When you're snowboarding, staying warm and dry is a top priority. If riders are chilly and wet the whole time they're on the slopes, no one has much fun and they could catch a cold. A good snowboarding jacket is one of the most important pieces of gear.
In this article, we'll list ten of our favorites, including our pick for best overall snowboard jacket, best premium jacket, best budget jacket, and more.
We'll also go over buying considerations (like waterproofing and breathability) that help you choose the perfect jacket for your needs. Lastly, we'll answer frequently asked questions like what's the best jacket brand and what you should wear underneath.
This men's jacket from Burton is our pick for the best overall snowboard jacket. It's got everything you need such as cozy insulation, a fully-taped, waterproof two-layer design, and a classic style. That outer layer is made from waterproof GORE-TEX fabric. There's also a water-repellant zip-out stretch powder skirt with a jacket-to-pant interface.
Moving to the inside of the jacket, the Living Lining helps regulate your body temperature. When you're cold, the breathable pores shrink and trap body heat. When you start to get warm, those pores expand, releasing excess heat. The pit zip vents also help with regulating your temperature. The Thermolite insulation, which is 40% recycled content, is warm but lightweight. There's also a hood with front and rear adjustment, so it's helmet-compatible.
Hoping for pockets? There are zippered microfleece hand-warmer pockets, as well as a zippered media/goggle pocket, sleeve pass pocket, and interior mesh dump pockets. We also really liked the fact that this snowboard jacket is a bluesign product. The bluesign standard is only given to products that meet the highest standards of consumer safety, resource conservation, and environmental responsibility.
Our pick for the best premium snowboard jacket also comes from the Burton brand. Part of Burton's AK line, the high-tech Swash jacket offers great insulation, breathability, and waterproofing. First, there's the GORE-TEX two-layer fabric that's windproof, breathable, waterproof, and durable.
It's got added reinforcement thanks to the GORE-TEX seam tape and StormForm attached hood with drop construction and adjustable YKK water-resistant zippers. To keep the snow from going up your jacket, there's a power mesh wrist gaiter and a stretch powder skirt.
On the inside of the jacket, the PrimaLoft insulation (60 grams) is comparable to a built-in vest, so you may not need to bundle up with a separate layer. The lightweight Living Lining is also great, offering excellent temperature regulation. The mesh-lined, no-snag Pit Zip vents regulate temperature, too.
As for pockets, there's hand-warmer pockets, chest pockets, bicep pass pockets, and a media/goggles pocket where your electronic device can stay warm. This is the perfect snowboard jacket for riders willing to pay for it all.
Snowboard jackets can be pricey, so if you're on a budget, this is one of the best snowboard jackets for the price. The standard-fit jacket is made from 100% recycled polyester with a durable water-repellent (DWR) finish.
This special technology is a coating that makes the fabric water-resistant. The jacket has sealed seams for breathability. On the inside, there's a 70% post-consumer insulation that's warm without adding a lot of weight. For lots of protection against cold wind and rain, there's a VISLON center front zip and Stormflap.
To protect your head and arms, there's an adjustable hood and adjustable Velcro cuff tabs. For storing your phone and wallet, there's an internal chest pocket, as well as patch pockets and side-entry zip hand pockets.
This slim-fit snowboard jacket offers insulation, breathability, and comfort to combat rough weather conditions. It's made from textured 2-layer DRYRIDE material that's both waterproof and breathable.
For added waterproofing, the seams are critically-taped. This means the tape covers the parts of the body you must want to stay dry, like your neck and shoulders. Inside the jacket, there's a Living Lining with 80 grams of Thermolite insulation.
The contour drop hood with a front adjustment has 40 grams. Thanks to the Living Lining, you get great temperature regulation. The mesh-lined sleeve vents add to the jacket's breathability. To keep out the snow and cold, there's a removable powder skirt with a jacket-to-pant interface.
You'll find other must-haves on this jacket, too, such as sleeve vents, a media and goggle pocket, and mesh dump pockets.
If you're a woman looking for a budget snowboard jacket, it's hard to beat this Wantdo. It offers four layers that keep you warm in the most bitter winter conditions. On the outside, there's a 75D*150D polyester shell that's waterproof, windproof, and stain-repellent, complete with a DWR finish.
To keep out cold winds, there are adjustable hook and loop cuffs, as well as an internal windproof buckle skirt and internal drawstrings hem. To shield your head, there's an adjustable, detachable storm hood. The interior is made of a snow coat with a waterproof membrane and down alternative cotton.
The pongee lining on the very inside means you could wear the coat right against your skin if you wanted. There are two side pockets with zippers, one chest pocket, and one media pocket that's perfect for your keys, phone, wallet, or other small gear. Functional and affordable, the Wantdo is one of the best snowboard jacket choices for women on a budget.
First things first: what's an anorak? An anorak is a hooded jacket without a front opening. There's a zipper, but it doesn't go down all the way. It's a pull-over. Benefits of this style include practicality and better waterproofing.
The best snowboard jacket in an anorak-style is the Oakley TNP Lined Shell. It boasts 2L FN Dry laminate and O-Protect DWR, so it's very waterproof, warm, and lightweight. It also has excellent breathability, which is great news if you sweat a lot.
For added temperature regulation, there's underarm mesh. Other features include a three-point hood adjustment, powder skirt, and Lycra wrist gaiter hem cinch to keep out cold air and snow. Storage includes an inner media and goggle pocket and a pass pocket. With this jacket, it's important to know that there isn't insulation.
This is a shell jacket, so if you're going out in weather with temperatures below zero, it probably isn't the best choice. You will need a heavier jacket or multiple layers beneath this shell.
Snowboarding in really wet conditions? This snowboard jacket is up to the task with one of the best waterproof ratings on our list: 28,000 mm. The fully-taped seam sealing helps with that, as well.
This Patagonia is very breathable, as well, with a rating of 20,000. Made with GORE-TEX, the jacket has over 9 billion pores per square inch. Temperature regulation is also aided by pit zips. The lining material (there's no insulation) is brushed polyester mesh in the torso and regular polyester mesh in the sleeves.
For easy layering underneath, the jacket has a regular fit. Looking for lots of pockets? You'll be happy with the two zippered hand-warmer pockets, one internal pocket for gloves or goggles, and zippered pass pockets on the forearms. This Patagonia also offers an adjustable hood, powder skirt, and watertight coated zippers. The fabric is bluesign approved.
Warm and lightweight, the Burton Covert jacket is available at a reasonable price. It's made from DRYRIDE fabric, has great breathability and waterproofing. Critically-taped seams keep out cold moisture from areas like your neck and shoulders.
On the inside, there's a Living Lining with low-bulk Thermolite material, which uses 40% recycled materials. This insulation helps regulate your body temperature, so you stay warm without overheating.
Mesh-lined Pit Zip vents combat overheating, as well. The Covert also comes with a contour hood with a rear single-pull adjustment, microfleece hand-warmer pockets, and a media/goggles pocket. There's a pass pocket and mid-body stash pocket, too. To prevent snow from going up your jacket, there's a water-repellent powder skirt and water-resistant zippers.
Any snowboard jacket made with GORE-TEX is a contender. This shell from Quiksilver is durable and very breathable. It has a high waterproofing rating, as well.
For materials, it offers fully-taped GORE-TEX seams and a polyester plain weave. The lining is a unique combination of diamond-brushed tricot and stretch mesh, giving you a lightweight, warm interior.
To regulate your body temperature, the mesh-lined underarm vents are very useful. Other features include a 3-way adjustable, fixed hood, fixed stretch powder skirt, and hand-warmer pockets with a key clip and lens cleaner.
There's also an inner media/goggles pocket, pass pocket, and stretch wrist gaiters. If you're in the market for a very breathable shell jacket to keep you dry, the Quiksilver Forever is a great choice.
Another jacket in the Burton AK line, the Cyclic is on the pricier side but has great features that make it worth talking about. It's a shell with a regular fit, so it's easy to add layers for necessary warmth.
The GORE-TEX two-layer fabric with fully-taped seaming is durable, breathable, windproof, and waterproof. There are also 200D nylon side panels for added durability.
To keep out snow, there's a stretch powder skirt with a jacket-to-pant interface and YKK water-resistant zippers. On the inside of the jacket is a systematic mapped lining with engineered soft taffeta. Even without insulation, this jacket keeps you warm.
Other features include a StormForm attached drop hood, cinch and hood length adjustment, and lots of pockets. The Cyclic is bluesign-approved.
When you're buying a snowboard jacket, how do you choose the one that works best for you? Certain buying considerations help guide the process:
When it comes to battling Mother Nature, warmth is very important. A jacket's insulation determines its warmth, so this is a consideration you'll want to remember. There are two types of snowboard jackets out there: ones with insulation and ones without.
Insulated jackets are for people who feel the cold, so if you're someone who has trouble staying warm even with many layers, you'll want insulation. In these jackets, the insulation layer is built into the jacket.
It's usually made of down, fleece, or synthetic fiber. Many contain another removable insulation layer, so you can choose how bundled up you want to be.
Why would a rider want a jacket without insulation? If the cold doesn't bother you too much and you're wearing other layers, you may not need the added warmth of insulation. A shell jacket, which is waterproof and breathable, is a good fit in this case.
A jacket's weight is tied to how insulated it is. An insulated jacket is always bulkier and heavier than a shell. The insulation is usually measured in grams, so the more grams of insulation a jacket has, the heavier - and warmer - it will be.
These jackets can weigh between 30-800 grams. Down layers tend to be the heaviest. If you run cold and want a warmer jacket, you'll want a heavier one. If it isn't too cold and you don't want unnecessary bulk, you can go with lighter insulation or a shell.
A jacket's waterproof rating is probably the most important consideration. Getting wet is the fastest way to get really cold. Even if your jacket is well insulated, as soon as you introduce wetness those warm layers are kind of pointless.
You need a waterproof jacket to keep you dry. Waterproof ratings are measured in millimeters. How does that work? A 1'' x 1'' tube is placed above the jacket's shell. Water is put through the tube. The rating measures how much water the shell can hold before moisture starts getting through.
Most snowboard jackets are rated from 5,000-10,000 mm. You can find some with a higher rating of 15,000-20,000 mm, but unless you're in a very wet or rainy climate, you shouldn't need one that high. Jacket price goes up with the waterproof rating, which is why we don't necessarily recommend going as high as you can find.
|Waterproof Rating||Performance & Protection|
|0 - 5,000 mm||Little to no protection against moisture|
Drizzle and light dry snow
|5,000 - 10,000 mm||Rain- and waterproof under light pressure|
Light rain and normal snowfall
|10,000 - 15,000 mm||Rain- and waterproof under medium pressure|
Average rain and normal snowfall
|16,000 - 20,000 mm||Rain- and waterproof under high pressure|
Heavy rain and wet snow
|> 20,000 mm||Rain- and waterproof under very high pressure|
Very heavy rain and wet snow
To stay dry, seam taping is another important factor. On snowboard jackets, the stitching has tiny holes. To prevent water from getting into these holes, waterproof taping is glued to both the inside and outside of the seam.
There are three types of seams: fully taped, critically taped, and welded. With fully taped, every seam has waterproof tape. Critically taped seams only cover the areas you really want to keep dry, like your neck, shoulders, and midsection.
Welded seams are the best at keeping out water; there's no stitching! The jacket is held with glue or sonic bonding. This is the most expensive seam, so it's typically only available on the very best snowboard jackets.
A breathable jacket matters because you want sweat and moisture to evaporate. It's measured in grams through the Moisture Vapor Transmission Test.
This measures how many grams of sweat per square meter evaporate in 24 hours. For most people, between 5,000-10,000 grams should be sufficient.
If you sweat a lot or plan on snowboarding without taking many breaks, a jacket with 15,000 grams will work better. As is the case with the waterproof rating, the jacket price increases with higher breathability ratings.
|Breathability Rating||Breathability Level & Use|
|0 - 5,000 grams||Low breathability|
Useful for wearing around town and low-intensity activity
|5,000 - 10,000 grams||Medium breathability|
Good for medium intensity activities like hiking or biking
|10,000 - 15,000 grams||High breathability|
Ideal for demanding activities like skiing or snowboarding
|> 15,000 grams||Extra high breathability|
Excellent for long periods of high-intensity work with no breaks
How sturdy is your jacket? How long will it last? Snowboard jackets are designed with better durability than a typical winter jacket. Materials include nylon, polyester, GORE-TEX, and microfibers.
All these materials are strong, but lightweight. Not all products are created equally when it comes to durability, which is why considerations like waterproof rating and breathability are important. Jackets that have higher ratings in these areas have better durability.
The best fit, or the shape of the jacket, depends on what you prefer. A slim fit will cling closer to your body with tailoring at the shoulders and waist.
A regular fit is tailored below the waist, so it's looser than a slim fit. It's a bit easier to move around. Relaxed fit has very little tailoring, if any, so it's a good choice if you want the freedom to layer and move.
Most jackets have pockets for your electronics and goggles. Electronic pockets often have wire openings, so you can easily run your headphones through and listen to music while you’re snowboarding. Goggle pockets usually have a cloth that a rider can wipe their lenses with.
Not all jackets have hoods, so if you want one, you’ll need to check if the jacket you’re considering has it. A hood can be attached, removable, or “stowaway,” which means you can choose to not use it, but it doesn’t need to be fully removed.
Make sure the hood fits over your helmet, allowing you to look side to side. A hood should also keep snow and rain away from your googles.
Besides the essentials, what else can a snowboard jacket have? You’ll often see lots of extra features like front zipper covers, also known as storm flaps. These cover the front zipper to keep moisture and wind at bay.
A powder skirt (also called a waist gaiter) is an elastic band inside of your jacket at the waist. It’s meant to keep snow from getting into the front and back of the jacket, keeping you warm and dry. Many snowboarders consider a powder skirt a must-have.
Wrist closures, cinch cords, and pit zips are also very useful. A wrist closure is a snap, elastic, or other adjustment that keeps snow and cold air out of your jacket’s sleeves. Cinch cords are at the bottom of a jacket, so your jacket and pants stay close together.
Lastly, pit zips are found in the underarms of your jacket. These are a temperature-regulating thing. If you get too warm, you can unzip pit zips and release some of your body heat. When you get cold, just zip them back up again.
Some of the best snowboard jackets you can find (including many in our list of picks) come from Burton. This brand is very popular because of the wide range of jackets they offer.
This means no matter who you are as a rider, you can find something that fits your style, fit, and budget. They also have great customer service, a commitment to quality products, and a limited lifetime warranty.
We're also fans of The North Face, a classic outdoor apparel and equipment brand, and Patagonia, which sells a handful of higher-end jackets.
Many other brands sell high-quality snowboard jackets, however, so always take a look at the jacket specs before deciding to stick with a specific brand.
Ski and snowboard jackets are both designed to protect you against wet and cold weather conditions. The only difference is the fit. Snowboard jackets tend to be looser and longer.
The extra length helps with warmth, while they're a bit looser because you need to move around and keep balance with your arms. Ski jackets, on the other hand, have a slimmer fit because speed and being aerodynamic is the top priority.
Snowboard jackets also tend to come in more colors, but that has nothing to do with performance. Because snowboard jackets and ski jackets are so similar, you could easily wear them interchangeably and do just fine.
For the best experience, we do recommend jackets specifically designed for snowboarding.
Staying warm is all about layering. What you wear under your jacket depends on the outdoor temperature and your body temperature.
No matter what the temperature is, even if it's very cold, you should always wear a thin, long-sleeved shirt right next to your skin. Thin layers are better at wicking sweat, so they dry faster.
If you wear something really thick and heavy right on your skin, you'll sweat a lot even if you feel cold. Long thermal underwear is a great choice for a breathable first layer that covers your whole body.
After that "base layer," you'll want a mid-layer made from wool, polyester, or a blend of both. This could be a hoodie or another shirt. If you tend to run cold or the temperature is very low, a layer like a thermal vest can help insulate you and keep you warm.
Your snowboarding jacket and snowboard pants come last, adding the all-important waterproof rating and breathability. When you're considering a jacket, knowing what you'll wear underneath helps you decide the best size and how much insulation you'll need.
As with your jacket, waterproofing is very important for all your gear. Good socks are a must-have. Snowboard socks are designed specifically for this purpose.
They have moisture-wicking material and padding. They're also seamless in certain places so they last longer. Not everyone wears a helmet when they snowboard, but we highly recommend it. They reduce the risk of snowboard-related head injuries by 60%. They also keep your head warm!
When you're snowboarding, a great jacket is one of the best purchases you can make. Snowboarding jackets may be a bit different than ski jackets - they're slimmer and longer - but their primary purpose is the same: keep you warm and dry.
We listed ten of our favorites options, including a handful of insulated jackets and shells made with durable, waterproof, and breathable materials. Brands include Burton, Patagonia, The North Face, and Oakley.
The best snowboard jackets combine waterproofing and breathability, so you can stay dry and warm without overheating. Buying considerations include waterproof and breathability ratings, fit, seam taping, insulation, and features like pockets and hoods.
While jackets are just one piece of the necessary snowboard outerwear, they're very important, so you don't want to get something based only on the price tag.
Thankfully, some jackets are both high-quality and affordable, so snowboarders can get what they need without breaking the bank! If your current jacket isn't up to the task, 2021 is the year to upgrade.