Skiing and snowboarding take a lot of gear.
To help make your life easier, here’s our packing list. (For a downloadable version: The Brave Ski Mom Family Skiing Packing List)
The Brave Ski Mom Family Skiing Packing List
- One pair of wool or synthetic ski socks (No cotton and don’t layer. One pair is all you need to wear.)
- Wool or synthetic long underwear or base layers (top and bottom, again, no cotton)
- A fleece, wool or down sweater/pull over
- Waterproof, insulated ski pants
- Waterproof, insulated ski coat, ideally with a hood that fits over a helmet
- Waterproof mittens (mittens are generally warmer and easier for kids to wear)
- Goggles or sunglasses
- Snow boots
Optional Clothing Items:
- Wool or synthetic mitten liners
- Balaclava, neck gaiter or face mask
- Extra socks (bring them along to change into if the other socks get wet)
- Extra long underwear or base layers (on extra cold days, we often wear two sets of base layers)
- Extra layer, like a wool or down vest for the coldest days
- Skis with bindings/Snowboard with bindings
- Ski Boots/Snowboard Boots
- Poles (only for experienced skiers, not for beginners)
- Lip balm
- Disposable hand warmers
- Water (extra if you’re driving home)
- Snacks (extra if you’re driving home)
- Ski Boot backpacks or bags to keep all of the gear organized and in one place
- Boot dryers to dry out boots after each day of skiing
- Folding camp chair (if you have to boot up in a parking lot)
Recommended Items and Brands
Imagine something you might need for skiing or snowboarding and you can find it — many times over.
There is a dizzying array of skiing and snowboarding-related products out there. We’ve tried a lot of them, and we have our favorites.
Here’s our list of what we can’t ski without.
We’re all in on mittens because they are warmer than gloves. Our favorite is the Hestra Heli Mitt. Available for men, women and kids, the liner is washable, the Hestra “handcuff” makes them harder to lose and the leather palm keeps moisture out. It’s also available as a glove.
Hestra also makes our favorite mitt for toddlers and babies, the Baby Zip. We love it for its overall high quality, long cuff and side zipper that makes it easy to put on.
We don’t care what brand we wear, but we all prefer wool. Breathable, warming and less “stinky” than polypro, it’s a natural fiber that treats you well. While some wool can be itchy, we’ve had good luck with Icebreaker, Smart Wool, and WoolPower.
Again, we’re all about wool. The thinner the better. Smart Wool probably has the most choices for all ages, while Rohner has the thinnest, yet still warm, socks we’ve found. But truly any purpose-made ski sock will work.
An essential layer for warmth and comfort, we like wool midlayers from Icebreaker (think full zip and half-zip tops), wool vests and full zips from WoolPower and down sweaters from The North Face, REI, Obermeyer and Columbia. Each of these layers can be worn under a jacket on extra cold days, under a shell on normal winter days or by themselves on spring skiing days.
For kids, we love Spyder’s bib pants with full zip sides. These are a ski racer favorite with zips that make them easy to get on and off, even if you don’t take off your ski boots. Spyder has many other styles and designs for kids, some that can be lengthened in the legs as your child grows.
For women, FERA makes some of the best fitting ski pants I’ve tried. The only drawback? They don’t have leg vents. For more technical pants, we look to Burton, Patagonia and Marmot.
Again, we’ve been totally pleased with Spyder kids and junior jackets, especially those that can be lengthened in the arms to provide a longer life. For women, there are too many good choices to pick just one.
For the latest Spyder (and many other brands) junior styles, we recommend WinterKids.com.
I prefer jackets with technical features and lots of insulation. My go-to on the coldest days is a Stio, although I still add a down sweater underneath. On warmer days when I want a unique look, I love the looks from Burton. A “snowboard brand”, Burton jackets have longer lines than many ski coats, providing extra warmth and protection on the chairlift. Other solid brands include Obermeyer, Spyder, Patagonia and Marmot.
My go-to retailer? WinterWomen.com.
It isn’t pretty, but the neoprene Seirus face mask is warm, and it doesn’t fog your goggles or make you feel claustrophobic. It’s a winner!
Ski Boot Backpacks
All this gear needs a place of its own. Make your life easier by giving everyone their own ski boot backpack or bag. Keep them packed and at the ready, for grab and go convenience. Our favorites are from Transpack and Kulkea. Both brands are available in adult and junior sizes and in heated models.
A necessity for families who travel, ski bags are also useful for storing skis in dorm rooms, we’ve recently found. The wheeled Transpack Double Vault holds two pairs, while the Kulkea Kantaja bag is a less heavy, well-designed bag that holds one pair of skis.
Stay Warm and Dry Out Your Ski Boots
The Torch Coat Heater is well-designed and provides steady heat for approximately four hours. Velcro attachments let you move it from jacket to jacket. You can also charge your phone with the battery pack.
Drying out your boots after each ski day will prolong their life, keep them warmer (damp boots are cold) and prevent odor. We’ve tried hot sticks, dryers of all types and even absorbent passive dryers that don’t need electricity. Right now our favorites are the Dryguy Travel Dry DX and the Drysure Extreme (the one that doesn’t use electricity). Both are good for ski boots, hiking boots, ice skates (sweaty hockey skates anyone?).
BONUS: Through March 31, 2018 use this coupon code (M8Y76V88) for 50% off Drysure Extreme at Amazon.com. The current price on Amazon is $37.95, so you can get these boot dryers for just $19.00!
Another way to dry out ski boots is to remove the liner and dry it overnight. In all honesty, I think it’s hard to get the liner back in. So I was happy to find the Ski and Snowboard Boot Horn at my ski shop. A simple piece of plastic it slides between the back of the liner and the boot shell to reduce friction and help slide the liner into place.
This page contains affiliate links. Affiliate links help offset some of the costs of producing Braveskimom.com. I have not been paid or reimbursed in any way by any gear manufacturer listed in the on this page. All opinions are my own and are exactly what I would tell my family and friends.