Forget Me Nots: The science of packing for a snowboard trip

While packing for a trip, it's just as easy to forget something as it is to bring too much. Here are some easy tips to help you prep and make your snowboard trip stress free.


I like to dress mentally from head to toe. I imagine being on the mountain in different situations: a bright day reminds me of sunglasses, snowing conditions sound the goggle buzzer. Cold weather equals layers, and hiking signals shells with pit zips and a hydration system.

The previous are the items I'm most likely to forget. On the other hand, I've left my bindings at home before. Make a list. It sounds cheesy, but when it comes to traveling overseas or into the backcountry, a forgotten item could lead to a horrible experience. If you take the time to make a checklist once, your packing will be stress-free for the long haul.

You should also do a little carpet riding. Strap or step into your board to make sure you've got your equipment dialed. Keep your bed empty so you can arrange everything on it in plain sight. If you shove everything in a bag, you can't see what you might have forgotten, even though your mind may have it packed away.

In The Bag

Put goggles alongside the curve of a boot for protection. Socks and long underwear get shoved in last to fill little gaps. Your jacket stays out and doubles as streetwear and/or a pillow in airports.

I usually bring one pair of street pants because you'll find that you only wear them at the end of each day. I used to bring an extra pair, and the only reason I'd put them on was because I felt guilty for lugging them. Jeans are heavy, bulky, and look fine if they're a little dirty. Wear them on the plane–don't pack them. And don't forget a swimsuit for hot tubs.

I keep bindings on the board because I'm lazy, but taking them off gives you more space. Keep track of screws by leaving them screwed onto the board with the disc.

If your gear feels heavy walking it from your house to your vehicle, it's time to reevaluate. A coffin-style board bag should carry everything you need, along with a carry-on pack for airline travel. One more word–wheels.

If your bag is swelling, you're not leaving any space for a souvenir sweatshirt or more. However, if it's a road trip, what the hell, fill the trunk. The weight only gives you more traction on icy roads.

When traveling by train in Europe, keep in mind the aisles are narrow and space is limited. Go lighter than you would for airline travel. By the time the conductor announces the name of the stop in English (usually at the end), the train is already moving. You might be kicking your bags out the door and jumping after them. In this case, I like a larger backpack for my gear and boots, and a small snowboard bag that fits a board and is padded with your riding outerwear. In other words, not a coffin style. Did I mention wheels? If you don't use wheels, invest in a big, cushy, padded shoulder strap.

Print out any reservation numbers, itinerary, local contact phone numbers, addresses–whatever–on one sheet of paper, and put in it your wallet. This takes the place of bulky organizers. You're not going to work, you're going snowboarding. If you're bringing the office along, support the local economy and hire a porter–you'll need one.