6 Essential Snowboarding Protective Gears

Snowboarding can be a dangerous sport. Flying down a steep mountain at high speeds has an inherent risk that every rider needs to remain well aware of, no matter how or where they like to ride. Protective gear can help you limit injury and reduce this risk. 

I’m Lorraine, a certified snowboarding instructor who has spent years of my life on the snow. All of this experience has taught me the importance of staying safe out there, and I know what to look for in high-quality protective gear. 

I’ll show you all of the best choices for essential protective gear for snowboarding in this post. By staying prepared and wearing this equipment when you ride, you’ll be able to stay safer out there. It’s not worth risking your body or your life when you ride!

Remember, safety first. Now let’s get started. 

1. Helmet

Snowboarding helmets are the most essential piece of protective gear you can use. A helmet is an absolute must for every rider to wear when they ride. They aren’t legally required, but they are more than recommended.

A good helmet can very literally save your life when you ride. If you take a nasty fall, you can easily hit your head on the ice, snow, a rock, or a tree. Without a helmet, this could lead to severe injury and even death. 

Helmet technology is pretty advanced these days, and even cheaper helmets will give you a lot of protection against impact and provide you with a barrier in between your brain and the world outside. Trust me, you don’t want to mess around with not wearing a helmet. 

The Smith Quantum MIPS is one of my favorite helmets for snowboarding. This is a super comfortable helmet that will give you excellent protection thanks to MIPS technology that provides advanced impact absorption. It’s also super comfortable. 

I also recommend the Oakley MOD 5 MIPS helmet if you want one of the most comfortable options around. This one is easy to wear all day long and comes with many other high-end features that you might like as well. 

It really doesn’t matter what helmet you choose to wear at the end of the day, so long as you wear one. A little extra protection is better than none at all, and you never want to risk your life when you are out in the snow. 

You can also get a helmet that caters to your needs or preferences as a rider. Some of them come with audio capabilities that allow you to listen to music or talk with friends when you ride. There are also a lot of different colors and styles available as well. 

2. Wrist Guards

Wrist guards are another piece of protective gear that many snowboarders would call essential. This is especially true if you are a beginner and expect to fall quite a bit when you ride. They can help prevent wrist injuries and are relatively affordable. 

Many snowboarders have dealt with wrist injuries when they ride. If you have ever caught an edge, you know exactly what I am talking about. It’s natural to brace a forward fall with your arms, and that’s how wrist injuries can occur. 

A wrist guard will give you a rigid layer of support that will prevent your wrists from twisting or bending too far back if you take a fall. They are similar in design to wrist guards worn for skateboarding and sometimes are the exact same thing. 

The Dakine Wristguard is one of my favorite options. These are a simple solution that gives you additional wrist support without being uncomfortable or very bulky. They are also very comfortable and will dry out quickly in the snow. 

I also like these Bodyprox Wrist Guards if you want a little added protection. They have a very rigid design that can help prevent strains and a tight fit that will stay in place. They aren’t the most comfortable, but they are very effective. 

You can also wear a wrist wrap or tape your wrists if you want a little extra protection and don’t want to wear full guards. This won’t give you quite as much protection in the long run, but it will be very low profile and easily fit under your gloves.   

3. Knee Pads

Knee pads are another essential protection gear for many riders. These are another option that comes in handy for beginners or anyone who likes to ride hard and expects to fall every now and again. Even if you don’t fall often, they can give you added peace of mind.

Knee pads are pretty self-explanatory and come in a variety of thicknesses. The more padding you get, the more you will be protected from impact when you fall. Thick knee pads can be bulky, but they will provide you with excellent protection. 

I like to use a thinner kneed pad because it is less bulky and just feels more comfortable. But I don’t have any knee issues and don’t go that big in the park where I am worried about crashing down hard. 

I have some friends who are park rats, and they wear thick knee pads. If you like to play in the half-pipe or hit rails, thicker knee pads will give you extra cushioning that can pay off when you need it too. 

The Burton Basic is one of my favorite knee pads for snowboarding. These will give you a quick and effective solution without adding much bulk. They are easy to wear and very comfortable. They are also breathable, which I appreciate.

If you are looking for a little more padding, check out the Triple Eight Undercover Snow Knee Pads. These have an excellent fit and more padding than the Burton model mentioned above. They do a solid job of protecting against bruising.    

4. Back Protector

A back protector is a recommend protective gear item for any snowboarder who likes to freeride, venture into the backcountry, or has any issues with their backs. These give you a layer of padding and protection along your entire back.

I have never really worn a back protector, but I know many riders who swear by them. They usually strap on over your base layer, kind of like a backpack. They will stay in place and give you protection against impact and bruising. 

Back protectors can come with either foam-style padding or more rigid plastic-style padding. Foam is lighter and more flexible, so it won’t restrict your movement when you ride. Plastic gives you added protection and is more durable but will limit your movement. 

The Demon FlexForce Pro Spine Guard is one of the best back protectors for snowboarders. It will give you solid protection without compromising too much in terms of flexibility. It will also stay in place when you are riding. 

5. Padded Shorts

Padded shorts can help your thighs, hips, and rear end stay protected when you take a fall. These are worn by many snowboarders, from beginners to pros, and are an easy way to add extra cushioning while you ride. 

These shorts are worn underneath your snowpants or base layer and fit like regular compression shorts. They have critically placed padding sewed or stuffed into them that will give you impact resistance and help dissipate pressure when you fall. 

You can get fully padded shorts with pads in the thighs, hips, and tailbone, or you can get an option that is just padded in one of these areas that you need it to be. More pads give you more protection, but they can also get bulky. 

The Bodyprox Protective Shorts are some of the best out there. They give you a lot of padding in all of the essential areas without limiting your movement very much. They are also very breathable and quick to dry. 

6. Knee Brace

Knee Braces are another protective gear item worth mentioning because they are easy to wear and can give you a little extra support and protection on your knees. These don’t have padding, but they do help keep your knee joints and ligaments protected from injury. 

Braces are also nice to wear when you are snowboarding because they are low profile and can easily fit underneath your base layer. They won’t add bulk or restrict your movement as you ride. 

Knee braces act as a compression sleeve that can help increase blood flow to your knees. This is good for anyone dealing with knee injuries and getting back on the snow after rehab. 

The Bauerfeind Sports Knee Support is a great knee brace to use for snowboarding. It will give you a ton of support and prevent awkward twisting and turning. It’s a good option for people trying to avoid an injury or healing up after having one. 

Final Thoughts

Protective gear is essential for any snowboarder who wants to ensure they stay as safe as possible when they ride. All of the items mentioned here can help with that consideration in mind and go a long way toward helping you have a great season on the snow. 

A helmet is the most essential protective gear item. If you only choose to ride with one of the gear pieces mentioned here, it should be a helmet. You really should never ride without one. It’s just not worth it.

About Lorraine
I'm a certified snowboard instructor. My first experience with snowboarding occurred at an indoor resort. One run had me hooked, and it has turned into a lifelong passion ever since then. I'm here to share with you some of the tips and advice I have learned along the way.

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