Like all action sports, snowboarding comes with a certain amount of risk and although back injuries are rare it’s obviously an injury you want to avoid! This guide will help you choose a back protector which will keep you safe whilst being comfortable to wear as an essential part of your protective gear.
Back protectors protect primarily your spine and ribs from impact. Whilst back injuries are relatively rare in snowboarding they can obviously be serious and definitely something to be avoided. However just because you’re wearing a back protector it does not guarantee your safety, in fact the wrong type or a poorly fitting back protector has the potential to do more harm than good. So what should you look for when buying a back protector?
How a back protector should fit
It is very important that your back protector fits snugly and does not move around, otherwise in the event of a crash it may just get pushed out the way. It is also important that your back protector is the right size and length so that it covers all of your back but does not come up too high onto your neck. When you crash, especially if you scorpion, it’s important that you are still able to move freely so there’s no pressure points which restrict your flexibility. Personally, this reason I am reluctant to wear one although I can think of a few accidents where one would definitely have come in handy!
A back protector will protect you from…
- Large impacts : Landing heavily on your back when jumping in the snow park
- Hard impacts: Crashing into hard objects such as tree stumps and rocks.
- Someone else running into you: this is always a risk on busy slopes especially when you are just learning and there are lots of more experienced skiers and snowboarders flying past. Although this has never happened to me it’s one of my main concerns when I’m on the mountain teaching people to snowboard and going slow.
What a back protector won’t protect you from.
Backs are complicated things and most back problems that people suffer from are caused by imbalances in the muscles and tendons and not from Impact injuries. These types of injuries, as well as a whole range of other niggly injuries, can be prevented by keeping your body strong, supple, and well-balanced.
Who should wear a back protector
- Anyone with a pre-existing back injury
- Beginners learning in icy conditions
- Anyone riding in the backcountry where there are rocks and tree stumps especially when the snow levels are low
Best Mens Back Protectors
This back protector comes at a great price and will protect not only your spine but also your kidney area in the event of a fall. The back protector is made up of a series of panels which flex individually give a good range of movement. The materials involved may not be as breathable as some of the other models in the list, but it still offers a good amount of protection at a great price!
This extremely ventilated and lightweight back protector with easily adjustable shoulder and waist strap anchor points, makes it easy to get the ideal perfect fit. The VPD is malleable and adapts to your body, but during an impact, the material stiffens to absorb the shock. Its minimalist form offers protection where needed without the addition of unnecessary bulk.
The VPD 2.0 protective padding provides extreme impact absorption as well as an ability to adapt its shape to your body. A highly breathable mesh vest construction delivers optimal ventilation, and the padding is easily removable so the vest can be washed.
The vest has a height-adjustable and removable waistband, and is available in regular and slim fit, making it ideal for a wide variety of body shapes and sizes.
This protective vest incorporates the superb flexibility of Crash Absorb memory foam, which adapts to the shape and movement of the body. This combines with rigid spinal plates in thermoformed shock-absorbent Polystyrene to protect your most critical areas of the spine and rib area. The overlapping layers of the construction allow for free movement and give the perfect fit following the anatomy of the spine.
Best Women’s Back Protectors
Lightweight and ventilated 3 layer back protector. Conforming to Level 1 (1621-2) standards the protector utilizes a flexible mesh, which is both light and highly breathable. Due to the materials used the protector has a low profile and the optional waist strap provides further fit personalization. Optimized fit for women. Available in regular and slim fit.
Flexagon redefines the standard of protective comfort with its innovative construction technology. The exceptional flexibility is aided by overlapping layers of Crash Absorb® memory foam that move independently of one another, and follow the anatomy of the body. Its ergonomic pattern of hexagon shaped soft pads provide comfort and maximum freedom of movement (6 sides, mobility on the 30˚, 90˚ and 150˚ axes) along with effective protection.