13 best men's ski and snowboard jackets
From down jackets to shell, we've covered all types and put warmth, durability, and style to the test
What do you need to look for in a ski or snowboard jacket? Top of the checklist is warmth, as you’ll be spending your days in freezing temperatures with the possibility of swirling ice-cold winds and blizzards arriving at any given moment. A bog-standard winter coat simply won’t cut it. To keep warm, your snow jacket needs good insulation but it also needs to keep mountain weather out, by being waterproof and windproof.
Most jackets will also be made from a breathable fabric to let moisture escape as well, so you don’t get too sweaty when you’re working hard on the slopes. Down jackets are great for warmth but not brilliant in wet weather, so on sleety or rainy days, you may want a shell on top of your down jacket. Stretch is a buzzword this season, with many shoppers looking for jackets which allow a good range of movement and don’t feel too rigid. We’ve included a mix of down, shell and insulated shell jackets in this test.
Picture Organic Clothing Track Snow Jacket: £269.99, Ellis Brigham
The Track from popular French brand Picture Organic is an impressively technical jacket for the price, especially when you consider its eco credentials. It’s made mostly from recycled polyester, the water-repellent fabric is PFC-free, and all the materials used are vegan-friendly.
We rated its warmth, waterproofing and breathability. It keeps you dry even in wet snowy conditions on the outside, and inside the fabric doesn’t get sweaty even when you’re working hard. We liked the athletic fit too, it makes you look like a serious skier or snowboarder. Available in sizes S-XXL; also sold in blue and green.
Fjallraven Men’s Keb Touring Down Jacket: £390, Fjallraven
The Keb from cult Swedish brand Fjallraven is a top quality down jacket. It’s incredibly lightweight, which feels great on but also means you can pack it down easily in a bag if you get too hot on the slopes. It would work well as a mid-layer under a shell jacket, as a ski touring jacket, or as your outer layer on a dry day in the mountains. Though it’s not one for wearing in soggy sleet.
The down is ethically-produced and fully traceable. If you’re struggling to justify the cost, it could easily double up as your winter jacket back home. Available in sizes XS-XXL; also sold in sizes dark blue, dark grey and black.
Burton Men’s Dunmore Snow Jacket: £220, Burton
The Dunmore, from US snowboard heritage brand Burton, may have a workwear-inspired aesthetic but it’s also a reliable and technical snow jacket at a great value price. It has a lightweight feel but scores highly on warmth, waterproofing and breathability thanks to a climate control system worked into the fabric.
Both the hood and powder skirt are removable, so it could double up as your everyday winter jacket too. Available in sizes XXS-XXL. Sold in nine other designs including plaid, stripes, plain orange and black.
The North Face Men’s Purist Snow Jacket: £470, The North Face
The Purist doesn’t come cheap, but it is one of the most weatherproof jackets on test, keeping you warm and dry in even the most hardcore winter storms. The hood was easy to tighten, and the neck comes up really high for extra protection.
The fabric is also nice and stretchy allowing a good range of movement whether you’re climbing up a mountain on skins, snowboarding in the park or even just carrying your kids and all their kit back from ski school. We liked the ripstop fabric, which should enhance durability and prevent tearing. Available in sizes S-XL.
Patagonia Men’s Powder Bowl Jacket: £380, Patagonia
Patagonia is the first brand to make a jacket with a face made entirely from recycled fabric. If there’s a compromise to that we didn’t notice it, this jacket felt great on with a tailored, flattering fit and strong waterproofing and breathability function. It also felt hard-wearing.
It’s a shell jacket but insulated so it would work well on its own on cold days, though you might want an extra layer if the temperature really plummeted on the mountain. Available in sizes XS-XL; also sold in navy, black and copper.
Quiksilver Spindye Shell Snow Jacket for Men: £290, Quiksilver
We liked this shell jacket from Quiksilver. It kept the wind and weather out and was one of the more waterproof pieces on test, though you would need to add some extra layers on super-cold mountain days. We enjoyed the tailored fit and how it felt light and not bulky.
We also liked that it’s made using Spindye, an environmentally friendly dyeing process that uses 80 per cent less water and 70 per cent fewer chemicals than a normal colouring system. Available in sizes XS-XL; also available in grape leaf green.
Columbia Men’s Wild Card Winter Ski Jacket: £250, Columbia
The Wild Card is a reliable mid-market ski jacket choice from Columbia. Their patented Omni-Heat insulation does a good job of keeping you warm when it’s cold but cooling you down when you’re getting too toasty.
The waterproofing also works well. The fit is bigger, baggier and less tailored than some of the other jackets on test. We liked the bright red design and the hood is helmet compatible. Available in sizes S-XXL; also sold in orange.
Volcom Men’s Brighton Pullover Jacket: £180, Volcom
If you like the style and fit of a hoodie but want the tech qualities of a regular jacket the Brighton Pullover from Volcom would make a great choice. It’s warm and waterproof and has massive zips at each side, so you can easily take it on and off, even while you’re wearing a helmet and goggles.
On really hot spring days, you can even ride down the mountain with both zips undone for maximum cooling effect. Available in sizes XS-XL; also sold in black/orange.
Wed’ze Ski-P 500 Men’s Warm Ski Jacket: £54.99, Decathlon
The Wed’ze Ski-P 500 from French brand Decathlon is the cheapest jacket on test, but the quality is actually not bad for the price. It’s warm and lightweight, as you’d expect from a down jacket, though it won’t be great in sleet or wet conditions, as you’d also expect.
It’s at the no-frills end of the spectrum but still has useful touches like a phone and ski pass pocket. Available in sizes XS-2XL.
Arc’teryx Men’s Sabre LT Snow Jacket: £500, Arc’teryx
The Sabre is a highly technical shell jacket from top-end Canadian brand Arc’teryx. It’s extremely waterproof and windproof and longer than regular ski jackets to provide extra protection in big winter storms, a feature you often see on ski instructors’ kit.
The length didn’t affect the flexibility of the jacket fabric though, and we still found it had a great range of movement. An impressive jacket for those serious about their skiing and snowboarding. Available in sizes S-XXL; also sold in red/orange, navy/purple and navy/royal blue.
O’Neill Men’s Hybrid Utility Snow Jacket: £209.99, O’Neill
We really liked the style of the Hybrid Utility jacket from O’Neill and it kept us nice and toasty, though it was one of the bulkier jackets on test. That wouldn’t matter on your typical ski holiday but if you planned to hike at all or go ski touring it wouldn’t be ideal. It has decent enough waterproofing and keeps the wind out well.
We also love that it has a built-in sandwich pocket for packed lunches on the mountain. Available in sizes XS-XXL; also sold in black and dark green.
Helly Hansen Elevation Shell 2.0 Jacket: £500, Helly Hansen
The Elevation Shell from Helly Hansen is an award-winning top-of-the-range jacket for freeride skiers, who like to roam far from the pistes. A shell jacket made from a hard-wearing, weatherproof fabric with lots of stretch and flex in it, it now boasts new LifePocket tech, which keeps your phone or camera three times warmer than usual, meaning the battery will last longer.
We also love the warmth and cooling properties of the integrated mesh vest and the longer length, which gives you extra protection from the elements in stormy weather. Available in sizes S-XXL.
Tog 24 Rigg Men’s TCZ Thermal Softshell Jacket: £96, Tog 24
Tog 24 is a family-run outdoors brand from Yorkshire and the Rigg is a great value softshell jacket. As you might expect from the price, it’s not super-premium but it does have a good quality feel to the fabric and a comfortable fit.
It is water-resistant rather than waterproof, but it should still be fine for all but the rainiest days on the mountain. It also wasn’t the warmest on test so more suited to a spring trip to the Alps, than say January in British Columbia though with decent layering underneath that needn’t be a problem. Available in sizes S-XXXXL.
Verdict: 13 best men's ski and snowboard jackets
We rated the tech and eco credentials of the Track jacket from Picture Organic Clothing, and we also found it good value for money. At the higher end of the spectrum, we were impressed by the Powder Bowl from Patagonia, and the Helly Hansen Elevation Shell 2.0.
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