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Ski Jackets - Reviews & Guides For 2020

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Ski Jackets buying guide

Everybody has a dream of possessing the best winter gear possible when going skiing. The activity demands warmth and protection against the prevailing adversities.

There are numerous ski jackets available to give you ultimate protection, that claim to be the best of all.

No worries! We are here to help you choose the right match for you. Just refer to the sections in this buying guide that are elaborated below to strengthen your understanding.

Believe us, you will emerge as the new you who will have the answer to every query related to ski jackets.

Before we start dreaming of us as the enlightened one, let's have a look at a quick introduction to this product.

What are Ski Jackets, and how is it different from a regular jacket?

Unlike a regular jacket that you wear almost on every occasion, a ski jacket is preferable when planning for skiing activities.

Not only does it keep your body warm, but it also protects you from cold and continuous snowfall all round.

While flexibility takes a back seat when it comes to a ski jacket, the growing demand and popularity among skiing enthusiasts have enabled some drastic changes to the jacket's initial design.

The ski jacket now focuses on both the crucial parameters of safety from bad weather and the ease of moving around in a hassle freeway.

Besides offering protection, ski jackets often feature cool colors to break the white color dominance around and soothe your eyes a little. They feature different patterns to give you a sporty look and also have a lot of storage facilities.

Such features are found exclusively in a ski jacket. This makes them a lot more special than the regular ones you have in general. Also, ski jackets are insulated while the regular jackets are not, which again makes them extraordinary.

Types of Ski Jackets

Hardshell

  1. Despite being called hardshell, these are not padded from the inside. The lack of padding makes them lightweight.
  1. These have excellent waterproofing and are also windproof but do not provide adequate insulation.
  1. To fulfill the requirement of insulation, you can wear a thin layer of insulating fabric inside. This not only helps you regulate the warmth according to your convenience but also makes these jackets ideal for hiking activities.

Softshell

  1. This type is known for its excellent breathability and comfort. Comfort comes from the flexible material they have to help you move around easily.
  1. They are not waterproof. Therefore, if you encounter heavy showers or rainfall, you bear the risk of getting soaked midway.
  1. Unlike the hardshell jackets, they have moisture-wicking layers inside. This coating soaks all the moisture and sweat inside your jacket and keeps you dry.
  1. They are usually designed like a hoodie and have adequate space inside them to accommodate more insulating layers if you need them.

Insulated

  1. Most popular among the skiers, these jackets have built-in insulation and the right amount of padding.
  1. These keep you warm and allow you to enjoy the snow time.
  1. They have excellent breathability and waterproofing.
  1. Since they are made of two different layers, an insulating layer of fleece inside and a shell covering outside, you attain protection both from weather and the wind.
  1. These jackets also provide you the ease of wearing them separately. While the shell protects from snow and rain, the insulating jacket protects you on wintry days.
  1. Because of two layers that can be separated according to convenience, these jackets may have some extra weight. This is the only drawback that these jackets have.

Things to deem about while selecting appropriate Ski Jackets

Use

Several ski jacket designs exist for various forms of skiing. All you have to do is keep in mind what kind of skiing you are planning to do, and then look for the ones which are made exactly to suit your needs.

Whether you prefer backcountry skiing or resort skiing, to make the most of your snowy trip, your ski jackets should be highly rated on the parameter list of that particular skiing type.

  1. Jackets for piste skiers

Jackets made for piste skiers should have excellent waterproofing and should be wind resistant. Also, look for jackets that have high breathability.

Make sure that your jacket provides you adequate room for more layers to keep yourself protected from the cold weather outside.

  1. Jackets for backcountry skiers

If you enjoy backcountry skiing, you know the pros and cons of this type of skiing. To match the requirements, opt for jackets that are light in weight.

The breathability of the jacket is also a must since you will be sweating a lot. Softshell jackets are the best option for this type of skiing.

Material

  1. Nylon

Nylon is a very durable material and an excellent choice to increase the waterproofing ability of your jacket. The downside of using this material is that the breathability of your jacket is compromised.

Nevertheless, you can rely on this material if you are going out on a cold, cloudy day and expecting rainfall at any moment.

  1. Polyester

Just like nylon, this material negates the problem of breathability. But the drawback is, you do not get water resistance feature in the jackets made out of this material.

  1. Combination of nylon and polyester

What can be better than combining all the properties imparted individually by nylon and polyester?

You get a jacket that is breathable, durable, and waterproof at the same time. Jackets made out of the combination material have liners inside to keep your warm as well by providing adequate insulation.

  1. Gore-Tex and eVent

If the budget isn't holding you back, you can also search for variants that are made from these two sophisticated top-grade materials. The specialty in them is the waterproof and wind-resistant qualities that they possess.

They do not allow a single drop of water to penetrate through your jacket. To your surprise, you will find small vents inside the jacket, which allow the moisture to escape out in the air. Isn't that amazing?

Breathability

Skiing is an intense heat-generating activity, and you tend to sweat a lot. When out in the snow all around, a little drop of water takes no time to freeze. Imagine yourself sweating immensely, and in a jiffy, you get cold as soon as you take a break.

Besides, the moisture trapped inside your jacket will retain odor that you do not want. To combat such circumstances, the breathability of your jacket is very crucial.

More your jacket is breathable, the drier you remain while wearing it. Also, it eliminates your chances of catching a cold. Though it's challenging to find a jacket that has both breathability and waterproofing abilities, ski jackets help reduce your problems.

These jackets have layers beneath the outer covering and have a high waterproofing rating. That means, while your jacket is excellent in keeping water at bay, it allows more air circulation inside.

Also, to help you with the sweat and insulation problems, a ski jacket has moisture-wicking material close to your skin, which soaks every drop of sweat. The middle layer has insulating material to keep you warm. This layer also allows the vapors inside to escape out in the air.

Waterproofing

As stated above, waterproofing plays a significant role in a jacket while outdoors. You never know when you might experience snowfall or rain. It is better to stay protected and enjoy yourself at the same time.

While some jackets only resist the water during light rains, there are other ski jackets which protect you to the very extent possible.

A word of caution! Ensure that your jacket is 'waterproof' and not 'water-resistant.' These two words mean two different things. So, while skiing, you need a waterproof jacket and not a water-resistant jacket.

A ski jacket comes with a rating scale. You should look for jackets that have a rating between 5,000mm to 20,000mm. This range is perfect for your ideal jacket.

Apart from that, a jacket's material also contributes a lot to its waterproofing ability. To increase your jacket's performance, we recommend you opt for a ski jacket that has DWR coating on the surface.

This coating also helps to compensate for the qualities that a material with low waterproofing ratings lacks. Water upon falling on the jacket having this coating forms a water sphere and rolls down instead of seeping into the material.

Insulation

There are various jackets available that are exclusively meant for skiing. Some have built-in insulation, while many do not. For instance, as we discussed earlier, shell jackets do not have insulation in them.

Many skiers prefer these jackets because they get the freedom to regulate the amount of warmth according to their convenience. They do this by either adding or removing the layers inside the jacket.

For those who want a skiing trip, which is hassle-free and convenient, ski jackets that have built-in insulation are the best choice.

To withstand the harsh climate up there on the mountains, you will find two types of insulating materials. Depending on your need, pick out the best which suits you.

  1. Synthetics or fleece

  • Jackets having synthetic insulation are cheaper than their counterparts.
  • It works well all the time, irrespective of whether it is wet or dry.
  • It is very soft and comfortable and can control the odor too.
  • The drawback is that it is a little heavier than others that makes it less portable. Also, it does not provide enough warmth.
  1. Down

  • Though it is a very thin layer, it keeps you extremely warm.
  • It is light in weight, which makes it highly transportable. The thin layer and weight make it very compressible.
  • Opt for jackets that have insulating material of higher fill ratings. This keeps you more warm and comfortable.
  • The drawback is that downs when wet, fail to keep you warm. Also, you cannot wash them easily, like synthetic materials.

Special Note

It is worth discussing that many manufacturers combine both the materials in a single jacket. This helps you in regulating the warmth needed according to the location.

Down jackets for places experiencing cold climate and synthetic jackets for places where you may experience heavy rainfall.

Zips

When we come across this word, the only thing we can relate this zip to is the storage space. Well, that's not the case here! While you are enjoying out in the snow, your jacket keeps you warm. You sweat, and everything gets accumulated in there.

To help your jacket breathe a little and let out those warm vapors from inside, ski jackets have this fantastic facility incorporated in their jackets.

These zips are situated at places where you are likely to sweat a lot, for instance, under your arms. After you have finished skiing or taking a short break in the middle, you can open these pit zips to allow the vapors trapped inside, evaporate.

This will cool your skin surface, and you will feel a lot more comfortable. But do not keep it open and carry out your skiing. You will invite some snowflakes to enter inside your jacket.

This is the best way of getting rid of that wetness and the sweat inside, which may irritate you otherwise.

DWR Coating

DWR, the shield of your jacket! Even though your jacket is waterproof, it may allow some drops to penetrate inside.

To eliminate this problem, ski jackets use an extra coating of DWR. This enhances the waterproofing ability of your jacket.

When water lands on your jacket, the droplets form a sphere due to surface tension and roll down just like a tiny ball. This ensures that no drop of water gets absorbed inside your jacket.

In simple words, DWR coating is a raincoat of your jacket, and it is recommended that you should search for jackets that include this coating.

Besides, opt for jackets having DWR coating that do not have perfluorinated compounds (PFC) in them. PFC compounds are not eco-friendly and are very dangerous. By choosing a PFC free DWR coated jacket, you can contribute a lot in saving your planet.

Warmth

To enjoy your expedition to the fullest, do not opt for a jacket that provides you more warmth and has less breathability. You must be wondering why is that so?

Since skiing is so thrilling and makes you sweat more due to the intense workout, the jacket that provides warmth and has less breathability will trap the moisture that is created inside. This trapped moisture will, in turn, make you cold, and your jacket will remain wet.

To keep yourself warm, dryness is the key. For keeping yourself dry, you need to opt for a jacket that has more breathability and provides less warmth. The breathability of the jacket will let the steam inside evaporate and keep you dry.

This is the reason why ski jackets do not have insulation. These have high breathability to let the vapors out, and there is enough time in between for your sweat to get excreted again.

Weight and Fit

Skiing is all about being on the move at all times. Ski jackets are made from fibers, which are incredibly light in weight.

They weigh between 1lbs to 3lbs. If you opt for these jackets, you will feel as if you are wearing nothing and are still protected and comfortable.

Also, ensure that being light in weight, your jacket should not compromise with the protection. Its main aim is to protect you, and if it fails in that, then it is of no use.

Heavier jackets tend to restrict your movement. This can lead to accidents also because you won't be able to control yourself at high speed. Restrictive movement is irritating, and to avoid that, a ski jacket is made lightweight.

Jackets that have a softshell are very light in weight and help you in moving all-around freely. Free movement is essential for skiers who opt for piste skiing.

When you talk about the fit of your jacket, you are most likely to find three variants, that are:

  1. Slim fit

As the name suggests, these jackets fit very accurately and in shape. These are the best choice if you do not want to wear any other layer inside.

These jackets sit very close to your body, leaving no space even for the air to pass. These are very light in weight, and you feel very comfortable.

  1. Regular fit

These are neither too tight nor too loose, and you don't feel suffocated in these.

  1. Relaxed fit

These do not constrict movement and are very comfortable to wear. These are also known as baggy jackets because these have adequate room to accommodate extra layers inside.

Search for more variants that have removable liners and many more suitable features so that you can experience a smooth and comfortable skiing experience.

Length

While searching for the best ski jacket, the length should also be considered. Along with the fit and style, length too contributes a lot in your jacket and makes your skiing enjoyable.

During your search, you will find five different lengths of ski jackets. According to your personal preference, choose the one that suits you well.

  1. Cropped jacket

The hem of the jacket ends near the waist for optimum fit and flexibility.

  1. Hip length

This jacket's hem stops 1-2 inches below your hip bone. This gives it a tailored look, and you look like an athlete.

  1. Thigh-length

Your jacket covers you entirely and ends 1-2 inches above your knee. This length gives additional protection to you by protecting your thighs.

  1. Knee-length

The hem of your jacket has a length till the knee. This gives you full protection and comfort.

  1. Full length

A full-length ski jacket is preferable if you want to cover yourself entirely till the ankle.


Seams

Seams are the joints where two pieces of fabric meet. This prevents water from entering in and keeps you dry and comfortable.

You will find two types of seams in ski jackets. They are specially made to keep you protected and are listed below.

  1. Critically taped seams

You can opt for jackets with this type of seams if you are skiing for a shorter period. The seams around the shoulder and the neck region are only taped so that water or moisture cannot penetrate inside your jacket.

  1. Fully taped seams

You will find every seam of your jacket fully taped and secured with a waterproofing glue both from the interior and exterior. This type of taping ensures enhanced waterproofing. If you are out in heavy rainfall or snowfall, jackets having fully taped seams are the ones on which you can completely rely on.

Additional Features

  1. Hoods

These not only look fashionable but are also very useful during bad weather. They give extra protection to your head besides your helmet.

Search for hoods that are detachable so that it becomes easier for you to pack them and use them whenever needed. Also, check if your hood and helmet are compatible or not.

  1. Adjustable cuffs

Cuffs are essential to prevent that cold air from getting inside your sleeves. With the help of adjustable cuffs, you can quickly secure your wrist with the Velcro strap and stay protected.

Besides, look for thumb loops because they are a great companion of cuffs and give you additional protection against the cold weather.

Cuffs also help your jacket's sleeves to stay in place and not move. This also helps you stay comfortable.

  1. Snow skirts

A jacket protects you from the wind and snow. There are chances that when you fall on the snow, some of it may enter inside your jacket too.

To avoid this from happening, snow skirts are worn. These elastic skirts sit around your waist and prevent any bit of snow from entering inside your jacket. It also blocks the flow of air inside your jacket and keeps you shielded.

  1. Recco reflector

In case you become a victim to an avalanche and get buried inside the snow, these units reflect the signals to the rescue team, guiding them efficiently to reach you. These are the most amazing add-ons to your jackets and are attracting popularity day by day.

FAQs

  1. Do ski jackets weigh more?

No, high-quality jackets are light in weight and don't weigh you down during your activity.

  1. I am new to the skiing world. Any tips to remember while cleaning my jacket?

Here are some critical pointers to follow:

  1. Wash the jackets in cold water.
  2. Never use harsh detergent on the product.
  3. Mostly all jackets are machine-friendly, but down-filled jackets should never be washed in a machine.
  4. Read the label and instructions properly before ironing.
  1. How to find the optimum sized jacket?

It all depends on personal preference. Some like to go 1+ size with ski jackets as they have to wear several layers beneath it. No matter the size, never opt for shorter hem and sleeve length. These both provide significant protection against cold winds.

Final Verdict

Ski jackets protect your body from the icy-cold weather without hindering your range of movement. All you need to do is select the best fit.

Here in this guide, you will find all the criteria to funnel down the best product. Go through the critical pointers and make an informed decision.

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