The best snowboard jackets are built to cover all bases – fit, design, protection, and functionality. Finding a good all-rounder might be tough, however. There is a wide variety of features and technology involved with modern jacket manufacturing. That is why in this guide we will go through all the important aspects of that part of your gear, as well as give you some of the tops models that are more or less an ideal fit for anyone looking for good overall performance.
Best Overall – Burton Covert Men’s Snowboard Jacket
Burton is one of the go-to brands when it comes to winter equipment. They combined the latest material improvements with design and aesthetics to produce one of the best products out there. What is even better is that the brand itself covers a wide price range having both affordable and ultra-premium products. Their Covert snowboard jacket is one of my favorite models for this year mainly due to its minimalistic design and bag full of features.
The jacket itself falls into the category of insulated shells having a waterproof outer layer with a fixed insulating layer on the inside. It combines weatherproof performance with a lightweight construction that is also fairly warm even on colder days. If things get too steamy, however, there are venting pit zips that are quite long and allow you to properly adjust your core temperature when riding. One the outside, there are 2 small pockets up at the top and 2 very large ones at the bottom. You also get a thermal-pocket for your smart device and a dump pocket for extra storage on the inside. There is also a hoodie that is helmet-compatible due to its flexible and wide construction.
The active wicking feature here is one of the most advanced ones you will see on a snowboarding jacket. It reacts according to your body temperature and accelerates moisture wicking when you’re steaming and retains warmth when your body isn’t fully warmed up yet. There is also a 10,000mm waterproofing and 10,000g breathability putting it right in the middle of most snowboarding jackets. On top of all that, the jacket comes in 8 sizes and a whopping 29 color options. The only disadvantages I can think of are that it might be a bit too expensive for someone who is on a tight budget and that it doesn’t have a detachable inner layer.
- Innovative design
- Insulated shell construction
- Active wicking materials
- Keeps you both warm and dry
- Helmet-compatible hoodie
- Comes in 8 sizes and 29 color options
- Has a ton of pockets
- Lightweight and extremely durable
- No zippered inner insulation layer
- A bit too expensive for someone who is on a budget
Best For The Money – Phibee Big Boy’s Snowboard Jacket
The Phibee Big Boy’s snowboard jacket is one of the best deals for your money out there currently. It features an insulated shell design with a waterproof outer layer and a fixed fleece lined inner layer. The main focus point of this jacket is just how affordable it is, especially when you compare it with some of the premium brands on the market.
The 100% polyester outer shell has a 5000mm waterproof and 5000g breathability ratings. While those aren’t ideal, they make it a fairly good jacket for cold days as it won’t vent off most of your heat. On warmer days, however, it will struggle to keep up. On the inside, there is a 100% fleece lining which is quite soft and comfortable. The jacket is rated to withstand temperatures down to -31 degrees Fahrenheit, although it won’t do a good job at venting your core temperature and moisture, especially if you’re being very active in it.
In terms of additional features, there is plenty to talk about here. First off, you have a storm hood that is detachable. It isn’t officially helmet-compatible but is quite wide and will accommodate most small and medium helmets. There is also a stand collar that will keep your face protected against the elements. There are 2 fairly large front pockets, 1 smaller one on the forearm, and 2 inside ones which are ideal for your mobile device. There is also a powder skirt at the bottom which does a good job at keeping the wind out.
The jacket comes in 9 sizes making it widely compatible with people of all ages and sizes. It also comes in 10 different color options. As a whole, this is a great beginner’s winter jacket that will keep you relatively warm and dry. However, it will struggle with harsher conditions and heavy snowfall, as well as with warmer spring days when you sweat a lot.
- Very affordable
- 10 cool color options
- 9 size options
- Excellent for beginners
- Fairly durable
- Has a lot of pockets
- Waterproofing won’t handle heavy snowfall
- Venting will struggle on warmer days
Best Men’s Model – DC DCLA Snowboard Jacket
DC is another brand that occupies the top spots in the snowboard world. From their boards to their clothing and gear, they typically bring great value and quality to the table. The DC DCLA snowboard jacket is one of the more expensive models on this list but it more than makes up for it with its styling, cool quicks and features, and good weatherproofing.
What makes this a great men’s jacket is the high-level of protection against the elements. There is a 10,000mm waterproofing, as well as a 5000g breathability rating. While the breathability could be bigger, this makes the jacket far more compatible with colder climates. That creates a jacket that is fairly lightweight but also very warm no matter the weather around you. The outer shell is made out of 100% polyester (plain weave) with a polyester dobby material for the sleeves. The interior lining is made out of taffeta with reinforced seams and vents at the armpits for cooling down. The whole jacket utilizes DC’s latest material technology which is based on the principle that water molecules are smaller than air ones. That means that water will be able to go out without you losing any temperature. All that shows you that the jacket is clearly geared towards colder weather as opposed to warmer powder days.
The DCLA features DC’s regular fit which also comes in 6 sizes ranging from XS to XXL. In terms of colors, there are only two options – black and blue. There are a bunch of additional features here such as a fixed waist gaiter, zippered hand-warmer pockets, zippered sleeve pass pocket, and a napoleon pocket. There are also cuff gaiters made out of lycra.
- Excellent for cold weather
- Cool design
- Durable and warm construction
- Has zippered hand-warmer pockets
- Comes with all the latest DC material technologies
- Very expensive
- Doesn’t come in more than 2 color options
- Not that many pockets
Best for Women – Burton’s Jet Women’s Snowboard Jacket
It is no coincidence that this is the second Burton jacket on this list. When it comes to premium fashionable women’s gear, Burton is always at the top of most lists. The Jet snowboard jacket is similar to the Burton Covert jackets but is primarily geared towards women. It still has dryride, living-lining, and thermolite technologies but also a few more design aspects that will be appreciated by its target audience.
The jacket’s heat retention capabilities make it ideal for cold weather but is also fairly good for warm weather riding thanks to its living-lining nature and the no-snag sleeve vents. It has a decent amount of waterproofing but it won’t fare well under heavy snowfall. The hood you have here isn’t helmet-compatible and is also fairly small. On the side up front, there are two zippered microfleece handwarmer pockets. On the inside, you get a mesh dump pocket and a thermal pocket for your mobile device.
In terms of sizing and styling, there are 8 sizes which are all true to their fit, as well as 29 color options to choose from. If caring for nature is your thing, this jacket is also made out of 40% recycled materials. Apart from being environmentally-friendly, this also helps with trapping warm air on the inside thanks to the hollow-core fibers that also increase the internal surface increasing moisture evaporation.
- Elegant styling
- Perfect for both beginners and pros
- Made out of 40% recycled materials
- A ton of color and size options
- Good cold-weather performance
- Fleece-lined pockets
- Waterproofing isn’t perfect
- A bit expensive
Best Gore-Tex Model – Burton AK Gore-Tex Cyclic Jacket
The Burton AK Gore-Tex cyclic jacket is one of the best premium snowboard models on the market thanks to its gore-tex nature and unique design features. The insulated shell jacket is quite similar to other new Burton models but due to its gore-tex corporation, it is much more expensive and much better weatherproofed.
The Gore-tex fabrics here add to one of the best waterproofing on the market currently. That material technology combined with burton’s fabric designs creates a truly unbreakable barrier for water while it maintains a good amount of breathability and temperature control. The outer shell is also superb at stopping high winds thanks to the two-layer design. The seams all around the jacket are fully-taped with the gore-seam tape.
On the outside, you get two zippered hand-warmer pockets which are typical to Burton’s jackets. You also get two chest pockets and a bicep pass pocket. On the inside, you get a thermal pocket for device storage as well as two mesh dump pockets that are quite large. Around your waist, you have a water-repellent zip-out gaiter that has the option to attach to your pants. There are also two mesh-lined armpit ventilation no-snag pockets.
The jacket comes in 6 standard sizes from ExtraSmall to 2XL. You can get it in 11 color options as well that also match the AK series bottoms from Burton.
- Gore-tex materials
- Gore-seam tape for the seams
- Fully water and windproof
- Abundance of pockets
- Proper ventilation
- Water-repellent waist gaiter
- Very expensive
Best For Cold Weather – Magcomsen Men’s Snowboarding Jacket
The Magcomsen men’s snowboarding jacket definitely gets my cold-weather upvote because of its insulated shell structure and even more importantly – because it is far more affordable than some other jackets with similar cold-weather performance.
On the outside, this jacket is fully water-resistant that can withstand light rain and snow. It isn’t waterproof, however, which means it might struggle with heavy snowfall or rain. It is also windproof adding to its weather protection. On the inside, you have a fuzzy and warm fleece lining which is the main feature that works in favor of heat retention.
In terms of pockets, you get 1 zippered chest pocket, 2 side pockets that are quite big, and 1 big inner pocket. You also get elastic cuffs with a hook and loop system. It wraps and tights nicely around any gloves you tuck there. That adds to the windproof rating of the jacket. The hood isn’t helmet-compatible but is detachable which is always a nice feature if you don’t want the hood to gather snow and melt it in your neck.
There are 9 style options combined with 5 sizes. All that creates a well-rounded product that comes at a killer price. The only downsides are that it isn’t fully waterproof and will struggle with heavier snowfall. It also isn’t ideal for warmer weather since it won’t be able to keep up with ventilation.
- Very well-priced
- Excellent for cold-weather snowboarding
- Warm and comfortable inner lining
- Decent amount of sizes and color options
- A lot of pockets
- Not fully waterproof
- Not suitable for warmer days
Best Jacket And Pants Combo – Rioyele Snowboard Jacket and Pants
Last on this list, I wanted to include a combo option that contains both a jacket and pants. Jackets often are compatible with their pants counterparts but getting them separately typically costs a lot more money. That is why some pants and jacket combos make for a killer deal especially if you have neither of those and want to build decent gear on a budget. The Rioyele Snowboard jacket and pants are one of my favorite combo deals out there due to their cool design, decent performance, and comfortable nature.
In terms of weatherproofing, there isn’t too much that is going on here. The jacket features an insulated shell construction that is windproof but not fully waterproof. Both the jacket and pants are water-resistant which means they won’t immediately get wet if you drop in a heap of powder but they will struggle to keep you dry on a heavy snowfall day. Between the inner insulation layer and the outer shell, there is a polyester cotton stuffing which does a great job at keeping the temperature where it is supposed to be. The coated fabric has anti-static and anti-wear effects which are a welcomed feature on any budget gear.
There are quite a few pockets here, starting with one zippered chest pocket, two zippered hand pockets, and two button ones at the front. On the left sleeve, you also get a pass card sleeve and there is also one more pocket on the inside which is suitable for a mobile device. There are 7 size options as well as 15 different color options, mostly geared towards women and kids.
- Great price for a jacket/pants combo
- Decent windproofing
- Anti-wear shell coating
- Excellent heat insulation
- A lot of sizes and color options
- Waterproofing isn’t great
- Inner insulation layer doesn’t handle moisture well
- Fit isn’t always 100% true to size,
Snowboard Jackets Buyer’s Guide
Snowboard jackets have been around for a few decades now but the true revolution in the tech used in them started no longer than 10 years ago. Before that, jackets were universally used for mountaineering, skiing, and snowboarding. Still, with the increasing demand for winter sports, there were specific aspects that had to be adjusted and covered in order to fit the needs of people that enjoyed going down the slopes. Skiing and snowboarding jackets typically fall under one category nowadays, although there are some specific models that are geared more towards one of the two groups. You will find the term “snow jackets” used a lot, meaning the model is build with universal winter sports usage in mind.
Learning which features to emphasize on is a must-have aspect of your cross-shopping experience. Let’s take a look now at what to look for in a jacket and what exactly separates the good models from the bad ones…
How To Choose The Right Snowboard Jacket
Here is a list of all the aspects that define a good jacket and will keep you warm and protected at all times:
- Jacket type
- Materials & Build Quality
- Venting & Breathability
- Additional Features & Accessories
Most of these are valid features that you can use for any winter jacket shopping. Some of those, however, are even more important with snowboard jackets as they will provide the extra protection and comfort your body needs when you’re snowboarding. Let’s start with the very first thing you need to look for in a jacket…
There are a number of winter jacket types, most of which are also used in snowboarding. The most important ones are 3-in-1 jackets, Insulated shells, softshell jackets, and hardshell jackets.
3-in-1 jackets, otherwise known as “modular”, are the most popular type of snowboard jackets out there. They are layered, meaning they have an outer shell and an insulation liner like a fleece jacket that can both be used individually or be zipped together. This is part of the reason they are the most common jackets -they are just super versatile and are suitable for all types of weather, allowing you to remove the inner insulation layer if you get too warm. The downside here is that you don’t get to choose your own layers and are stuck with what has been chosen for you from the factory. Some jackets offer a more universal approach allowing you to get other internal layers that only have to match the zippered system.
Insulated shells are also fairly common thanks to their budget nature. They are basically an outer shell with a decent inner insulation layer which is permanently fixed to the shell. They aren’t as versatile or adjustable as the 3-in-1 jackets but are typically far cheaper and easier to maintain. Insulated shells are good for colder conditions but will struggle to vent your body temperature once the weather gets a bit warm. So, while everyone will be stripping their inner layers, you will be stuck with a bulky jacket.
Softshell jackets are a new hybrid option in snowboard jackets. They are a combination of hard shells and a fleece jacket (acting as the insulation liner). They perform great in warmer climates but aren’t as waterproof as hardshell jackets and some 3-in-1 models. They are also fairly lightweight and durable making them an ideal choice for advanced snowboarders that won’t fall down too often.
Hardshell jackets are the most durable and weather-resistant type you can get. They are often fully waterproof, have very good wind-proofing, and are, in general, super resistant to falls. If you plan on getting a separate inner insulation layer, having a hardshell jacket is the best possible option, as it will protect anything beneath it perfectly well.
Materials & Build Quality
The materials used in your jacket will determine how it will perform under different conditions. While insulation materials are typically the same across all jackets, the outer hard shells have compositions that vary a lot.
The most common type of insulation is a fleece liner (in 3-in-1 jackets and insulated shells). They can be also made out of merino wool or goose down. Goose down works the best in colder climates, while fleece liners is a good all-around solution. The outer shells are typically made out of 100% polyester. Their composition primarily affects waterproofing. Let’s discuss that now…
Arguably the most important feature in a snowboard jacket, waterproofing is essential to anyone that doesn’t like to get wet when its snowing or when we fall. Waterproofing is measured in millimeters (mm) and depicts the amount/height of water (in mm) that can be put over a square inch of the fabric without passing through. Simply put, the higher the number, the better the jacket will be in keeping you dry.
The most common numbers you see will be in the 5,000-20,000mm range. If you’re constantly freeriding, having a high number for your waterproofing is essential since you will often find yourself in deep powder. If you ride in regions that get a lot of snowfall, a higher waterproofing index is once again important. The only downside to having a good waterproofing is that it will make the jacket much more expensive.
Venting & Breathability
The ventilation inside the jacket is a critical component of any model that claims to be good. How good a jacket vents out your heat is going to determine how much the internal layers will get wet over the course of the day. Look for jackets that have zippered vents around the armpits since that is where the body temperature tends to run highest.
Breathability depends heavily on the waterproof index of the jacket. If there isn’t good waterproofing, the breathability is probably poor too. Breathability is measured in grams of water vapor that can pass through a square meter of the fabric, similar to the waterproofing. A jacket with a breathability number of less than 5000 (grams) will overheat your body without an adequate method of venting out the sweat and heat coming out of you, since the water vapor won’t be able to escape fast enough. Anything between 10 and 15k is a good breathability index which will work well most of the time. If you’re snowboarding a lot and the weather is warmer where you ride, I suggest picking a jacket with a breathability index of around 20k.
The topic of jacket hoods can be simply boiled down to whether you are snowboarding with a helmet or not. If you have a helmet and goggle setup, then you won’t be able to put a hood on top of them. And even if you could, that would’ve made the helmet’s venting obsolete. If you plan on snowboarding with and without a helmet based on the location, choose a jacket that has a zippered hood that can be removed. The reason for this is that if you have your hood on when it snows, it will collect all the snow and pour it down your neck once it melts from the heat coming out of you.
Additional Features & Accessories
There are a bunch of additional features that are optional on most jackets and will really take their performance and comfort to the next level. These are:
- Goggle cloth
- Powder skirt
- Chin guard
- Wrist gaiters
Having a dedicated pocket for your goggles is an amazing feature, especially when it comes with a microfiber inside lining that can be used to wipe down your goggles after you’ve soaked them in snow. The same goes for the powder skirt which will give you an extra layer of protection against snow entering your jacket from the bottom (around your waist).
The chin guard is another useful feature that is found more and more often across models. It consists of a soft layer on the inside around your neck and chin that is put there to prevent chaffing of your lips, chin, and cheeks. Another thing that protects you is the wrist gaiters. They are extensions of your jacket’s sleeves and wrap around your wrists and knuckles to give an extra layer of comfort and insulation for your hands in the cold.
Lastly, look for jackets that have gore-tex materials for their outer shells. Gore-tex is an excellent material when it comes to simultaneously waterproofing your jacket and improving its breathability.
In terms of items you get with the jacket, they are fairly simple and rarely come with any accessories. Some come with a durable water repellent re-appliers which will do a great job once your waterproofing worsens after the typical wear and tear.
In terms of the price, snowboard jackets vary heavily from super budget models to ultra-premium ones with steep price tags. The gear you will need for snowboarding is a multi-component one, meaning you can’t always afford to go all-in on a single item and save off the rest since everything has to be equally good to work well together. That is why it is important to decide how much you want to put aside for your jacket and pants beforehand and then start shopping. As a whole, the jacket, goggles, and helmet are some of your most important pieces, so spending a little extra on them isn’t too wild of an idea.
Taking care of your snowboard jacket is essential to its longevity and quality. Most people don’t read the instructions on their jackets and often ruin their water and wind-proof fabrics by improperly treating them. That is why I decided to dedicate a whole section on that process…
How To Wash Your Snowboard Jacket
As we already discussed, most winter jackets come in two layers – a breathable waterproof inner layer and an exterior fabric which is typically DWR coated (Durable Water-Repellent). These two combined allow your sweat to transpire through the inner layer and vent off, as well as keep water from entering the inner layers of the jacket. In order to keep those layers intact, you have to take proper care of them and wash them appropriately.
The main reason jackets lose their waterproof capabilities is due to regular wear and tear, dirt, and oils from your skin. That is called “wetting out” and it happens to all jackets over time. Apart from messing with the outer layer, regular use will also lead to lowering your inner layer’s breathability. All that will lead to a feeling of clamminess since your sweat won’t be able to escape properly.
The goal of the washing is to preserve or renew the DWR. In short, if your gear is still wetting out after you wash it, then it absolutely needs a re-coating of its DWR. The safest way to take care of the washing issue is to send your gear to a dry cleaning specialist that has all the necessary tools. If that isn’t available, however, you should use mild, non-scented, non-bio products. The best product to use on your jacket is a tech wash since it is produced with similar fabrics in mind.
Before you get to the actual washing process, make sure you’ve read the washing instructions on your jackets label. There, you will have the four typical signs that either allow or forbid the use of a centrifuge, machine drying, ironing, hard detergents, and different temperatures. Do all the velcros and zips and make sure that nothing is open before you toss the jacket in. If you can’t find any instructions, a temperature of 30-40 degrees (Celcius) and a decent rinse cycle typically does the job. Tumble-drying is good since it will re-activate the DWR if done for no longer than 40 minutes. Hand-washing it and hang-drying it is also a good alternative if there is no other way, just try to avoid drying the jacket under direct sunlight.
If after all of that your jacket is still wetting, apply a re-waterproofing wash-in product (can be in a spray form too).
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Burton Dryride Jackets warm enough?
Burton products have always been at the top of the game when it comes to insulation and waterproofing for their winter line. Their Dryride jackets are among the best in terms of dryness and warmth but are also some of the most expensive snowboard jackets out there.
What is the best snowboard jacket brand?
There are a lot of brands that are constantly competing for that elusive first spot. Even so, some of the top players are Burton, 686, Dakina, Oakley, Volcom, and The North face. They offer mostly premium products which aren’t affordable if you’re looking for something mid-range that is well-rounded.
What do you wear under a snowboard jacket?
Many snowboarders and mountaineers choose to have a soft shell underneath their top layer (jacket). A fleece would also work if the weather isn’t that bad and your jacket keeps you warm enough by itself. Almost all snowboard jackets nowadays come with a soft shell anyway, so a simple hoodie would typically do the job at keeping you extra warm even if the weather is really bad.
How many layers should you wear when snowboarding?
Typically, I recommend three layers – one softshell, one waterproof layer, and a jacket that acts as a third (also waterproof) layer. Depending on the weather you might also want to adjust your number of layers.
When shopping for the best snowboard jackets, you will find that models really do look alike, at least on paper. However, the devil is in the details and those details often separate a good model from a really bad one. One of the most important features of a snow jacket is to keep you dry and warm. That is done through proper wind and waterproofing. Next up, look at the fit and dimensions of the jacket. If you have a local snowboard store, go there and try as many models as you can and then find the best deals online on the one you liked the most. That will give you the best of both shopping worlds!