Best Snowboarding Jackets
Many people who try snowboarding for the first time eventually become consumed with passion for this incredible sport, and once you’ve become hooked, you’ll need to buy the important gear you’ll need to effectively participate in your new pastime. One of the most important gear choices you’ll make is selecting one of the best snowboarding jackets to fit your goals, since a good snowboarding jacket will bring you the right weather protection and warmth to keep you going even when the temperature drops.
There are many excellent choices in snowboarding jackets available for purchase today, and it can take a great deal of time and effort to research all of these options. To help save you time, we’ve compiled a list for you covering the top ten snowboarding jackets, and we’ve also created a list of criteria you can use to help you make your selection.
- Burton Vagabond
- Constructed of Gore-Tex
- Burton Ak 2L Boom
- Breathable weather resistance
- Quicksilver Forever 2L
- With Gore-Tex
10 Best Snowboarding Jackets
Breathability: This jacket is designed to be highly breathable with its taffeta lining and woven panels, and has a great ventilation system that will prevent you from overheating. You’ll get plenty of warmth without feeling uncomfortable.
Warmth: The taffeta lining on the interior of this jacket not only bolsters the ventilation system, but also makes the jacket very warm. You’ll be able to keep your body temperature well-regulated for the duration of your snowboarding outings.
Value: For its price, this jacket brings you a lot of high-level protection features that make its price hard to beat. This jacket isn’t bottom-dollar cheap, but for the quality you get, the price is very affordable.
Great weather protection
Could be more comfortable
Could be more durable.
686 GLCR Hydra
Breathability: The asymmetrical main zip allows a specially designed vent to sit right over your mouth. When the weather gets hectic, you'll be able to bury your face in your jacket without golfing up your goggles or soaking the chinguard with your breath condensation.
Warmth: Made with "Thermograph technology, the jacket's insulation targets the torso, keeping your most important parts warm.The panels not only keep you warm, but also contain antimicrobial properties that prevent the build-up of stinky bacteria. The rest of the jacket allows the warm, moist air to filter out, leaving the ideal temperature regulation.
Value: Priced affordably for the technology offered on the jacket, you’ll get a good, all-around performing jacket if you decide to select this option.
- Good weather protection
- Nice breathability
- Ventilation could have zipper vents
- Insulation is about average
Breathability: Dakine Smythe’s Gore-Tex Jacket comes with a good ventilation system, featuring openings under the arms that zip open and close, so you can ventilate as needed. Also, this jacket offers a ventilation system as a neck for an extra breathability boost.
Warmth: Designed out of 100% polyester materials, the interior of this jacket is made to keep warmth in, and it offers plenty of thermal protection.
Value: For its price, this jacket offers some of the best weather-resistant technology available today at a more affordable cost. Plus, the ventilation system is also a nice bonus feature, because you’ll never overheat when you wear this jacket.
- Great weather protection
- Good ventilation
- Could be warmer
- Could have more durability
DC Command DPM
Breathability: The DC Command DPM Jacket is manufactured with mesh-lined vents that help to provide an average ventilation system.
Warmth: Made from 75% nylon and 25% polyester, the interior of this jacket provides great thermal warmth against cold temperature exposure.
Value: For the price, this snowboarding jacket is great for those outdoor enthusiasts looking for a great jacket while shopping on a budget, or for snowboarders just starting out and looking for a decent snowboarding jacket.
- Good weather protection.
- Ventilation could be better
- Insulation could be more durable.
Quicksilver - That’s It
Breathability: Although the Quicksilver Snow That’s It Jacket is designed with great weather-proofing technology, it’s still manufactured to provide a great ventilation system, and is one of the most breathable jackets on our list.
Warmth: Designed with 100% nylon, this jacket’s insulation provides plenty of warmth, although it isn’t as warm as some other products on our list.
Value: Quicksilver’s Snow That’s It Jacket comes at a more expensive price, but is also made to be very durable and long-lasting. So, if you do purchase it, you’ll know it may save you many in the long run, because it will last for many seasons.
- Good ventilation
- Great weather-proofing features
- Good insulation
- Could be warmer
686 GLCR Vector
Breathability: The 686 GLCR Vector Jacket is designed with a good ventilation system that includes Air-Flo’s mesh lined under arm vents. You’ll never feel like you’re going to overheat in this jacket, even while you are on-the-go.
Warmth: The lining designed into the interior of this jacket is made from 100% polyester and nylon materials, making it very thermal in nature, although it isn’t quite as warm as some more expensive options on our list.
Value: The price of the 686 GLCR Vector Jacket is very affordable, and also brings you many high-quality features you’ll enjoy.
- Good ventilation
- Could be warmer
- Could be more durable
Burton AK 2L Boom
Breathability: The Burton AK 2L Boom Gore-Tex Jacket comes designed with a breathable Taffeta lining, which offers plenty of extra ventilation when you are on-the-go. You’ll get decent breathability so that you won’t overhead when you are on-the-go.
Warmth: The Taffeta lining made into the interior of this jacket not only promotes ventilation, but also offers a system that creates average warmth while you are snowboarding in the colder weather.
Value: For its price and the Gore-Tex technology designed into the jacket, the Burton A 2L Boom Gore-Tex Jacket brings you an affordable option that provides several excellent benefits.
- Great weather-proofing technology
- Good breathability
Could be warmer
Could have zipper vents
Breathability: Zippered underarm vents let you cool off quickly and the Living Lining enhances breathability for airy comfort.
Warmth: The Thermolite insulation is made with 40% recycled materials, and is a little thicker around the torso where more warmth is needed. The arms and hood can still withstand cold temperatures, but allow you the freedom of movement you need out on the mountain.
Value: Burton Covert Jacket is a favorite for it's price for quality. It comes in many different styles so you'll be able to choose your favorite look for an inexpensive price.
- Weather resistant
- Insulation could be better
Breathability: While this jacket does have ventilation features designed into it with its V-Science Breathable Lining, it isn’t quite as breathable as some of the other jackets on our list. Still it does allow for some ventilation, which will help to prevent you from overheating.
Warmth: The insulation properties of this jacket provide adequate warmth for the outdoor enthusiast, and also feature extra hand-warming pockets.
Value: Priced for those outdoor enthusiasts shopping for a high-quality jacket on a budget, this jacket will bring you what you need each time you venture outside to snowboard.
- Could have a better powder skirt
- Could have better ventilation
Quicksilver Black Alder 2L Gore-Tex
Breathability: Underarm zippered vents release excess heat in a pinch and a breathable shell keeps weather on the outside while making it more comfortable when you're starting to warm up.
Warmth: Quicksilver Black Alder comes with an engineered jacquard mesh lining made from recycled lightweight taffeta and brushed tricot. This makes it ultra lightweight and breathable for all seasons. This is a good choice for riders who like to add or subtract layers to regulate temperature.
Value: A middle-priced jacket, the QuickSilver Black Alder Jacket brings you several features that will enhance your snowboarding experience.
- Stylish for off-mountain wear
- Could have more insulation for warmth
Here Are A Few Things That We Looked For
When we conducted our research to locate the best snowboarding jackets available on the market today, we took a look at a few categories including weather resistance, breathability, warmth, and value. We’ll break down each of these concepts in a bit more detail below.
Since you don’t want to wind up with any rain or snow getting into the interior area of your jacket or clothes, waterproofing becomes a very important factor to look into when purchasing a snowboarding jacket. If you wind up getting wet and cold, you’ll probably wind up cutting your snowboarding adventure short, and feel extremely disappointed.
Most snowboarding jackets that are modern in design are constructed with fabrics that include some kind of water-resistant technology in them. However, how effective that water-resistance really is can vary depending on manufacturer and jacket style. So, while almost all snowboarding jackets have some form of weather protection built into them, not all of these jackets will perform the same when you encounter nasty weather elements, and some types of technology will protect you better than other types.
However, purchasing a snowboarding jacket that has just the right amount of weather resistance for you can also save you money, so if you don’t need a heavy amount of protection, you can save a bit of money if you are shopping on a budget. So, you’ll need to consider the amount of protection you really need before you make your purchase.
First, the way a jacket is designed can tell you a lot about the type of weather protection you are likely to get when you purchase it. Some jackets come with higher collars to help protect your neck, and hoods that cinch easily around your neck to better protect your head. You want to make sure you get a jacket that can easily protect your head and neck area with both the collar and hood design features.
Another design feature to consider is the sleeve length on the jacket, since you’ll want something that will work well with your gloves and stay over them so that your hands and arms remain protected from the snow. Also, many snowboarding jackets feature designs around the waist either with a powder skirt or a longer length that help keep snow out of your pants, keeping your lower body area protected from the snow.
Some are also designed with waterproof zipper features, which can help prevent snow from seeping through the zipper areas on the jacket. Also, pockets on your snowboarding jacket should also be designed to keep snow out, either with waterproof zippers or with a flap to protect the pocket area.
Most feature one of two seam styles—and manufacturers will list these styles as either “fully seam sealed” or “critically taped.” So, what’s the difference? A fully seam sealed jacket means just what it sounds—the seams are totally sealed so no water or snow can creep into the interior of the jacket. Critically taped seams mean that only some seam areas in the jacket are sealed—that creates less waterproofing protection and signals that water can still get into some of the seams of the jacket. As a result, it’s almost always better to purchase a snowboarding jacket that’s fully seam sealed, especially if you don’t want to wind up dealing with cold, wet rain or snow on the inside or your jacket.
When you are shopping around for a snowboarding jacket and reading the manufacturer descriptions, you’ll also notice that some brands use a waterproof rating number to describe just how water-resistant their jackets really are. You’ll see this rating listed in millimeters from about 5,000mm to 20,000mm. Basically, the number of millimeters listed in the waterproof rating are listed to tell you the amount of rain a jacket can absorb over a one-day period.
However, these waterproof rating numbers are not always accurate, nor do they always tell you how much water a jacket can really handle in a day period. If you’ve ever purchased a jacket with a 5,000mm rating, then you’ll know just what we mean. Even a jacket that has a 5,000mm waterproof rating number can still let water in, since more intense levels of rain and snow can still get through the exterior shell of this type of jacket. On the other hand, even when the snow and rain is pouring, it’s unlikely that water will get through a jacket with a 20,000mm waterproof rating.
So, what’s an effective waterproof rating if you’re trying to save a bit of money and don’t have the money to spend on a 20,000mm waterproof rated jacket? Most people who snowboard can get away with a 10,000mm waterproof rated jacket that’s fully seam sealed, unless the rain or snow becomes excessive.
If you are worried about water possible seeping through a 10,000 mm jacket, you can still save a bit of money by purchasing a 15,000 mm waterproof rated jacket that’s fully seam sealed, if you want to make sure you never experience any cold rain or snow wetness on the interior of your jacket. However, unless you’ll be out when the rain and snow are very heavy, you will probably be fine with a 10,000mm fully seam-sealed snowboarding jacket.
The best waterproofing technology available for purchase today in a jacket is Gore-Tex, which is very breathable and also helps to keep water out from the interior area of your jacket. However, Gore-Tex typically isn’t an affordable option, although we’ve listed some more affordable types of Gore-Tex jackets on our list, they still typically cost more than other types of jackets.
Gore-Tex jackets always come fully seam-sealed, since this is a standard requirement manufactures must follow when using Gore-Tex technology. However, if you don’t have the money to spend on Gore-Tex technology, you can still get a lot of weather protection using some of the guidelines we provided above—checking out the seams on the jacket, and also checking out the waterproof ratings on the jacket.
DWR (Durable Water Repellant) Coatings
Another popular waterproofing technology you’ll see used on some snowboarding jackets is DWR (Durable Water Repellant) Coatings. DWR coatings are usually designed over the exterior jacket shell to repel water, and while they do help, they don’t typically last, and do wear off with wear and washings. However, some of this does depend on how well you maintain your jacket, since you can use chemical treatments and washes with your jacket to help extend the life of your DWR coating.
How long a DWR coating will last depends a lot on the durability of the jacket overall. It does work well for a while, and it helps to keep water out while venting out your perspiration, creating a decent amount of breathability so that you don’t overheat. Also, the DWR repellant will make sure the jacket doesn’t get fully wet, because if your jacket becomes overly wet, it won’t be able to breathe and let water vapor from your perspiration to escape from the interior of the jacket.
Like Gore-Tex technology, most DWR jackets are breathable, although Gore-Tex ventilation systems typically do work better. However, if you’re shopping on a budget, you’ll still get what you need if you wind up purchasing a jacket with a DWR coating. While the jacket won’t be as durable as a jacket with Gore-Tex technology, it will still perform well.
Since snowboarding will keep you very active, you’ll wind up perspiring while you’re on-the-go. Even if the weather is very cold outside, you’re likely to sweat because you’re moving so much, and your heart rate will be active throughout your snowboarding adventure.
A breathable jacket comes designed with a good ventilation system that will allow the water vapor from the interior of your jacket to escape while you are active and sweating, so that you don’t overheat or get wet with moisture from your own perspiration. If you have a jacket that doesn’t offer great ventilation and you sweat often, you’ll get wet with moisture, and the jacket can also create an odor build-up.
Many manufacturers list breathability numbers in their product descriptions, usually measure in grams. The breathability ratings usually vary from about 3,000g to 20,000g. So, if you’re shopping on a budget, how much breathability do you really need?
Most snowboarders are just find with jackets that have a breathability rating of around 8,000g or more. 20,000g sounds great, but will cost you more, and might not really benefit you unless you sweat far more than the average person when you are snowboarding.
Insulation materials designed into the snowboarding jacket will help dictate the level of warmth you can expect out of your jacket. There are different types of insulation used by brands that make snowboarding jackets, and there are a few things to remember about these types of materials.
First, jackets that use similar insulation materials will be more effective if there is more of that type of insulative material in it, because it will boost your warmth. However, not all brands use the same types of materials in their jackets, and the type of materials used can also affect how warm your jacket will make you feel.
One common type of insulation found in snowboarding jackets is goose down. Goose down is a more expensive insulator, because it helps make the jacket lightweight while still providing excellent warmth, is made to be durable and long-lasting, but it can also be problematic when it gets wet. Wet goose down loses its ability to insulate well. However, some manufacturers add waterproofing materials into their goose down insulation to prevent this from happening.
Another type of insulation you’ll find in jackets is synthetic insulation, made from polymers. This type of insulation is more affordable but isn’t as lightweight than goose down insulation, and it also is not as durable and long-lasting. However, synthetic insulation will still keep you very warm even if it gets wet, unlike goose down insulation.
The type of insulation you decide to select will depend on your budget as well as the weather conditions you’re likely to encounter. If you’re worried about goose down insulation getting wet, then you’ll probably prefer synthetic insulation.
On our guide, we’ve discussed how much of a value you get with each jacket we listed. The value you need to get out of your jacket will depend on how much you can afford to spend, and how much weather protection and insulation you need. There are some affordable options on the market for Gore-Tex jackets and other high-quality materials, so take what you can spend into account before making your decision.
Other Good Things To Think About
Snowboarding Jacket Fit
The way you want your snowboarding jacket to fit will depend a lot on your personal preference, but it’s an important factor to consider since it will dictate how comfortable your jacket will feel to you each time you put it on. While many of us like to purchase jackets and other clothing items online, it’s almost always a better idea to go into an actual store to try your snowboarding jacket on so that you can ensure it’s a great fit for you. Trying to determine how well the jacket will fit you when shopping online can be very difficult to measure.
When purchasing your snowboarding jacket, you want to ensure you have the range of motion and flexibility you need so that you can perform well while wearing your jacket. You also don’t want a jacket that’s too bulky or too small, because either problem can slow you down and restrict your ability to perform well when you snowboard.
Also, take a look at some of the other parts of the jacket to make sure they won’t chafe your skin, and ensure that the interior lining of the jacket feels comfortable to you. You don’t want a jacket that might rub your skin raw as you move, because it will be very uncomfortable to wear.
Also, check out the hood of the jacket to make sure it adjusts to fit your head properly, so it will keep the snow out. Ensure that the cuffs on the jacket work well with your gloves so that you won’t have a problem with snow getting in through the wrist area of your jacket. Also, make sure the materials in the jacket give you the weather protection and breathability you need.
After you’ve selected some of the brands and styles of snowboarding jackets you might want to try on, go to the store and try out their fits. That way, you’ll be able to judge the comfort level personally, and you’ll be able to select a snowboarding jacket that performs well and fits great, keeping you comfortable each time you snowboard.
Q: Do I need a snowboarding jacket with a powder skirt?
Powder skirts on snowboarding jackets are designed to help keep the snow out of the waist area of your jacket, so if you fall or slide, you won’t get snow inside the interior of your jacket or pants. Powder skirts won’t always keep out every ounce of snow you might encounter, but they do help to repel snow and keep it out of the interior of your outfit. If you want to make sure you probably won’t get snow in uncomfortable areas as you snowboard, then getting a jacket with a powder skirt is an effective idea.
Q: What are RECCO reflectors on snowboarding jackets?
Some snowboarding jackets come with a technology known as RECCO designed into them. A RECCO reflector is a small location device planted into the jacket that can help search and rescue teams find you if you get trapped out in the snow. RECCO reflectors do tend to make jackets cost more, but they also provide an effective safety boost.
Q: Do I need to consider storm flaps on my snowboarding jacket?
Storm flaps cover the exterior front zipper area of your snowboarding jacket, and they can be closed off to help keep snow or rain out of the zipper area. Depending on how hostile the weather conditions are when you snowboard, a storm flap can help you stay warm and dry every time you venture outdoors to snowboard.
Q: What do I need to know about hoods before I purchase my snowboarding jacket?
Different snowboarding jackets offer a different variety of hood styles. Some snowboarding jackets will use cinching cords or Velcro so that you can adjust the hood over your head and neck, cinch it up, and keep the snow out. Some hoods can also be removed from jackets when you don’t need to use them. Since you’ll lose a lot of heat through your head area when you are out in the cold, you do want to consider a snowboarding jacket that has a hood you can at least adjust to fit your head and help keep the snow away from that part of your body.
Q: How do gaiters work on snowboarding jackets?
Gaiters on snowboarding jackets are typically found on the inside of the cuff area, and helps hold that cuff where it needs to be so that snow stays out of the jacket. Sometimes, gaiters can stretch to adjust, and other times, gaiters will come with thumbholes.
Q: How many pockets do I really need on my snowboarding jacket?
Pocket number on any snowboarding jacket is really a matter of personal preference, but if you want to be able to stay organized and take items along with you, then you will want some pockets on your jacket. Make sure that the pockets on the jacket have flaps or waterproof zippers on them, so that the items you take along with you stay warm and dry when you are on the mountain.
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- How to Choose the Right Snowboard Jacket, Informational Snowboarding Website, Apr 27, 2014 ,
- A Buyers' Guide to Snowboard Jackets, Informational Snowboarding Website, Oct 11, 2016 ,