This article will help you buy your first set of snowboarding gear. Snowboarding requires a lot of gear so it's useful to have a list of everything you need.
I recently decided it was time to get my own equipment instead of renting so here is what I got. I also use this list to help me pack for trips.
This one is pretty important. There are lots of great options so it can be tricky to figure out what board to get. A board will usually have a weight range specified which is helpful when choosing what size to get. The board I got was 155 cm long and had a range of 130 to 175 pounds. I weigh around 165 pounds so I could have gotten the next one or two sizes up but I'm still learning so I wanted to stick to the shorter size.
Sometimes there are demo days at ski resorts where you can try out gear. I highly recommend going to one of these if you can. I went to one and rode three different boards and ended up buying my favorite.
The three main shapes of boards are camber, reverse camber and hybrid (a reverse camber with camber under the bindings). Any of these would work as a first board. I find the hybrid board to be a bit easier to ride so that's what I went with.
If you're curious, the board I ride is the Burton Process Flying V in the 155 cm size.
Try to find a binding with a toestrap (sometimes called a capstrap), which is the front strap on the binding closest to your toes. It will pull your boot towards your binding and also downwards into the binding. A traditional front strap will only pull your foot downwards so you don't get as much support. Lots of bindings have these.
I've mostly ridden Burton bindings. They work well for me and are widely available. The Cartel and the Malavita are two of the most popular models and you'll see many pros riding them in vidoes and in competitions. You can't really go wrong with either one.
I'd suggest researching what bindings your favorite pro snowboarder is riding. You can usually find the answer easily with a few web searches.
The main difference between boots is the amount of support they provide.
Softer boots are typically meant to be used for free style riding and usually have laces. Harder boots have more support and are meant for all-mountain riding and big jumps. They usually have some type of speed lacing system.
Both types are fine for a beginner. I personally ride a boot with more support (the Burton Ruler) that still has enough flexibility to not be limiting in any way.
The main thing to look for here is the waterproof rating.
Waterproof rating usually varies between 5,000mm and 20,000+mm. As a reference, Gore-Tex is usually rated at 20,000+mm. The higher the rating the less water can get through. I ride in snowy and sometimes rainy conditions and I fall every once in a while so I use a pair rated at 15,000mm.
Zippered vents are also a great feature to have if you're going to be riding on warmer days in the spring. Just remember to unzip them!
Pockets are very handy for holding all the random things you may be carrying (wallet, keys, phone, snacks, etc).
The same waterproof rating systems as for pants applies to jackets. Generally the more waterproof the better.
The other choice you'll have to make is whether to get a shell or an insulated jacket. I went with a highly waterproof shell which requires wearing layers underneath to stay warm. An insulated jacket will keep you warmer but it might be too hot to wear in warm temperatures.
Gloves should be waterproof or semi-waterproof, ideally using a material such as Gore-Tex or a something similar.
The two main styles of gloves are "under" and "over". Under gloves are meant to go inside your jacket sleeve and over gloves are meant to go over your jacket sleeve (jacket sleeve tucked inside the glove).
Both are good options. I personally use the under style but I may try the over style at some point.
The most important thing to consider when buying a pair of goggles is to make sure they fit your head and are comfortable. Some of the darker lenses are better suited for sunny days but they won't work well for night skiing so keep that in mind.
The two main types of lenses are flat and spherical. Spherical lenses have curvature in both the horizontal and vertical direction and are found on most mid to high-end goggles. The spherical lense is supposed to provide better peripheral vision, less glare and less distortion so they are usually better than flat lenses.
Base layer pants
There are the pants that you wear under your snowpants. I used to wear jeans or chinos but I recently stepped up to a pair of quick drying pants meant for athletic use.
Shirt base layer
It's easy to sweat while snowboarding so it's suggested to wear something made from a fabric that does not absorb moisture easily. For example, Burton has a material called Dryride that is meant for this purpose. Most sporting good stores will have lots of options. Patagonia is another good brand that makes clothes like this.
You can wear regular athletic socks but snowboarding socks will work better. Many brands make them. The main thing advantage to using a snowboarding sock is that they will be tall enough to extend past your boot which will be more comfortable and provide extra warmth.
I suggest getting at least one pair and two or more if you plan on going on multi-day trips.
I highly recommend wearing a helmet. Snowboarding is a dangerous sport and it's important to stay safe. There are lots of options out there so make sure you get something that fits you properly and is comfortable.
I didn't use sunscreen last year but I'm going to next year. I don't always notice the effects of the sun while snowboarding but a few days after a trip my skin will usually be slightly burned. I plan on picking up some SPF 30 or higher to use next year while riding.