What to Pack in Your Downhill Skiing Backpack

Skiing with a backpack can be a lightweight, non-bulky way to carry essentials for a day on the slopes. Much better than stuffing countless things, which ultimately won't fit, into my ski jacket pockets. I start with a quality, thin backpack that fits close to my body. Then I make sure to pack it with these key items:

Skiing Day Pack

1.  High Calorie Snacks

You know that satisfying bite of chocolate and nougat on the chairlift that lifts everyone's spirits and makes you the most popular person in the group? There is nothing like a well-timed, high-calorie snack as our bodies recover on the lift ride up after a thigh-burning ski-run down. Works wonders for all ages and skiing abilities and definitely helps with the "hangries." Be a snack hero!

2. Hand Warmers

I carry these for emergency warmer-upper moments. Especially for the kiddos, having access to these can immediately take a kid from miserable and wanting to go inside to "a tough cookie" who can manage the elements with just a little help from a burst of warmth from a hand-warmer. They're also sort of fun to hacky-sack with during down time.

3. Emergency Kit

Build a tiny kit with a few items for that "be prepared" moment, including a small circle of duct tape. My favorite item is a silver, thermal "space" blanket that folds down to the size of a deck of cards. In cold conditions, it immediately adds warmth when wrapped around someone's body and is also good for sitting on the snow.

4. Skin Protection

I've said it before and I'll say it again, lip balm with SPF is one of my #1 essentials for all outdoor sports. It's a must pack. In a pinch, I smear sunscreen on my lips. A small tube of sunscreen for mid-day reapplication to face and ears is also vital to block those UV rays reflecting off the snow, even on cloudy days.

5. Liquid for Hydration

Seems strange in the cold, but the most requested item in my ski backpack is for water on the ski lift ride up. So I usually carry a small, thin bottle to replenish some of the H20 we've sweated out on the way down. Electrolyte sports drinks and even hot cocoa in a thermos if I'm feeling like a champion that day are real winners.

Quick tip: Don't overload the backpack. I keep it super lean and pulled close to me so when I'm tucking through trees it doesn't snag. Keeping it light also allows me to wear it on the chairlift without having to take it off every ride.

Grab your stocked backpacks, think snow, ski hard, and see you on the slopes!

What other essentials do you pack in your ski backpack?

Team Sierra

Find Your Ski Day Pack Essentials at Sierra Trading Post!

Day Packs


Hand Warmers

First Aid Kit

Space Blanket

Water Bottles & Thermoses

Hydration Bladders (look for an insulated water tube)
posted by
Annie Yearout
Blogger at Outdoorsy Mama
Annie Yearout is an outdoor and adventure travel writer and author of OutdoorsyMama.com, a blog motivating you, me and the kids to gear-up, get outside and explore. She partners with outdoor non-profits, is a member of sponsored adventure crews, and is always eager to throw a backpack on and hit the trails from her home in Northern California. (Team Sierra bloggers receive promotional consideration from Sierra Trading Post.)
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