Staying warm and dry is a huge part of making your day on the mountain a good one, but there's a lot more to a good snowboarding jacket than its water resistance.
While the best snowboarding jackets keep a rider dry within and without, they also pay attention to the details when it comes to comfort and convenience. Details like venting for warmer days, multiple pockets for gear storage, and a lightweight profile make a good snowboarding jacket stand out from the rest.
Profiled in Outside Magazine's 2010 Winter Gear Guide, Arc-Teryx's Sentry jacket is a versatile option for snowboarders. A combination of waterproof and breathable Gore-Tex fabric and Primaloft insulation, the Sentry will keep boarders comfortable regardless of the weather. Articulated elbows and gusseted underarms allow a solid fit and freedom of movement, and pit zips allow venting in warmer weather.
Outside.com reported that the Sentry "wowed every tester in the field, besting everything from arctic gusts on the lifts at Colorado's Loveland Pass to a sopping spring squall at Alpental, in the Cascades."
The North Face Freethinker
The North Face Freethinker jacket is an example of a jacket that takes care of the little things. While the Gore-Tex shell keeps you dry and wicks sweat away, the Freethinker goes beyond the warm and dry standard. Features like a Recco avalanche rescue reflector, an easy-access wrist pocket and pant locks go the extra mile to keep the Freethinker's users comfortable on the mountain. In a SkiTech review on Cnet.com, Matt Asay noted the Freethinker's copious pocket space. "I found the jacket super-warm without feeling close/claustrophobic", he said, adding that the Freethinker was his favorite of the jackets that he'd reviewed.
Another entry in Outside Magazine's Winter Gear Guide, Patagonia's Reconnaissance jacket maintains comfort in a variety of situations. Outdoor's reviewer noted that the Reconnaissance's Primaloft insulation will "keep you toasty on long, windy lift rides", but when you ride, "pit zips and highly permeable soft-shell fabric quickly vent the heat from exertion." Details like brushed polyester on the chin and neck portion of the jacket add a nice touch of comfort, and an abundance of pockets keep your essentials in order.
Article Written By Billy Brown
Billy Brown is an outdoor sports writer living in Northern California.
An avid rock climber and trail runner, he's been writing about outdoor activities, fitness and gear since 2005. He regularly contributes to "The Record Searchlight," uncooped.com, and Trails.com, as well as other print and online publications. Brown holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Simpson University and is a NASM-certified personal trainer.