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There once was a time when all we asked of our snowboard jackets was to keep us warm and looking good. Today’s riders demand a higher level of performance from their gear, however, and as a result, the once-humble snowboard jacket has evolved into a highly technical product that provides improved temperature control by wicking away moisture and venting excess heat. That gives boarders the ability to stay out on the mountain a lot longer and remain more comfortable when the conditions are less than optimal.
If you’re in the market for a new snowboard jacket you’re likely to find a dizzying number of options to choose from. In the past, it was easy to just look for the latest offerings from popular brands like Burton or Rossignol, but now there are other big players in the outdoor industry producing outstanding options as well. We’ve sorted through the increasingly crowded field of snowboard jackets to find the best ones available today. These are our top picks for what you should be wearing when you hit the mountain or terrain park this winter.
Our Top Picks
Best Overall: Burton Covert Insulated Jacket
Few snowboard brands understand their customers as well as Burton does and it shows in the products they create. The Covert insulated jacket is a great example of this, offering numerous little touches that novice and experienced riders will appreciate. For instance, this jacket features a helmet compatible hood, a built-in goggle pocket, and a removable waist gaiter. It's also made from breathable, waterproof fabrics and includes insulation that is made from 40-percent recycled material. That insulation is thicker on the chest and back then it is on the arms, helping to keep the boarder’s core warmer while still allowing for a high degree of mobility. The Covert jacket even has a timeless look to its design, ensuring that it won’t go out of style before the next season arrives. Available in a wide variety of colors and patterns including gray, red, sky blue, and camo, this is a versatile jacket delivers a lot of bang for your buck.
Best for Warmth: Helly Hansen Elevation Shell 2.0 Jacket
Helly Hansen is another company that has a long history of making exceptional outdoor gear for use in a wide variety of weather conditions and its Elevation Shell 2.0 jacket continues that legacy. It boasts all the features we’ve come to expect from a snowboard jacket, including wind and waterproofing, a helmet-compatible hood, powder skirt, wrist gaiters, and an internal goggle pocket. But it also has some unique touches that help it stand out, including a pocket lined with Aerogel insulation to help keep the batteries in our electronic devices from failing in cold temperatures. The Elevation Shell also comes equipped with a built-in insulated vest designed to keep the rider’s core warm in colder conditions, allowing them to stay out on the slopes longer. The jacket helps to keep them safer in the backcountry as well thanks to an integrated Recco reflector, which helps search and rescue teams locate lost skiers and snowboarders during emergency situations.
Most Comfortable: Quiksilver TR Stretch Snow Jacket
When designing its TR Stretch jacket, Quiksilver elected to not use Gore-Tex in favor of its own proprietary fabric, but riders won’t notice any loss of performance. The Stretch offers outstanding wind and waterproofing, without compromising breathability in the process. The jacket offers an excellent fit that doesn’t impede movement in any way as well, while also incorporating the usual features, like a removable snow skirt, integrated pit vents, wrist gaiters, and an oversized hood. This product is so good, in fact, that it is the jacket of choice for pro snowboarder Travis Rice, who uses it on groomed trails and in the terrain park and the backcountry.
Most Versatile: Stio Envrion Jacket
Another jacket that is available in both men’s and women’s versions, the Stio Environ is built for use at the resort or in the backcountry. As a weatherproof shell, it is incredibly tough and performs well, and yet Stio’s Dermizax fabrics are also surprisingly soft and stretchy. Those aren’t qualities you often find in a jacket of this kind. Unlike most other jackets on this list, the Environ comes with a removable hood, which is a nice option to have on warm, sunny days. It also features a snow skirt for keeping powder from reaching the interior, as well as zippered hand, chest, interior pockets for keeping important items secure. Pit zips are also a nice touch, allowing the wearer to vent excess heat when working hard on the hill. Luckily, boarders will be able to find a color that suits them as it's available in various shades of blue, brown, gray, and yellow.
Best for Men: The North Face Free Thinker Jacket
Few outdoor gear manufacturers understand the demands of being on the mountain better than The North Face. The company has taken that considerable knowledge and applied it to its Free Thinker jacket, which has all of the technical features a snowboarder could ask for. With its integrated Gore-Tex fabric, this jacket is wind and waterproof, while still managing to remain lightweight and breathable. The Free Thinker is outfitted with not one, but two, goggle pockets, not to mention an integrated lens wipe. It comes with a snow skirt, a helmet-compatible hood, underarm vents, and an internal media pocket complete with a headphone port. For riders who find themselves in the backcountry or taking on extremely technical terrain in fickle weather conditions, this jacket — available in hyper blue and Persian orange/fig — is tough to top.
Best for Women: Arc’teryx Saber LT Jacket
This jacket has it all, including Gore-Tex insulation, a helmet-compatible hood, pit zips, waterproof zippers, and an integrated powder skirt. It even has multiple pockets, including one that blocks RFID radio frequencies in order to protect the wearer’s identify. Built with Arc’teryx’s legendary quality and nearly bulletproof fabrics, the Saber LT can handle just about anything that rider’s throw at it, including backcountry exploration, cruising groomed trails, and pulling off high-flying tricks in the halfpipe. The jacket has been a staple in the Arc’teryx line-up for some time, but the company has updated its design by extending the length of the jacket compared to previous versions. The result is improved protection from snow and wind on the hill. You can find it online in a few different color combinations: light/dark blue, black/purple, yellow/green, and red/orange.
Best for Hydration: 686 GLCR Hydrastash Jacket
Like most of the other jackets on this list, the 686 GLCR Hydrastash offers plenty of protection from the wind and snow, keeping riders warm and dry on the hill. It comes with an adjustable hood, thumb wrist gaiters, a built-in powder skirt, and a host of other features that make it a compelling option. What truly separates it from the competition is its built-in hydration system, which includes a 25-ounce reservoir that supplies the wearer with plenty of fluids without having to wear a backpack. The reservoir can be removed if necessary and is integrated into the jacket’s design in such a way that it doesn’t offset the rider’s balance. A thin tube runs through the Hydrastash, which helps to keep the water from freezing on colder days. A bite-valve extends out of the jacket’s collar, making it easy to get a drink at any time throughout the ride. Other nice touches include a goggle pocket, zippered sleeve pass pocket, and tangle-free headphone loops. You can pick up the 686 GLCR Hydrastash in two color-blocked options: blue/black and black/gray.
Best for Resorts: Dakine Smyth Jacket
The Smyth from Dakine is another snowboard jacket that uses a layer of Gore-Tex to provide a high level of protection from the snow, wind, and rain. With its integrated snow skirt, wrist gaiters, contoured hood, and zippered pit vents, this is a jacket designed to keep the wearer comfortable in all kinds of conditions. Its numerous pockets include one specifically designated for storing goggles, as well as a media pocket with an earphone pass-through system that allows riders to listen to their favorite tunes while shredding the slopes or kicking it in the terrain park. Dakine has even cleverly designed a vented collar system that when zippered shut still allows snowboarders to breathe freely while preventing excess snow from reaching the interior of the jacket. The Smyth is available in a variety of colors including curry (yellow), balsam/black, and India ink/fennel.
Best Backcountry: Patagonia PowSlayer Jacket
Available for both men and women, the Patagonia PowSlayer sets a new standard of performance for a lightweight weather shell. This jacket was built for long, active days on the mountain, offering a high level of breathability that vents excess heat away from the body while still managing to keep riders warm in cold temperatures. Designed for backcountry touring and made from recycled nylon, the coat’s Gore-Tex fabric makes it both wind and waterproof, which are essential needs for snowboarders going off the pre-shredded path. As if that wasn’t enough, the PowSlayer comes equipped with a helmet-compatible hood, an integrated powder skirt, pit zips, and a plethora of pockets both on the interior and exterior. It even comes with a concealed Recco reflector to aid search and rescue operations should the snowboarder get lost in the backcountry or get caught in an avalanche.