This article was brought to you by our friends at INNO Racks, who make smart, easy-to-use ski racks. Whether you’re looking for a ski rack that can stay on your car all winter long or a packable ski rack you can fly to your favorite slopes, INNO will help you tote everything on your ski trip packing list.
For skiers, One of the most exciting things about shoulder season is getting stoked for the first snowfall of winter and all the ski runs that will follow. Now is the time to prep, both in terms of cross-training, picking up passes, and planning your travel checklist for adventures by land or air in search of the best lines.
6 Ways to Upgrade Your Ski Trip Packing List This Season
We asked some of our powder-hound users at The Dyrt what they always include in their ski trip packing list to help you come up with the ultimate winter sport travel checklist for your next skiing and camping trip.
1. Skis, Skins, and Safety
It goes without saying that you’ll want your skis or snowboard, boots and bindings. But with those, don’t forget to bring the accessories like skins and wax, as they’ll keep you prepared to go that extra mile. Beyond the obvious gear, packing for safety is just as important, including everything you need to safely navigate and assess for avalanche potential. Don’t forget your topographic maps, avalanche beacon, avalanche probe, a collapsible shovel, ice saw, head lamp or string of LED lights.
The Dyrt camper Daniel B. also recommends “ski poles where the loop that goes around your gloves can detach from the pole, so if you suck at queuing for the chairlift or plunge through the trees your arm doesn’t get stuck if the pole does.” A helmet is always a must, too. Skiers call them “brain buckets” for a reason. Goggles and sunglasses are both crucial for sun protection, along with serious sunscreen. Don’t underestimate how much stronger the rays are at altitude and when bouncing off bright white snow!
2. Hacks for Hydration in Freezing Temperatures
Dehydration is a major drag when you’re skiing. It can affect your performance, not to mention your safety. Despite the struggles of the multiple bathroom trips that hydration brings, staying hydrated can actually help you feel warmer, however, as can emptying your bladder. Relieving yourself means your body can focus on heating up your core and extremities, not your pee. With that in mind, make sure you have water at breakfast in addition to coffee, juice, or tea. And definitely include a water bottles, skin, or hydropack on your ski trip packing list, especially if you’re going into the backcountry.
A packable hydration backpack is not only handy on the slopes, but also when you’re road tripping to the mountains or navigating TSA. Just remember this hot tip: mix a little whiskey or vodka into the water to keep the water in the tube from freezing. You can always carry a flask if you want a non-diluted taste of the good stuff. Just don’t forget that alcohol is dehydrating and to double up on fluids! A thermos of soup, hot chocolate, or bone broth are also great ways to stay hydrated, warm up, and get a little flavor in the mix.
3. Insulated Gear for the Slopes and Beyond
Whether you’ve booked a room at the lodge, reserved a backcountry ski hut for your group, or are brave enough to try winter camping, you’re going to want to stay warm out there. Any ski trip packing list should include hand warmers (they work great in ski boots, too), a balaclava or neck gaiter for the wind and extra wool or synthetic socks.
When on a budget, it’s a great feeling when you can make your gear work for multiple activities. But keep in mind that a lot of ski equipment evolved for the very specific needs you’ll have on the mountain. It’s worth it to get the right pants, base layers, gloves, socks, etc. for the conditions you’ll be facing and activities you’ll be participating in. Always bring extra mittens, gloves, hats, and boot liners just in case one or a pair go missing.
4. Essentials to Stay Protected and Powered
It’s definitely not recommended to try winter camping unless you have the right gear and are educated in what you are doing. If you feel confident to try it safely, make sure you have the necessary insulation kits for your tent, a sleeping bag and ground pad that are rated appropriately for the weather, and consider doubling up. Before you head out, pop lithium batteries into headlamps, lanterns, and other battery-operated gear—lithium batteries work much better in cold temperatures than other types.
Don’t forget to check about fire regulations at your destination, and to have redundant fire starters and tinder. A great add for your ski trip packing list is a stove like the Primus Onja that is reliable in cold weather and compact enough to pack along with the rest of your gear. That way you can make like The Dyrt camper Daniel B. and “make killer breakfast burritos while you tailgate before first chair in the parking spot you woke up hella early to claim.”
5. Winter Emergency Supplies to Store in Your Car
Before heading out to the slopes, The Dyrt camper Megan C. makes sure her car has everything she might need if a mountain pass is snowed out and she gets stuck, or if she’s caught in some other sort of emergency. “I keep chains and an extra shovel in the Ford. We keep an emergency box with extra medications, water, energy bars, a few Mountain House meals and extra blankets, especially in the winter season. We each have a gearbox in the car that holds an extra set of warm dry clothes, in addition to hauling all of our winter gear to the mountains.”
If you are flying or renting a car, double check things like airline regulations on checking your ski gear, and whether the rental car has crossbars to accommodate a cargo box or snow sport locker. Plan your ski trip packing list according to how you plan to travel—it would be a shame to leave your fire starters in your carry on only to lose them to the security line, or rent a car your gear can’t fit into or on top of.
If you’re renting a car after flying and are worried about being able to accommodate your gear on the other side, consider a magnetic ski rack like this one from INNO Racks. At 15 x 22 inches and 12.41 pounds, it’s small and light enough to pop into your checked bag and can easily pop on or off a rental car. It has space for two skis or one snowboard once installed, and comes with key locks, a pad, and a storage bag—a definite must for your ski trip packing list if you travel a lot for fresh powder, with zero side eye from the steward at the gate.
6. Packable Lifesavers That Will Make Your Trip Easier
It’s easy to forget accessories when you’re fretting about baggage weights and airline miles, but the whole point of going on a ski trip is to have a good time! Bring your favorite travel ear plugs to stay zen along the way, and tuck a four-in-one bartender tool or travel mixology kit into your suitcase to up your apres-ski game.
A portable speaker or out-of-ear headphones are a great way to bring your favorite tunes to the winter wonderland. Pick up resort stickers for your helmet, water bottle, or laptop to remember your trip. If the weather is right and there’s room in your bag, add a ridiculous onesie to your ski packing list. There’s nothing to make other skiers smile like seeing unicorns, Pokemon, and pandas carving snow.