How To Buy A Ski Jacket
As your outermost layer, ski jackets play a key role in keeping you comfortable and protected from the elements. The jacket market has expanded in recent years, covering everything from warm and cozy insulated resort pieces to light, breathable, and stretchy models for backcountry travel. Below we detail all the important considerations in selecting the right ski jacket for you, including types (insulated, shell, and 3-in-1), weather protection, durability, breathability, fit, where to buy online, and more. To check out our favorite designs of the season, see our articles on the best ski jackets and best women's ski jackets.
how to buy a ski jacket
The next step is nailing down the ideal jacket type. The four styles below vary substantially: Shell jackets are light and versatile, insulated models are cozy and warm, 3-in-1s offer a lot of bang for your buck, and softshells are stretchy and breathable. Backcountry users will want either a shell or softshell jacket in almost all situations, while the top three options are fair game among resort-goers.
If you plan to be skiing or snowboarding in cold conditions most of the time, you might want to consider an insulated jacket. This type of jacket will feature an outer shell and a layer of insulation built-in, either of down or of synthetic insulation like Primaloft or Thinsulate.
To combat this Achilles heel of down, many companies are now coming out with jackets stuffed with water-resistant down. Applied at the nano-level, these hydrophobic treatments keep down from wetting down as quickly so you stay warmer.
If you spend a good chunk of your time boot packing or skinning to peaks in search of lines to ride, you could be in the market for a technical shell. This type of jacket is lightweight and highly breathable to keep you comfortable while ski touring and in changing conditions, and is also very waterproof. Often constructed with fully taped seams and high-end fabrics such as Gore-Tex and eVent, technical shells tend to be more expensive than other jackets, but for the dedicated backcountry skier or boarder, the quality and features they provide is a must.
One thing to note is that often these jackets tend to be minimalist; you may not find features that you expect in a ski or snowboard jacket, like a like powder skirt. This is both to save weight and to make these jackets more packable, since often they will be carried to a peak in a pack and only put on for the descent.
Aside from the general type of jacket outlined above, the features included in ski and snowboard jackets will vary considerably. From venting to pockets to powderskirts, there are as many different styles of snow jackets as there are skiers.
Usually found in the underarm area or around the chest, zip vents will allow you to cool off some without having to unzip the front of the jacket. They may be open vents, or may have a mesh lining to keep out stray snow.
As mentioned before, this consists of snaps and/or loops, usually on the powder skirt, that connect the jacket to your ski or snowboard pants. If you have compatible pants and can get this working, it practically turns your jacket-and-pant combo into a one-piece for total snow and wind protection.
Most snow jacket cuffs are be adjustable to a certain extent; you may want to pay attention to his if you have definite preferences as to your glove style. A trim, fairly snug cuff design will be good for gauntlet gloves, while a cuff that opens wide and then locks down is better for undercuff glove styles.
Although this may sound obvious, staying warm on the slopes is one of the most important aspects of having enjoyable experience. Nothing can ruin a ski trip more than wearing a jacket that is unable to keep your body heat at a comfortable level. This guide will walk you through the different options you will encounter while searching for a stylish jacket that will keep you warm and dry throughout an entire day on the mountain.
Choosing between these types will be based upon your natural body temperature. If you are a person who is generally cold, then investing in a insulated jacket is the pick. Conversely, if you ski or snowboard in generally warmer climates or are predisposed to feeling hot, then the shell jacket is right for you.
Usually, ski and snowboard jackets range from 5,000 to 10,000 mm. We recommend the lowest you go is 5,000 mm, especially if you typically spend most of the day outdoors. If you are out in generally stormy or wetter climates, you should look to for a higher rating, maybe around the 15,000 - 20,000 mm range. The higher the rating the pricier the jacket, but often times spending a little more money can go a very long way.
Similar to determining your waterproof range, breathability can be just as important when buying your jacket. Breathability is measured in grams through the Moisture Vapor Transmission Test (MVTR). This test measures how many grams of sweat per one square meter your jacket can release in a 24 hour period.
In essence, breathability refers to allowing your sweat and moisture to escape from inside your jacket through the pores of the shell lining, maintaining your warmth. Although breathability can be difficult to pinpoint for each specific person, there are some standard suggestions. For example, if you are a casual skier or snowboarder, a breathability scale around 5,000-10,000 grams will do the trick. If you are more aggressive and do not take as many breaks, then you may need a rating closer to 15,000 grams. Once again, the higher the rating the more expensive the jacket.
Seam sealing is closely associated with the waterproof level of your jacket. On your jacket, the stitching has tiny little holes that arise from the sewing, so waterproof taping is glued on the interior and exterior of the seam to combat leakage. There are three types of seams:
Although it may be easiest to decide to just buy a jacket with fully taped seams, it may not be worth it in the long run. If you are a casual skier in dry conditions, critically taped seams will keep you moistureless and save you a lot of money. But if you are on the other end of the spectrum, then it is worth paying the extra money for fully taped or welded seams.
When shopping with The Ski Bum, you will notice that there are many add-ons to our jackets. The key is finding which ones you need and which features are frivolous for you specifically, thus potentially saving you some money. Some features are:
Once again, while on our website you will see all of these options. Your jacket should be tailored to you, so while shopping with The Ski Bum be sure to choose the jacket that has everything you need. You will see endless options when you are choosing, so hopefully this guide will help simplify your decision so you will be ready to enjoy your next trip to the slopes!
If the jacket has a hood, make sure there are drawstrings which let you tighten the collar independently of it. Otherwise, the hood acts like a wind funnel, gathering any gusts and channeling them around your neck. Yuck.
Warmth, comfort, weight, insulation, breathability and style: these are some of the criteria to look at when choosing a ski jacket to take full advantage of the best that winter has to offer. Here is our advice on how to choose your future ski jacket based on how you ski and what your expectations are.
The breathability of a jacket is its ability to evacuate sweat. There are two measurements: RET (resistance to evaporative heat transfer) and MVTR (moisture vapor transmission rate) expressed in grams/meters2/24hrs.
We recommend getting a jacket with a hood because regardless of what kind of skiing you do, a hood is indispensable for protecting your neck and lower face in bad weather. Some models feature removable hoods. Make sure the hood is compatible with your helmet and head movements (so be sure to turn your head back and forth when trying the hood).
Like a snow skirt, thumbholes and windproof cuffs provide additional insulation by preventing snow and cold air from creeping in. The stretch thumbhole system and windproof Velcro provide insulation for your wrists between your jacket and glove.
The RECCO rescue system is an electronic device in some ski areas that can locate a person buried in an avalanche or lost in the mountains. RECCO reflectors can be built into a ski jacket by the manufacturer and are also available in a form that can be added by the skier to his clothing.
As the quality of these layers improves, so does the performance of the jacket. To gauge the overall effectiveness of their products, many manufacturers use a waterproof rating system, which measures how many millimeters of water the fabric can hold off before it begins to wet out. Standard soft shells offer 500-3,000 mm of resistance, mid-range hardshells 5,000-10,000 mm, and high-end hardshells 10,000-40,000 mm.
Helmet-compatible hoods: Most modern ski jackets come with hoods designed to fit over ski helmets. And since we should all be wearing helmets on the hill, this is really the way to go.
Choosing the best ski jacket for you is an important decision. A ski jacket will keep you warm, dry and comfortable on the slopes, so picking the right one is vital for your enjoyment of your time skiing or snowboarding.
Water resistant jackets will be treated with a coating that resists water and therefore gives improved durability in wet conditions. This means that rain will run off the fabric rather than being absorbed, making it water resistant.
Without taped seams water can leak through the stitching. Thermoplastic tape is applied under heat and pressure over the seams preventing water from entering, making it water tight. Jackets will have fully taped seams (all seams covered) or critically taped seams (only seams susceptible to water exposure). Mountain Warehouse jackets are all fully taped.
The RECCO system is an advanced rescue technology that helps rescuers search for and pinpoint skiers and snowboarders should they get caught in an avalanche. These reflectors are added to the inside or outside of jackets. 041b061a72