Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In



Winter Gear Essentials: The Ski Strap

Six reasons why you should always pack a ski strap on winter trips.

Lock Icon

Become a member to unlock this story and receive other great perks.

Already have an Outside Account? Sign in

Outside+ Logo

All Access
$0.28 / day*

  • A $500 value with everything in the Print + Digital Plan plus 25+ benefits including:
  • Member-only content from every title in the Outside network like Outside, SKI, Climbing, and more
  • Try out best-in-class outdoor gear and apparel for free before you buy
  • Gaia GPS Premium with hundreds of maps and global trail recommendations, a $39.99 value
  • Online skills and fitness courses
  • Coming Soon: Premium access to Outside TV and 1,000+ hours of exclusive shows
Join Outside+

Print + Digital
Special Price
$0.07 / day*

  • Annual subscription to Backpacker magazine
  • Access to all member-exclusive content and gear reviews on
  • Ad-free access to
Join Backpacker

*Outside memberships are billed annually. You may cancel your membership at anytime, but no refunds will be issued for payments already made. Upon cancellation, you will have access to your membership through the end of your paid year. More Details

Every backcountry skier knows to never leave home without proper safety equipment: beacon, shovel and probe. This winter, whether you’re on skis, splitboard, or snowshoes, add a ski strap or two to your list of essential gear. Here are six uses for this lightweight piece of equipment, and why we always carry a few in our packs when we head out. 

1. Fix a broken….anything.

With the strength of duct tape but superior adjustability and reusability, ski straps (sometimes called Voile straps) are one of the most versatile tools in your repair kit. Broken or frozen ski boot buckle? Ski strap. Snapped ski pole? Ski strap. Malfunctioning snowshoe binding? Ski strap. Janky sternum strap? You guessed it. Temporarily reattach your malfunctioning gear to get safely out of the backcountry.  

2. Make a splint.

Say hello to the most useful addition to your first-aid kit. Pair a strap with a ski or pole to immobilize a leg injury, or, in desperate situations, improvise a tourniquet

3. Reattach climbing skins.

Frozen or saturated glue on your climbing skins can ruin a ski day in an instant. If your skins refuse to stick to the base of your skis, hold them in place with a few rubberized straps to carry on. We’ve used this technique to bail us out of a rainy, 100-percent-humidity day skinning up a glacier in British Columbia.

4. Carry your skis.

Bootpacks, scrambles, or technical sections may require you to carry your skis instead of wear them. Employ the compression/ski carry straps on your pack and connect the tips with a strap to create an A-frame. Now you have a secure, convenient attachment setup to carry your skis securely so you can focus on your footing. 

5. Set up a shelter.

Even fully extended, a single ski pole makes for a squat support for a tarp shelter. Fasten two ski or trekking poles together for a secure, sufficiently-tall center pole.

6. Holding your skis together, duh.

Oh, yeah—you can also use ski straps for their intended use when you throw your skis back in the car at the end of the day.