It’s important to put some time and effort into choosing your snowboard jacket and pants. It’s as important as choosing the right snowboard, and the right pair of bindings to match. Whether you’re a keen backcountry explorer or an in-resort rider, a certain amount of thought should go into picking the best outerwear for you.
First of all, you need to consider where you will be doing most of your snowboarding, what kind of conditions you are likely to face, and how much time you will spend wearing your outerwear. Once you’ve answered the basic questions about the kind of snowboarder you are, it’s time to look at the more technical aspects of your outerwear.
“What’s important to remember is that it’s all a balancing act between being waterproof and being breathable”
If you’re looking for a more in-depth guide to choosing your outerwear, take a look at our ‘how to choose the best snowboard jackets and pants’, but if you’re just here for the basics, scroll down.
Waterproofing and Breathability
What’s important to remember is that it’s all a balancing act between being waterproof and being breathable. If something’s extremely waterproof but doesn’t have that breathability, you begin to sweat. In turn, this means your sweat will have nowhere to go and you’ll be soaked after only a couple of laps.
The waterproof rating is measured in millimetres (mm). This refers to the depth of water that is required to penetrate the fabric (based on filling a one-inch diameter tube). The higher the rating, the more waterproof the outerwear.
Breathability is measured in grams. The ratings refer to the weight of water that can pass through a square metre of fabric in 24hours. Bear in mind though, that the testing protocols aren’t universal and can lack consistency between brands. Usually, you’ll find the breathability ratings to be somewhere between 5k and 20k – with the higher number being a more breathable option.
Shell / Insulation
Another two key factors when it comes to choosing your snowboard outerwear is the fabric and insulation. You can choose between a hard shell, soft shell or an insulated model.
The main benefits of a hardshell is its ability to resist the most extreme weather conditions you’re likely to face on the mountain. The jackets / pants are designed to provide shelter against rain and wind. They’re also designed to be extremely breathable and durable, hence the reason why they’re so often preferred by backcountry enthusiasts.
“You can choose between a hard shell, soft shell or an insulated model”
If you’re looking for something a bit more comfortable, a softshell jacket / pants combo might be more up your street. Softshells often allow for more mobility, whilst also offering a decent amount of waterproofing and breathability.
You can also choose to go with an insulated option. Head over to our best snowboard mid-layer to get the low down on the difference between down and synthetic insulation.
Sustainability and Durability
Choosing more sustainable options has become the norm these days. It’s also, we’re happy to report, something that’s become much popular within the snowboard industry. Brands are putting more effort into producing products sustainably, and this is clear when looking at this season’s outerwear.
When purchasing a new product, you should bear in mind that even though the manufacturing of products has become more sustainable – the key to sustainability lies in the durability of the product itself. It may, for example, be worth spending a bit more money on a jacket that can last you up to five years rather than a cheaper option that might only take you through one season and has to be replaced sooner.
In the end, it’s down to you what you choose to spend your money on. Just make sure that whatever you choose has the right fit, as it’d be a shame if you couldn’t fit an extra layer underneath or the pants started falling off mid-way down the slope.
Best Snowboard Outerwear 2020-2021
- Erik Leon C.O.R.E – Best Resort Jacket and Pants
- Patagonia Snowdrifter –Best Backcountry Jacket and Pants
- 686 Women’s B4BC Gore-Tex Moonlight Jacket
- 686 Gore-Tex Smarty 3-in-1 Weapon Jacket
- Bonfire Aspect 2L Stretch Cordura Jacket
- Bonfire 2L Stretch Cordura Bib Pants
- Nikita Willow Pullover Women’s Jacket
- Nikita B4BC White Pine Texture Women’s Pants
- Oakley TC General 2L 10K Shell Stale Jacket
- Oakley TC Stretchy Softshell Pants