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Do I Need a Backpack for Skiing?

A group of three skiers on winter slope.

Ski bags are comfy and easy to carry, so for me, even if I had to take along something that could hold in my pocket, I would opt for the skiing backpack.

Then again, there is always the need for lip balm, water, snacks, removing a layer when the weather fluctuates and the list goes on.  The ski backpacks are lightweight and convenient and encourage you to bring along important items just in case.

Here are other reasons to carry a ski backpack, what to bring along, and how to safely wear your backpack.

How to Choose the Right Backpack

A woman choosing ski backpack on store.

If you’re going to be on the slopes all day, you’ll want to have an ultralight, water-resistant backpack in the small to medium size range.

Ski or ride with a backpack on if this is the situation and ensure you’re comfortable doing so! While for some, it’s a natural part of their daily lives, for many others, it takes a while to adapt.

Wearing a backpack on a ski lift can cause discomfort, so be certain you can efficiently remove it or that it’s slim enough not to tamper with the overall riding position.

It’s much easier to remove a chairlift with a chest strap, however, a waist clasp might get blocked. Lockers at the base will fit the backpack without you needing to wear it. After you’ve finished packing, ensure the bag has a little extra room in the event you have to remove a layer.

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Why don’t Skiers Use their Pockets Instead of a Backpack?

Hikenture Ski Boot Bag Backpack, 50L Padded Ski Bag & Snowboard Boot Bag with Drain Holes, Large Capacity Water-Resistant Ski Travel Bag for Ski Boots, Helmet, Goggles, Clothes, Gloves, Snowboard Gear (Black)

Ever come upon a spoiled item in your ski jacket or pants pockets from a previous ski trip? The pockets of your pants and coat make it simple to misplace all of your skiing necessities or forget what you placed in there.

In addition, you can’t be certain that they’ll accommodate your bulkier objects. Water bottles and heavy extra layers won’t fit in your pockets, so you’ll be fighting a losing battle if you put them in there.

Many skiers choose to return to the resort after every three or four rounds instead of continuing their day on the mountain.

Athletes who want the most out of a lift ticket may choose to spend more time on the mountain or to ski in locations where lockers and lodges are not available. Using a backpack, instead of relying on pockets in these situations, is the best option.

Essentials to Take Along in Your Skiing Backpack

1. Water

Typically when we’re out in the cold, drinking water or sports drinks is far from the list of desired items. However, they are the most important. You don’t want to end up dehydrated and ultimately worn out. To avoid dehydration, it’s vital to drink a lot of water.

You can accomplish this by bringing a little bottle of water with you. A backpack’s built-in bottle holder saves valuable storage space, which is an added benefit as you see below.

Two skiers on slope with backpack drinking water.

You should also think of bringing electrolytes with you if you want to change things a bit. A small insulated cup or bottle with hot water and your favorite tea packet will also work wonders. You’ll keep hydrated and warm up at the same time this way.

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2. Snacks

Don’t go back to bed early because you’re hungry. While a hot cup of chili on a cold day is irresistible, the lodge’s food alternatives will cause you to become too full and sleepy.

Instead, include foods that are heavy in calories to keep you going. Keep a few snacks in your bag so that you can refuel just ahead of your next run.

So, what snacks do the pros recommend?

  • Protein bars
  • Fruit slices
  • Oatmeal bars
  • Crisps made with peanut butter
  • Nuts and dried fruit
  • Confectionery made from fruit
  • Nut and fruit-filled chocolate bars

3. An Emergency Kit

A group of an emergency kit on table.

The word “emergency” comes from the fact that they occur abruptly and frequently when we least anticipate them. To be on the safe side, always carry the following items with you when skiing:

  • Compass
  • Whistle
  • Bandages
  • Painkillers(non-drowsy)
  • A Blanket
  • A flashlight or headlamp
  • Firestarter or a lighter
  • Multitool
  • Map
  • A transceiver for avalanches
  • Hand warmers should also be considered

It doesn’t matter if it’s an emergency or not; they are a skier’s closest friend. Even the most seasoned skier might be caught off guard by a sudden shift in the weather. Depending on how far you’re skiing from the resort, having an emergency kit like this will keep your mind at ease.

4. Take A Lightweight Extra Layer

When you’re at a high height, the temperature might vary greatly from early morning to late afternoon, as well as from the base to the peak, especially if a storm is blowing in.

Having a light, quick-drying mid-layer is a good idea because of this. When the sun is out all day, you never know when you’ll need to add or remove a layer.

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5. Don’t Forget Your Portable Charger

A man skier charging his phone using portable charger.

In the winter, it’s surprising how rapidly a fully charged phone’s battery drains. Many on-mountain lodges have charging stations but pack a (charged) lightweight charger and cable to ensure you have the juice you need to take shots and plan lunch and meet-ups with your buddies or family members.

GoPro and portable cameras, which can drain their batteries quickly, can also benefit from an external charger.

Should Regular Skiers Wear Backpacks Too?

Definitely! At higher elevations, hydrating is even more critical to your contentment with the activity. As someone prone to altitude sickness, I’ve found that staying properly hydrated is the key to avoiding dizziness and exhaustion.

My stomach doesn’t sag as much when I take a hydration drink instead of gulping down a full bottle of water at the lodging and feeling like a pool of water.

It also aids in the distribution of water in my pack and the weight on my body, ensuring that I do not experience any imbalance when riding. In many cases, backpacks allow you to add a hydration bladder and line.

If you’re going to be out in the cold, you’ll need an insulated liner to keep your drink from freezing. However, that might be inescapable on brutally cold occasions.

Carrying foodstuffs is yet another reason for bringing a pack along. Many of my friends will bring their lunch to save money and avoid standing in large queues at the resort dining.

A short snack in the warming area will suffice instead of having to return to the main lodge for food. Snacks such as granola bars can keep you going until your next meal and provide the energy you need to keep going.

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How to Safely Wear a Ski Backpack

A woman skiers on slope with ski backpack.

  • A snagged strap or another protruding object should not be part of your pack’s contents.
  • Shift your backpack beside you to allow your back to remain flat as you ride the lift.
  • Before exiting the lift, make sure that your pack is free of any straps or loops that may have gotten stuck while riding the ski lift.
  • Don’t overload your backpack with unnecessary items; this will make it difficult to carry while skiing or riding.
  • Make sure your pack is properly adjusted and tightened so that the weight does not shift while you are riding and you are not hampered by it.