Is the question of whether you need to take your bindings off your snowboard when storing it away or when doing a wax job haunting you? So many riders – including veterans and pros – have differing opinions on this.
Most riders would much rather keep their bindings and screws connected to their board so nothing gets lost in-between seasons. But is it best to remove the bindings during the summer months? Will your snowboard develop dimples from the binding screws if you leave them on? Will the board get damaged if you do your wax jobs with the bindings on?
Short answer: remove the bindings from your board if it’s easier for storing of packing for travel. Otherwise, you can simply loosen the screws a full turn before storing or waxing your board. This will take off tension from the screws, and prevent wax from accumulating around the inserts.
That’s my take on the question – and it has worked fine for many years. Just in case you’re skeptical though, I’ll dig a bit deeper into the pros and cons of removing your binding in various situations, so that you can make your own informed choices.
Is it bad to remove your bindings often?
When you buy a new pair of bindings, you’ll notice a bit of loctite plastic around the screws on the base side to keep the screws tight. Removing the screws a few times, however, will result in the initial loctite being removed. You may be worried about removing the screws and losing the loctite.
You typically shouldn’t worry about it though. Many riders take their bindings off a lot to change their stance and to wax, yet few have issues with their screws. Sure, there’s always a risk of stripping the screws when taking them off, but the risk is small if you do it carefully and use an appropriate screwdriver.
In case your bindings get a bit loose over time once the loctite is gone, you can simply have them tightened up on the mountain. If needed, you can also ask the board manufacturer to send you new screws – they’ll generally do it for free.
Should you take off the bindings for storage?
A recurring question is, should you remove your bindings from your board at the end of the season. Here are the arguments for and against taking them off.
Arguments FOR taking off the bindings for storage?
- Taking your bindings off removes the tension from the screws from your board
- Removing the bindings allows your board to fully dry out
- It’s easier to store a snowboard with the bindings removed e.g. hang it up on the wall – and this is especially true for storing multiple snowboards
- Some riders find that when storing their board with the bindings attached, the rubber from the bindings sometimes sticks to the top sheet and them rips off if you try to remove them
- Some riders feel bindings may de-camber your snowboard a bit if left on in storage
Particularly careful riders will remove the bindings and store them in their original boxes while the boards get stored vertical in their bags (away from direct sunlight). Some will strap their bindings together to help preserve their shape.
Arguments AGAINST taking off the bindings for storage?
- The stress of the bindings screws on your board when attached is negligible compared to the stress imposed on the board when riding, hard carving, or landing hard tricks
- Many riders tighten their bindings a lot more than necessary, simply untightening them slightly will make it easier on the board
- If leaving your bindings on for storage came with a risk of damage to the board, snowboard manufacturers would certainly warn us riders about it
- Every time you remove the bindings from your board, there’s a chance the screws get stripped. If you do, make sure you use a proper #3 Phillips head. When putting back on, screw until it stops then tighten an extra 1/4 turn. Add some loctite if the threadlocker is worn off.
- Many riders (myself included) leave the bindings on year-round and have never had any issue even after 20+ years. Just store the bindings (and board) away from UV light to preserve the plastics. The bindings will typically come off easily even after years without being removed.
Should you remove bindings for waxing?
Short answer: you CAN but you don’t have to. An alternative is to just loosen your screws for the wax job. Also pay attention to the way you use your iron for hot waxing.
Arguments FOR removing bindings for waxing
- Waxing your snowboard with the bindings screwed on will often result in dimples – small depressions on the bottom of the board. Due to the heat, there’s an accumulation of wax around the inserts that require additional effort to scrape off.
- In some cases, if the bindings are screwed tightly when waxing, there’s a small risk that the heat from the iron will soften the glue around the screw inserts – effectively ruining the board.
- Some riders wax every time and find it easy and safe to remove the bindings for doing so, using a #3 screwdriver (vs a drill or impact driver).
- Removing the bindings for waxing makes if easier to scrape. Removing the bindings also allows you to change the angle before your next ride depending on the conditions and your goals for the day.
- If you don’t have a stand for waxing your board and use a table instead, you pretty much have to remove the bindings for a wax job (unless you use chairs or something similar).
- Some riders will only remove the bindings every 4 or 5 wax jobs. When you do, you can also add some loctite in there to keep everything tight.
- Others only remove the bindings to polish the board’s top sheet at the start of the season. Polishing helps keep the snow and ice off your board, allowing it to dry fast.
Arguments AGAINST removing bindings for waxing
- Wax dimples are very common when waxing including on snowboards with bindings removed. This results from the reduced space between the bottom of the inserts and the base material, and possibly from heating the board too much.
- Instead of removing the bindings altogether before waxing, you can simply loosen your binding screws a turn or two. This is very quick and will prevent the wax from building up around the inserts under the bindings.
- You can keep your bindings on simply pass the iron quickly and lightly (not like a with shirt). If you merely spread a bit of wax, you shouldn’t get dimples around your inserts. Also make sure your iron isn’t too hot – put your hand under the base to check the heat on the board. If it’s your first time waxing a board, you can slightly loosen your screws for peace of mind.
- If you use vises for holding your snowboard, you don’t need to remove your bindings as you get enough clearance for them between the board and the table. The bindings also come in handing for holding the board still while your scraping.
- Snowboard shops will keep the bindings on when doing wax job for customers.
- Unlike waxing which can be done as often as desired, it’s best to take your bindings on and off as little as possible to reduce the risk of wearing the insert screws and inserts over time – and getting a loose binding on the hill.
- If you take your bindings off, you may not be able to set them back exactly the way it was before. Sometimes a couple degrees can make a difference in your riding feel.
Should you remove bindings before putting your snowboard in a board bag?
When flying with a snowboard, most riders agree that leaving the bindings on in your board bag is generally the best way to pack.
Those who fly often often usually put their boots between the bindings on top of the board. You can insert your pants, jacket, and cloths around and outside of the bindings inside the bag. This works great for me.
though it really depends on your individual packing style and what you’re most worried about, personally, I like to leave my bindings on, but rotate them so that they’re not sticking out of the top of the bag – this makes them less prone to shocks.
Taking off the bindings and packing them separately is extra work, and you have a higher risk of loosing parts vs keeping them attached to your board (provided they fit in the bag).
Obviously, if you’re packing more than one board in a single bag, you have no choice but take the bindings off.
In conclusion, you can certainly choose to remove your bindings from your snowboard for storage, waxing, or traveling, in order to save space and relieve tension from the screws.
Many riders, however, leave bindings on all the time without any issues. Some will simply loosen the mount screws instead of removing them completely to avoid wear and tear on the board’s screw inserts, leading to loose bindings.
Hot waxing can be done with the bindings on (possibly loosened) provided you use the iron lightly and with mild heat.