When shopping for a snowboard jacket for this winter there are a few things to keep in mind. First and foremost what sort of snowboarding or skiing will you be doing? GORE-TEX jackets come in 2-layer and 3-layer construction, each had their own unique benefits. Why you ask, well below you will find our list of the best snowboarding jackets for snowboarding, splitboarding and backcountry skiing.
Best Snowboard Jackets
Burton Ak Gore Freebird Jacket – ($629.95)
Don’t snooze on this snowboard jacket from Burton as it’s almost already sold out for the season. For 2018/19 the Burton AK Gore Freebird Jacket is a must have for people that are spending long days in the backcountry and here is why. It’s some of the best snowboard outerwear on the market year after year.
The Burton Freebird Jacket is the lightest most packable jacket in Burton’s entire line of snowboard outerwear. It’s the sort of jacket you can toss (not stuff) inside your backpack without taking up much space. Best of all the jacket works wonder at repelling water as it’s using Gore-Tex, and the C-Knit stretch kind offering a nice free-flowing feel while wearing the jacket. Combined with a lifetime warranty, and what are you waiting for. [Purchase: $629.95]
The North Face Purist Jacket – ($548.95)
The winner of the most durable winter jacket tested in 2018 goes to The North Face’s Purist Jacket. This is the sort of ski jacket you can take with you on burly mountaineering missions. The North Face is using 3L Gore-Tex material that is super abrasion resistant especially when rubbing up against trees if your the sort of person that goes bushwacking in the winter.
On the front of the coat are 2 deep chest pockets that are perfect for storing an avalanche notebook and small snacks. This jacket even made our pick for Editors Choice at the Outdoor Retailer Show in Denver. Best of all when it comes to releasing heat The Noth Face Purist Jacket offers larger pit zips that extend into the midsection of your back. This design allows the Purist Jacket to be worn on long tours. [Purchase: $548.95]
Black Diamond Helio Alpine Shell – ($399)
When it comes to moving light and fast, like really fast the Black Diamond Helio Active Shell is a must have. This jacket was designed for ski mountaineers however anyone that is active outdoors in the winter time is going to love this piece of gear from Black Diamond and here’s why.
Normally when we think of Gore-Tex it’s a little on the clunky, crinkly side of things. Black Diamond opted to use the Gore-Tex C-Knit Active fabric which offers a lightweight feel without any hindrance in terms of mobility. If your the sort of person that likes to go for runs in the winter has a set of AT boots or just an all-around active person be sure to pick up this shell from Black Diamond. [Purchase: $399]
Patagonia Powder Bowl Jacket – ($399)
I try not to play favorites, but if I was that sort of person the jacket that comes with me anytime I go to the ski resort is always the Patagonia Powder Bowl Jacket. The Powder Bowl Jacket for 2018/19 is something that once you try on, or even hold the material on your hand you will be instantly sold.
First off this jacket is made 100% recycled polyester GORE-TEX, kudos to Patagonia for their green efforts as usual. If you haven’t tried on a recycled jacket, you’ve been missing out. Patagonia’s Powder Bowl Jacket uses a 2-Layer Gore-Tex construction meaning the Gore-Tex membrane is bonded to the outer fabric, while the inside of the jacket is mesh lined which works to wick moisture away from your body. This sort of Gore technology would do best in colder drier climates. Toss in a powder skirt and this jacket as the name implies is ready for deep snow. [Purchase: $399]
Helly Hansen Alpha 3.0 Shell – ($475)
The only jacket to make the list of best snowboard jackets and best ski jackets of the year that does not feature Gore-Tex goes to Helly Hansen for their Alpha 3.0 Shell Jacket. Instead, Helly Hansen uses their own Helly Tech Professional three-layer fabric Helly Hansen has been keeping sailors dry for over 100 years, so snow is super easy for them to figure out.
Since this jacket is 3-Layer with a little extra material it seems to work best for quick ski tours or for long days at the ski resort. Helly Hansen added Primaloft insulation against the body, sleeves, and hood of the Alpha 3.0 Shell. You can literally hide out from the elements while wearing this jacket and it comes with a powder skirt for deep snow days. Consider sizing up especially if earing layers with the Alpha 3.0 Shell. [Purchase: $475]
Sherpa Gear Lithang Jacket – ($299.95)
Most likely you haven’t yet heard about Sherpa Gear unless you missed our picks for the best environmental friendly brands at the Outdoor Retailer Show. The Sherpa Gear Lithang Jacket is another 3-Layer jacket to make the list built with a hardshell Himaltec® laminate unique to Sherpa Gear.
The jacket performs similarly to other jackets on this list of best snowboard jackets of the year however whats sets Sherpa Gear apart is the little things. As someone that is a Buddhist and practices meditation every time I see the Tibetan prayer flag colors on the zipper pull, drawstrings and inside of the jacket I get a warm feeling, guessing you will feel the same too. The front of the jacket features 2 chest pockets, traditional pit zips and although there is no powder skirt, the bottom can be synched super tight. Fitting is a little on the small side, heck its a company from Nepal. [Purchase: $299.95]
Mammut Alvier Armor Jacket – ($590)
Good days don’t wait until it’s bluebird, and the best days are usually a combination of gnarly wind, snow, and rock poking through the rock. Mammut’s Alvier Armor HS Hoodie is made for those days. The Alvier Armor Jacket is now being made with Mammut’s DryTech fabric which is waterproof/breathable at 10K/10K a change from the GORE C-KNIT that was used in the past.
Mammut’s Phase Weave is like an alloy, blending multiple materials and so combining their properties. That means you get the best waterproofness and if you scrape it on a rock, the jacket won’t shudder much less tear. With an easy to adjust helmet compatible hood and removable powder skirt, the Mammut Alvier Armor Jacket will work equally well at the ski resort or deep in the backcountry. [Purchase: $590]
Strafe Pyramid Jacket – ($599)
Strafe’s Pyramid Jacket is one of the coolest freeride jackets on the market, guaranteed to keep you warm and dry thanks to 3L waterproof and air-permeable Polartec NeoShell 4-way stretch which is absolutely bomber. More pockets and wind guards and features than you can shake a Gentemstick at, including 2 deep chest pockets that work for storing climbing skins, an avalanche notebook, food and a whole lot more and for the resort skiers the Pyramid Jacket features a ski pass pocket as well.
This is a hardshell meets softshell jacket with the option to remove the powder skirt which looks really clean when rocking around town once the lifts close. Out of all the great features on the Pyramid Jacket, the one which stands out the most is the Thumbhole Cuffs from Polartec, these things are cozy and really block the elements when taking your gloves on and off, and are especially nice if you tend to dig your gloves into the snow. [Purchase: $599] The Pyramid is quickly becoming one of the most popular mens snowboard jackets oout there, keep Strafe on your radar.
TEK O2 3L Storm Jacket – ($209)
Superlight. Waterproof. Breatheable. L.L. Bean’s TEK 02 3L is the jacket designed for the dreaded wet snow wintry mix, when it’s hot but precip is blowing in hard. Best used for high output activities like splitboarding, ski touring or spring riding. It’s also one of those year-round jackets, that you can easily pack and stow for all your other outdoor adventures. Heck, I have even gone for a run wearing this jacket.
L.L. Bean’s three-layer TEK O2 nylon shell is the best in the business, combining bomber waterproof with unmatched lightness. And despite all that, it still feels like something you can move in. Gotta be the winner for a 4-season shell. L.L. Bean continues to impress with every new jacket we try and the Tek 02 is another necessity in your year-round closet. One of the best snowboard shell jackets out there for high output activites. [Purchase: $209]
Stio Environ XT Jacket – ($409)
Designed in the Tetons, Stio’s Environ Jacket has been a favorite of Mountain Weekly News testers over the years and for good reasons. Stio has been using a fabric membrane known as Dermizax® a 3-Layer fabric membrane with 20,000mm waterproof, 10,000g breathability capabilities in both the Environ Jacket and Environ XT Jacket.
This is the sort of shell you can easily toss inside your backpack while on the boot pack. The Stio Environ XT Jacket strips out some of the bells and whistles including no powder skirt and no thumb cuffs. However, do you really need all that for an early morning tour? There are 2 traditional pockets on the front of the jacket and on the inside a zippered pocket along with a place to stash your goggles. One of the best features of this jacket comes into play when it’s really storming the adjustable hood with a bonded brim. A higher end pricepoint gets you one of the best snowboarding jackets, if it works in the Tetons it will work for your needs too. [Purchase: $409]
Designed for snowboarders by snowboarders, 686 has been keeping it real since day 1. What makes this jacket rad is hands down its warmth.
With 600 Power Down Fill and Thermagraph body mapping, it’s almost impossible to get cold while wearing this jacket. Every day when I take my dog for a walk, run errands around town or find myself at the resort on chilly mornings, the 686 GLCR Ether Thermagraph is my go-to piece. The Medium fits true to size and the Black colorway looks tough as well. This is surely a jacket that just about everyone that snowboarder will love too! This 686 Jacket is one of the best snowboard jackets under $300. [Purchase: $300]
Need a pair of boots, socks, pants or a board? Check out our list below: