There are a million guides to buying snowboards on the Internet, but what about guides to buying cheap snowboard gear? Surely you can’t just buy a snowboard and expect to be out on the mountains carving the powder tomorrow, can you? Absolutely not. That’s why we’ve put together this buyer’s guide to let you know exactly what you need so that you don’t overspend this season on snowboarding accessories.
You’ll learn about the essentials, the goodies and the downright frivolous cheap snowboard gear that is out there so that you can make the most informed decision possible for your enjoyment and your wallet. So, without further ado, let’s get started!
The Layering System
When looking for cheap snowboarding gear, you always start off with the basics and work your way up, so the first item we’re going to tackle is clothing. This is pretty much essential for your safety, warmth and modesty (unless you like dropping into a half-pipe al natural!)
The general gist of dressing properly for a snowboarding session is to dress in layers. This will allow you to be the most adaptable when climates change or when you get overheated from a killer shredding session. You can simply shed a layer and if it gets cold again, put one back on.
When you’re looking for cheap snowboard gear, it’s important to remember the most effective methods of layering (in this order):
- Moisture management
- The right number of layers
For snowboarding, the optimal number of layers you’re going to want to go with is three: the base, the second and the outer layers. These three layers work together to “wick” moisture away from your skin while trapping warmth against it. Ensuring that you have all three of these will make your purchase a true bargain.
TIP: When looking for cheap snowboarding gear for layering, sweating, controlling of body temperature, protection from the elements, chafing and blisters are all concerns to keep in mind. Avoid clothing that is too large or too small; it’s about the functionality, not always the look.
The Base Layer
Also called the inner layer, this consists of underwear and socks. By conserving body heat and drawing moisture away from your skin, you stay both warm and dry. Look for cheap snowboarding gear that uses synthetic materials like polypropylene for the most economic efficiency. Wool is okay, but it isn’t the greatest once it starts to itch; just be sure to avoid cotton at all costs. Base layering should be a head to toe covering consisting of the following three items:
- Thermal Body Shirt – Of course, this will be dependent on the temperature, but there’s a good chance you’re going to need some polypropylene underwear here. Make sure that this has long sleeves.
- Thermal Underwear – Polypropylene thermal underwear is a must-have in the cheap snowboarding gear department since it doesn’t cost much and it doesn’t scratch.
- Snowboarding Socks – Probably the most essential item of the base layer, be sure not to skimp here. Because this is in direct contact with your boots and thus, binding and board, snowboarding socks are your primal link to the ground. Choose thinner socks made of synthetic materials since boots already have insulation. This will help your feet sweat less, keeping more warmth in and more moisture out. Make sure the socks come halfway up your calf.
The Second Layer
The second (or middle) layer in checklist serves as insulation. These materials are also made to keep the warm air in while transferring moisture out from your body. Here, wool and fleece are great choices, especially since the base layer keeps the itchiness off your skin. Plus, they’re both super lightweight and breathable, ensuring your overall comfort and maneuverability.
This is going to be the layer you take on and off the most depending on temperature and activity level changes. If it’s warm out, the second layer could be all you need (minus protective gear). Here are the three components of the middle layer:
- Jacket/Sweater: The ideal gear for the top of your second layer is going to consist of a fleece or wool jacket and/or sweater. Remember, this is about the warmth, so you’re still going to need some protection from the elements…and the melting snow.
- Thermal Pants: These are normally roomy pants which keep you warm and dry as well as protected. The basic knee and butt padding should keep the wetness of the snow from penetrating to your base layer as well as offer a little extra comfort on tough “landings.”
- Snowboarding Boots: Part of your essential lifelink to the board, along with the bindings, snowboarding gear wouldn’t be complete without boots. Go for quality here and don’t be afraid to splurge. This is what’s going to keep your ankles and tendons from suffering traumatic injury should you land wrong. Try different brands to see which way your ankle and feet are held for maximum comfort.
The Outer Layer
Finishing off your layering system is the outer layer which provides you with a barrier between you and the mountain. This layer essentially lets the moisture out from your body that is being wicked away by the inner two layers while keeping the elemental water out coming from the snow. This layer’s most important qualities are breathability, durability and protection. Waterproof and windproof items are going to be your best bet.
- Headgear: This is going to be up to you, but a helmet is always recommended. Under that, wear a hat or beanie if it’s cold. Of course, some people do opt to go without a helmet, so if you do, keep in mind you do so at your own risk. If so, go for beanies and hats with ear flaps for the extra warmth option when looking for cheap snowboarding gear.
- Goggles: Here, it’s all about the UV rays, snow, wind, ice and debris (including branches). Your eyes need protection so don’t always look for the cheapest snowboarding goggles.
- Gloves: Your hands are going to take a beating from the cold, ice and impacts if you’re not wearing snowboarding gloves. For the best cheap snowboarding gear, look for a combination of fleece and synthetic-based insulation. Look for durable brands that are waterproof with built-in reinforcements in the palm and fingers.
- Jackets: These definitely need to be waterproof and windproof. Go for something called a “shell” jacket which is breathable. In fact, breathability is the number one requirement here.
- Bindings: From your socks to your boots to your bindings, these are the ultimate connection to the board. Typically coming in three sizes (small, medium and large), fit this directly with the size of your boot and board. Make sure the sizing is correct as well as the boot having easily adjustable straps that don’t ‘hang’ too much on either side.
Where To Find Cheap Snowboard Gear
Continue reading the rest of the articles on our site to learn the in’s and out’s of buying snowboard gear and accessories. If you are looking for a complete checklist of all the items you should be buying before you going snowboarding, then you really need to check out the video below, it’s a complete checklist of the items you will need!