Snowboarding is a popular cold weather activity in America and many other countries throughout the world. If you’re new to the sport, you’ll need to outfit yourself properly in order to maximize your fun and perform the most popular snowboarding tricks. Good gear also plays an essential role in keeping you safe and dry in a frigid outdoor environment. Here’s a checklist of the gear every snowboarder must have to start out on the right foot.
Inner Clothing Layer
The inner clothing layer of your snowboarding outfit helps trap your body heat and keep your skin dry. It includes:
- Thermal underwear – Make sure to include bottoms and a long-sleeve top. For comfort, underwear made from a material called polypropylene is a popular choice.
- Socks – Socks are crucial to your ability to keep your feet warm and ensure that your boots fit well. You can purchase specialized snowboarding socks for this purpose, or adapt other types of synthetic socks. Just remember that thin socks work far better than thick socks, which can actually contribute to heat loss by making your feet sweat.
Middle Clothing Layer
The middle or second clothing layer is intended to trap your body’s warmth while letting sweat escape to the outer layer. It includes:
- Sweater or Jacket – A sweater or jacket made from wool or fleece is typically used. Fleece products provide an advantage because they keep you warm, don’t weigh very much and let moisture escape easily.
- Pants – Snowboarding pants go over your thermal underwear bottoms, and should provide plenty of maneuvering room, especially in your crotch region. Quality pants have features that include articulated knees, breathable construction, an adjustable waist and padding at critical body areas.
- Boots – Snowboarding boots are what connect you to the bindings on your snowboard. Sizes are the same as those used for other types of shoes. Still, the ankle and foot feel of a snowboarding boot may differ substantially from manufacturer to manufacturer.
The Outer Layer
Items for the outer layer round out your snowboarding gear checklist. They include:
- A windproof jacket made from water-repelling material
- A hat or beanie topped with a protective helmet
- Waterproof, insulated snowboarding gloves
- Snowboarding goggles that provide protection from wind and UV radiation, and
- Snowboard bindings designed to match the size of your boots
Of course, you’ll also need a snowboard. There are three basic categories of boards — freestyle, alpine and freeride — each named for a specific style of snowboarding. Boards in each of these categories have their own characteristic dimensions, materials, construction methods and degree of flexibility. The type of board you prefer will depend on the style of riding you intend to learn.
The right type of snowboarding gear can save you from a broad range of problems, including blisters, chafing and frostbite. Take the time to assemble the gear that works best for you.
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