The Ultimate Japow Packing List

The Ultimate Japow Packing List

This carefully curated list of gear will prepare you with all of my essentials to enjoy the glorious powder and explorative goodness that Japan has to offer!

photos by corinne prevot | 📍 japan

Last winter, I traveled around Japan primarily by train. Whether it was a small group or just me, the experience was hectic, exciting, and incredibly rewarding once I/we figured it out.  Luckily, these days, you can access all the schedules and routes from your smartphone, so getting around is a little easier.

Things run on time and the timing is quick. You need to be at the door with all your things, ready to exit the train car the second that door opens to the platform. That means one arm around the ski bag, the other gripping your duffle, and your boots securely attached to your backpack. (These can be easy to forget when you’ve stashed all your luggage away for the train ride. And that’s another story.) The door will literally shut behind you.  It's exhilarating!

The following tips, tricks, and packing suggestions are entirely designed to make this experience dialed so you can focus on the adventure and maximize your time skiing Japow!

First thing's first:

Skis. Because that's the point.

My favorite ski is a powder ski.

I recommend taking the time to thoughtfully equip yourself for an under 20kg-per-bag quest to ski powder. And that starts with skis. Bring one pair. Controversial, I know. I still haven’t followed my own advice. But promise me, if I ever have the opportunity to go back to Japan, I will be bringing one pair of skis. And they will be fat (122mm underfoot), fun powder skis (fully rockered), with a touring-capable binding that I feel comfortable skiing groomers on if I must.

My set up is:

With this set up, you can hit all the destinations I shared in the Guide to Skiing Japan with one versatile set up. If you’re planning on touring the entire trip, you clearly know what you’re doing and have your own gear preferences for that. Get it, sister.


Luckily, Google Maps is wired with all the train schedules and suggested routes, making this process easy if you can stay ahead of it. Most of the modern trains have wifi on them. If you can swing it, I’d recommend spending $10/day on travel days to get that cell service to avoid missing train connections or getting lost. Plus, it’s fun to feel dialed and with the flow of Japanese commuters when you’re amongst it with 60 lbs of gear as a foreigner. Calm cool collected = less obtrusive.

Oh, one last thing on train travel — hold onto those tickets. Have one pocket for tickets and stick to it. The ride isn’t complete until you’ve made it through the exit turnstiles and when you've got your luggage in hand, it can be hard to find that missing stub.

That being said, Luggage:

Raide Research 40L

No detail left unconsidered.


BD Cirque 35L

Lean, mean, and very clean.


Norrona Pack 28L

Sleek, durable, with back access.


Mountain Hardwear Powabunga 32L

Pure comfort.


onsen ready

Things to put in your luggage:

  • Travel towel (for onsen!) you can get soap, etc. there.
  • Quick note re: onsen -- Typically onsen is split by male and female and the expectation is to be fully naked for the sake of hygiene.
  • When you arrive to Japan, pick up a travel size pack of shampoo, conditioner, and body wash, maybe even a cute little plastic basket that can get wet. The whole kit shouldn’t be more than $8 USD. This comes in handy when setting up your wash station before entering the pools.

Back to skiing ...

  • Extra goggles with light lenses.
  • Keep dry neckwear in rotation by bringing 1-2 extra Snow Tours in your pack or jacket pocket. Because face shots...
  • Gore-Tex outerwear. A technical waterproof ski shell in a comparable fabric brand. Unprecedented precipitation means deep powder days. You'll be covered in snow and as it melts, that bomber material will keep you dry all day long. Here are some of my favorite outer layers. ⬇️

1 comment

Mel Sloan

Mel Sloan

omg ski boots help plz

omg ski boots help plz

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