring skiing, and for drinks outside at the end of the day.
  • Phone Charger and Power Bank: If you’re someone who carries their phone on them while riding, you probably know that the cold zaps your battery quickly. A phone charger and power bank will help avoid this issue!
  • Headphones: For solo shredding, or if you just want to tune out your friends for the day. Pairs well with a killer playlist and a fully charged phone!

Pro Tip: It may be smart to keep the expensive AirPods at home when you’re snowboarding. You will have a very hard time finding one if it falls out. Just trust me on this one.

Here’s a handy checklist of all the items listed above:

The more that you get outside and get riding, you will find certain must-have items for yourself that will keep you smiling and happy throughout your day! Just make sure to keep unnecessary things to a minimum, so your pockets aren’t overflowing with little items that can fall out and get lost easily. At the end of the day, as long as you have your essential gear and your lift pass, you will be able to make it — but packing those little extras can make you so much more comfortable.

If you have any questions about any of the gear on this list, or want to chat through any other snowboard-related thoughts - reach out to a Curated Snowboarding Expert! We're happy to help you find the perfect gear to make the most of your time on the mountain.

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Skye F
Snowboarding Expert
Gaelen Mast
Snowboarding Expert
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