Best Ski Jackets Reviewed & Rated for Quality
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Ski jackets come in different styles and the style of the jacket will play a role in how the jacket fits and performs on the ski hill. Some jackets are better suited for movement while other jackets are meant to keep you warmer in the cold weather. You should consider purchasing the type of jacket that works best for your style and the conditions that you will be skiing in. The major styles of ski jackets are shells, insulated jackets, technical shells, soft shells, and 3-in-1 jackets.
Shell jackets are the most common kind of ski jacket due to their versatility. Shell jackets are normally uninsulated which makes them lightweight. This is a useful attribute for skiers since it is necessary to move quickly and easily while skiing. You may also notice that shell jackets are either water resistant or completely waterproof and will have taped seams and zipper flaps. Although shell jackets do not have an inner liner, they are supposed to have enough room to allow for layering. This allows the skier to quickly add and remove layers of clothing as needed so that you can regulate your body temperature. You may also see shell jackets that have ventilation holes which let them breathe better should you start to feel too hot.
Insulated jackets are shell jackets that are also insulated. A shell jacket is turned into an insulated jacket by adding a layer of insulation and possibly an interior lining to the jacket. This will make the jacket thicker and heavier but the tradeoff is that you will feel warmer and are better protected from the cold weather. Generally speaking, there are two kinds of insulation used to make these jackets. Synthetic insulation is insulation that is made from the man-made material. Since synthetic insulation is water resistant, it will continue to insulate in wet or humid conditions such as those found in the midwestern United States. Down is the other kind of insulation that is made from the down feathers of either geese or ducks. Down can keep you warmer at lower temperatures, but it loses its ability to keep you warm when it gets wet, so it is best used in dry climates such as the one found in Colorado.
You will also see 3-in-1 jackets sold and marketed to skiers. These jackets are the most versatile kind of ski jacket because they have an outer shell and a removable inner liner. The inner liner found in these jackets is normally made from fleece and it will usually either zip or button to the jacket's shell. The main advantage of a 3-in-1 jacket is that it gives you the opportunity to wear it as an insulated jacket or as a shell jacket depending on weather conditions.
You may also see ski jackets that are more special but are available for you as well. A softshell jacket is one such kind of jacket that is meant for skiing in temperatures that are at or slightly above freezing. This kind of jacket usually looks like a hoodie sweatshirt, but it is coated to resist water. You normally wear this jacket in layers because it is lightweight and highly flexible. Softshell jackets are also suitable for spring and fall weather because they are not overly warm.
There is also the technical shell style jacket. This is another kind of breathable and lightweight jacket that many skiers find to be comfortable. Technical shell jackets tend to be fully waterproof and will have taped seams to block water and wind. They are minimalist style jackets that are meant to save on weight so that you can move better while you are wearing them. However, technical shell jackets tend to have a higher price due to the materials that are used to make them.
Comfort and Fit
You will want to pick out a ski jacket that allows you to move freely in the jacket and isn't too loose or too tight. It should have the proper length in the hem and the sleeves. It is also important that you like how the jacket feels while you are wearing it. You should look for a jacket that doesn't feel too heavy or bulky, and you should like how the interior lining feels while you have it on.
There is a number of things that you should check when you are trying on a new ski jacket in terms of how it fits. You should always take the time to check the length of the sleeves, the collar, the hood, and the hem. In addition to those items, you should make sure that the jacket provides you with enough room for you to twist your body and move freely. Freedom of movement is important when you are purchasing a ski jacket. It will allow you to respond to the conditions on the ski hill or on the ski trail while you are skiing. A jacket that is constricting will make it much harder to ski.
The sleeves on the jacket should be longer than what you would normally expect. This allows you to pull the sleeves over the top of your gloves so that you can stay warm while you are skiing. Longer sleeves also help keep snow out of the jacket as well. When you are checking the sleeves, you should make sure that the arm cuffs fit snugly around your wrist so that cold air or powdered snow doesn't get into the sleeves. It is even better when you can find a ski jacket that has adjustable cuffs so that you can get the proper fit. The arms should also allow you to move your arms freely and bend your elbows. This will allow you to work your ski poles more easily and provide you with better balance while you are skiing.
The hem of the jacket is another important area for you to check. This is another area that you may want to leave a little longer so that you can pull the jacket over the top of your snow pants. Above all else, you should check that the jacket doesn't creep up your back when you bend over. Even worse, the jacket may not protect your back if you fall while you are skiing.
After you have checked the hem and sleeves of the jacket, you should check the collar. If the jacket has a stand-up collar, then you should flip the collar up and make sure that it protects your neck properly. The collar should be long enough to cover your neck without it being so high that it starts to dig into your chin. There should also be enough room in the collar so that it doesn't feel tight or constricting around your neck. The collar should block the wind from going down into the jacket or making your neck feel cold.
The final area to check in terms of fit is the hood. It should not block your vision in any way and it should be adjustable so that you can get a secure fit. The hood should also be large enough to fit over any headgear that you may want to wear. This could include large hats or even a helmet. The hood should be loose fitting, but it should not be so loose that it blows off of your head when it gets windy or you are moving fast.
Once you have made sure that the jacket fits your properly, you should make sure that you feel comfortable in it. The jacket should not feel too heavy or bulky. It should keep you warm and provide you with enough room to make sure that you can wear additional layers of clothing. You should also make sure that the jacket breathes well and that it vents air. The lining of the jacket should also feel comfortable and it should not catch on any clothing.
A ski jacket should be able to resist the weather and keep you protected from the elements. You should always be on the lookout for ski jackets that can block the wind, keep you warm, and resist water. All three features are needed in order for the ski jacket to function properly.
Cold temperatures are necessary for snow, but that also means that you need clothing that is able to protect your body from the cold. If your jacket cannot keep you warm, then you will feel uncomfortable at a minimum and in the worse case you can get hypothermia. The jacket should clearly be able to protect you from the cold weather so that you do not get sick or injured while you are in such weather.
You will also want to look for a jacket that can protect you from the wind. Winter weather tends to be windier in general due to the pressure in the atmosphere, however, you can also get exposed to the wind by being in higher altitudes, above the tree line and also from skiing fast. In all three cases, your jacket needs to protect you from the wind. It should be made from wind blocking or wind breaking materials that do not allow a significant amount of air to pass through the jacket. If too much air can penetrate the exterior of the jacket, then the thermal barrier inside of the jacket can be disrupted and you will lose body heat to the wind.
Any ski jacket should be able to resist moisture at a minimum or even better be completely waterproof. You can get exposed to moisture from melting snow and ice which can cause you to feel cold and make your clothes feel heavy. Another source of moisture is snow from powdered snow which can get swept up by the air as you ski and enter into your jacket. You will want to make sure that the exterior shell of your jacket is waterproof, but it is also important that your jacket has seams that are sealed and zippers that are water resistant.
You can always test if the exterior shell is resistant to water or is fully waterproof by pouring some water on the jacket. If the water starts to form into beads and runs off of the jacket quickly, then the jacket is either water resistant or is fully waterproof. If the water forms into beads but soaks into the jacket after a while, then chances are that the jacket only resistant water and are not fully waterproof. Finally, if the water does not form into beads but instead soaks into the jacket almost immediately, then the jacket does not resist water at all and should not be used for skiing. Such jackets will absorb moisture from melting snow and will not protect you from the cold.
Ski jackets need to be durable so that they are long-lasting and can make it through several ski trips. Nobody is going to be happy with a ski jacket that is going to break the first time you fall while you are skiing. Your ski jacket should be able to withstand repeated falls without blowing seems, ripping, or developing abrasions. The higher quality your ski jacket is, the better it will be able to handle the stress that skiing puts on the jacket.
You should start by looking at the shell of the jacket. The shell is the first area of the jacket that is going to get impacted in the event of a fall. It can also rip and tear if you ski past brush or other items that can potentially catch on your ski jacket. When you are looking at the shell of the jacket, you should try and look at how thick it is and what sort of materials it is made from. Certain materials may be more durable than others, but generally speaking, you will want to look for a ski jacket that has a thick polyester or nylon shell. Both materials are resistant to abrasion and tearing which will help the jacket resist breakage in case you fall. They are also materials that do not catch easily on other objects, so if you cross country ski or downhill ski past some brush then you should have to worry about a twig catching your jacket and ripping or tearing it.
Zippers tend to be another trouble area on ski jackets, so it is worth your time to make sure that the jacket has high-quality zippers. You should make sure that the zippers on the jacket are sewn securely to the jacket. The zippers should have high-quality stitching and you should make sure that the zippers will not separate from the jacket if you end up pulling against them. It is also worthwhile for you to check if the zippers are waterproof. Waterproof zippers will help prevent moisture from melting snow from penetrating the zippers. The zippers should be able to move freely and stay securely in place while you are wearing the jacket.
After you have checked the shell and the zippers, you should take a look at the seams of the jacket. The jacket will naturally have seams in areas such as were the sleeve attached to the jacket. There may also be seams throughout the jacket if it is insulated and it may have seems at the pockets. A high-quality ski jacket will have reinforced seams that are stitched tightly together. That will help keep the seems from breaking in the event that you fall or roll down a hill. The seams should not have any loose threads since loose threads will get caught on stuff and come loose. You should also check and make sure that the seems are sealed. When the seams are not sealed, they will allow water and wind to penetrate inside of the jacket which can make you feel cold and wet. You will also want to look at the seams for the pockets to make sure that your items will not fall out of the pockets due to bad seems.
15 Best Ski Jackets
1. Columbia Bugaboo Interchange
This jacket has plenty of features that will keep you warm and dry. It is priced reasonably when compared to other jackets of comparable quality and comes with an outer shell and a zip-in fleece liner with thermal reflective technology. It has pockets for media, goggles, and other items. It also has a detachable hood.
The shell is made from 100% nylon plain weave Ultra Touch with a 210T taffeta lining. It is waterproof and windproof but remains breathable for maximum comfort.
While the shell has benefits of its own, the zip-in liner makes this a very versatile jacket. The fleece liner easily zips in and out and has thermal reflective technology. The shell and liner can be worn separately or zipped together for maximum warmth.
Cost and Value
The Interchange Bugaboo is an affordable alternative to some of the more expensive jackets on this list. This makes it a great value, considering it has all the features, including durability at a fraction of the cost.
2. Arc’teryx Beta AR
The Beta AR is made with high quality materials and provides high-performance weather protection from wind, rain and snow. It is also breathable, making it more comfortable to wear during activity. In addition to its durability, it is lightweight, making it easy to pack. It also has reinforced shoulders and elbows.
This jacket is made from high quality materials, including waterproof Gore-Tex. It is well-made and is reinforced in places that tend to encounter more wear, making it stand up to the back country better than many jackets on this list.
The Beta AR’s quality construction and materials aren’t the only things that make this jacket versatile. The length of this jacket is long enough to avoid cold and snow getting in, yet short enough to accommodate a harness or pack belt. A great choice for anyone who enjoys a variety of winter activities.
Cost and Value
There is no question this jacket is on the high end of the price spectrum. However, there is also no question that this jacket is high quality. If quality construction and materials and durability are high on your priority list, this jacket could definitely be worth the cost.
3. Columbia Antimony IV
This lightweight jacket has features that make it a good choice for those who enjoy the freedom of movement. It is waterproof and machine washable. It also comes with a removable, adjustable storm hood, plenty of pockets and a drawstring hem to keep snow and cold air out.
This jacket receives high marks for being lightweight. Despite that fact, it remains a jacket that provides plenty of warmth compared to other comparable styles. The shell and the insulation are 100% Polyester, while the lining is 100% Nylon.
Good Pockets for Organization
The Antimony IV has plenty of pockets to keep your belongings safe. It has multiple outer and inner storage options. Outside chest and side pockets are zippered. It can also accommodate goggles, media, earphones, and other items that need to be kept secure.
Cost and Value
Although this jacket is nothing flashy, it comes in at the low to mid price range. This makes it an affordable option and a good value for those looking for a basic, reliable jacket.
4. Columbia Whirlibird
This is another great jacket from Columbia. It has both heat and waterproof technology that efficiently keep this jacket’s inhabitant warm and dry. It has a zip-in interchange system, an adjustable, removable storm hood, and an abrasion resistant chin guard. It also has an adjustable, snap-back powder skirt, adjustable cuffs and pockets for goggles, as well as outside zip pockets.
This jacket has an Omni-Heat thermal reflective liner to reflect your body’s heat and keep you warm in an efficient way. It also has Omni-Tech waterproof technology that makes the shell impervious to wind and rain, while remaining breathable for maximum comfort.
The Whirlibird Interchange’s zip in liner essentially make this jacket a three in one. The outer shell can be worn to protect from rain/snow and wind. The liner is a comfortable option by itself if it’s calm and dry. The shell and liner zipped together give you maximum protection from all the elements.
Cost and Value
This is a well-made jacket comprised of high quality materials. That fact, and the fact that this is essentially three jackets in one, make this jacket a good value for the money.
This jacket has all the features you need to enjoy a day of skiing at a fraction of the price of many other jackets on this list. It is waterproof and windproof with a fleece liner for added warmth. It has adjustable cuffs, powder skirt, plenty of pockets and a drawstring hem. It also comes with an adjustable, detachable hood and sewn in sleeve inserts with thumb holes.
Sewn-in Palm Gloves
The palm gloves that come sewn into this jacket are a nice feature. When worn, they keep the sleeve from creeping up and avoid that otherwise inevitable gap between jacket and glove. This can be extremely important in helping to keep cold air, snow, and rain out. This feature is not found in all jackets and is one of the things that make this jacket worth taking a look at.
The price of this jacket certainly makes it attractive. It has all the basic features that a weekend warrior needs to have an enjoyable experience. For many, skiing is an expensive hobby and the need to purchase special equipment puts it “out of reach” for some. This jacket provides all of the essentials, without breaking the bank.
Cost and Value
This jacket is not made from the high-quality materials that some others on this list are. It is also not the highest quality construction. However, the price point cannot be overlooked and for the price, this jacket provides more than enough value.
6. Salomon Fantasy
The Fantasy is another jacket that uses technology to its advantage. It is warm, waterproof and breathable. It has a detachable powder skirt and hood. It is also lightweight and comfortable. It is stylish, unlike some of the bulkier jackets on the market. It is also another good choice if pockets and organization are a priority.
Warm and Dry
This jacket has ample technology to keep the skier who is wearing it warm and dry. It has AdvancedSkin Dry to keep rain and snow out and AdvancedSkin Warm to keep you warm without the bulk. Despite all of this protection from the elements, it remains breathable, which can be helpful to avoid overheating during more active periods. It also has a high collar that helps to keep the head warmer, even when the hood is down.
It is clear that the first priority of this jacket is the mountain. As already discussed, it will do a good job of keeping you warm and dry. However, this jacket doesn’t stop there. Other attributes, such as being lightweight and stylish and having a detachable hood and powder skirt make this jacket a good choice for off the mountain as well.
Cost and Value
This jacket is in the mid-price range when compared to other jackets on this list. It is a good value when considering its technology and features it possesses, like plenty of convenient pockets, and its stylish design.
7. Spyder Leader
The Spyder Leader is one of the top quality jackets on this list. It is made from quality materials and is well-constructed. It is waterproof, windproof and it provides plenty of warmth, while avoiding the bulky feel that some jackets have. It has many convenient pockets, snap back powder skirt, stretch cuffs with thumb holes, a draw cord adjustable hem and also comes with a chamois lens wipe.
This jacket definitely uses technology to its advantage. It uses HydroWEB TM technology, 20K/30K waterproof, breathable laminate. It also has 3MTM ThinsulateTM insulation to provide extra warmth. All of this is achieved and still, this jacket remains thin and fashionable.
Plenty of Pockets
The Leader has plenty of pockets to organize and access items. In addition to standard side and internal pockets, it also has a mesh goggle pocket, and a pocket on the back big enough to fit a water bottle. One of the front pockets also contains a tethered goggle-cleaning cloth.
Cost and Value
This is one of the more expensive jackets on the list. However, if you have the money to spend and quality and extra features are important, this jacket provides more than enough value for the cost.
8. Spyder Titan
This is another high quality, stylish jacket from Spyder. The Titan is warm and waterproof, yet lightweight and breathable. It has a removable helmet compatible hood with an adjustable opening and anti-abrasion overlay film. It has a snap-back, removable powder skirt and interior stretch cuffs with thumbholes. It has several pockets, including internal zippered and internal mesh goggle pockets. It even comes with a chamois lens wipe.
This jacket, like the Spyder Rush, uses HydroWEB TM technology, 20K/30K waterproof, breathable laminate. It also has 3MTM ThinsulateTM Insulation with extra warmth. All these materials combine to form lightweight, comfortable protection from the elements.
The Spyder Titan is one of the more stylish jackets on the list. It is more form fitting than many others, particularly for athletic body types and comes in plenty of stylish color combinations.
Cost and Value
This is one of the higher priced jackets on the list. However, given the quality of materials and construction, the Titan makes a good case that is worth the money. If “details” are important to you, you will probably find that this jacket is a good value.
9. Arc’teryx Rush
This is another high quality, lightweight jacket. It is only a shell, but is windproof, waterproof and durable. It has accessible pockets that are secure so belongings don’t fall out. It has a full protection storm hood that is capable of fitting over a helmet, as well as a powder skirt to keep the snow out.
This jacket is a lightweight, highly breathable N40 r-x Gore-Tex Pro shell. It is designed to wear over whatever layers are necessary in combating the elements. It is comfortable and it is not restrictive, allowing maximum freedom of movement. The fact that it is lightweight also makes it easy to pack.
High-quality materials and construction make this jacket one of the more durable jackets on this list. It can stand up to encounters with nature, whatever the activity. It has a reinforced hood and shoulders and is made from material that can withstand tearing fairly effectively.
Cost and Value
This is one of the most expensive jackets on the list. However, as is usually the case, better materials and construction, means a higher price. Because this jacket is so durable, it may very well outlast many others, particularly when it comes to certain back country activities.
10. Outdoor Master 3-in-1
The Outdoor Master 3-in-1 is an affordable option for those who are looking for the versatility of a 3 in 1 jacket. It has a waterproof, breathable outer shell and a removable fleece liner. It is also a more fashionable alternative to some of the bulkier outerwear on the list. It has adjustable cuffs, and a removable fleece lining.
This jacket has the same versatility as some of the other jackets on this list, without the high price. The outside of this jacket can be worn alone to provide protection from rain, snow and wind. The fleece liner can also be worn alone in dry weather. Together, they provide a comfortable option for exposure to wet and cold conditions.
The Outdoor Master has chest pockets that allow easy access to small items. It also has a zipper that can be opened from the bottom to access clothing or other pockets. This alleviates the necessity to entirely open the jacket and be exposed to rain, snow or cold.
Cost and Value
While it does not have some of the technology possessed by other jackets on the list, it is a less expensive option that still provides waterproof protection. It is also warm enough to be sufficient for many outdoor activities, including skiing. The fact that it provides three jackets in one, also makes it an attractive choice and a good value for the money.
11. Arctix Tundra Jacket
If you are going to be outdoors the extreme cold, then you will want to have a ski jacket that is up for the challenge. This jacket is designed for the extra cold days. It has a layer of ThermaTech (TM) insulation that will create the ultimate thermal barrier and help you stay extra warm while you are in frigid cold weather. You will feel nice and toasty while you have this jacket on.
The seams on this jacket are fully sealed so that you stay dry. You will not need to worry about any wind, snow, water, or ice leaking through the seams while you are wearing this jacket in the winter.
The jacket features 120g of ThermaTech insulation, a special material that traps your body heat and creates a thermal barrier. This will allow you to stay toasty warm while you are wearing this jacket in sub-freezing temperatures and conditions.
Cost and Value
You will see this jacket sold at an average price for jackets. The value comes from features that allow it to keep you warm in extreme winter conditions so that you can feel comfortable while you are outdoors.
12. Mountain Warehouse
If you are going to end up spending a lot of time in the snow, then why not try out this snowproof jacket for skiing? The jacket has a polyester shell that is treated to make sure that you stay completely dry even if you fall in the snow. There is also a snow skirt that helps stop snow from getting inside the jacket while you are on the slopes.
The exterior shell of the jacket is made from 100 percent polyester and is treated with a water-repellent coating. This allows the jacket to resist water that you may end up getting exposed to from melting snow or ice.
Creating a tight fit around your body is key to keeping snow out. You will see that this jacket is adjustable on the cuffs, hood, and the hem so that you can get a tight fit around your body.
Cost and Value
You will see this jacket sold at a price that is lower than the average. This makes it into an excellent value because you get lots of protection against snow and moisture without having to spend a lot of money.