Snowboard specific backpacks are not as common as hiking or ski packs but they are becoming more common as interest in backcountry riding grows. The main difference between snowboard packs and other backpacks is the board carry. Basically, two reinforced straps that secure your board to the pack as you hike, and they are easy enough to figure out. But many people don’t know how to use all the other straps and gadgets on the pack that work together to make the pack sit correctly on your body and help keep what you’re carrying from shifting all around. Here’s how to adjust a snowboard backpack.
First, let’s go over the right way to pack your pack, get your pack on, and then secure it. It’s helpful to look at your backpack as having 3 sections when packing your stuff in it- bottom, middle and top.
Packing Your Pack
Put the lighter items (insulated layers, extra socks, etc) in the bottom section first and then fill the middle section with the heavier stuff like water bottles, boots, electronics, etc.
The top section will have stuff that you might be using on and off frequently, hats, glove liners, jacket, etc. A lot of packs have a fold-over top cap with pockets for your goggles and another pocket where you can put emergency items like first aid kits, headlamp, snacks, and phone.
Good snowboard backpacks will have a front section designed specifically for avalanche gear- beacon, probe, and shovel. These are essential items when heading into areas where avalanches occur.
Getting In Your Pack
Once your pack is ready to go loosen the load lifter straps on the top of the pack. Snug up the side straps so that there’s no looseness or flabbiness around the sides of the pack. Then loosen the belt buckled straps and the stabilizer straps to the outside (if your pack has them).
Adjusting Your Pack
Your pack is on and now you want to start from the bottom straps and work your way up.
Center the buckle using the belt straps and then reach back for the stabilizer straps. Snug them up so that the bottom of the pack fits comfortably against the lower section of your back. You can then adjust the belt again for a snug fit.
Next, pull down on the shoulder strap adjustments that hang in front of you so that the pack is snug against the middle of your back and around your shoulders. Don’t go too tight as you can make further adjustments once you get started on your journey.
Next, there’s a sternum strap that goes across your chest that you want to attach and adjust so that the shoulder straps stay in place. Most packs will have a chest strap that you can slide up or down to accommodate the size of your chest for better comfort and fit.
The last thing you want to do is adjust load lifter straps located on top of the shoulder straps. These straps hoist the backpack up onto the upper sections of your back when they are tightened up. As you get into steeper terrain you want to tighten the straps so that you are not fighting gravity with the weight of the backpack pulling you away from the slope. When you are going downhill you want to loosen the load lifter straps so that the backpack weight is working with you to keep your center of gravity closer to the slope. The load lifter straps reduce unnecessary exertion and lessen the likelihood of falling.
When you take the backpack off you want to start loosening at the top with the load lifter straps and work your way down to the hip belt straps. This eases pressure off the areas where the straps are attached and the pack will last longer before you have a blow out. Follow these steps when using your snowboard backpack and you’ll have a much more awesome time with your adventures!