Top 10 items to leave at home on your next ski trip: The Ultimate “What not to pack” Gear List
Gulmarg, Kashmir | 2 April, 2019 | Paul Lalley
If you are going on an international trip to chase powder you’re going to want to be riding your own gear.
You don’t want to pay for an epic India or Japan trip only to spend your time stuck in rental lines, plagued by aching feet, and trying to get used to riding a new board or pair of skis. Not to mention quality rentals can add several hundreds to an already expensive vacation.
Therefore, because you are going to be hauling around some heavy gear you will want to squeeze out every ounce of weight you can to get below airlines’ increasingly strict baggage limits. This is a list of things that should never make it into your checked ski bag, or on your trip at all.
1. Your Boots
Try to avoid checking these at all costs. I have flown around the world skiing and almost every major airline will let you carry your boots onto the plane, with the exception of Air New Zealand. If your bags get lost, at least you can rent until they are returned to you. Not to mention, leaving the boots out of your checked luggage will save you A LOT of weight you could use for clothes and other essentials.
2. Multiple Winter Jackets
Sorry, multiple outfit choices are something you will have to give up for your trip unless you want to haul around the extra bags. In addition to your ski jacket, pick your favorite puffy (or two depending on the weight and trip length) and use them as additional layers and your après attire. Leave the rest of the cute coats at home.
If you are not going on an exclusive backcountry trip, meaning you will be doing some days of inbound skiing with no need for backcountry gear, I would advise on renting these two items instead. They can be bulky and hard to pack and the cost to rent is low. I would however plan to take your own beacon and batteries.
4. High Heels or Multiple Pairs of Dress Shoes
If you’re going on a winter vacation chances are it is too cold to wear the cute stilettos anyways. As a fan of the heels it is hard to leave the shoe choices behind but you are better off taking only one pair of winter boots, I recommend a classic black bootie, and leaving the rest of the footwear at home. Shoes will also add weight quickly and you want to avoid that.
5. Going Out Sweaters & Changes of Jeans
The more outfit options you add, the quicker you go over your allowed baggage weight. I found that most of the time after a day of skiing I end up wearing the same one or two things and all the other cute clothes go unused. Find one after skiing outfit that is comfortable and limit yourself to it, the extra weight isn’t worth it. I personally like a pair of jeans, black tank top, and a Patagonia puffy.
Every hotel will provide towels and most hostels will rent them to you for a dollar or two. Save the weight on towels and bring that extra shirt or two!
7. Toiletries Other Than Prescription Based Amenities
Every country on the planet where you can ride will have a place to buy the basics such as shampoo, conditioner, soap, and toothpaste. Where you can, cut these out of your luggage and bring $20 to buy them at your destination. It will save you a lot of weight and the pain of having to throw it out anyways when you forgot you put that 4.5oz bottle in your carry on.
8. Hair Dryers
Again, rely on your hotel or hostel to provide this and if all else fails shower after a day on the hill to avoid having wet hair the next morning. I used to take a hair dryer with me but after seeing too many shocks fly out from not having the appropriate voltage I decided to leave it behind, save the weight, and rely on what was provided at my accommodation.
If all else fails, bust out a beanie. Add puppy for accessory.
If you swear by paper book only, fine, I get it. Just choose something you can leave behind to make up for the weight. Otherwise stick to downloading books on your phone or laptop because you’re probably bringing them both anyways.
Passport is the only “book” I take.
10. Laptops, Cameras and Chargers
All of these items should live in your carry on, not your checked baggage. Not only are these valuable and fragile items but they can also add a lot of weight quickly to your ski bag. Take as many as you want, as long as you can carry them on your back.
Laura Davies has spent the last 12 months travelling the globe on the search for endless powder skiing and her Forever Winter Project. She is also an Ambassador of K-Line Adventures a company specialising in backcountry skiing and snowboarding programs in Gulmarg, India.
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