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SKI JACKETS

How do you choose a ski jacket? Wearing a good ski jacket can determine whether you have a nice or less fun day. While it's easy to understand the need for a good ski jacket, it gets a bit more ...

How do you choose a ski jacket?

Wearing a good ski jacket can determine whether you have a nice or less fun day. While it's easy to understand the need for a good ski jacket, it gets a bit more complex when it's time to get one. Sick to “winter coat” and you get an overwhelming array of coats with just as many overwhelming options. Every ski jacket has brands and technologies that will make even a professor warm.

So we understand better than anyone that you quickly surrender to the biggest screamer on the internet. But you don't have to. It's not roulette. With the guide below you can simplify the options and choose the right jacket without the hassle.

The easiest way to choose a ski jacket is to see it as a comparison. You have specific requirements for your ski jacket, and the sum of those requirements is a jacket that works well for you. So before you start looking for a new ski jacket, sit down and make a list of what you need. Think about the weather conditions in which you will use it. Note these points:
• how often does it rain while skiing
• how cold does it get?
• what kind of activities you will do in it (chairlift only, or will you earn your turns?)
• Are you high or low in the mountains
• Are you an active winter sports enthusiast or is the apres ski more important
• Do you take a lot up the mountain or do you go minimalist

At the most basic level, any technical outwerwer or in this case a ski jacket does three things:
1. It keeps you dry
2. It keeps you warm
3. It lets you breathe, so the moisture your body produces doesn't sit against your skin and make you feel clammy.

Each ski jacket has a different balance between these three priorities, making them optimal for different applications and users.

What type of ski jacket do you need?

The first thing you can do to narrow your search is decide what type of ski jacket you're looking for. There are four main styles of ski jackets: hardshell jackets, insulated jackets, 3-in1 jackets and softshell jackets. They each have their own strengths and weaknesses.

hardshell jackets

Hardshell jackets are the most common ski and snowboard jackets because they make sense for most people. They are very versatile. A hardshell jacket consists of only one layer of material, the shell. It has no lining or insulation. That means that the priority of a hardshell jacket is to keep it dry. Hardshells are the most waterproof jackets, and they breathe quite well. But they don't keep you warm, that's not their job. Instead, they are designed to wear over an insulating layer. That's what makes them so versatile: when it's really cold, you can wear a puffy and a sweater under your hardshell and keep it warm. But on warm spring days you can just wear a base layer underneath and still stay comfortable in the same jacket.

Padded ski jackets

Padded ski jackets have the same hardshell exterior and are provided with insulation. This means they are the warmest jacket, and great for people who are often very cold. You can also put other layers of insulation under it, but you can't remove the insulation, so you can overheat on warmer days. Insulated jackets do a great job of keeping you warm and dry, but they don't breathe very well because that insulation is built in, and it's harder to wick away moisture. Therefore, they are not a good choice for skiers and snowboarders who hike from uphill for their turns, you will quickly overheat and get sweaty.

3-in-1 Ski jackets

3-in-1 jackets are a modular combination of a hardshell and an insulated jacket. They consist of a hardshell exterior that you tie or zip to an insulated liner. So you can wear both together on cold days, throw away the insulated liner and wear only the shell on warmer days, and wear the liner alone as an insulator. This makes them highly customizable, and they are often more affordable than buying a shell and insulated puffy separately. On the other hand, there are fewer style options available, and you have some extra bulk due to the mounting system.

Softshell Ski jackets

Softshells are the most specialized jackets, where breathability comes first and takes precedence over warmth and waterproofness. This makes them perfect for people who exert themselves a lot while skiing or snowboarding. They offer enough waterproofing to protect you from light snow, and they breathe so well that you won't break a sweat even when you're climbing mountains. They don't offer any real insulating value, so you'll need to wear a mid-layer to keep warm.

Waterproofing and breathability of ski jackets

Now that we know what the different types of jackets are, let's delve into the stats that indicate how they perform. The most obvious is waterproofing, followed by breathability. These are the key factors to look for when comparing the waterproofing of different ski jackets - these are the stats that will tell you which jacket keeps you dry and which one leaves you soaked.

Waterproofing and breathability are both measured in increments of a thousand. A jacket with a water resistance of 10k is therefore less waterproof than a jacket with a water resistance of 20K. We recommend ski jackets with a water resistance of at least 10k, or 20k if going to a wet area. Likewise, a 20K breathable jacket will be more breathable than a 10k ski jacket. This data is often listed together as 20k/20k waterproof/breathable.

Insulation ski jacket

When looking at insulated jackets, there are a few things to keep in mind. First of all, the material used to insulate. Down insulation generally provides the most warmth at the lowest price, so you get a lighter jacket that keeps you warmer. On the other hand, if down gets wet, it won't keep you warm. Synthetic insulation weighs a little more, but will still work when it's soaking wet, so it's a better choice if you're going to an area with a higher chance of sleet.

Insulation is usually measured in grams per square meter. The higher the number, the more insulation, and the warmer you are. Some manufacturers vary the weight of the insulation throughout the jacket, placing heavier insulation in the torso area, and less in the arms, so it's easier to move your arms, but your core stays warm.

Fit of the ski jacket

Now the most personal feature of all, the fit. Most ski jackets state the general fit, whether it is baggy, fitted or regular. Think about how you want your jacket to look on the mountain, and don't forget that you may be wearing thick insulating layers underneath. It's a good idea to ask a friend to help you measure your body so you can compare it with fit charts and figure out which size fits you best. Make sure there is enough room in the chest so that you are not restricted, and that the arms are long enough. Nothing is more annoying than sleeves that come up and leave your wrists in the snow.

Properties of a good ski jacket

Once you know how the different jackets fit and perform, it's time for the details. These are all optional features that may or may not meet your needs.

Vents

Most ski jackets have some kind of ventilation opening with a zipper in the armpit or on the chest. This allows you to lose some heat without taking the jacket off. Some are lined with mesh to keep snow out even with the vent open. It's a good idea to look for a jacket with easy-to-use vents, because it's no fun having your friends help you unzip your armpits.

Hoodie

The hood of your ski jacket should be adjustable so it can open and fit over a helmet, or close if you're just wearing a hat. Some are adjustable in multiple directions to make them even more flexible.

Collar

The collar can make or break a ski jacket. A good jacket has a soft lining in the collar so that it does not rub against your chin, but still keeps the cold air out. Some jackets also have an offset zipper, so that the hard zipper is not in the middle of your chin.

Powder skirt

The snow skirt is a piece of material on the inside of the jacket that you can pull down so that no snow gets in your jacket. Most jackets come with a snow skirt, and the more expensive jackets often have a removable snow skirt that you can zip out when you're not using it and want some more space.

To fail

There are as many pockets as there are brands of jackets. The most important thing is to make sure that all outer pockets are zippered so you don't lose anything. Think further about what you like to have with you and choose a pocket layout that fits all your things. In any case, a ski pass pocket is an absolute must.

Connection between jacket and pants

If your jacket and pants are the same brand, chances are they can be tied or zipped together to create a system that is impervious to snow. That's useful for keeping snow out of your base layers.

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SKI JACKETS

How do you choose a ski jacket?

Wearing a good ski jacket can determine whether you have a nice or less fun day. While it's easy to understand the need for a good ski jacket, it gets a bit more complex when it's time to get one. Sick to “winter coat” and you get an overwhelming array of coats with just as many overwhelming options. Every ski jacket has brands and technologies that will make even a professor warm.

So we understand better than anyone that you quickly surrender to the biggest screamer on the internet. But you don't have to. It's not roulette. With the guide below you can simplify the options and choose the right jacket without the hassle.

The easiest way to choose a ski jacket is to see it as a comparison. You have specific requirements for your ski jacket, and the sum of those requirements is a jacket that works well for you. So before you start looking for a new ski jacket, sit down and make a list of what you need. Think about the weather conditions in which you will use it. Note these points:
• how often does it rain while skiing
• how cold does it get?
• what kind of activities you will do in it (chairlift only, or will you earn your turns?)
• Are you high or low in the mountains
• Are you an active winter sports enthusiast or is the apres ski more important
• Do you take a lot up the mountain or do you go minimalist

At the most basic level, any technical outwerwer or in this case a ski jacket does three things:
1. It keeps you dry
2. It keeps you warm
3. It lets you breathe, so the moisture your body produces doesn't sit against your skin and make you feel clammy.

Each ski jacket has a different balance between these three priorities, making them optimal for different applications and users.

What type of ski jacket do you need?

The first thing you can do to narrow your search is decide what type of ski jacket you're looking for. There are four main styles of ski jackets: hardshell jackets, insulated jackets, 3-in1 jackets and softshell jackets. They each have their own strengths and weaknesses.

hardshell jackets

Hardshell jackets are the most common ski and snowboard jackets because they make sense for most people. They are very versatile. A hardshell jacket consists of only one layer of material, the shell. It has no lining or insulation. That means that the priority of a hardshell jacket is to keep it dry. Hardshells are the most waterproof jackets, and they breathe quite well. But they don't keep you warm, that's not their job. Instead, they are designed to wear over an insulating layer. That's what makes them so versatile: when it's really cold, you can wear a puffy and a sweater under your hardshell and keep it warm. But on warm spring days you can just wear a base layer underneath and still stay comfortable in the same jacket.

Padded ski jackets

Padded ski jackets have the same hardshell exterior and are provided with insulation. This means they are the warmest jacket, and great for people who are often very cold. You can also put other layers of insulation under it, but you can't remove the insulation, so you can overheat on warmer days. Insulated jackets do a great job of keeping you warm and dry, but they don't breathe very well because that insulation is built in, and it's harder to wick away moisture. Therefore, they are not a good choice for skiers and snowboarders who hike from uphill for their turns, you will quickly overheat and get sweaty.

3-in-1 Ski jackets

3-in-1 jackets are a modular combination of a hardshell and an insulated jacket. They consist of a hardshell exterior that you tie or zip to an insulated liner. So you can wear both together on cold days, throw away the insulated liner and wear only the shell on warmer days, and wear the liner alone as an insulator. This makes them highly customizable, and they are often more affordable than buying a shell and insulated puffy separately. On the other hand, there are fewer style options available, and you have some extra bulk due to the mounting system.

Softshell Ski jackets

Softshells are the most specialized jackets, where breathability comes first and takes precedence over warmth and waterproofness. This makes them perfect for people who exert themselves a lot while skiing or snowboarding. They offer enough waterproofing to protect you from light snow, and they breathe so well that you won't break a sweat even when you're climbing mountains. They don't offer any real insulating value, so you'll need to wear a mid-layer to keep warm.

Waterproofing and breathability of ski jackets

Now that we know what the different types of jackets are, let's delve into the stats that indicate how they perform. The most obvious is waterproofing, followed by breathability. These are the key factors to look for when comparing the waterproofing of different ski jackets - these are the stats that will tell you which jacket keeps you dry and which one leaves you soaked.

Waterproofing and breathability are both measured in increments of a thousand. A jacket with a water resistance of 10k is therefore less waterproof than a jacket with a water resistance of 20K. We recommend ski jackets with a water resistance of at least 10k, or 20k if going to a wet area. Likewise, a 20K breathable jacket will be more breathable than a 10k ski jacket. This data is often listed together as 20k/20k waterproof/breathable.

Insulation ski jacket

When looking at insulated jackets, there are a few things to keep in mind. First of all, the material used to insulate. Down insulation generally provides the most warmth at the lowest price, so you get a lighter jacket that keeps you warmer. On the other hand, if down gets wet, it won't keep you warm. Synthetic insulation weighs a little more, but will still work when it's soaking wet, so it's a better choice if you're going to an area with a higher chance of sleet.

Insulation is usually measured in grams per square meter. The higher the number, the more insulation, and the warmer you are. Some manufacturers vary the weight of the insulation throughout the jacket, placing heavier insulation in the torso area, and less in the arms, so it's easier to move your arms, but your core stays warm.

Fit of the ski jacket

Now the most personal feature of all, the fit. Most ski jackets state the general fit, whether it is baggy, fitted or regular. Think about how you want your jacket to look on the mountain, and don't forget that you may be wearing thick insulating layers underneath. It's a good idea to ask a friend to help you measure your body so you can compare it with fit charts and figure out which size fits you best. Make sure there is enough room in the chest so that you are not restricted, and that the arms are long enough. Nothing is more annoying than sleeves that come up and leave your wrists in the snow.

Properties of a good ski jacket

Once you know how the different jackets fit and perform, it's time for the details. These are all optional features that may or may not meet your needs.

Vents

Most ski jackets have some kind of ventilation opening with a zipper in the armpit or on the chest. This allows you to lose some heat without taking the jacket off. Some are lined with mesh to keep snow out even with the vent open. It's a good idea to look for a jacket with easy-to-use vents, because it's no fun having your friends help you unzip your armpits.

Hoodie

The hood of your ski jacket should be adjustable so it can open and fit over a helmet, or close if you're just wearing a hat. Some are adjustable in multiple directions to make them even more flexible.

Collar

The collar can make or break a ski jacket. A good jacket has a soft lining in the collar so that it does not rub against your chin, but still keeps the cold air out. Some jackets also have an offset zipper, so that the hard zipper is not in the middle of your chin.

Powder skirt

The snow skirt is a piece of material on the inside of the jacket that you can pull down so that no snow gets in your jacket. Most jackets come with a snow skirt, and the more expensive jackets often have a removable snow skirt that you can zip out when you're not using it and want some more space.

To fail

There are as many pockets as there are brands of jackets. The most important thing is to make sure that all outer pockets are zippered so you don't lose anything. Think further about what you like to have with you and choose a pocket layout that fits all your things. In any case, a ski pass pocket is an absolute must.

Connection between jacket and pants

If your jacket and pants are the same brand, chances are they can be tied or zipped together to create a system that is impervious to snow. That's useful for keeping snow out of your base layers.

SKI JACKETS