What to Pack for a Day on the Slopes

If you’re wondering what to bring for a day’s skiing or snowboarding, then you’ve come to the right place. Top explorers here at Trespass HQ have used their expert knowledge to create a ski slope essentials checklist, detailing the ski day pack contents necessary to include in a skiing rucksack, firstly discussing the elements of what makes the best backpack for skiing.

So, first things first. You need something to pack the upcoming items in.

What to look for in ski day packs

The best snowboard and ski backpacks will have the following features:

  • 15 to 25 litres in size. We don’t suggest complete beginners carry a ski daypack, however, as even a little weight can throw the wearer off balance. Wait till the ski stabilisers are off (metaphorically – don’t get your hopes up, beginners!) and then you can delve into the world of skiing with a backpack. If you offer to carry the belongings of the said beginner skier in your own pack, it may be worth investing in a backpack at the slightly larger end of this size spectrum.
  • Lightweight and water-resistant (or waterproof if you’re anticipating a number of falls) fabric technologies, with a streamlined design to save the pack from hindering your movement, speed and momentum.
  • A chest strap or sternum strap with an adjustable fastening to keep it secure and in place when you’re stunting (or stumbling).
  • Brightly coloured to keep you spottable on the slopes, perhaps even reflective if you’re considering partaking in some night skiing.

Optional-but-recommended ski day pack features:

  • Hydration pack compatibility for quick and easy thirst-quenching on the go.
  • Pull-tabs at the zips for quick and convenient access to the contents of your ski backpack even with chunky ski gloves on. Consider roll top backpacks for fast access to your belongings all in one place without dealing with fiddly zips and pockets.
  • Daisy chain storage for carrying ski poles hands-free.

Now let’s take a look at what goes inside…

Things to take skiing

  • A men’s or ladies’ fleece or an extra layer, and a spare pair of ski socks if you’re one for getting cold feet.
  • A first aid kit is always a must along with a record of the numbers for mountain rescue. Read our article about staying safe on the slopes for more information.
  • A piste or a resort map. This is especially important if you’re going off-piste or venturing to a new resort and need to figure out which lifts to use to get there, for example. A handheld GPS device may suffice, as they are especially useful in low-visibility and off-piste (read: no signal). Whatever mapping system you choose, however, we really wouldn’t suggest using your phone too much, as batteries deplete in cold temperatures and have been known to slow the phone in performance, too. Instead, leave it in your bag – near your thermal flask if you’re taking it. Or do it the old fashioned way and simply: map it!
  • A mobile phone and a portable charger. As aforementioned, your phone battery is prone to drainage in cold weather. Keep it topped up – mainly just for emergencies, mind – with a portable charger.
  • A beanie hat for when you want to take off your helmet. You’ll find that you cool down quickly once you’ve stopped being so active, and you lose a lot of heat through your head.
  • SPF lip balm. You should be putting suncream on your face – especially on your nose – first thing in the mornings anyway, as the reflection from the snow intensifies the UV rays. But you’ll need to top up throughout the day, which SPF lip balm is great for. The handy pocket size makes it perfect for rubbing on lips and noses.
  • A water bottle, if your small ski backpack isn’t already hydration pack compatible and you’re wondering how do you carry water when skiing. There’s no need to fill a flask full though (save that for the hot choccy) as if it’s cold enough for skiing, we’re sure Mother Nature will be able to keep your beverage nice and chilled for you, free of charge. It’s important to stay hydrated, and you definitely can’t keep eating snow like that! To save space in your ski day pack, grab a water bottle with a looped cap so you can clip it with a carabiner to the outside instead.
  • Money and ID. Your wallet essentials are pretty, well, essential, in case you forget your sandwich for lunch, or worse: someone forgets you.

Optional items:

  • Lunch. Food on the slopes can be costly, but if you’re on holiday then why not treat yourself? It might more practical, however, to venture to the local supermarket before you start skiing, and pick up bread and sandwich fillings for the week (or however long you’re spending there), then making a packed lunch for yourselves every day in the morning. Remember, snowsports and keeping your body warm burns a lot of energy, so eating slightly more than you otherwise might is recommended. Consider taking energy bars as a handy snack to keep you going, too.
  • Lens change. Especially if you’re a pro skier or snowboarder, you may have invested in a pair of ski goggles with interchangeable lenses. These are great for when conditions change, you’re in particularly poor visibility, off-piste or in the presence of moguls and jumps. They’re also a nice outfit change if you fancy a switch-up after lunch.
  • Thermal flask. We recommend hot chocolate, as no extra ingredients are needed, such as the milk and sugar you may otherwise need for tea and coffee. There is nothing more warming than a hot drink, both for your insides and your hands.
  • Hand warmers. As earlier mentioned, temperatures on the slopes can plummet pretty rapidly, and if your ski gloves aren’t up to scratch (or you decide not to take your flask of chocolat chaud), cold hands can ruin a fantastic day’s powder pursuit. Hand warmers are easy to use and provide instant relief from the biting cold.
  • Touchscreen gloves. When you’re at apres ski and want to capture moments on your smartphone, taking on and off your chunky ski gloves is an effort, there’s risk of separation and loss (from your gloves – don’t be dramatic), holding them is fiddly and your hands will get cold in the process. But with touchscreen-compatible gloves, there’s one quick and easy change that allows you to still have the fun, be just as warm but with a little more freedom (both online and in the use of your hands).
  • Ski sunglasses. Similarly, as with gloves, you might not want to put up with the chunky obstructions these snowsport accessories become once you’ve left the piste. Do not ski in sunglasses, however, as they are not designed to protect your eyes from the high UV-rays the snow emits. If you get into a crash too, there’s no real durable shield for your eyes, either.
  • Waterproof phone cover or case. If you are planning on taking your phone out on the reg, either for super cool photo opportunities or in attempt to keep your group all in one place, there’s a higher chance you’ll drop it. A waterproof phone cover is a handy way to keep your phone protected, even while its in use.
  • Lastly but definitely not leastly, a Go-Pro Camera and mount. If you’re wanting a slice of the action as well as being part of it, there’s no better way to capture this than with a Go-Pro. Don’t forget a Go-Pro helmet mount or handle to go with it for hands-free use, if you think you can handle it…

Written by: Natalie Green