In the past I have mostly been snowboarding with a simple every-day backpack to hold some lunch and other small stuff. But since it's very loose, not waterproof and not spacious enough sometimes I'm now thinking about getting the right equipment, buying a proper backpack and maybe an emergency kit with a shovel etc.

But upon researching backpacks I started wondering: A lot of them already have at least some sort of a padded back to provide some protection - like this one

Backpack with back protection

So do I then even need a dedicated back protection on top of that?

What I have found about this on the internet is this discussion on snowheads where the tone mostly seems to be in favor of dropping the extra protector (unless of course you ride without backpack on a given day) especially if you carry a shovel back there anyway.

This company seems to want to tackle this problem by selling a true protector that can unfold into a backpack, but it seems to me the major benefits of a backpack (separate compartments, structure, waterproof sections...) are then lost.

So my questions are:

  • Should you wear back protection under your backpack?
  • Is it disturbing or even unsafe to combine the two? Might things start to slide out of position?
  • Should I be looking for a backpack with no proper padding if I wear a protector?

1 Answer 1


I think the answer is, it depends... :)

Snowboard back protectors come in several guises, some better than others:

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Snowboard packs (with protectors) are similar. I would suggest that a protector (stand alone, not built into a pack) is going to offer much better protection than any back pack can offer.

Main difference

The main difference appears to be how the back protector is held against your back. There is a big difference to a protector made so that is held tightly to your back via several wide straps and a back pack with a thin waist band and a couple of shoulder straps. (similar to the one in the pack you mention). the back pack is going to move if you fall, the body armour isn't, thus it will provide better protection.

Now on top of this you don't mention what kind of terrain your boarding on? Is it off or on-piste, etc. The more difficult and dangerous the terrain the better the back protection your going to want.

If it's simple on-piste green run, I'm sure a back pack (with some protection in it) will be fine. If your planning on heli-snowboarding, I'd invest in a good level back protector/body armour.

Is it disturbing or even unsafe to combine the two? Might things start to slide out of position?

No, I don't see why it would be? Providing you wear the protector under your pack... :) Providing the back protector is fitted correctly (typically under you coat, etc.) putting a pack on top isn't going to make any difference.

  • thx, your edit was exactly what I was missing from this answer, +1
    – avalancha
    Sep 25, 2014 at 8:34

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