The 8 Best Boys' Ski Jackets of 2021

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The Rundown

Best Overall: Obermeyer Orb Jacket at Amazon

"A no-brainer, season-long investment."

Best Value: Columbia Alpine Action II at Backcountry

"Will keep you warm and dry at a great price point."

Best Hard Shell: Shred Dog Duke Hard Shell at Shred Dog

"Embodies the best in hard shell technology."

Best for Freeskiing: Helly Hansen K Rider 2 at Amazon

"Has a relaxed fit to avoid constriction during high-flying aerials and park tricks."

Best Insulated: Volcom Vernon at Amazon

"Employs 100 grams of Polyfill insulation."

Best for Versatility: The North Face Boys’ Vortex Triclimate at Amazon

"Uses layers to create the ideal protection based on the climate."

Best Style: Patagonia Snowshot Jacket at Backcountry

"Reflects the brand’s dedication to making high-quality products in an eco-friendly way."

Best Splurge: Spyder Leader Jacket at Backcountry

"The kind of true workhorse that’ll power through any condition."

Finding the perfect boys' ski jacket can prove to be a surprisingly complex affair. You need the basics, of course: high-tech fabrics that deliver protection against the snow, insulation for day-long comfort on the slopes, and a slew of ski-specific features like helmet-friendly detachable hoods, powder skirts, dedicated ski pass pockets, and sleeves with secure closures to seal out the elements. But you also have to weigh the ever-subjective element of style—and as any parent will tell you, it’s important that kids stay warm, but they all want to look cool, too. And of course, you want a jacket that’ll last more than one season.

Thankfully, the dominant style these days still leans towards the baggy, so you can get a jacket that fits loosely one season, and allows the tyke to grow into it over the coming years. Beyond that, consider your typical day on the slopes and make your selection based on those conditions and how they typically ski.

Hard chargers that tackle all conditions—blizzard-dense snowfall as well as rain or sleet (the bane of most East Coast skiers)—should look for jackets that come with elastic or Velcro cuffs and wind-seal hoods, as well as waterproof zippers and deep, insulated hand-warming pockets. Those that like to chase the virtual badges and track their stats via resort apps, meanwhile, would benefit from jackets with loads of waterproof pockets. The more casual spring skier, meanwhile, can likely get by with a jacket that doesn’t carry loads of insulation. Some jackets even offer the best of both worlds, with interchangeable systems that give you an inner insulated layer integrated into a bomber outer shell, so you can wear them both—or just one—as the weather changes. Still need some helpful pointers when it comes to which one to buy for your child? We've got you covered.

Read on to find the best boys' ski jackets available. 

01 of 08

Best Overall: Obermeyer Orb Jacket

Obermeyer Kids Boy's Orb Jacket (Toddler/Little Kids/Big Kids) Tee Time 8 Big Kids
What We Like
  • Water-proof

  • Breathable

  • Sleeves can be lengthened

What We Don't Like
  • Only one color option

Dubbed a “fast alpine” jacket by Aspen-based Obermeyer, the Orb packs in features without costing as much as other high-tech jackets on the market. You get the brand’s proprietary waterproof-breathable laminate on the outer shell, partnered with 200 grams of insulation that’ll keep you dry and warm without overheating. Integrated reflective trim ensures safety when it gets dark, while a powder skirt will keep the deep stuff out from inside the jacket. A hood helps keep in heat and shake off fresh snowfall, and a compass is integrated within the right chest pocket. In addition to that pocket as well as two zippered hand pockets, the Orb also has one internal pocket and clips integrated at the sleeves for their gloves. Best of all, the sleeves can be lengthened 1.5 inches thanks to Obermeyer’s “I-Grow” Extended Wear System, making this a no-brainer, season-long investment.

02 of 08

Best Value: Columbia Alpine Action II

Columbia Alpine Action II

Backcountry

What We Like
  • Affordable

  • Ajustable

  • Durable

What We Don't Like
  • Could use more pockets

With a great price point, Columbia’s Alpine Action II will keep you warm and dry. For the last decade, Columbia has doubled-down on tech innovations, and it shows in spades with the Alpine Action II. It includes their “Omni-Heat” thermal reflective lining—silver dots that bounce back body heat, while offering breathability through the under fabric to keep things from getting clammy. This is partnered with Columbia’s waterproof/breathable outer shell and fully sealed seams to keep you dry and comfortable in everything from a deep freeze to a spring thaw. It also comes with an adjustable powder skirt and hood, dedicated pockets for media, ski passes, and goggles (as well as additional internal and external pockets), a drop tail to provide additional coverage on the backside, and adjustable cuffs. And the jacket also includes Columbia’s Outgrown system, which allows you to extend the sleeve length by 1.5 inches.

03 of 08

Best Hard Shell: Shred Dog Duke Hard Shell

Shred Dog Duke Hard Shell

 Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Durable

  • Breathable

  • Adjustable

What We Don't Like
  • Bulky

Shred Dog’s sole focus is on creating outdoor apparel specifically for the hard-charging, adventurous youth who roam the resorts and parklands. And, they sell their products directly to customers, which avoids retail mark-up without skimping on features. Their signature Duke embodies the best in hard shell technology, including fully taped seams, a 15K/15K waterproof/breathable outer layer, and zippered underarm vents to help quickly release heat. As is true with hard shells, it’s specifically designed to keep you dry in wet, warmer conditions (think East Coast skiing in the spring), but its roomy fit allows for easy layering, and the jacket integrates seamlessly with Shred Dog’s Malamute Insulator jacket. Unlike other jackets, which typically require you to remove threading to extend the sleeves, the Duke’s Adjust-a-Fit system uses a button process that lets you lengthen the sleeve or return them to their original length.

04 of 08

Best for Freeskiing: Helly Hansen K Rider 2

What We Like
  • High visibility

  • All the bells and whistles

  • Comfortable

What We Don't Like
  • Runs small

This best-selling boy's ski jacket has a relaxed fit to avoid constriction during high-flying aerials and park tricks. The jacket boasts full breathable waterproof protection against the elements and a network of Primaloft insulation that keeps things toasty without overheating. Kids will also appreciate a built-in sleeve for ski passes, chin guard, built-in powder skirt, and a wide network of pockets, while parents will love the high-vis hood color that’ll make it easy to find kids in deep snow or crowded lift lines.

Continue to 5 of 8 below.
05 of 08

Best Insulated: Volcom Vernon

What We Like
  • Adjustable

  • Easy to move in

  • Warm

What We Don't Like
  • No armpit vents

  • Goofy pockets

Colder months require a jacket that’ll keep you warm on the lift without overheating during turns. Volcom’s Vernon employs 100 grams of Polyfill insulation to do just that, with a robust waterproof/breathable outer and taped seams to seal out the elements. The hood is helmet-compatible, one in a long list of resort-friendly features like a pass pocket with a leash, a day ticket ring, brushed tricot-lined hand-warmer pockets, and an adjustable powder skirt that zips into most Volcom ski pants for snow-tight protection. Even more, Grow-Tech lets you lengthen the jacket's sleeves.

06 of 08

Best for Versatility: The North Face Boys’ Vortex Triclimate

What We Like
  • Three-piece

  • Breathable

  • Functional

What We Don't Like
  • Inner sleeves don't always stay in place

  • Not good for husky kids

Three layering systems for the price of one, the Vortex Triclimate from The North Face features a decades-long tradition of using layers to create the ideal protection based on the climate. It includes a waterproof/breathable outer shell with a DWR coating that’s been lab-tested for durability and function, along with an inner layer of 258-gram, fleece insulation wrapped in a polyester taffeta. Zip the latter into the shell on ice-cold days for bomber protection, sport the shell solo on wet spring days, or don the insulated layer during après. You also get all the other necessary ski-centric trappings including hand pockets, adjustable cuffs, an ID pocket, and an adjustable hem.

07 of 08

Best Style: Patagonia Snowshot Jacket

Patagonia Snowshot Jacket BUY FROM BACKCOUNTRY.COM

 Courtesy of Back Country

What We Like
  • High-quality

  • Removable hood

  • Water repellent

What We Don't Like
  • Not as warm as other coats

The Snowshot from Patagonia is a subdued, simple jacket that reflects the brand’s dedication to making high-quality products in an eco-friendly way. A full-featured ski jacket, it includes a two-layer mini-herringbone polyester shell with a waterproof/breathable barrier, DWR (durable water repellent) finish, and fully taped seams to lock out moisture without overheating. Inside, 150-gram recycled-poly insulation keeps the skier warm—even when wet, with a waterproof main zipper and a full-length internal wind flap. The hood snaps off when the layer proves to be overkill, while an internal elastic gusset tightens the fit over your helmet. A slight drop tail adds extra support on the backside, while a powder skirt will keep loose snow from crawling up your chest or back. Pockets for hand-warming, media, and your ski pass are also included, and the grow-fit feature adds an additional two inches to the sleeves.

08 of 08

Best Splurge: Spyder Leader Jacket

Spyder Leader Jacket

Courtesy of Backcountry 

What We Like
  • Breathable

  • All the bells and whistles

  • Durable

What We Don't Like
  • Hood doesn't fit over helmet

  • Runs small

The Leader ski jacket from Spyder ranks as one of the most expensive jackets in the market. But if your kid plans on skiing every day during the season, it’s the kind of true workhorse that’ll power through any condition, from deep-freeze, deep-powder dumps to warm spring runs. It’s one of the few jackets that use DWR, which keeps the wearer warm and dry, thanks to its award-winning waterproof/breathable layer, added to the stretchy poly outer shell. Insulation comes from 133 grams of Primaloft Black Eco that keeps things warm even in wet conditions, and a removable, helmet-compatible hood with an inner gaiter that assures optimal fit. It also includes a fixed powder skirt, along with a dedicated inner pocket for goggles, as well as three zippered outer pockets, a dedicated data card pocket, and an internal mesh pocket for grab-and-go carrying efficiency.

Final Verdict

After tirelessly scouring the web and weighing the various pros and cons, we've determined that the Obermeyer Orb Jacket is the best ski jacket for boys. Beyond being more affordable than some of the other high-end picks on the list, it's stellar for it's waterproof, but breathable outer shell. And the "I-Grow" feature means it will literally go the distance. Though if you're ok with dropping some serious dough, the Spyder Leader Jacket is another phenomenal choice, especially if you're the kind of family that hits the slopes every weekend.

What to Look for in Boy's Ski Jackets

Price

If your kid is planning on doing a lot of skiing (or if this coat will double as their everyday winter jacket), it's worth spending a bit more for something that's proven to be durable. On the other hand, if you live somewhere warm and won't ski very often, you could probably make due with something more budget friendly, especially if your child will grow out of it by next season.

Fit

Generally speaking, ski jackets are meant to move with your body, not constrict it. That being said, there are really three main fits: slim, regular, and loose (though different brands might have slightly different naming variations for those). The mentality is that the tighter the fit, the more streamlined you'll be going down the mountain. Unless your kid is skiing competitively, you can opt for whatever they feel most comfortable in. One other thing to note: The looser the fit, the more room for layers.

Features

Beyond what you'd normally expect to be a part of a coat (pockets, zippers, a hood, etc.), there are some other elements to consider that help make ski jackets more functional. Some of those include clips integrated at the sleeves for their gloves, snow skirts, dedicated pass pockets, protective padding, and grow-fit features, among others.

FAQs

Are all ski jackets waterproof?

Usually, yes. Though some are better than others. Look for phrases like “Gore-Tex Pro” and “DWR” (Durable Water Repellant) coating on labels and in online descriptions. Generally it costs a bit more for that level of waterproofing, but it's worth it, especially with kids who are quick to have meltdowns.

Are snow skirts necessary?

Snow skirts are elastic waistbands, attached with a snap closure, located inside the jacket. They're meant to keep snow from entering inside the jacket while playing in the snow. They're not necessarily essential, but they're good for kids who are prone to falling down or sitting in a snow pile.

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