Anyone that has stepped onto the hill to ski will know that warmth is an utterly essential part of the entire sport. Without it, you might as well not even attempt to go out and give it a go since it will be just that awful for you. A ski jacket is just what is needed to get you going and keep you at your peak level. With that being said, there is a whole lot more than warmth that is required for a ski jacket. It’s about so much more, and today our buying guide is going to be taking a look into everything you could possibly want to know about ski jackets. We’ll then break down the top ten on the market right now, with five for males and five for the ladies, so that you can pick the best one for you! Let’s get it going then!
Top Ski Jackets Comparison Chart
|Name||Waterproof or Windproof?||Price||Where to Buy?|
|Wantdo Women’s Mountain Waterproof Ski Jacket||Both||$$||Check Price on Amazon|
|The North Face Men’s Resolve Jacket||Waterproof||$$$||Check Price on Amazon|
|Mountain Warehouse Dawn Women’s Ski Jacket||Both||$||Check Price on Amazon|
|Camel Crown Women’s Ski Jacket||Both||$$||Check Price on Amazon|
|Andorra Men’s Performance Insulated Ski Jacket||Waterproof||$$$||Check Price on Amazon|
|Diamond Candy Women’s Hooded Windproof Jacket||Both||$||Check Price on Amazon|
|Pooluly Men’s Waterproof Hooded Snow Jacket||Both||$$||Check Price on Amazon|
|OutdoorMaster Men’s 3 in 1 Ski Jacket||Waterproof||$$||Check Price on Amazon|
|Jinshi Men’s Mountain Waterproof Fleece Ski Jacket||Both||$$||Check Price on Amazon|
|Columbia Women’s Snowshoe Omni Heat Jacket||Waterproof||$$$$||Check Price on Amazon|
Ski Jackets Buying Guide
With so many factors to cover, it’s easy to put the cart before the horse at times when it comes to ski jackets. One such way that we can prevent confusion is by actually talking about insulation before we get to the types of jackets that you can find. By doing this, you will know what some of the terms mean and won’t be nearly as confounded in the process of it. Insulated jackets are typically seen worn by skiers that are looking for maximum comfort. This is especially the case if you are planning on going to a resort, where you will be riding lifts for extended periods of time. If you are riding, you don’t need as much warmth, but when you are taking those long, arduous breaks, the chill can really set in on you. To alleviate this, insulation is used. In the subset of insulation, you have to basic groups, which are down and synthetic.
Down refers to basically what is a feather like substance. Down insulation is going to be much less bulky than synthetic insulation is but will give you a substantial amount of warmth. Meanwhile, synthetic insulation is going to be cheaper but will take up more room. With that said, this type does an awesome job at performing when moisture seeps its way in. So there are definite trade offs to have and to consider.
Not all skiers need to have insulation in their jackets, but if you are going to be riding lifts a lot, or you are just normally cold blooded, then it’s the sure fire way to turn. The downside to having an insulated jacket is that it does reduce your range of motion, thus possibly affecting your overall comfort level. The extra bulk is a compromise that you have to live with, but it’s one that many are willing to make to give them warmth. This, however, is one of the reasons you will see some suggest to not use insulation if you are going to be extremely active out there.
Types of Jackets
Before we get too far in at all, we need to look over the various types of jackets that are found on the market for skiing. Largely, there are three types: hardshell, softshell, and then the 3 in 1 style. These each have their own pros and cons, so you will have to weigh them before deciding on which suits you the very best.
Hardshell jackets will feature a solid layer on the outside of the jacket that protects you from both the wind and various forms of moisture as well. Due to that, this type can be used in a number of settings. With multiple layers to it, it’s going to be resistant to the elements, all while also offering at least a modicum of breathability. With this type, you can make the choice over whether you want insulation or not. You could go with it, or you could forgo it, depending solely on you and the surroundings you are going to be skiing. The quality of hardshell jackets can vary greatly, with some of them being designed with a budget in mind. When that is the case, the jackets aren’t as breathable and don’t have as much waterproofing ability built in, either. The ones of the higher end will have all sorts of tools to help you stay cool while remaining dry.
This type is best served for someone that is going to be extremely active while skiing throughout the day. The reason why is because this kind is very breathable, going above and beyond the other types in that regard. They are also stretchy as well, meaning you will have a full range of motion and will have additional comfort in that regard, too. The biggest negative to look at with softshells is going to be the lack of relative resistance that is built into them. These jackets don’t hold up to the weather nearly as well, so if you are skiing while it’s spitting snow or rain, then you will find yourself in a spot of bother. You have to have the right conditions, and because of that, this type is likely to be the least popular that you will see simply because you have to be fairly avid to know about them and use them correctly.
3 in 1
If you are a beginner, or you are just looking to save a little bit of money, then a 3 in 1 jacket is the way that you can look to go since you are seriously going to be getting a three jackets for the price of one. You can’t get that kind of deal hardly anywhere anymore on even bubble gum, so this is really quite the offer to consider. With this type of jacket, you are going to have an outer shell with an added layer of insulation that typically zips in. Then there is a middle piece of layering that is usually made from fleece or synthetics. So, basically you can tailor it to what you need to do. If you’re going to be somewhere super cold, then you can attach all three layers. If you are just wearing it to class or going to do some constant skiing, then you can take off the extra layer and get to it. This type is heavier and bulkier, for obvious reasons, and it’s going to limit your movement a bit more than most, but overall it can be a big money saver for folks. The other area to look out for is that some just aren’t that good, since they concentrate fully on getting a specific layer right. This is something else to look at and examine ahead of making your ultimate purchase decision.
Types of Skiing and What to Pick
The types of skiing that you can find yourself doing is more numerous than the types of jackets that you could find yourself wearing, so it’s important to point them out to you and let you know what the recommended type of attire to wear is for each of them. This has a much more profound importance than you may believe, so tread carefully and heed this unless you want to end up being uncomfortable.
There are two huge lumps you can throw skiing into: backcountry and resort skiing. Backcountry skiing is going to be anything that sees you continuously out on the trails. This can be alpine skiing, what is basically a hike, or touring types of things. Then you have the resort variety, which is just what it sounds like. You got a resort and you ski. The issue with that is that there is a lot of waiting and riding chair lifts involved. This, if it’s cool enough, is going to lead to you needing to have something warmer. So, in general, you will want something less bulky for backcountry and more bulky and heavy duty for resort forms of skiing.
Waterproof or Not?
No matter if it’s a jacket that comes off the discount rack or one that is going for several hundred dollars, it’s bound to have a little bit, or at least purport to have, some waterproofing built into it. So, this area can be very tricky to nail down and know for certain what it is you are getting and what you are not going to get. With some jackets, you are going to see tape used at the seams. This does a good job, but the problem is that it will eventually give way and moisture will seep in. Then, there is the more advanced way of doing it, with materials like Gore-Tex linings and the such.
As you go up the price ladder, the more waterproofing you are naturally going to find yourself getting. The overall quality of a jacket isn’t going to depend on the price as much as in this specific area, but you can tell a lot by the price you pay. If you pay more, you are going to be getting a jacket that lasts longer both in overall durability and with how long it keeps water out. Some will be heavier duty than you might expect, while others might fall short, but generally you can tell right off the bat if you just pay a little bit more.
Jackets that go above and beyond are going to have what is called DWR- Durable Water Repellent- engineered to them. This sounds like a really big word, but it is fairly simple at the end of the day and just means that it takes any moisture that is sitting on the outer layer of the jacket and helps get rid of it before it seeps down into the pores and into the jacket, thus making you wet. Again, the more you pay, the more you can expect, so it’s unlikely a lower priced jacket, even one that claims to have this feature, will be able to hold up as well as a higher priced one.
With all of this being said, a beginner would be hard pressed to go with something that costs a ton of money. For newbies, you are best served with getting a good, general all-around jacket that does a number of things without breaking the piggy bank. You might never even go skiing again, or you could go very rarely, so it’s just not worth spending a ton of money. Additional features are best for those that are planning on being more frequent ‘fliers,’ so just weigh the pros and cons and then decide which is the best route in which you should go.
Nobody wants to have snow or rain eventually dripping down into their person, but they also don’t want to burn up, either. You might wonder how one could burn up in such an ‘arctic’ environment, but it’s a definite possibility to feel that way for sure if there is a lack of adequate ventilation provided. No matter the activity, you need a system to wick some of the sweat away and give you a chance to breathe. Without it, you’ll feel uncomfortable and you could end up physically having to lug around more weight than you’d like.
This is not nearly as big of an issue for those that are going to be going to resorts, since you are going to be on the hills relatively less than those on the backcountry. But for those of us that are planning on going on those kind of ski rides, then you will definitely want to consider breathability into the picture. Jackets with shells to them, especially the softer ones, are going to do a great job at this. Jackets that cost more are also going to generally afford you with more chances to have breathability as well.
You have to really do your research in this arena and think about what it is your are doing, however. If you decide to go with a jacket that is highly breathable, most likely a softshell, then you are going to have to give up something in return. A lot of times that is going to lead to you having less wind and water resistance. So, if it’s not going to be a nice, pristine kind of day, or unless you just want to buy a couple of different types of jackets, then you will want to go off in a different direction.
Weight isn’t a major concern to most people, but it’s worth mentioning here. The most critical part is making sure you are nice and comfortable. If you are feeling good and looking good, then you will perform better. The weight is going to end up being more on you if you go with a bulkier jacket or one that is a 3 in 1, but that isn’t going to put you off and force you into being terrible. You won’t be adding ten pounds, so don’t worry too much!
Hoods might seem like something you need 100% of the time, but that’s not the case, really, and this is perhaps the thing that a lot of people overlook and assume is true right off the crack of the bat. Hoods are a great source of heat, but they are totally useless when you are doing downhill skiing. For one, you will be wearing (or you dang well better be) a helmet. Secondly, it’s probably not going to stay put anyway with the winds you are sure to experience. So, if that’s what you are doing, and your movement is constant, you can just skip right over them. But that’s not to say they don’t have their uses. If you are on the lifts a ton, then you are going to want to have a hood to keep you warm while you reach your next destination. It needs to fit well, regardless, so just check and see if there is much ability to adjust built on or if it’s just a one size fits all sort of deal.
Hoods are an optional piece to the jacket, and might not always be as important as they may seem, but pockets are just basic and essential. Without them, you are going to be forced into lugging around a backpack all day, and there are very few individuals that would be willing to go through that torture just to ski and carry all of their things. Most of the time, you are going to see ski jackets that come with two hand pockets and one zippered pocket near the chest. That compartment is greater for smaller, more personal items. You can even wire it up in such a way that you can listen to music while skiing if you do it properly. You will even have the chance to purchase jackets that have interior pocketing, too. At the end of the day, everyone needs at least a couple of pockets. But you could need more, so it’s wise to keep an eye on the count and go from there.
Some jackets are going to make it more easier for you to be spotted by fellow skiers. One such system is called the RECCO. These reflectors don’t use batteries and can be picked up by detectors if you should go missing. They are not a beacon, but they can be very useful in search and rescue missions. Even if you don’t go this far, having a reflector or two is never a bad idea, seeing as how the weather can be variable and might just shift to cloudy at times.
Fit and Style
Last but not least is the fit and style. Of course, no one will want to wear their jacket if it’s too loose or too tight on them. The latter will constrict you, while the former will let air in too readily. So, a nice, snug fit is ideal and what you want. Not all jackets are the same, so look for brands to vary, meaning you will have to do careful research. As for style, it’s about how they look on you. This is not only color but also the way the jacket fits. If it’s not up to your liking, then you will want to go with something else, for obvious reasons, even if it’s quite a good jacket otherwise. These are the most subjective of the aspects, but they are to be considered just as much.
The Top Ten Ski Jackets of 2019 Reviews
1. Wantdo Women’s Mountain Waterproof Ski Jacket
As one of the highest sellers in the world, this jacket has found its way into many homes with not only an excellent price but also awesome features. One of those is the plethora of pockets and places to store things, while the adjustable cuffs, snap skirt, and draw cords used make it highly adjustable and thus ideal for helping you get the best, most perfect fit you can have on. Not to mention the fact that they carry a range of colors, most of which are quite bright and stylish to help you stand out in a crowd. Best of all, this jacket is warm and will prevent wind and water from getting to you, which is at the heart of it, what you ask for from a ski jacket.
- Easy to adjust
- Lots of storage
- Range of vibrant colors
2. The North Face Men’s Resolve Jacket
This is a name that nearly everyone will know, whether it be because they are an extreme sports star or just a fashionista. With a ton of colors to pick from, all of which are classy yet a little flashy, it’s easy to stand out. To go along with it, Nylon is used to make it more resistant to tears, while the entirety of the jacket has seams that are sealed to ensure that water doesn’t seep its way in. With that said, it does an extraordinary job of letting out the sweat and moisture that you produce so that you can have a more fun, comfortable go of it on the mountains. The main issue you might have with this is the cost, which is among the highest on the list, but it’s certainly one of the leaders out there currently despite that.
- Won’t tear
- Seals moisture from getting in
- Releases excess heat
- Cost high for some
3. Mountain Warehouse Dawn Women’s Ski Jacket
If it’s a budget option that you are looking for, then this would make a great addition for a beginner to bring in to the mix. With a fully polyester makeup, this jacket has a number of options to help you stay warm while at the resort. A hood, as well as cuffs are employed to help you adjust and fine tune your ride, while also giving you a number of pockets to help you store all the things you just have to have on you. With insulation inside, it’s further going the distance to make certain you are covered on the lifts. It even has a snowskirt, too, giving additional options for you. There is a worry for you that it will let in more moisture than most, thanks to the price, but it’s good value for a beginner.
- Great price
- Excellent for beginners and resorts
- Plenty of storage
- Not best at keeping moisture out
4. Camel Crown Women’s Ski Jacket
If you want to go with something that is going to cover you in the event of variable weather, this 3 in 1 jacket is the way to turn. With the inner fleece inside, you are gong to be able to either wear just the shell or the entire thing to heat you up even further, keeping you the optimum temperature for whatever you journey might entail that day. Because of the added layers, you get a lot more resistance to water and wind than others on the market can offer you. Even though those layers do exist, the jacket is still fairly soft and light, too, making it great for keeping you warm and staying dry as well. The one drawback with this jacket is the sizing, which even they admit is a little bit off. You will need to size up to get the best fit here!
- Great for intermediate skiers
- Resistant to water and wind
- Light, soft, and comfy
- Will have to size up
5. Andorra Men’s Performance Insulated Ski Jacket
Despite being slightly more expensive than a lot out there, this offering from Andorra is able to make up for it in a very big way with the cuffs and waist being adjustable to the specific rider. With a relaxed fit, it’s among one of the most comfy you can find right now, while also being highly convenient with a ton of pockets, some of which are snappable and some of which are zippered. With microfleece lining on the optional hood as well, you get the chance to do a lot of different kinds of skiing with this jacket. The seams have been engineered with careful detail, making sure that water doesn’t forge its way through and spoil your day.
- Relaxed fit is comfy
- Convenience is king
- Tons of options
- Might want to order up a size if you are layering heavily
6. Diamond Candy Women’s Hooded Windproof Jacket
If it’s a budget you are looking to keep and you want to do so while looking good at the same time, this is one very good way to look. With a breathable, yet waterproof design, this jacket is soft and comfortable thanks to the inner fleece doing such a good job. It’s not the most extreme in terms of warmness out there, but it does have various uses, making it able to withstand and do a good job for a beginner that is skiing for the first few times. It is a softshell jacket, which is going to make all of that easier, though it is not going to be the very best at keeping you warm or keeping moisture out, either, so that is something you will have to think about before committing to it. Overall, for the price, it’s a good choice to begin your skiing days!
- Extremely breathable
- Soft and comfy
- Great, low price
- Not the most warm
7. Pooluly Men’s Waterproof Hooded Snow Jacket
This offering isn’t quite a low priced as the previous one was, but it’s still quite affordable and good on the wallet. With four traditional jacket colors to boot, it’s going to look good and help you fit right in. With adjustable cuffs, a hood, and a powder skirt, you have a range of options that you can take or leave while on the slopes to keep you at just the right temperature. With a fluffy lining it will feel good on your skin, while the outside is resistant to water and will repel it away. It is a softshell, however, so this is not going to be the most durable option and won’t keep you quite as warm or dry as some others out there.
- Very manageable price
- Feels great on
- Tons of adjustments to be made
- Not supremely warm
8. OutdoorMaster Men’s 3 in 1 Ski Jacket
If you want to save a bit of money and still get a diverse jacket, then this 3 in 1 is the one for you to turn to. Featuring a modern look and a breathable shell that is going to be waterproof, it has a number of options, such as a hood and removable fleece liner to keep you satisfied no matter how hot or cold the temperature might end up running. It’s even loaded up with plenty of pockets, too, to help you manage all of that stuff you or the kiddos need to lug around all day. They offer extremely good customer service, with a six month warranty given, helping to ease your mind and keep you on the trails without a care in the world along the way. It is rather loud while working and has a tendency to create static, which is slightly annoying.
- Great customer service
- Ability to switch according to temps
- Lots of pockets
- Very static-y
9. Jinshi Men’s Mountain Waterproof Fleece Ski Jacket
The final men’s jacket on the list is the cheapest of the five we have seen so far, thus helping to rectify your head with your wallet. With this jacket, you get a lot of zippered pockets that will store your essentials, all the while looking great in an array of colors. With insulation inside of it, you are going to be able to wear it up on lifts, right along with the hood, keeping you as warm as you can be as you work your way toward your next run. With the hood, the removable skirt, and the cuffs to go along with it, you get a chance to make alterations as you see fit. It’s still fairly warm and can take care of moderate moisture, but don’t expect it to be as great as others out there that are higher dollar!
- Budget choice
- Great for beginners due to insulation
- Zippers work wonders
- Not as high quality as more expensive choices
10. Columbia Women’s Snowshoe Omni Heat Jacket
This is another big time hitter in the outdoor sports world, and ladies won’t be let down with this one. While it is more expensive than most of the others you’ll see on this list and at stores as well, you get a ton of quality to make up for it. It’s not only beautiful and stylish for an eccentric kind of lady, but it’s very resistant to water all while still giving you breathability on the course. With its omni heat technology, it doesn’t need as much bulk as others do, trapping your natural body heat and thus giving you plenty of warmth without the added fuss. With both zippers and snaps, it’s easy to use the pockets, while there are further adjustments that can be made with a removable hood and under skirt as well. The price is rather high, so that is why it has fallen to number ten here.
- Traps body heat
- Pockets make life easier
- Efficient and adjustable
- Very high price relative to our list
Conclusion And Final Ski Jackets Recommendations
Skiing is a tough enough sport when you have the proper attire on, but without it you can definitely forget being proficient in it. A jacket is naturally part of the wardrobe and recipe for success, and when it’s not up to par your performance as well as your overall enjoyment of the activity is greatly diminished. After our buying guide and reviews today, though, you won’t have to worry nearly as much about missing out on a big time out on the slopes. By factoring in what is you want and need with some basic knowledge, you’ll be improving leaps and bounds in no time at all and having fun with friends and family along the way!