How to Choose a Snowboarding Jacket

How to Choose a Snowboarding Jacket
Though any outdoor jacket will suffice for a day out on the slopes, today's snowboarding jacket is specifically designed for the unique needs of riders. In addition to being comfortable, durable and highly weather-resistant, a high quality snowboarding jacket often has padding and other snowboarder-friendly functionalities.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Step 1
Consider what you need and the environment in which you ride before making a purchase. You will need something that is comfortable, fashionable and that will protect you from the elements. The climate you most frequently ride in should dictate the sort of jacket you should get. Light wind and waterproof outer layer "shells," such as a "two-layer" jacket, are often ideal for warmer, dryer climates where you will often be taking off layers, but where you may also need to add a layer or two when it does get cold. Heavier "three-layer" jackets may be more suited for colder, wetter climates. Is it very windy where you ride? If so, you will want something that is more windproof than breathable. However, if wind isn't as significant as rain, you will want something that is more waterproof and breathable.
Step 2
Once you determine your needs, visit your local ski and snowboarding shop to talk with the salespeople. Read through snowboard equipment catalogs. Become familiar with the options, understand the materials, and get to know your local salesperson so that you can ask a lot of questions as you go through the fitting process.
Step 3
Fit your jacket by trying on as many as possible. Don't just go with the latest and greatest fad. Find something that fits your form and that is comfortable. Be sure to jump around a lot, sit down, and twist around when trying your jacket on. Is the jacket too loose or too tight? Remember you need to be able to layer under it, so try the jacket on with some extra fleece layers. However, you don't want your jacket to be too baggy so that it gets in your way. Make sure that the back of the jacket is long enough that it will cover your butt--this is helpful because snowboarders spend a lot of time sitting on the ground.
Step 4
Make sure that the jacket has everything you need. Check out the pockets. Are they easily accessible and will they fit the things you need? Try zipping and unzipping a potential jacket with gloves on. Is it easy to do or a total pain? Check to make sure that the jacket has good storm flaps. Make sure that the cuffs will keep snow out of our gloves and sleeves. Also make sure that the hood fits comfortably and snug over a hat, a helmet (if you wear one), or just on your bare head. Finally, does the jacket have padding in the butt area? This can help soften the impacts of repeated falls.

Tips & Warnings

A snowboarder's best system for protection against the weather is to use a layering system. Try wearing a long underwear/base layer, an insulating layer, such as a fleece and an outer jacket/shell that protects you against the wind and rain. These layers create a "personal climate" that can be adjusted when necessary. If the sun is shining, take a few layers off. If it begins to snow, add a layer or two. It is the easiest way to relegate your personal temperatures.

Article Written By Lizzy Scully

Lizzy Scully is a senior contributing editor for Mountain Flyer magazine and the executive director of the nonprofit Girls Education International. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from University of Utah and Master of Science in journalism from Utah State University.

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