​How To Choose Snowboard Backpacks

Andy Bowen

by Andy Bowen

July 25, 2019

Snowboard Backpack Buying Guide

A snowboard backpack is an essential element during your trips, especially as you gain experience and skills. You are likely to bring more accessories and stuff, not to mention spending more time in the mountains. For a beginner, it may not seem like a good idea, yet the faster you get used to it, the easier your venture will become. So, how do you choose the best snowboard backpack for your needs?

Cost

How much are you willing to spend on a snowboard backpack? What is the market like? If this is the first time you look for a snowboard backpack, chances are you have to do a bit of research before deciding on a budget.

Some backpacks will cost five times more than the others. On the same note, you do not always need the most expensive thing in the world to enjoy a great snowboarding experience, as it may not always be the best. There are also lots of bells and whistles that will add to the overall cost, even if you do not necessarily need to use them.

Style

The style is often a matter of personal preferences, but comfort is not to be overlooked either. Some people like bright colors, while others want something that will match their outfits or helmets. When it comes to comfort, there will be different mounting types to your body. Most snowboard backpacks come with a few belts to stay secured to your body. Others come with extra belts for even more security.

If you get a small unit and you need to carry it while you ride, you will probably require more than just a few basic belts. Otherwise, the backpack may move while you ride and affect your balance.

Functions

Every type of snowboard backpack will come with decent storage on the inside, yet it depends on the size you choose. The function is pretty much the same, regardless of the type, design or style. However, as you gain experience, you will bring more and more gear with you.

In other words, you might need a backpack with a special compartment for an extra pair of goggles or perhaps a backpack with built in speakers to keep yourself entertained while you ride.

On another note, some manufacturers mostly rely on the comfort. While you still have good storage, the backpack will not be extremely spacious, but compact and stuck to you with a plethora of belts.

What to Look for in a Snowboard Backpack

Come up with a list of your necessities, then find out what you need to look for in order to make the right decision.

Capacity

The capacity is basically the size and one of the most important considerations in the process. You need to plan ahead in order to determine the perfect size for your snowboard backpack. You might need batteries, extras, sunscreen, a whistle, your action camera, snacks, a few bottles of water, your wallet, the smartphone and so on.

Remember to buy someone that can accommodate all this stuff. But on the other hand, bigger is not always better. Bring in the main necessaries only, rather than things you may never use. A heavy backpack will kill your energy before you even make it to the mountain. Plus, if you have to ride with it on your back, you definitely do not want it to weigh more than you do.

Do consider small pockets that your snowboard pants and jacket might have too.

Determining Torso Size

Newbies make the common mistake of choosing a snowboard backpack with their height in mind. Terrible idea! It is the torso you have to pay attention to. It might be wise to get a unit with adjustable torso straps – the best way to make it feel comfortable. Some units are specifically designed for women.

Straps must be adjusted to feel perfect – too loose will cause the unit to swing around, while too tight will kill your movement. You can try a backpack in a local store, then shop online. But then, trying it out involves loading it with some weight.

Extra belts and straps around your waist will reduce the pressure on your shoulders. It is worth noting that you can also buy such belts separately.

Storage

Again, your storage needs depend on all the items you need to bring along. To keep things organized, a backpack with designated storage will make your life easier, as you do not have to plan too much in advance.

If you go to remote areas, you should ensure that tools are easily accessible, but still secure in place. You do not want them ripped off during an avalanche or a fall. Instead, you need access to them in order to use them straight away.I’ve saw a really nice backpack with a dedicated space for the snowboard googles , but sadly that model it’s not for sale anymore .

Accessibility

The last thing you want to do during an accident is to have to unbuckle, take lots of straps off and remove the backpack from your back in order to access tools and other stuff. In other words, accessibility is more about safety. You hope you will never need it, but it is better to be safe than sorry.

Backpacks with back panel access systems are quite well rated. They also provide multiple access options. You can take stuff out without having to open main chambers. The more separated your pockets are, the more accessibility you have.

Features

Features vary widely from one unit to another – to some manufacturers, these are nothing but bells and whistles that no one really needs. Based on your necessities, you might require more than just one backpack. If you want to take a relaxing trip and take some videos while on the mountain, a small backpack to provide extra protection for your goggles and camera might be more than enough.

Pockets

When it comes to pockets, there is one rule – more is better. The more pockets you can find, the better. Sure, there will always be some main chambers for large stuff, but you will most likely have lots of small items as well.

Ideally, these pockets should feature waterproof zips to prevent snow and water from reaching your valuables.

Durability

It is hard to tell how durable a snowboard backpack can be without going through others’ reviews. But then, purchasing the right materials can work wonders in the long run. For example, an abrasion resistant fabric will most likely face the test of time. You will also find backpacks featuring double stitching or reinforced steams.

It may sound irrelevant at times, but think about it for a second – snowboarding is a tough activity, You will fall on your back quite often, but you will also take your backpack through snow, water and ice. Therefore, it pays off investing in quality.

Size

The size depends on a few different factors. For example, ask yourself – how long are your trips? How many days are you usually away for? Where are you going? What kind of environment is it? How much gear do you need?

The duration of your trip and the stuff you need to bring will tell you the perfect size for your backpack. Most manufacturers give out the size in volume, which is measured in liters. There are a few general standards too.

10-20L

This size is ideal for day rides. You can pretty much go anywhere, as long as you do not spend lots of time there.

20-35L

This size is also recommended to day tours – if you tend to spend a long day out, this size is for you. It is excellent if you go on the mountain in the morning and leave before sunset.

35-55L

Interested in hut touring? Are you about to spend the whole night out? If you tend to go snowboarding for more than a day (but not more than two days), this standard is big enough to take enough food and gear.

60-70L

This standard size is quite large and will most likely put some strain on your shoulders when full. It is not the type of backpack you keep on your back while you ride. Instead, it is mostly recommended to those who go on longer trips. If you spend more than just a few nights away and you need to cook and sleep in a tent, this is the perfect size for you.

Features

Certain features will add to the efficiency and usage of your snowboard backpack, while others are nothing but bells and whistles.

Hydration Compatibility

If your backpack is compatible with most hydration packs, getting hydrated will be a matter of seconds only. Most units do not come with it, so you might need to buy it separately. The plus? There are a few. First, you can drink water with close to no effort. Second, there are no risks associated with spilling your water. The stuff inside the main chamber or other pockets are quite safe.

From some points of view, hydration compatibility is nice to have, but not always mandatory. If your bottle lid is secure enough, it will not make such a big difference – up to you.

Back or Side Access Zippers

Back or side access zippers are often overlooked. Sure, you can have such zippers if your backpack has more pockets on the side. But when it comes to the main chamber, you usually have one opening only – at the top.

Back or side access zippers can add to the overall convenience. If you think about it, you will be able to access stuff at the bottom without opening the top. In other words, you do not have to take everything out – both frustrating and time consuming.

Daisy Chain Gear Loops

Daisy chain gear loops are not always standard features, unless you require a specialized backpack – such as a backpack for fishing or hunting. Such features will add to the convenience, as well as the storage capacity of the backpack.

In other words, you can attach all kinds of equipment – including fishing, hunting or climbing hardware – on the back of the unit. Not only will you be able to carry more items, but you will also protect the surface fabric.

Specialized Touring Features

Specialized touring features are more about specialization. If you want the snowboard backpack for touring adventures, this feature might be for you. For instance, some manufacturers enhance their backpacks with accessible pockets and compartments. They are usually reachable without taking the backpack down. They may also have compartments for particular tools, such as avalanche tools.

On the other hand, you can also find quick racking attachments – they work on the same principles, meaning you can use them without removing your pack.

Helmet Carry

A helmet carry can easily be overlooked. It is so small and insignificant that most people associate it with being lazy. What does it mean? When your helmet is not in use, you can secure it with a helmet carry. You can obviously carry it in a series of different ways, but a helmet carry will prevent bouncing.

A helmet carry is often designed like a poach, but it may also come as an elastic flaps. Each manufacturer has their own rules based on their research studies.

Airbags

Airbags come with a series of features. When it comes to health and safety, you go to places where avalanches start when least expected. You do not want to get buried under the snow, yet this feature will help you survive for a while.

Some backpacks come with built in airbags. This option is definitely much more convenient. But then, the backpack itself will cost you more – plus, it will be heavier. Other than that, you do not always need such airbags, especially not on a normal riding day.

AvaLung

AvaLung has a self explanatory name. The equipment will help you breathe if you get buried in snow during an avalanche. It grabs fresh oxygen from the backpack and pushes CO2 away, so it increases your chances of survival. Some units can give you enough air for 20 minutes, while others can go for up to an hour.​​

Bottom Line

In the end, no matter how insignificant a snowboard backpack may seem at first, small details and a good organization make the difference. While it looks like the capacity is the only thing that matters, the truth is you need to do your homework upfront.​

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