What Gear and Clothing Do You Need To Snowboard?

Young woman standing on mountain with her snowboard
Chris Tobin / Getty Images

So, you've decided that you want to try snowboarding. Now you're wondering what gear you need so you look like a snowboarder, but you also stay safe and comfortable on the snow.

Of course, you will need a snowboard with bindings, which you can buy or rent at either a snow sports store or the resort where you plan to snowboard. You will also need to dress the part, but proper clothing includes a lot more than just a winter jacket and gloves.

Clothing for Snowboarding

Wearing the right clothing on the hill goes beyond just a matter of style. You need attire that will keep you be warm, but not too warm. Layers are the way to go. When you make your first trip down the hill, your body isn't warmed up yet. As you warm up (and on those sunny days), you'll want to have layers you can strip off to stay comfortable.

Here are some suggestions for how to dress for comfort without overdressing:

  • Thin cotton or polypropylene socks to wick moisture away from your feet
  • Thicker wool (like Smartwool®) or another non-cotton ski- or snowboard-specific socks, which you wear over the thin socks
  • Long underwear bottoms, preferably moisture-wicking
  • In the extremely cold, another layer over the long underwear bottoms, like sweatpants
  • Tight-fitting long-sleeved long underwear top, preferably moisture-wicking
  • A medium-thickness fleece or wool sweater (if you don't have either of those, cotton will work)
  • A polyester or fleece beanie or wood hat

Boarding Gear

Once you have the warm base layers, you need some snowboard-specific gear to keep you dry and for best performance on the snow. Here's what you should have:

  • A water-resistant or waterproof ski or snowboarding jacket (if neither is available, a good winter jacket is the next best option)
  • Water-resistant or waterproof ski or snowboarding pants (if neither is available, regular snow pants are the next best option)
  • Ski or snowboarding gloves or mittens
  • Snug-fitting snowboard boots (fit is very important to keep your feet warm and for optimal performance)
  • Goggles (if none are available, sunglasses are the next best thing)

Safety and Other Gear

Nothing ruins a day on the snow like an injury. Snowboarders are particularly susceptible to sprains and broken bones because they fall a lot when learning and because of the tricks they perform in the terrain parks. Here is some of the safety gear you should have:

  • Helmet
  • Wrist guards
  • Knee pads
  • Butt pads
  • Stomp pad to provide traction for your free foot when you get off the lift

Other gear that's optional but that will make your day more comfortable and enjoyable includes:

  • Neck gator (a fleece tube for your neck)
  • Hand warmers
  • Glove liners or thin polyester gloves to wear inside your gloves or mittens
  • Headband (to cover your ears completely)
  • Small backpack or sling bag
  • Camera to capture the good times
  • Sunblock for your face

And because you don't want to gear up before your drive to the mountain, you need something to haul your gear around. If you have your own snowboard boots, get a boot bag that can hold your gloves, goggles, wrist guards, knee pads, sunblock, and even some water and snacks. If you're renting your board and boots, any type of tote bag, backpack or sling bag will do.