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14 REI products perfect for snowboarding, according to a pro

Don't hit the slopes without this essential gear

Our snowboarding expert breaks down some of the best gear you can buy at REI. Credit: Reviewed / Garrett Jackson

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When you live in New England, pretty much everyone you know is into winter sports—namely, skiing and snowboarding. Personally, it’s never been my scene. I don’t love the cold, heights, or moving quickly down an icy mountain with my feet rendered immobile, but my boyfriend Nate, on the other hand, has been on skis since he could walk. What can I say? Opposites attract.

He transitioned to snowboarding in his early teen years, and ever since, he eagerly awaits the first snowfall of the year when he can head up to the mountains to ride in the fresh powder. He even loves the icy conditions that New England is known for—they call it the Ice Coast for a reason, or so I’m told.

After close to 20 years of snowboarding, he’s developed some pretty strong opinions on which products are (and aren’t) worth the investment—here are 14 snowboarding products he highly recommends, all of which you can buy at REI.

1. His newest board: The Salomon Assassin

Salomon Assassin
Credit: Reviewed / Garrett Jackson

The Salomon Assassin performs well in a variety of conditions.

At the beginning of the winter, Nate started looking for a new snowboard to use this season. He wanted something that could handle the icy New England conditions, ride through glades with ease, and even hold its own in the park.

After much research, he settled on the Salomon Assassin, an all-mountain board that’s described as “a cross between progressive powder and freestyle boards.” He’s used it several times to date and couldn’t be happier with its performance. He says it’s extremely reliable, no matter what terrain you’re riding.

Get the Salomon Assassin Snowboard from REI for $499.95

2. A slim backpack to carry your board

DAKINE Backpack
Credit: DAKINE

This slim backpack is surprisingly spacious inside.

Even if your snow pants have several pockets, chances are there’s not enough room in them for all the gear you need when heading up the mountain. That’s why serious skiers and snowboarders like to wear backpacks, such as the DAKINE Poacher. This slim backpack has compartments for all your snow tools, and it even features a fleece-lined pocket for goggles.

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“This bag is the right size to hold all your gear without being overly bulky, even with a water reservoir inside,” Nate explains. Plus, it can can carry skis diagonally or a snowboard vertically on the exterior!

Get the DAKINE Poacher 14L Pack from REI for $95

3. And a hydration reservoir

Platypus Water Reservoir
Credit: Platypus

This water reservoir is ideal for hydrating on long snowboarding runs.

A water reservoir is a must-have if you’re planning on spending all day on the mountain, and Nate recommends the Platypus Big Zip EVO Reservoir. Instead of taking off your gloves to open a water bottle, you can just fill up the 2-liter reservoir and sip water through the mouthpiece, which threads out through the backpack’s strap. The DAKINE backpack even has an insulated compartment for the reservoir’s tube so the water doesn’t freeze in cold conditions.

Get the Platypus Big Zip EVO Reservoir from REI for $37.95

4. Wireless helmet speakers and walkie-talkies

Helmet Headphones
Credit: Outdoor Tech

These in-helmet speakers let you listen to music or talk on the phone.

While he doesn’t own the Outdoor Tech Wireless Chips just yet, they’re definitely on Nate's wish list. These in-helmet speakers connect to your phone via Bluetooth so you can play music as your cruise down the mountain, and they also serve as walkie-talkies and have a built-in microphone for calls. You can get 10 hours of audio per battery charge, and the two-button control system makes it easy to adjust the volume, change tracks, pause music, and more.

Get the Outdoor Tech Wireless Chips 2.0 from REI for $142.95

5. Impact shorts to protect your butt

Impact Shorts
Credit: Burton

Your tailbone will thank you for wearing these impact-absorbing shorts.

Know what hurts? Wiping out while cruising down an icy slope. Or wiping out while trying to master a new trick. Really any kind of wiping out.

Luckily, there are impact shorts like these that will absorb the impact of falls both on your butt and hips. The shorts are low-profile and lightweight, so they won’t inhibit your movement, but you’ll know they’re there the next time you take a tumble.

Get the Burton Men’s Total Impact Shorts from REI for $129.95

6. Warm, ergonomic gloves with phone-friendly liners

Burton Gloves
Credit: Burton

The wrist leashes, outer pocket, and warm liners make these gloves a worthwhile purchase.

High-quality gloves are an absolute essential when you’re snowboarding, and Nate particularly likes these Burton GORE-TEX Gloves. They’re warm, windproof, waterproof, and breathable, and the fleece liners are touch-screen compatible.

“The wrist leashes are my favorite aspect of these gloves,” he says. “They make it possible to take off the outer shell—when you’re on the lift, for example—without worrying about dropping your gloves. There’s also a little pocket on the top for your ski pass.”

Get the Burton Men’s GORE-TEX Gloves from REI for $69.95

7. A hinged ‘balaclava’ aka facemask

Facemask
Credit: BlackStrap

If you're going to buy a facemask, look for one with a "hinged" design.

Nate swears by hinged facemasks, as they’re more versatile and provide more coverage than regular ones. The Hood Balaclava Facemask from BlackStrap has a dual-layer front hinge that covers you from ear to ear, keeping your face and throat warm, and its single-layer top still fits comfortably under a helmet.

Get the BlackStrap The Hood Balaclava Facemask from REI for $29.95

8. Spacious snowboard racks for your car

Thule Car Rack
Credit: Thule

It's easy to carry several snowboards when you have car racks.

If you’re going snowboarding with a group, your ride to the mountain will be pretty cramped if everyone’s gear is in the car. A snowboard rack, such as the Thule SnowPack, is a good investment for anyone who hits the slopes regularly, as it lets you securely transport up to four snowboards or six pairs of skis on the roof of your car.

However, keep in mind that you also need compatible roof racks, like the Thule WingBar Evo Load Bars, which Nate uses.

9. The latest GoPro to capture all your best rides

GoPro
Credit: Reviewed / Garrett Jackson

Nate is the one with the GoPro on his head.

How are you going to relive the epicness of your best runs if you don’t capture it on camera? Nate never hits the slopes without his trusty GoPro, which he either attaches to his helmet or carries on an extension pole.

The latest GoPro HERO8 is great for snowboarding thanks to its hi-definition video and HyperSmooth technology, which predicts your movements to reduce camera shake. You can even use it to live stream in 1080p, right from the mountain!

Get the GoPro HERO8 Black Camera from REI for $349.99

10. And an extension pole to go with it

Extension pole
Credit: GoPro

A GoPro extension pole helps you capture great footage of all your tricks.

When he doesn’t have the GoPro mounted on his helmet, my boyfriend carries it with the El Grande Extension Pole, which extends up to 38 inches long. It’s compatible with all GoPro cameras and collapses down to 15 inches for storage.

“I use the pole for taking ‘follow shots,’ which look like someone is following close by you with the camera,” he says. “There are a lot of knock-off brands, but the GoPro version is more stable that any other option I’ve tried.”

Get the GoPro El Grande Extension Pole from REI for $60

11. A lift ticket to one of his favorite mountains

Mount Snow
Credit: Mount Snow

Did you know that REI offers discounted lift tickets to members?

As I mentioned, we live in New England, so there are a number of great mountains around us, and one of Nate’s favorites is Mount Snow in Vermont. Since he’s an REI member, he often purchases discounted lift tickets through their website to save a few bucks. They have passes to Mount Snow, Killington, Attitash, and so many more, including mountains all over the country.

Get a Mount Snow Adult Non-Holiday Lift Ticket from REI for $61.99

12. Easy-to-use wall mounts for your favorite board(s)

Wall Mounts
Credit: Burton

These mounts make it easy to access your board.

Boards like the Salomon Assassin feature cool graphics, and you can show off your board when it’s not in use with these Burton Wall Mounts. The three-point mounting system fits any snowboard, and the mounts swivel to give you easy access to your board when it’s time to ride.

Get the Burton Board Wall Mounts from REI for $18.95

13. A comprehensive tuning kit, complete with waxing iron

Tuning Kit
Credit: North Forged by Swix

This tuning kit has everything you need to take care of your board.

A tuning kit is key to maintaining the performance of your snowboard or skis, and Nate is partial to this all-in-one kit from North. It contains eight of the most frequently used tuning and waxing items, such as a special waxing iron, a Diamond Stone side edger, a bronze/nylon combo brush, and more.

Get the North Forged by Swix Mass Transit Kit from REI for $99.95

14. Toe warmers for those super-cold days

Toe warmers
Credit: Grabber

These inexpensive toe and hand warmers are key on cold days.

There are all sorts of hand and foot warmers available, but Nate actually prefers the inexpensive ones from Grabber. You can get large packs of them for just a few dollars, and the air-activated warmers usually last for around six hours.

“The directions say to put the warmers under your toes, but I find it makes it harder to carve that way,” says Nate. “So instead, I stick them to the top of the boot.”

Get 8 Pairs of Grabber Toe Warmers from REI for $11.50

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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.

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