In case you need reminding, snowboarding takes place in an environment that, while incredibly beautiful, can quickly turn into your worst enemy. Things can get pretty brutal on a mountain when the weather closes in, and having the right jacket and pants is absolutely essential.
The things to keep in mind are waterproofing, breathability and insulation. More info can be found in our guide to snowboard outerwear, but the rule of thumb is to get the best specs you can afford, in a style that suits your needs. For example, don’t go buying a technical puffer jacket if you’re only getting away for a week in spring. Likewise a simple coach’s jacket is great fun in warm weather, as well as easy on the wallet, but won’t do for navigating exposed peaks at well below freezing.
"The rule of thumb is to get the best specs you can afford, in a style that suits your needs"
It’s also worth remembering that your outer layer is only part of the equation, and just as much attention should be paid to what’s underneath it. If you’re not sure, bone up on our guide to layering.
We’ve collected the best offerings from 26 of snowboarding’s top outerwear brands – some that cater for specific conditions, or focus solely on one gender, and others that cover the full spectrum. You’ll find every conceivable style and colour scheme in here too, and prices to suit any budget.
For a closer look at some of our top picks, be sure to check out The Snowboard 100. In the meantime, here’s out comprehensive overview of outerwear for 2016/17:
Scroll down to view all snowboard jackets & pants, or skip to a particular brand using the links below
686 | adidas | Atrip | Billabong | Bonfire | Burton | Colour Wear | DaKine | DC | Holden | Homeschool | Horsefeathers | Neff | Nikita | O'Neill | Oakley | Patagonia | Protest | Quiksilver | Rip Curl | Roxy | Sessions | The North Face | Thirty Two | Volcom | Westbeach
Click any picture to enlarge. All photographs by Sami Tuoriniemi
Production: Tom Copsey / Andrew Duthie / Tobias Grünwald / Sam Oetiker / Sami Tuoriniemi
686’s is supposedly taken from ‘personal dates and numbers’ in founder Mike Akira West’s life that ‘all merged together at the perfect time.’ That was back in 1992, and nowadays the outerwear brand is still pushing a blend of fashion-conscious pieces that blend legendary skate and snow styles with modern fabric tech.
More currently, their line for 2016/17 features a full spectrum of shred apparel from Cosmic king Forest Bailey’s signature styles, to Tor Lundström’s all-terrain BYNDxMDLS endeavors, to Freeride World Tour boss Sammy Luebke charging lines in their top range technical GLCR range. If fashion and function bedded down for a night of unprotected passion, 686’s 2016-2017 line could well be the result.
Selected for The Snowboard 100 - take a closer look at the 686 GLCR Hydra Thermagraph snowboard jacket here
Selected for The Snowboard 100 - take a closer look at the 686 Authentic Smarty Cargo snowboard pants here
After establishing their presence within snowboarding a few years ago now, adidas are continuing to push one of the strongest teams in snowboarding – including Kazu Kokubo, Keegan Valaika and Alex Tank – on both their boots and apparel. They regularly send these dude around the globe to shoot inspiring mini-series-after-mini-series, bringing back some of the sweetest looking powder footage going, not to mention epic park-based fun like their Superstar Snow edit last year.
As in previous years, they’ve focused on blending their skate, hip-hop and athletic heritage with crisp designs and tailored cuts that are as practical as they are stylish. For fashionistas, look out for the tracksuit bottom-inspired, especially as they’ll riff with the classic ‘shell toe’ on their Superstar snowboard boot, but there’s also plenty of the way of well-cut technical outerwear that will vie for your credit card’s attention, too.
Halldor Helgason teamed up with the guys at Stigma Distribution to launch his own outerwear and lifestyle brand, dubbed Atrip, at trade shows earlier this year. And contrary to what we were expecting (Halldor has had a fondness for vivid outerwear in the past), the Year 1 Atrip outerwear range is super-understated, stylish and with a mission statement focussing on getting snowboarders in tidy garms at a decent price.
The outerwear side of Atrip for 2016-2017 consists of three jackets and 1 pant model designed to cater to the needs of predominantly in-bounds riders who want their clothing to look as good off the hill as it performs on it. Snowboarders recruited to what Halldor calls the ‘Special Interest Club’ include Ulrik Badertscher and Teddy Koo, but there are also spots for a comedian or two, a rapper and a porn star. And you too can join the #specialinterestclub if you dare…
Named for the Wiradjuri word "bilabaŋ" that means a "creek that runs only during the rainy season," over the years Billabong have expanded from a surf company into everything board sports - from skate to outerwear - showing that despite their name they’re a brand for all seasons.
Great news for the likes Wolle Nyvelt, Bode Merrill and Tadashi Fuse then, all known for bringing elements of our brother sports into their riding. With a signature line from Merrill too that boasts both performance and style, these are clothes for all conditions shredding.
Bonfire have been crafting technical outerwear in the Pacific Northwest for over 25 years, so you can be sure their gear is built to withstand the harshest conditions. After a period of quiet time, they drop back in with a bang and a renewed focus on providing quality, durable outerwear for the discerning all-mountain snowboarder - a fact that’s reinforced when you look at the team they assembled, which includes the likes of Dustin Craven, Johnny Brady and Beau Bishop.
Bonfire offer three lines – a top-end Platinum range (20/15k waterproofness/breathability), a more price-conscious Gold range (still 15/10k) and a broad range of women’s specific outerwear that echoes the feature-laden tech specs of the men’s. All are wrapped up in the classic snowboard style synonymous with the brand. As they say, their outerwear is “Tried. Tested. True."
What with being easily the biggest snowboard company out there, you’d think the Big B would be able to take it easy and sit back on their laurels. Not so - over the last few years, on top of creating a massive range of outerwear, Jake’s team have been pushing the sustainable side of their business, even going so far as to recycle bottles into water-resistant fabrics, as well as getting 75% of its outerwear bluesign-approved.
Burton have been in the game since God was a boy, so it’s safe to say all their gear is littered with snowboard-specific features and cuts. Stylistically the full spectrum is covered here too; from the no-nonsense pinnacle tech of [ak] to their assorted printed Gore-Tex options, to street-styled numbers you’ll see the likes of Danny Davis in, whatever boxes you have will be ticked by Burton’s collection. They’ve once again managed to produce pants and jackets for every level and style of rider.
Selected for The Snowboard 100 - take a closer look at the Burton [ak] 2l Swash snowboard jacket here
Selected for The Snowboard 100 - take a closer look at the Burton [ak] 2l Swash snowboard pants here
If there’s one nation that knows good design, it’s the Swedes. Exploding out of almost nowhere, Colour Wear – or CLWR as it is often abbreviated – has become one of the most visible brands on the hill in Europe due to their bold-but-subtle block colours, white accenting and tasty pricing.
With a two-tiered approach to the level of protection from the elements, there’s enough scope in their offerings to cater for your needs, budget and aesthetic preference demands.
A bunch of ambassadors spread the Colour Wear word, including the likes of Mario Käppeli and Kjersti Buaas amongst what they refer to as their ‘family’. Their UK team includes Jamie Trinder, Lewis Sonvico and Will Gilmore, so they're keeping domes and slopes all over the world CLR-ful!
Meaning ‘The Kind’ in native Hawaii, where they were originally founded, DaKine produce a range of clothes and accessories for a multitude of action sports. Most famously known for their backpacks, their outerwear is definitely worth a look if you spend any time at all off piste - especially as they are one of the few brands that have a women's’ range that’s both technical and stylish.
It’s no nonsense, functional gear that you can depend on to get the job done, but in recent years the range has benefitted from having the legendary Peter Line as the lead designer. Perennial WL favourite Annie Boulanger has a place in their international snow team, alongside Louif Paradis, Victor Daviet and Elias Elhardt - some of the very best snowboarders on the planet right now.
As well as netting one of the world’s best skate teams, DC hold their own on snow with the likes of Torstein Horgmo, Devun Walsh, Iikka Backstrom and Ryan Tiene rocking full neck-to-deck gear from the Huntington Beach-based brand.
Never shy of being bold, the designs for this season mix up classic in-your-face DC with some more subtle approaches, guaranteeing that DC outerwear will always remain a perennial favourite with the UK & European markets. Their gear is perfect for riders that spend most of their time lapping the park, but still want to be warm and dry when they venture off piste to shape a powder booter.
Established in 2002 by former pro rider Mikey LeBlanc, Holden quickly found favour amongst a section of snowboarding who demand that their outerwear not only keeps the weather out, but looks damn fine too. Explained in terms of simple mathematics, fashion + function = Holden.
Their range for 2016 carries on their commitment to the aesthetic, with a collection that is based on the ethos of 'Timeless Quality'. So what you'll find is outerwear that's built for harsh mountain environments but that has been designed with long-lasting style in mind, along with tailored fits, high-quality fabrics and a dedication to making the manufacturing process as eco-friendly as possible.
“Designed in the North West… If it works here, it works anywhere." That’s what Homeschool - a small, independent outerwear brand from Portland - have to say about their products, built to take whatever Mt Hood and Mt Baker have to throw at them during the deep, stormy winter months.
They’re also focused on ecological design, using materials like 37.5 Tech, which uses fibres derived from coconut husks that give natural wicking properties as well as a smaller environmental footprint. Having handled the stuff, we can safely testify that this is kit designed for snowboarders, by snowboarders.
Born in Canada but now based in the Czech Republic, Horsefeathers launched in 1989 to provide everything from tees for skating to jackets for the hill. This season sees them pulling in a whole bunch of designs and fabrics to create one of the most distinct collections with a unique colour pallette.
With the likes of Icelandic wizard Eiki Helgason and UK legend Tyler Chorlton joining the Horsefeathers family in recent years, you know the outerwear will have been fully stress-tested in all kinds of situations – from the streets to the backcountry and everywhere in between.
Although Neff are primarily a boardsports lifestyle brand, they reserve a special team for those that they regards as ‘icons’ - therefore putting the likes of Kazu Kokubo, Tim Humphreys and Scotty Lago in amongst a variety of stars such as Wiz Kahlifa, Damian Marley, Deadmau5 and Snoop Dogg.
Whilst they’re best known for their hats and gloves, they also make a range of fun snowboard outerwear - you might best remember their striking burger jacket from a couple of winters back. This year it’s slightly more reeled in, with a mix of understated tones, camo and bold block colours, but there’s still a softshell printed with palm trees at sunset should you feel the need to turn heads.
No, not the 1985 song by Elton John... Nikita is an Icelandic women’s activewear brand founded in 1994 by Heida Brigisdottir, and whilst their headquarters have since shifted to Portland, Oregon (naturally), all their design still takes place in Reykjavik.
That blend of Pacific Northwest style meeting the freezing winters of the North Atlantic is what gives Nikita clothing such a great mix of fashion and functionality, keeping women active on the hill without layering them up in garish mountaineering colours.
For the coming winter, their designs have evolved from their signature block prints to micro details and interesting printed patterns to stay on point, whilst their fabric tech has also taken a huge leap forward.
Back in 1952, Jack O’Neill changed the surfing game by creating the first ever neoprene wetsuit, then decades later his son Pat came up with and developed the leash. With riders like Sebastian Toutant, Jeremy Jones and Fredrik Evensen onboard the snow team these days, that sense of boundary pushing and innovation still runs deep.
For 2015/16 their range includes just about everything: from ‘entry level’ lines that boast friendly block colours at low price points, to bang-on-rend stylings complemented with 20K/20K fabrics. You’ll be sure to see a lot of their mid/park ranges this year too, as Toots is guaranteed to be battling it out over the course of the many tours taking place this winter.
Pop fact: the element that features in James Cameron’s blockbuster Avatar - Unobtanium - was actually invented by Oakley founder James Jannard in 1975, using it to create and sell unique motorcycle grips. By 1983 he was also selling ski goggles, and these days they count snowboarding outerwear amongst their vast list of products.
Oakley’s outerwear offering for this season encompasses everything from basic entry level gear that will get the job done, to top-end Gore-Tex pieces infused with their proprietary ‘Biozone’ insulation system. Global superstar Stale Sandbech has his own street-styled signature line, as does new recruit Jamie Anderson on the women’s side, and their pieces can always be relied on to feature great cuts, fabrics and stylish patterns.
Set up by Yvon Chouinard in 1973, Patagonia is much more than just another apparel brand - it’s a movement. Along with the aim of making some of the most technical and high-performance outerwear out there, all of their products are built with an environmental conscious and are designed to last years. It’s not uncommon to meet Pataguch converts who’ve been riding the same gear for over a decade!
Basically, if you’re after no-nonsense outerwear that’s also ethical, look no further. And don’t let the price tag put you off either: an expensive jacket that lasts five seasons is cheaper than five that only last for one! Plus, a large percentage of all sales profits go towards environmental campaigns - since 1985 Patagonia has donated $46 million in cash and in-kind donations to domestic and international grassroots environmental groups.
This boardsports brand hailing from the Netherlands has been ‘Protesting To Get There’ since 1993, being founded by a small collective of snowboard-stoked flatlanders. Protest pride themselves as being a ‘design-led’ company with a team of 16 designers and a broad network of partners from the fashion and textile industry allowing them to work with cutting-edge technologies and trends, but as equally important is ensuring their product is affordable for the masses yet performs for the core.
Their team spans the likes of big mountain splitboard fanatic Miikka Hast to long-serving all-round ripper Aymeric Tonin, and a bunch of up-and-coming Euros who’ll road test their outerwear in all manner of conditions. “Our goal is to make our clothes accessible to as many boarders as possible," they say – an M.O. that’s represented in the price points and designs of their 2016/2017 range.
One of the most iconic logos in board sports, the Quiksilver mountain-and-wave inspired by The Great Wave off Kanawaga remains completely unchanged since it was introduced in 1969. Over the last 40 or so years the Australian-founded, American-based brand has done more than most to amalgamate the surfing and snowboarding worlds, bridging the gap between the two sister sports.
Boasting a team with the likes of Bryan Fox and the little-known Travis Rice (who you might see a bit of this season thanks to his new movie The Fourth Phase), their 2015/16 range aims to keep you warm and dry as well as comfortably stylish. With a good range of decent styles that won’t break the bank, Quiksilver is always a good shout for snowboarders of any ability.
Originally a surfboard brand founded back in 1969, Rip Curl soon switched to producing wetsuits that used scuba-diving tech in a way that made it suitable for surfing. That cross-heritage design process is still alive in the company today; just check out the top-loading dive suit style one-piece they’ve produced for this season’s collection.
As well as Freeride World Tour champ Emilien Badoux, the winter team boasts names like Nils Arvidsson, Nate Johnstone and Carlos Gerber, a thirst for powder uniting them all. They’re obviously well catered for, as their top-of-the-range ‘Ultimate Gum’ collection all comes with 20K waterproofing as standard, as well as easy-pull zips and innovative venting systems.
One of the original female-only snowboard brands, Roxy has had an annual snow range since 1997 - as well as its hardwear products which are now coming into their thirteenth winter. In addition to Olympic gold medalist and Whitelines favourite Torah Bright, the Roxy snow team also boasts double-dipping-and-flipping Brits Katie Ormerod and Aimee Fuller and is overall one of the strongest girls teams out there.
Roxy outerwear is always easily recognisable thanks to the palettes and shapes that it brings in from both the surf and highstreet worlds - if you’re after some togs that’ll make you look good and feel confident on the hill then their full range is well worth a look.
Established in 1983, Sessions have had a long and influential role in snowboarding for over 30 years. After establishing a snowboard shop of the same name, founder Joel Gomez quickly turned his hand to making outerwear, and before long his clothing had become a household name thanks to the likes of Jamie Lynn repping the Sessions threads.
Today, Sessions has been reinvigorated by a team – including Scotty Vine, Jesse Paul and Ryland West – to showcase their new range, which is predominantly made up of classic, functionsal freestyle snowboard mountainwear. After a couple of years’ hiatus on this side of the pond, it’s sure good to see the iconic S star back.
The North Face
When you talk about proper freeriding - adventure, the tour, big mountains, Xavier De Le Rue - The North Face is more often than not one of the brands that will spring to mind. They have a long, proud history of making some damn fine technical outerwear for people that are serious about staying protected from the mountain elements.
But in recent years they’ve been making a push into the less high-alpine areas of snowboarding, too, as the signings of Kaitlyn Farrington, Blake Paul and, recently, Victor De Le Rue attest. Featuring lightweight tech and heavy-duty waterproofing, this season’s collection from TNF has been designed to have your back in almost any conditions.
Founded in 1995 by the same brand that owns Etnies skate shoes, ThirtyTwo have now survived twenty years in the snowboarding industry - despite being mislabeled as “23" in the first ever issue of Whitelines! As well as working on the normal line of boots and a full movie this year, they’ve still managed to come up with their usual stylish selection of outerwear ready for 2016/17.
The ThirtyTwo team is one of the broadest and deepest snowboarding teams out there, with backcountry legends like Jeremy Jones sitting right alongside the likes of the creativity fountain that is Scott Stevens, the street smarts of Toni Kerkelä. And that translates into the levels of outerwear they offer up – there’s everything from 3-layer mountainwear, to water-repellent streetwear and everything in between.
Volcom was founded by two surf/snow bums Richard ‘Wooly’ Woolcott and Tucker ‘T-Dawg’ Hall back in 1991, and despite multi-billion dollar success it still remains ‘True To This’. The recent tri-boardsports movie of the same name is one of our team’s favourite shred films of the last few years. Their snow team is stacked full of some of our favorite riders too – Terje Haakonsen, Jamie Lynn, Markus Keller, Arthur Longo, Christy Prior, Bryan Iguchi… – and is one of the very few that really deserve the modern phrase ‘all time’.
One of the few brands that have somehow tamed tech materials into something that not only performs great but also looks sick, their range this year is tailored to all styles and wallets. From backcountry Gore-Tex to urban shirts and hoods, it’s no wonder that all-terrain destroyer Pat Moore not only heads up the Stone Crew, but also has a signature line this winter.
Starting out in a humble shed in Calgary in 1979, Westbeach have evolved with snowboarding through its tight days, neon days, XXXL days and more to where they are now: producing a range of stylish yet functional outerwear and accessories for riders that are tested by its team in the challenging conditions of British Columbia. And it’s all 100% made for snowboarding.
Style-wise for the coming season, they offer everything from classic, clean silhouettes, military-inspired designs, street-look offerings and even a couple of ponchos (including a few retro numbers that will stoke your inner 90s fire). With a 30K BC Series for men, along with 20K and 10K ranges for men and women, there’s something for everyone in Westbeach’s 2016/2017 line.