The real ones know it’s true: snowboarding has nothing to do with skiing. Yes, there are some similarities, and maybe going down on two slabs isn’t very different from going down on one, but in a much larger sense, snowboarding and skiing have as much in common as Brits and Canadians—very little. That being said, here’s our selection of the best snowboard jackets for riding in style this winter.

The Best Overall Jacket

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This Pillowline 2 layer jacket by Burton is made of a waterproof outer fabric with a 2 layer Gore Tex membrane. What we especially like is its lightweight insulation that wicks away moisture. It's our best choice as it offers you the best combination of freedom of movement, plus warmth and protection; perfect for winter on the slopes, spring skiing and everyday adventures.

Ladies, if you're looking for a jacket with a more feminine cut, Burton's [ak] Gore-Tex Uplift Jacket is our favourite. The GORE-TEX shell protects from the elements while being breathable. Strategically placed insulation provides functional mobility without a puffy profile. An essential for the slopes!

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The Best Jacket Under $300

It's hard to find snowboarding jacket as good and affordable as The North Face's Balfron Jacket. Designed by the mountaineering pioneers, this lightweight jacket is made with a 2-layer DryVent water-repellent outer fabric to keep you dry during tough sessions in the snow park.

For the ladies, the Pallie insulated jacket from The North Face comes closest to the $300 mark. Fully waterproof thanks to the same outer fabric as the Balfron, this jacket is sleek and stylish. It also has a lightweight taffeta lining to keep you warm. Sometimes it's worth investing a little extra to get your hands on the coat of your dreams. In this case, not by much.

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The Best Women's Jacket

A step above their Uplift Jacket, the [ak] Altitude from Burton is perfect for every snow condition. It's GORE TEX shell paired with GORE SEAM make for an incredibly waterproof jacket that will protect you regardless of weather conditions. Customers also rave about its perfect amount of insulation, which keeps its user warm enough at the station without hindering movement. Leave it to Burton for making such a solid piece of gear.

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The Best Men's Jacket

The Mountain Hardwear C-Knit High Exposure GORE-TEX Jacket is a must-have for extreme sports...including snowboarding.  It's got plenty of vents to let you breathe on climbs, lots of pockets and a snow skirt for powder landings. The cut is also articulated for easy movement.

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The Best Jacket for Kids

As rugged as mom and dad's, the Orage Adirondack Jacket for boys and girls is a favourite of all little riders. Its style will be a hit in the snow park, and will definitely live up to your little adventurer's prowess. The Adirondack Jacket isn't just about style though, its 2-layer Prime 10 outer fabric and Warm S2 insulation will keep Shaun White Junior spending less time in the chalet and more on the slopes. Plus, it has all the same practical features as an adult jacket. Ticket clip, wrist pocket and helmet compatible hood... you name it, the Adirondack has it.

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The Best Insulated Jacket

OK! Off the Burton train!. The tried and true 3-in-1 design from the North Face offers unparalleled versatility at a more than reasonable price. Their Triclimate jacket is a perennial best seller specifically for that reason. Its DryVent™ 2L shell is paired with a removable Heatseeker synthetic insulated mid layer for equal protection and warmth. Designed with freedom of movement in mind, it can also handle most weather conditions without breaking the bank. Truly a fan favourite!

For women, the Marmot Pace is our favourite. This longer, snug-fitting coat features synthetic down insulation for a classic puffy look and the extra coverage you want. The fabric on the outside is waterproof and wicks moisture away to keep you dry.

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The Best Shell Jacket

The extremely durable Mountain Hardwear High Exposure GORE-TEX Jacket is a must-have for extreme sports. Made of 3-layer GORE-TEX with GORE-SEAM sealed seams, this shell is completely waterproof, and ideal for big days in the backcountry. The generous vents increase breathability on climbs, it has plenty of pockets and a snow skirt for powder landings. It also features a fuller fit for true snowboarding fanatics.

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The Best Resort Jacket

Admittedly closer to a ski jacket, the Pajuna jacket from BLACKYAK remains our top choice for hitting the resorts with your board. This cleanly designed 2-layer Gore-Tex® jacket will keep you warm and protect you against the elements, no matter what Mother Nature throws at you.  With a 2 layer GORE-TEX outer fabric, this stylish jacket acts as a waterproof barrier against snow. It features several technical features such as a backpack friendly shoulder design and a top-of-its-class snow skirt made to fit every body type. And what about its style... there is really nothing quite like BLACKYAK.

The same model is also available for women.

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The Best Backcountry Jacket

The Arc'teryx team has once again pulled out all the stops to design this new version of the Rush jacket. Designed with the help of professional athletes and mountaineers, this jacket is built to handle the toughest backcountry conditions. It offers great protection and durability without compromising on breathability or freedom of movement. It also comes with a host of essential features, such as a built-in RECCO system, an adjustable helmet-friendly hood, and plenty of pockets to store a radio, gear, and other essentials.

The Rush is only available for men. For women, our choice is the Arc'teryx Sentinel AR. This jacket has the same essential features, in a longer, feminine cut that is sure to please the ladies.

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HOW TO CHOOSE A SNOWBOARDING JACKET

Firstly, you have to figure out what kind of snowboarding you’re going to be doing. Are you going to be riding at the snow park or in the backcountry? If you plan on climbing with a splitboard, a lightweight, breathable jacket designed to be worn in layers is your best bet. If you’re going to board at the resort or the snow park, you’ll want an insulated jacket that can keep you warm on the chair lift.

1. Types of Jackets

Whatever your requirements, snowboard jackets usually have a relaxed fit to give you plenty of room to move when showing off your airborne style.

  • Insulated Jackets & Shells

The choice of an insulated jacket or a shell (with an insulating layer) depends on the type of sport you wish to practice. If you intend to ride only in the resort, an insulated jacket will do the trick to keep you warm. Plus, you’ll feel less cluttered by wearing only one layer.

For backcountry ascents on a splitboard, you’ll want a multi-layer suit that allows you to adapt to all conditions. This is where the shell is an interesting choice. But you’ll also need an intermediate layer to keep you warm on the way down. 

2. Types of Insulation

  • Down

Because we traditionally tend to move more when snowboarding than when skiing (think of the snow park) – and therefore sweat more – down is more rarely used in snowboarding jackets because it loses its insulating properties when wet. However, not all snowboarders are park riders, and down can be a good option for staying warm on the slopes and in the backcountry.

  • Synthetic

Synthetic insulation is becoming more and more effective and widespread. In addition to being warm and breathable, they wick away moisture easily and generally retain their insulating properties even when wet. Therefore, they are good choices for riders who like to challenge themselves.

3. GORE-TEX, DWR and other technologies

GORE-TEX is the most well-known membrane when it comes to waterproofing, but these days most brands have their own technologies that are just as efficient. When it comes to water resistance, keep in mind that you will be riding most of the time in the snow and not in the rain. So your coat doesn’t need to be highly waterproof and a durable water repellent coating (DWR) will keep you dry. Look for features like sealed seams to keep small items like your phone well protected from moisture.

4. Other Features

  • Hoods

Whether you’re skiing or snowboarding, most jackets are designed with a helmet-compatible hood for better weather protection. 

  • Pockets

Jackets designed to be worn at the resort often have a pocket on the sleeve, which is handy to store your lift ticket away from other items in your pockets. Alternatively, many brands make jackets with specially insulated pockets to prevent your phone battery from running down due to the cold.

No matter how many pockets you have, make sure they are all zippered – you’ll avoid a lot of unpleasant surprises.

  • Snow Skirts

The snow skirt is an insignificant and yet essential characteristic. This simple extensible belt inside the coat prevents the snow from penetrating inside during a good fall or when the powder is deep. Some brands have developed compatibility systems that allow the jacket to be attached to the pants with snaps on the snow skirt for more protection.

THE BEST SNOWBOARDING BRANDS

Snowboarding is ultra-popular, and ski brands know it. Arc’teryxThe North FaceMarmotNorrøna – to name a few – make high-quality GORE-TEX technical shells that are made for alpine sports performance. That being said, if you’re going to pick a jacket, why not choose one specifically designed for snowboarding?

Burton and Volcom are the biggest names in snowboarding, but a number of brands have started to make a name for themselves in that area. Brands like HoldenO’NeillArmada, and Rip Curl are made to ride fresh powder and snow parks. You’ll find many of these brands in our selection of the best snowboarding jackets.

Happy Riding!