Back problems are nothing to mess around with. Whether you are trying to prevent injury or just get your body a little extra love and support, using a back protector can be a good idea when you are out snowboarding.
I’m a certified snowboarding instructor who has experience with many different equipment items related to the sport. I haven’t worn a back protector myself, but I have spoken to several of my students who do to get an idea of the best options.
The Demon FlexForce Pro Spine Guard is my pick for the best snowboard back protector. This option has a very comfortable fit that will give your back extra cushioning in case of a nasty fall.
There are a few other good back protectors out there, and in this post, I’ll show you all of the best options so you can pick one that works well for your needs as a rider.
Better safe than sorry, so let’s get started.
- Best Overall: Demon FlexForce Pro Spine Guard
- Best for Rigid Protection: POC VPD System Back Armor
- Best Flexibility: SlyTech No Shock
- Best Fit: POC Spine VPD 2.0 Vest
- Best Backpack with Back Protection: POC Spine VPD Air Backpack 8
Top Picks for Best Snowboard Back Protector
Here are my picks for the best snowboard back protector. All of these options will give you good protection along the entire length of your spine while also offering a comfortable and secure fit.
- Best for: Overall
- Key features: Good protection, performance foam, hard outer shell, multiple sizes, waistband
- Length: Full-length
- Fit: Adjustable straps
- Cost: $$$
The Demon FlexForce Pro Spine Guard is my pick for the best overall snowboard back protector. This is a fantastic option for any rider who wants excellent back protection without compromising flexibility.
It features full-length spine coverage, so you will have your entire back protected when you ride. Padding and impact resistance is made possible by an inner layer of performance foam covered by a hard outer shell.
This blend of materials gives you solid protection from hard impacts and sliding without being too rigid. You can twist and turn without the protector getting in your way. It’s flexible without compromising any strength.
The FlexForce Pro also comes with Air Shield kidney protection to protect those organs in the spots where your ribcage can’t. PE Flex control spine guard panels beef up the total safety as well.
It also has a great fit, thanks to straps that are adjustable. They have swivels to get a solid fit, and the backpack-style straps are easy to adjust and secure. It also has a waistband to keep the entire protector in place when you ride.
I don’t have many negative remarks on this option, but the waistband might take some getting used to as it fits a little tight.
- Best for: Rigid Protection
- Key features: Strong protection, adjustable straps, breathable, good fit, low bulk/high impact design
- Length: Full-length
- Fit: Rigid/Adjustable straps
- Cost: $$$$
The POC VPD System Back Armor gives you serious back protection in the shape of a rigid layer of plastic that runs the length of your spine. It’s form-fitting to the contours of your body so that it won’t restrict movement as much as other more stiff options.
This is a flexible armor-style back protector that is effective at absorbing and dissipating impacts. It can take big hits and provide you with a deep layer of protection that can come in useful for extreme riding situations.
An adjustable fit lets you position the protector perfectly to fully cover your spine from the lower neck to the lower back. The shoulder straps and waistband are fully adjustable and give you the ability to lock the item in place so you won’t slip or slide around.
It also has a breathable design that lets in airflow so you won’t be uncomfortable when you wear it. This is rare for rigid plastic protectors, and the ventilation is much needed when you are out there riding hard.
It’s very expensive, and even though it’s flexible for a rigid design, it’s not the most flexible option out there.
- Best for: Flexibility
- Key features: Flexible, lightweight, low-profile, comfortable, foam protection, excellent fit
- Length: Full-spine
- Fit: Soft/Adjustable straps
- Cost: $$
If you want increased flexibility while still getting solid back protection, check out the SlyTech No Shock back protector. This is another great option that utilizes a softer foam construction to give you maximum movement.
It’s made out of a honeycombed-shaped foam that is lightweight and pliable. This gives you the freedom of movement that makes this option stand out. The design also helps distribute impact across your spine if you take a terrible fall.
The No Shock also has a three-point belt that lets you attach the item firmly and securely to your back. This helps keep the protector in place when you ride but also adds a little extra back support.
This is also a fairly low-profile option which is awesome for anyone who wants added protection without being weight down by heavier options. It’s lightweight and easy to use all day long.
It doesn’t give you as much protection as a rigid plastic protector, but the lightweight tradeoff and added flexibility have their place.
- Best for: Fit
- Key features: Vest with built-in padding, full-length protection, excellent fit, breathable
- Length: Full-length
- Fit: Tight/Vest
- Cost: $$$$
The POC Spine VPD 2.0 Vest is a terrific option for anyone who wants a secure and comfortable fit.
This protector comes in the form of a vest with a full-spine length of padding built right into it. You can pull the vest over your torso like a shirt, and you’ll be fully protected for the runs to come.
It provides you with super shock-absorbing capabilities thanks to strong, durable padding designed to dissipate impact over a wide surface area.
The vest design effectively keeps the protector in place no matter how much you twist and turn. It’s more effective than straps and is easy to wear underneath a base layer.
This is another very expensive option.
- Best for: Backpack with Back Protection
- Key features: Benefits of a backpack, plenty of pockets, decent back protection, adjustable fit
- Length: Not quite full-length
- Fit: Adjustable straps/Full-length
- Cost: $$$
The POC Spine VPD Air Backpack 8 is a backpack that comes with built-in spine protection. This is great for anyone who usually rides with a pack and wants back protection without wearing a dedicated protector.
It’s a solid bag that gives you the ability to take extra gear and equipment with you when you ride. It has a hydration sleeve for your water and all of the pockets you would expect from a quality snowboarding bag.
It also comes with VPD air protection that is a light and well-ventilated form of body armor. It’s flexible and won’t restrict your movements on the mountain while still giving you decent protection if you take a bad fall.
Being a backpack, the protector won’t stay in place as well as other options that sit directly against your back. This means you’ll sacrifice a little protection for the sake of convenience.
Best Snowboard Back Protector: What to Look For
Keep the following factors in mind when shopping for a quality snowboard back protector.
Back protectors can come in a few different sizes. I like full-length options that run the entire length of your back and spine. This will give you the most protection from impacts and reduces the chance of bruising or injury.
Even though I prefer larger back protectors, you might want a lower profile option because it won’t be as bulky. If you only have a targeted section of your back that you want to be protected, you can get away with a smaller size.
For your back to be fully protected during a bad fall, you need to make sure that the protector you choose has a good fit. If it doesn’t sit snugly around your back and stay in place, it can come loose or slip up under heavy action.
Look for chest and waist straps that help you secure the protector to your back. Adjustable straps are ideal because they will allow you to get the perfect fit quickly and easily. Elastic straps that stretch are also recommended.
Type of Padding
If you want the most possible protection, thick, hard padding is the way to go. This style of protection will give you the most impact resistance and is great if you are running big mountain lines with lots of rocks. However, it will somewhat restrict your movement.
Softer padding, like foam, won’t provide as much protection but will give you more movement and flexibility. No matter what type of padding you choose, you’ll still have at least some back protection.
The Demon FlexForce Pro Spine Guard is my pick for the best snowboard back protector. This is a high-quality option that will give you full-length protection over your entire back without limiting your movement too much. It’s also pretty comfortable.
All of the back protectors you find on this list are recommended. They will give you different levels of padding, but they all work effectively and can come in useful for any snowboarder who goes big or just wants a little added peace of mind and protection.About Lorraine