Helmets aren’t the only protective gear that you need for skiing. There’s always a risk of collision with the trees or you may plunge towards the hard snow. Without a ski back protector, even the slightest impact on your spine can mean disaster.
If you’re leisurely skiing, do you still need a back protector? Yes, if you want to protect your spine that is. Both leisure and pro skiers are vulnerable to such accidents. And spine injury, along with breast injuries are two of the most common accidents that one can encounter with this sport.
So we’re pretty sure you wouldn’t want to head out into the snow without the full gear. In this article, we’re going to list down 10 of the best ski back protectors. Keep scrolling to see what brands you should buy to complete your full protection gear.
Our Top Picks: Best Ski Back Protector for 2023
- ALPINESTARS Nucleon KT-Celli is our top choice for performance and quality. This bad boy can protect your spine without affecting your performance. And many will find that it has a nice fit, an almost universal one.
- DAKINE has a very flexible material and design covers your almost entire back. It’s flexibility allows it to be used even when you’re clutching on a backpack. Thus it can also be used for other activities such as motorcycle riding, cycling, and skating.
- POC VPD 2.0 holds up pretty well. You’d still have this on your back even in crashes.
- When it comes to the fitting, comfort, and durability, the Salomon’s is our favorite brand. It feels like a second skin.
- ALPINESTARS is a heavy duty full cover ski protector that’s very comfortable. Despite its heavy duty construction, you will not feel suffocated.
|Brand||Dimensions||Weight in oz.||Design and material||Shops|
|ALPINESTARS Nucleon KT-Celli||18 x 10 x 1 inches||12.8||three-dimensional design that covers the shoulders to the waist.||Check Latest Price|
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|DAKINE||17.32 x 7.32 x 1.1 inches||12.8||Hexagonal pattern||Check Latest Price|
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|POC VPD 2.0||10.24 x 6.3 x 0.39 inches||17.6||3D Molded VPD 2.0 back protector, shoulder, and elbow pads, zipper closure, 3-ply conformable VPD 2.0 chest protector with an asymmetric zipper for optimal chest protection, and Crash retention strap|| Check Latest Price|
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|Salomon’s||19.29 x 11.81 x 1.57 inches||21||Flexcell technology for optimal shock absorption, CE approved EN 1621-2, adjustable velcro fastener on chest and waist, buckling style|| Check Latest Price|
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|ALPINESTARS||5.91 x 3.94 x 3.94 inches||24.64||Quilted chassis in soft fluted bio-foam, channels horizontal adapters, removable elastic straps with quick-fit system, and New head layer made in a one-time injected grid structure|| Check Latest Price|
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POC Spine Backpack
|16.15 x 9.45 x 3.55 inches||21||Backpack with VPD air protection|| Check Latest Price|
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|POC Women’s Spine Air Vest||24 x 12 x 12 inches||16||Vest with breathable 3-layer back protector, high quality mesh, VPD air|| Check Latest Price|
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|Mammot Duncan Spine Backpack||23.622 inches x 12.283 inches x 5.984 inches||Spine backpack, Forward-pull hip belt adjustment, zipper closure, Integrated metal frame, trekking pole holders, and a zipper pocket, made from nylon and polyester|| Check Latest Price |
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|RIDBIKER||22 x 10 x 3 inches||18.4||Protective shell made of PP, Elasticized shoulder straps, and adjustable nylon belt|| Check Latest Price|
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|PELLOR||15.2 x 9.8 x 1.8 inches||15.52||Motorcycle vest with PE plastic shell, lightweight porous honeycomb structure, elastic and velcro straps|| Check Latest Price|
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Ski protectors are like armors. You will not embark on the battle without full protection unless you want to seriously hurt yourself. After all, skiing should be fun. So to avoid such mishaps, it’s best to come fully geared.
Let’s find out what brands are on the top of our list.
01. ALPINESTARS Nucleon KT-Celli
This back protector fits all sizes! It’s rare to find a skiing back protection that can fit almost everyone.
One of the common concerns with back protectors is fitting. Sometimes, even the smallest size is too big or the largest size can still be too small. Alpinestars came up with a unique three-dimensional design that covers the shoulders to the waist. Hence, it can fit anyone.
And it’s quite light at 12.8 ounces. The design is also non obtrusive, it will not take up much weight in your backpack.
Also, it has a more ergonomic design and allows for more range of motion. Thus this is a very nice choice for ski sports, your performance won’t be affected.
- The outer case is durable and flexible at the same time. It’s made from a polymeric blend material.
- It hugs your body snuggly like a glove
- It has horizontal flexion grooves that adapt to various situations
- It combines a balance between absorbing impact and dispersing the force
- It’s ergonomic and you can move without restrictions
- This ski back protector almost has a universal fit
- Might not be usable in normal day to day activities
Dakine is a spine protector that you can comfortably fit inside your snow and bike packs.
You might have a challenging time finding suitable back protection for snowboarding. DAKINE is a heavy-duty solution to your snowboard safety dilemmas. This snowboard back protector is made of flexible and light material.
In an event of a collision, this back protector dissipates the force, thereby protecting your spine from the high impact. And it offers the best protection for your central back too.
Since it’s lightweight, it can snuggly fit in multiple snowboard pads. It measures 20 cm wide and long, so it pretty much offers full coverage. The sides feature a hexagon pattern, and it feels soft and can be folded too.
Dakine is also among the best snowboarding back protectors on your list. It offers a great alternative to integrated protection.
- Absorbs high impact and dissipates force efficiently
- It is very flexible once it gets warmed up
- Can cover most of your back and the design has a subtle grooves at the center that aligns with your spine
- It’s compact, lightweight and can easily be stashed in your backpack
- Doesn’t come in any other color
03. POC VPD 2.0 Vest
POC VPD vest can give you full protection without the bulky feeling. It’s suitable for both men and women too.
Full gear can be bulky and heavy. Whilst you want to get full protection, the heavy armor can just be counterproductive too. That’s where the POC VPD 2.0 vest excels. This unisex vest can offer a full prediction. And it feels light at the same time.
These features offer more security in an unlikely accident that you would fall. Furthermore, this back protector consists of a crash protector strap. This safety feature ensures that the elbow pads stay in place. It can also hold the lower back pretty well.
- Breathable mesh material and it’s also quite flexible, but the back protector is quite hard and can absorb impact very well
- It can provide ultimate protection, it has a crash protector strap, 3D molded back protector elbow & shoulder pads, and 3- ply chest protector
- Unisex and available in several sizes so you can find the almost perfect fit
- It can stay in place even in the event of a crash
- Looks edgy and premium
- The protector plate can adjust to the body temperature so it’s very comfortable
- It also has a detachable waist that prevents the back from slipping
- Fits loosely for some
Salomon’s is a men’s ski protector that has a buckling style. It feels very lightweight and comfortable.
The material is highly breathable and very flexible. You will not even notice that you’re wearing a ski protector.
This is best for those who are sweaty. This will not make you feel overheated.
And though it feels like a second skin, this can mean serious business.
It can provide full protection and you would hardly feel an impact in case of falls and crashes.
- The fit is great, it feels like second skin
- Pretty sturdy but very flexible
- It is highly breathable and comfortable
- It’s easy to wear and the straps are easy to adjust
- It rides up a little at times
- Would have been perfect with an adjustable groin band
Alpinestars is a heavy-duty back ski back protector that can give you serious protection.
Back protectors with a durable outer shell cover are great for safety measures but can be burdensome to wear. This Alpinestars model stands out with its lightweight yet heavy-duty design.
First, the outer shells are made of the polymeric material blend. This material is quite tough. So this back protector is made for extreme sports. But despite its durability, the back shell is not restrictive. The outer shell has perforations that allow better ventilation.
In addition, the outer shell can absorb high impact. So it provides full support and protection for your entire back.
Secondly, it’s comfortable to wear. And it’s not difficult to put it on. Because it has an ergonomic design and it fits snugly to your body. You may also adjust the tightness of the fit with the elastic straps. This back protector features a snug fit system. So it can be adjusted to fit various body shapes and sizes.
It also boasts of a soft cushion technology. It features a soft foam padded chassis. All in all, the Alpinestars is perhaps one of the most complete yet comfortable back protectors on our list.
- It has a breathable design and feels quite comfortable
- Can provide full protection
- It has a large back cover, a kidney belt, and a tailbone protector
- Tough exterior but breathable shell case
- The large back cover may be too large for the petite
- Some have trouble with the straps
06. POC Spine VPD Air Backpack
It’s a trail backpack and back protector in one. It’s perfect if you want to have adequate protection for your spine discreetly.
Sometimes what might put you off from wearing a back protector is the thought of looking like you’re fully armored. Well, some people don’t like the idea of having an armor wrapped around their back, even if it’s good for them.
So this POC spine and back protector is a great alternative. You can have your back protected without screaming it out loud. This trail backpack just looks sporty and cool too.
Another advantage is that it is a fully functional backpack. It has compartments and has side pockets where you can put some of your essentials. The compartments are equally placed inside the bag. So everything is well balanced and it won’t interfere with your performance.
The built-in back protector weighs 600 grams and has a twin strap closure stem. And the backpack fits your body like a glove. It’s made of a unique material that flexes and hugs your back so that you won’t even feel that you’re carrying one. It fits perfectly without being constricting at the waist.
- Water-resistant material
- Well balanced compartments and side pockets
- Can carry 3 liters of water
- Lightweight and a great alternative to those who do not want to wear an armor
- Well ventilated and comfortable
- The mobile phone pocket is too narrow
- May not be for heavy duty use
07. POC Women’s Spine Air Vest
This 2-in-1 vest and back protector is made for the active woman. It’s lightweight yet fully geared to provide you the needed protection for your spine.
Back protectors are often bulky and heavy. No one wants that, especially if you’re a woman. Even if you are active and all Amazonian, you’re still a woman. So we all like it light and discreet. This POC vest weighs only 750 g all in all. That’s the vest and the back protector included.
Even if it’s light, it can still provide great protection for your vertebrae. The back protector is made of three 3 liters.
- Breathable mesh material
- Can hold 3 liters of water
- Has 3 layers of back protection
- Waist can be adjusted to fit women of almost all sizes, it has good sizing
- You can attach a helmet to it
- Can be too big around the shoulders for slim women
- Some complained of missing parts
08. Mammot Duncan Spine Backpack
This is the best jacket slash backpack for skiing and snowboarding.
It’s like having a backpack with a large space and a spine protector at the same time.
This is very specious too and has a 50- 60 L capacity. It also has zippers where you can keep your valuables.
- It has large space and has pockets for keeping smaller items organized
- It has a robust zipper system
- It has attachment options so it’s useful in different applications too
- The padded shoulder straps makes it comfortable and easier to carry
- You can move your shoulders and hips better, doesn’t restrict movement
- May not be for heavy duty use
This multipurpose back protector can be used for a myriad of sports. It’s your all in one spinal protector for a range of extreme sports.
Aside from skiing, cycling and moto crossing are also high-risk sports for your spine. But you don’t need to buy a different back protector for every sport. The RIDBIKER is a versatile skiing back protector that you can use for a variety of extreme sports.
This multipurpose back protector is quite ergonomic too. It won’t restrict your movements. It’s made of a porous honeycomb structure making it comfortable and breathable. And in terms of durability, it can withstand high impact.
The outer shell is made of a high-quality PP material. It is double layered but it will not restrict your movements. You can bend and stretch and not feel like anything is pulling you back.
Another advantage is that it’s adjustable. You can adjust the straps to fit your waist and shoulders. And this nylon belt and shoulder straps won’t snag your skin. It’s quite comfortable but durable at the same time too.
- This motorcycle vest is also suitable for taller people
- It’s multipurpose and can be sued for an array of outdoor activity
- Has a wide belt with fastener adjustment
- Doesn’t restrict movements
- Might be too long for shorter people
- The panels are not held well together
Pellor is an integrated protection for your back and your chest. It can provide extreme protection while encouraging movement at the same time.
An integrated protection can provide full coverage for your back and chest. But sometimes it restricts your movements. That’s concerning especially if it can affect your performance in sports.
The design of Pellor is actually a motorcycle vest. It is made of a sturdy PE plastic that can protect both your back and chest from impact.
The full on integrated design also makes it suitable for other sports aside from skiing.
You can also use the Pellor for skating, motorcycle riding, cycling, and anything that can have risks of falling.
It also comes in three sizes so you can find the almost perfect fit. And it has velcro straps on the side so you can adjust the fitting according to your body size. And the elastic is quite stretchy, so you will not feel suffocated.
The Pellor is the next big thing when it comes to back protection. It can give you a complete safety guard but it encourages a lot of movements at the same time too. It feels solid and strong. Yet it feels light and good at the same time too.
- The plastic shell is made from durable materials
- It’s both a chest and spine protector, thus it can give full body protection
- The elastics are flexile, it’s not suffocating and allows a lot of movement
- It looks cool and edgy
- It’s not heavy or bulky for motorcycle vest
- We wished it came with knee pads so it can be a complete package
Why should you use a ski back protector
Back protectors play a crucial role in minimizing injuries. It may even prevent spinal paralysis and even death. So you might be asking yourself how a combination of rubber or polymer blend vest or backpack saves you?
Back protectors are designed to do these- absorb the impact or disperse the force. Some brands can do both. These actions lessen the force that your spine is going to take in the event of a collision.
And skiing is considered a very risky sport too. Especially if you are competing. It doesn’t matter if you’re a pro or a beginner. You can come across accidents such as a collision with a tree, a rock, or your fellow skier. Even an improper landing on hard snow can cause serious injuries. Even snowboarding has its fair share of emergencies.
The honest answer to that question is a resounding yes. Whether you’re a pro or leisurely sliding in the snow, you need a ski back protector.
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What to look for in a ski back protector
Back protectors are essential safety gear for skiing.
But not everything sold on the internet is what it claims to be. So how can you choose the
Must meet European standards EN 1621-2:
How else would you ensure the effectiveness of a product if it weren’t tested? Ski back protectors must meet this European standard. It means that the product can indeed give you the protection that it’s been claiming.
But keep in mind that wearing one doesn’t mean that you won’t get hurt anymore. It can lessen the impact of an injury, but it won’t make you invisible or untouchable.
And all of the brands in our recommendation have met this standard of quality.
In sports performance, the freedom to move can mean a difference between losing or winning. Thus, you have to get back protection that’s ergonomically designed. It has to move with you. And it should be able to conform to the natural curve of your spine, not the other way around.
How else would you be able to perform well if you feel like you have an armor weighing on you? The best ski back protector should be able to provide decent support without dragging you down.
Ill-fitting back protection is almost the same as not wearing one.
Allows for air ventilation:
It should be breathable. It should allow for better airflow. Otherwise, you’ll get all sweaty and hot. It can really be uncomfortable and can take your focus away from your game.
How to get best ski back protector
We are going to list down several pointers to consider. Ponder on these to get the best back protector for your spine and back
It should cover your entire back:
We’re not just protecting your central spine. Instead, the best back protector should cover your entire back. It should provide support from the neck up to your coccyx or tailbone.
It’s also a bonus if your shoulders are protected too.
Get the proper size:
Hot to get the proper fit? The size of your shirt is often used as a gauge. But what’s more important here is the length of the back protector. As mentioned in number 1, it should cover your full back
Some brands are gender-specific, while there are also unisex brands. Women’s size has a narrower waist. So when getting a unisex brand, make sure it can fit you snuggly around the waist.
Wear your ski clothes when buying:
It’s wise to wear your actual ski clothes when canvassing for a back protector. Since most spine protectors are worn inside your ski attire, it’s best to see how the product feels. Move around a bit to see if it allows for a range of movement. You will also be able to feel how snug it would fit when you’re actually skiing. And because you won’t wear your regular clothes when you’re skidding on ice.
Go for highly breathable materials:
You don’t want to bathe in your own sweat. You can lose your focus on the game and it can also breed bacteria. It’s also nice if you can get a ski back protector with antibacterial properties.
It should fit you like a glove:
It should be nice and tight. An ill-fitting ski back protector can go up to your back and get misaligned. Then it wouldn’t be able to provide you the needed spinal support.
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Back protectors offer protection in an uneventful incident. But that doesn’t give you the liberty to be reckless and careless.
As such, here are some tips on how to prevent collisions and accidents, even if you’re wearing the best ski back protector.
Don’t forget to warm-up:
As with any physical activity, you have to get your muscles all warmed up first.
So before sliding down the white snowy mountains, don’t forget to stretch and do some warm-up. This will only take a few minutes of your time but can save you from collisions.
Warming up helps keep your blood flowing to your muscles. And this makes your muscles more flexible.
The more flexible your muscles are, the more range of movement you can do.
Remember, snowsports use the entire body. If your muscles are stiff, you’re less likely to make a life-saving swerve.
Only do activities that you’re capable of:
Powder skiing is perhaps a very exciting and enjoyable tier in your skiing journey.
Though there are some beginners that can already embark on this stage, not all can.
So never venture into any activity when you’re not yet ready for it. Otherwise, it’s an open invitation to accidents.
Be mindful of your surroundings:
Before hitting the slopes, you must survey the scene first. Are there rocks and trees around?
Being mindful also means having an open ear. So if someone is yelling a warning at you, you might be able to hear it instantly. So listening to music while skiing or snowboarding is not a wise thing to do.
Hard Shell vs Soft Shell: Which is Better?
There are two major classifications of ski back protectors- hardshell and softshell.
Which can give you better protection?
Let’s see below.
Hardshell ski back protectors:
Hardshell ski back protectors are often made of polyethylene and polypropylene. And you’ll instantly notice the tough exterior shell, but it will still have layers of soft padding foam inside.
Technically, a hardshell cover can provide better protection from collisions and impact.
These will also be able to protect you from sharp objects should you collide against sharp rocks or twigs.
But the downside is, these can be very heavy and suffocating. These types feel like full armor on.
Softshell ski back protectors:
With the discomfort of some hardshell ski back protectors, softshells are the next best alternative.
Though not all brands might not give the same level of protection as hard shells, they can still absorb some impact. And it’s better than wearing none at all.
But some brands like the ones we have on our list can offer the same amount of protection. But these might not be able to protect you from punctures. So you’re likely to get a scratch if you land on sharp rocks.
Do I still need a back protector if I am just leisurely skiing?
Yes. you are still at risk of accidents. Albeit it’s not a major one but the risk is still there. If you don’t want to go all full gear, you can always buy a lightweight back protector. It can give adequate back support for leisure skiing.
Can I still use my ski back protector after a collision?
If there has been an accident, normally your back protector would have some damages too. So it’s not ideal to use it again.
And even if you haven’t been in any type of accident, it’s recommended to replace your ski back protector every 5 -7 years or so. This is because they can lose the shock-absorbing qualities over time. And it will also give you a chance to upgrade to a more innovative brand
Is it worth buying?
If it’s going to lessen the impact of an injury and even escape death, it is. Just make sure to buy legitimate back protectors so you’re getting the real deal
Back protectors may not be as popular as helmets when it comes to safety gear. This hardworking product is often overlooked, especially in leisurely sports. What puts off most in wearing one is the bulky and heavy dragging feeling.
Good to know that the best back protectors don’t feel anything like that at all. Out tip picks can provide adequate support and back protection without the uncomfortable feeling. And these brands are innovative and ergonomically designed, you won’t even notice you’re wearing one.
So it’s high time to step up your game in terms of safety. So always wear a ski back protector. You would still want to have functional legs and limbs for the next game or season.
OUR #1 RECOMMENDATION
ALPINESTARS Nucleon KT-Celli
The ALPINESTARS Nucleon KT-Celli is our top pick. This hard shell spine protector can absorb great impact and protect you from punctures too. You’d also not veer away from wearing one despite it being a hardshell cover. It’s super comfy and breathable at the same time.