Gear Hack: Knee-Pads for Skiers

DIY instructions for knee-pads, which are actually pretty handy for skiers

If you were to build hierarchy of the importance of different body parts for skiing, it’d probably go something like this: head, spine, knees. In keeping, most of us wear helmets nowadays. Scandinavians are especially switched on when it comes to wearing back protection. But what about the knees?

Knee-pads save your chin from your knees and your knees from your chin. But probably the biggest benefit is they keep your joints warm and feeling all lubed up. Here’s the problem, though, most knee-pads are too bulky to ski tour in.

When you’re self-propelled, on top of not having any physical protection while skiing down, your knees can get super frigid on picnic breaks, kneeling in the snow, or even just when the wind presses against your trousers. It’s almost menopausal, all those hot ups and cold downs. It’ll make you creek like a rusty hinge, inviting crepitus—which feels exactly how it sounds.

So what’s a day-walking freerider to do? Volleyball pads are a nice, light alternative to mountain-bike pads or hard shells, but they bunch behind the knee and cut off circulation. That is, unless you stitch them to your long johns and cut the back material off. Here’s the DIY scoop:

1. You’ll need some undies, volleyball knee-pads, a suture needle, some dental floss, and scissors.

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2. You could use safety pins, but simply adding a quick stitch to each corner of the pad while wearing them will ensure they’re exactly where you want them to be when you do your full pass. The pads usually have a left and a right, so pay attention.

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3. It’s tough to fit a tube bottom on a sewing machine without stitching right through both sides, so sewing by hand is the way to go here. And, believe it or not, sew them while wearing them. The whole mess is too floppy and will bunch like crazy otherwise.

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4. Once you’ve got them stitched on, you’re happy with their position, and you’ve wiped away the blood from stabbing yourself here and there, cut that bothersome back off the knee pads.

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5. Sit back and wait for all the jokes from online trolls about knee-pads and fellatio.

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6. Get to steppin’.

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Find more DIY gear hacks here.