TripSavvy Trip Planning The 12 Best Snowboard Jackets of 2021 Find the perfect jacket for how and where you ride By Justin Park Justin Park Syracuse University Justin Park has been working as a sports, fitness, and hunting/outdoors journalist for 20 years. He reviews outdoor gear for TripSavvy, like ski equipment and inflatable paddle boards. TripSavvy's editorial guidelines Updated on 08/27/21 Share Pin Email Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links. The Rundown Best Overall: Burton [ak] GORE-TEX Swash Jacket at Amazon "A staple of Burton’s expedition-grade AK line for years and a perfect year-round jacket." Best Budget: REI Co-op Powderbound Jacket at REI "A modestly priced jacket with a relaxed fit, insulation, and solid waterproofing and breathability." Best Splurge: Volcom Owl 3-in-1 Jacket at Backcountry "Add just enough insulation to the popular Alpha jacket and you have a versatile, lightweight jacket for almost any ski day." Best for Women: Volcom Aris Women's Snowboard Jacket at Amazon "A versatile jacket ready for any conditions and cut specifically for women." Best for Kids: DC Defy Kids' Snowboard Jacket at Amazon "A light jacket meant to breathe when heading uphill but roomy enough for layers to stay warm on a cold ski resort day." Best Fitted: Arc'teryx Cassiar Jacket at Amazon "A more tailored fit like a ski jacket, but stretch to ensure freedom of movement." Best for the Backcountry: Bonfire Aspect 2L Stretch Cordura Jacket at Evo "This is a serious shell with no insulation. You're the maker of your own layering destiny." Best for Extreme Cold: L1 Aftershock Insulated Jacket at Amazon "If you want to avoid being cold at all costs, this jacket pairs style with extra insulation for a down puffy feel." Best for Spring: Burton AK Dispatcher Jacket at Amazon "When temps get high and weather is unpredictable, this packable waterproof jacket can be ready when you need it." Most Eco-Friendly: Picture Organic Anton Jacket at Evo "Picture’s Anton Jacket is a pullover-style made from sugar industry waste products with lots of features beyond sustainability." Best for Terrain Park: 686 GLCR 3-Layer Pike Hooded Jacket at Backcountry “Pullover style and roomy cut gives you space for movement when spinning and jibbing.” Best for Casual Wear: The North Face McMurdo Parka at The North Face "Streetwear-styled with a fur-lined hood, but plenty of performance for occasional ski trips.” Compared to skiing, snowboard gear can be a bit more affordable, especially when it comes to boards and boots. While snowboard outerwear companies may not hit the ultra-high-end that luxury ski jacket companies do, there is still a wide range of styles and prices to wade through. Truth: There’s no “best” snowboard jacket for every rider. So it’s important to evaluate things such as how often you’ll go, what types of weather and riding you need to be prepared for, and how much you're willing to spend. In that spirit, we present our picks for the best jackets across a range of categories so you can find the perfect jacket for you. Best Overall: Burton [ak] GORE-TEX Swash Jacket Courtesy of Amazon Buy on Amazon Buy on Burton.com What We Like Top-of-the-line waterproofing Breathable Durable What We Don't Like Expensive Material: GORE-TEX 2L, 200D nylon | Insulation: 60-grams PrimaLoft | Warranty: Lifetime Burton is the most iconic brand in snowboarding. The AK line is their expedition-grade collection which delivers top-of-the-line waterproofing, breathability, and durability. The Swash jacket has a modest 60 grams of insulation around your core which still allows you to layer but provides a baseline amount of warmth. Best Budget: REI Co-op Powderbound Jacket Courtesy of REI Buy on REI What We Like 2L waterproofing membrane Breathable Affordable What We Don't Like Unknown durability Material: Nylon | Insulation: 80-grams/60-grams synthetic polyester | Powder skirt: Yes REI’s house brand usually delivers quality at a modest—albeit not bargain-basement—price. The Powderbound jacket is no different. Minimal branding lets the jacket’s simple style shine. And the roomy fit with a fixed hood that’s helmet-compatible is a good balance for most riders. The 80 grams of synthetic insulation in the core prioritizes warmth where it matters and scales back to 60 grams in the arms to minimize bulk and allow movement while still keeping you warm. The 11 Best Snowboard Boots of 2021 Best Splurge: Volcom Owl 3-in-1 Jacket Courtesy of Volcom Buy on Backcountry.com Buy on Volcom.com What We Like Complete layering system Breathable Stylish What We Don't Like Expensive Only 2-year warranty Material: 3L ripstop taffeta and Nylon | Insulation: 600-fill goose down | Warranty: 2 years Three-in-one jackets are popular at the lower end of the snowboard jacket category for their simplicity and since you don’t have to make separate purchasing decisions on your layers. Volcom has taken the proven concept to the top shelf and created a self-contained layering system jacket for the most demanding riders. Unlike some lesser zip-in insulating layers that use cheap fleece, the Owl uses a 600-fill goose down inner jacket for serious warmth when you need it and the ability to zip it out and breathe when you don’t. Best for Women: Volcom Aris Women's Snowboard Jacket Courtesy of Amazon Buy on Amazon Buy on The-house.com Buy on Volcom.com What We Like High-performance weatherproofing Fitted for women What We Don't Like No insulation Material: 2L GORE-TEX and Polyester | Insulation: No | Warranty: 2-year Do you need a women's-specific jacket for snowboarding? While women can certainly wear men’s or unisex gear, Leanne Wren, owner of VNTRbirds, a women's adventure company, says, “Women-specific jackets account for hips and chest without having to just keep sizing up and up and up in the men's. They’re also often longer to keep women warm where they feel cold the most—around their butt!” The Aris also features all the same tech you’d expect from a high-end men’s jacket from seam-sealing, waterproof zippers to top-of-the-line Gore-Tex weatherproofing and breathability. Bonus for using PFC-free DWR. Best for Kids: DC Defy Kids' Snowboard Jacket Courtesy of Amazon Buy on Amazon Buy on The-house.com What We Like Solid weatherproofing Insulated What We Don't Like May be too warm for spring days Material: Polyester | Insulation: 120-grams body | Warranty: 1-year limited Buying snow outerwear for kids is a balance between value and performance since they may outgrow a jacket in a season. The Defy jacket from DC delivers weatherproofing and serious warmth while still keeping costs under $100. It also has style which will help keep your mini-shreds happy in addition to warm and dry. There are lots of cool patterns and colorways to choose from as well giving them a chance to find their own unique look. Best Fitted: Arc'teryx Cassiar Jacket Courtesy Arc'teryx Buy on Amazon What We Like High-performance weatherproofing Fitted What We Don't Like Expensive Material: 3L GORE-TEX | Insulation: No | Warranty: Product lifespan Many snowboarders prize freedom of movement and the slack and relaxed fit and look. But not all of them. If you, like snowboarding legend Shaun White, are looking for a more fitted jacket, you can look at brands such as Arc’teryx that are traditionally more popular with skiers but provide top-of-the-line weatherproofing. The Cassiar jacket isn’t Arc’teryx’s snuggest fit, but it’s a streamlined 3L Gore-Tex shell that lets you tackle your own layering and use this jacket year-round. It comes with the brand’s reputation for long-lasting performance in outerwear backed by a limited product lifespan warranty. The 9 Best Snowboard Gloves Best for the Backcountry: Bonfire Aspect 2L Stretch Cordura Jacket Courtesy of Evo Buy on Evo.com What We Like High-performance weatherproofing Backcountry-specific features What We Don't Like Pricey Material: 2L stretch Cordura | Insulation: No | Warranty: Limited lifetime Bonfire teamed with Great Northern Powder Guides to create a jacket designed especially for deep snow and backcountry touring. The 30K waterproofing rating and 18K breathability are nearly as good as it gets and essential for keeping weather out and letting body moisture escape. We also love features like a dedicated avalanche beacon pocket and radio pocket with wiring route. This is a serious shell and that doesn’t offer any insulation. You're the maker of your own layering destiny. Best for Extreme Cold: L1 Aftershock Insulated Jacket Courtesy of Backcountry Buy on Amazon Buy on Backcountry.com What We Like Solid weatherproofing Heavily insulated What We Don't Like May be overkill for hotter days Material: DWR-coated polyester | Insulation: 150-grams synthetic polyester | Warranty: 1-year limited The Aftershock Jacket from L1 is built like a down puffy but with a rugged waterproof and breathable exterior to keep you both warm and dry in the coldest conditions. L1 goes hard on insulation, filling it with 150 grams of synthetic polyester, which is about double what most insulated snowboard jackets provide. Still, the Aftershock boasts an impressive 20K breathability rating and underarm venting that comes up from the hem of the jacket to blow wide open and offering cooling. Best for Spring: Burton AK Dispatcher Jacket Courtesy of Burton Buy on Amazon Buy on Burton.com What We Like Weatherproof Packable What We Don't Like Limited application Material: DWR-coated nylon | Insulation: No | Warranty: Limited lifetime When the snow’s still fun but the spring sun makes it feel like summer, a jacket can feel pretty optional. The packable, ultralight Dispatcher is a jacket you can stuff in your pocket and only use when you really need it—like when an afternoon spring storm comes out of nowhere with heavy rain. While it may feel like a specialty jacket that only gets used a few times a year, this can double as a summer biking and hiking jacket as it can be easily carried in a small daypack. The 7 Best Snowboard Goggles of 2021 Most Eco-Friendly: Picture Organic Anton Jacket Courtesy of Evo Buy on Evo.com What We Like Weatherproof Stylish Eco-friendly What We Don't Like Pullover makes on/off harder Material: Bio-sourced/recycled polyester | Insulation: 40-grams | Warranty: 2-year limited) The outdoor industry has made great strides in greening its manufacturing practices. But no brand prioritizes eco-conscious sourcing and production quite like France-based industry greenhorn (pun intended), Picture Organic. A certified B Corp, their fabrics come from sugar industry waste. We're all about sustainability. But we also like performance. Picture Organic marries the two perfectly, which is why we're all about this jacket. The Anton combines a throwback pullover style with a deep chest zip and a roomy fit. It also pairs serious weatherproofing in the shell with light insulation inside for a balanced jacket to meet most conditions head-on. Best for Terrain Park: 686 GLCR 3-Layer Pike Hooded Jacket Courtesy of 686 Buy on Amazon Buy on Backcountry.com Buy on 686.com What We Like Weatherproof Stylish Relaxed fit and stretch What We Don't Like Pullover makes on/off harder Material: InfiDry 3L membrane | Insulation: No | Warranty: 1-year limited This pullover hoodie delivers casual sweatshirt-like style in a performance shell wrapper for a jacket that looks cool but also delivers protection when you need it. The DWR and one-way membrane keep precipitation out while letting you shed moisture from within the jacket. In addition to a relaxed fit and longer sleeves, the fabric has built-in stretch to ensure your movement isn’t restricted when you’re contorting yourself in the park. Best for Casual Wear: The North Face McMurdo Parka Courtesy of The North Face Buy on Backcountry.com Buy on Thenorthface.com Buy on REI What We Like Weatherproof Stylish What We Don't Like Down fill is too much for warmer ski days Material: DryVent 2L nylon | Insulation: 550-fill goose down | Warranty: Lifetime limited Buying a dedicated, expensive ski jacket can be tough to swallow if you only intend to get out for a few days each season. In that case, consider a winter jacket like the McMurdo that is street-ready enough to double as your everyday winter coat as well as your occasional-use ski jacket. The zip-off faux fur-trimmed hood gives style and protection, but the 2L membrane keeps wind and weather at bay both on the slopes and on the street. Down insulation might be overkill for warm ski days but provides the warmth you need for less strenuous activities such as walking to work. What to Look For in a Snowboard Jacket Fit While it won’t show up on any of the spec sheets about a jacket, fit is likely the most important feature to consider with any jacket. If you can, try jackets on at your local shop. But if not, make sure to take the time to measure yourself and use online sizing charts specific to the jackets you’re considering. “Snowboarding has a lot of movement involved so you want something that you don't feel restricted in," advises Wren, wo is also a buyer for Underground Snowboards in Breckenridge, Colorado. "To make sure the sleeves are the right length, hold your hands out in front of you while you're wearing the jacket. Do the sleeves still cover the top of your hands? Great!” Waterproofing While waterproofing and breathability ratings aren’t standardized, they can be a good shorthand for how weatherproof a jacket might be. Level of weatherproofing will matter more or less depending on where you tend to ski. If like me, you ski primarily in high-elevation mountains like the Rockies where snow is dry and cold, a baseline waterproofing is usually plenty. If you ski on either coast where rain and heavy wet snows are more common, you may want to prioritize higher waterproofing and breathability ratings. The minimum rating for both waterproofing and breathability is 10,000. Brand names like Gore-Tex or one of the brand-specific membranes such as The North Face’s DryVent are markers of at least decent weatherproofing. Insulation More casual riders should consider getting a jacket with at least some insulation since they are probably less practiced at dialing in their perfect custom layering system. Three-in-one jackets like our Best Splurge pick from Volcom are a great choice for newer snowboarders because they give you options while taking the guesswork out of choosing layers. Core insulation in the 60- to 80-gram range is a good balance of warmth and breathability. Keep in mind that while you don’t want to be cold, going overboard with insulation can lead to moisture build-up inside the jacket which can make you even colder. Warranty Every warranty is different. And every company handles warranty requests differently. You can read reports from customers who have gone through a given company’s warranty process to see how well they stand behind their products. You can also just look at the length of the warranty. A lifetime warranty gives you a sense of confidence that the company will support the product (outside of normal wear and tear) for a longer period of time than those that offer, say, a 1-year warranty. FAQs What is the difference between a snowboard jacket and a ski jacket? Wren says the line between ski jackets and snowboard jackets is now “blurred more than ever.” Traditionally, ski jackets have been more fitted and race-styled while snowboard jackets have borrowed looser fits and styles from skate and streetwear. Nowadays, however, ski jackets come in much looser fits and a range of styles, and snowboard companies offer more fitted ski-like jacket options. Consider fit, features, and your personal style first. If a particular jacket is marketed to or labeled as a “ski” jacket, don’t let that deter you from buying the jacket that’s right for you. How should I wash and care for my snowboard jacket? Ski and snowboard outerwear use a lot of high-tech coatings and materials and as a result, will require some special handling. It’s always best to start by checking the recommended procedures for your specific jacket if available. The manufacturer may make recommendations for care that are specific to your jacket’s particular water-repellent coatings and membranes. Absent any manufacturer-specific guidance, your safest bet is to wash your jacket on its own using an outerwear-specific wash such as Nikwax’s Tech Wash which is meant to preserve coatings and membranes. Then treat the garments with a spray-on or wash-in water-repellant such as Nikwax’s TX Direct. In general, try to avoid washing outerwear more than you need to and spot clean where needed instead of running your jacket through the wash and subjecting it to unnecessary wear. Why Trust TripSavvy Justin Park is a Breckenridge, Colorado-based writer and gear tester who logs over 100 days of snow each year between resort and backcountry. He currently wears a Burton AK jacket for the durability season-to-season and their rock-solid warranty support. Was this page helpful? Thanks for letting us know! Share Pin Email Tell us why! Submit Continue to 5 of 12 below. Continue to 9 of 12 below.