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Best Ski Clothing Brands: A Buyer’s Guide to the Highest Quality Jackets

Best Ski Clothing Brands
Sean Nelson
Written by Sean Nelson

If you are into skiing, then it goes without saying that you need to invest in a good set of ski clothing. However, with all the number of clothing brands for skiing that you can find in the market, shopping might not be as easy as you think. Wouldn’t it be nice if there’s a list of some of the best ski clothing brands for your perusal?

If you are someone who regularly hits the slope, you’ve come to the right place. On top of providing you our dear readers the top features to consider when shopping for ski clothing brands, we will also recommend some of the best products from the most prominent brands today.

Our top picks

ProductFillWaterproof ratingPrice
The North Face Women’s Aconcagua Jacket550 downWeather resistantCheck price on Amazon
Spyder Women’s Timeless Jacket700 downWater resistant with DWRCheck price on Amazon
Patagonia Nano Puff Men’s Hoody60 g syntheticWater resistant with DWRCheck price on Amazon
Outdoor Research Women’s Havoc Jacket60 g syntheticWater resistant with WindstopperCheck price on Amazon
Arc’Teryx Women’s Thorium AR Hoody140 g synthetic and 750 downWater resistant with DWRCheck price on Amazon
Mountain Hardwear Women’s Hooded Jacket214 g synthetic and 650 downWater resistantCheck price on Amazon
Columbia Women's Vail Square Jacket100 g syntheticWater resistant with DWRCheck price on Amazon
Obermeyer Men’s Foundation Jacket100 g syntheticWater resistant with DWRCheck price on Amazon

Things To Consider Before Buying

When looking for new ski clothing, there are a few things to consider before you buy. Things like material, fill, and durability are especially important for jackets, and high quality brands list this information with their products. These technical specs should always be available, and you can use them to guide your purchasing decisions!

Exterior Material

The exterior of a jacket, or “shell”, is important for a bunch of reasons. For one, the way your shell looks determines how cool (or uncool) you look up on the mountain. More importantly, though, the jacket shell is key for insulation, wind blocking, and keeping you dry.

Ski Brands

There are several materials that you may encounter when buying a jacket, like cotton, polyester, nylon, polypropylene, and wool. All of these materials have their perks, but for ski jackets the priority should be warmth and water resistance. For this reason, most high quality jackets have an exterior made from either polyester or nylon (or some combination of the two).

Polyester and nylon are both strong, water resistant, and lightweight materials. However, there are a few key differences. While polyester is naturally abrasion resistant, it is a weaker material than nylon.

Ski Jacket

Nylon is incredibly strong and durable, and holds more warmth than its counterpart – these perks unfortunately often mean higher cost. Both materials often utilize “ripstop” technology that prevents tears.

Fill Material

Nylon and polyester are great, but they aren’t all that warm. That’s why ski jackets use an interior fill that creates air pockets and traps in body heat. This fill is essential to keeping you toasty, but there are still some things to consider when you buy.

Goose Down

Jacket fill is usually one of two major types: down and synthetic. Down is made from real fluffy feathers (from real fluffy birds) and has been the go to insulator for centuries. It’s warm, effective, and retains its fluffiness for a long time – even when packed down.

However, down fill doesn’t do very well when wet and loses much of its insulating ability. It can also be a non option for people with allergies or skin sensitivities, or those who prefer to not use animal products.

Ski Jacket Syntetic Fill

Synthetic fill is made from super fine polyester fibers that mimic down’s lofty appearance. Unlike down, synthetic fill retains heat in wet conditions and is hypoallergenic. Unfortunately, it’s not quite as warm and you need more of it to get the same heat level as down – that can be an issue for skiers super concerned with weight.

Fill Rating

As well as choosing your fill type, when you buy a ski jacket you need to pay attention to the fill rating. This rating refers to the quality of the material – and how warm it’s going to be. Down and synthetic fills have separate rating systems.

Down Jacket Fill Rating

Down is rated using the “fill power” measurement. This refers to the fluffiness and quality of the down and ranges from about 300 900, with 900 being the highest quality (we won’t go into the math here). While all down is going to be warm, the higher the quality, the less you need to get the same insulation. Higher fill down jackets are generally warmer and more lightweight than lower fill.

Synthetic fills use a different measurement system. These little fibers are measured by grams per square meter (again, we’ll skip the details here) and determine the thickness and warmth of the insulation. Generally, 50 100g fills are going to be appropriate for brisk conditions, but not freezing, while 100 200 g fills are going to keep you toasty in the coldest environments.

Waterproof Rating

Unless you’re the world’s most delicate skier, you’re probably going to get some snow on you at some point. That’s why a jacket’s waterproof rating is important! There’s a lot of lingo about water that gets thrown around, so here’s a quick overview of what it all means.

Waterproof Jacket

First, there’s a difference between waterproof, water resistant, and weather resistant. Waterproof materials are fully waterproof – as in, nothing gets in or out. Most jackets (unless specifically designed for rain) are not fully waterproof because it reduces breathability and increases weight.

Water resistant fabrics, like uncoated nylon and polyester, resist most moisture but will soak after long exposures or a dump in a river. Weather resistant materials can usually handle a little drizzle, but will soak through much more quickly.

Ski Jacket fill

Many ski jackets fall somewhere in the water resistance camp. Some products, especially those designed for technical use, are treated with a “DWR” coat – Durable Water Repellants. These special coats reduce breathability, but cause water to bead up and roll away – reducing the chance of a sagging, waterlogged jacket.

Additional Features

The last thing to consider when looking for a high quality brand or jacket is what additional features they offer. Some features, like a lifetime warranty or around the clock customer service, are pretty much always good. Others depend on what your specific needs are.

Ski Jacket Additional Features

For skiers in warmer climates or front country settings, jackets with zippered armpit vents can be a lifesaver (or at least a sweaty armpit saver). In backcountry situations or places with harsh weather, neck and chin guards are awesome for preventing wind burn and even snow blindness. Other features to look for are elastic arm cuffs or waists and pack size.

Best Products On Today’s Market

Now that we’ve gone over some of the features to look for in a high quality jacket, let’s get into some reviews for the best jacket brands!

The North Face Women’s Aconcagua Jacket

Weight: 20.5 ouncesWomen's The North Face Aconcagua Jacket

Sizes: XS to XL

Specific features: 550-fill Responsible Down Standard certified down, insulated sides, active fit, polyester/nylon mix, multiple colors, lifetime warranty

Best use: Cold weather

The North Face might be one of the most known outdoor clothing brands out there and for good reason. This brand offers reliable, durable products that don’t disappoint, and The North Face Women’s Aconcagua Jacket is no exception.

Featuring an uncoated polyester nylon shell and 550-fill goose down interior, this coat is a perfect option for those chilly winter days. The jacket uses stretchable fabric to ensure a perfect, snug fit that contours to your body, trapping heat and keeping you extra toasty even while active.

While the Aconcagua is warm, it’s not made for wet weather. The uncoated shell and down are susceptible to soaking up water, making it a product best suited to dry weather and single day adventures.

If you’re looking for a high quality product for the less extreme treks, however, The North Face has got your back. They use sustainable, ethically sourced materials and offer a lifetime warranty on every jacket.

PROS:

  • Warm
  • Body conforming fit
  • Ethically sourced down
 CONS:

  • Not water resistant
  • No hood
  • No vents

Related: Want a great beanie that will go great with the Aconcagua jacket? The North Face Women’s Beanie is just what you need for its lightweight profile and cable knit design.

Check the price on Amazon

Spyder Women’s Timeless Jacket

Weight: 29 ouncesSpyder Women's Timeless Hooded Long Jacket

Sizes: XS to XL

Specific features: Multiple colors, two way front zipper, zippered front pocket, polyester/nylon mix, stretch cuffs in waist, 700-fill down, DWR coating

Best use: All cold weather

For the best of both the cold weather and wet weather worlds, check out the Spyder Women’s Timeless Jacket. This long, fitted jacket features 700-fill Power Down, a high neck design, and attached insulated hood for the ultimate heat trapping experience. As well as the heat factor, this jacket comes coated with Spylon DWR for exceptional water resistance in all types of weather.

This coat is for folks who want to stay really, really warm. If you find yourself in above freezing temperatures or lots of sunshine, you might be getting a bit too much bulk for your needs with the Timeless.

In addition, the curved style is great for keeping you warm, but may not fit everyone’s body. All in all, this is a product well suited to multi day, overnight, or extreme cold situations.

PROS:

  • Extremely warm
  • Extra length for added insulation
  • Included hood
 CONS:

  • More expensive
  • Bulky
  • Curvy style may not fit all

Related: Once again, if you’re looking for an awesome Spyder jacket without the women’s fit, take a look at the Spyder Men’s Dolomite Jacket. This is another 700-fill down jacket with DWR – a perfect match to the Timeless for men.

Check the price on Amazon

Patagonia Nano Puff Men’s Hoody

Weight: 13 ouncesPATAGONIA Nano Puff Men's Hoody, Blue, S

Sizes: S to XL

Specific features: PrimaLoft Gold 60 g synthetic fill, DWR shell, sustainably and ethically sourced materials, pocket acts as stuff sack, retains warmth while wet

Best use: Warmer weather backcountry

The Patagonia Nano Puff Men’s Hoody is a jacket designed for those of us who need lightweight gear. Featuring a DWR treated polyester shell and PrimaLoft 60 g synthetic fill, this is a coat that stands up to moisture and stays warm in all types of weather.

One of the biggest advantages to the Nano Puff, however, is its weight and packability. This jacket weighs only 13 ounces and stuffs into its own pocket – and you never need to worry about losing the puff thanks to the synthetic fill.

While the lightweight design is a definite perk, it also means that it’s not as warm as some of the bulkier options. This jacket is perfect for temperatures around and above freezing, including the rain and snow that accompanies it.

What’s more, Patagonia has the bluesign seal of approval – meaning that their materials are sustainable and produced in safe worker conditions. For a packable jacket you can feel good about wearing, this is your product!

PROS:

  • Ethically/sustainably sourced and made
  • Water resistant and warmth retaining while wet
  • Lightweight and packable
 CONS:

  • More expensive
  • Less warm

Related: The Patagonia Down Sweater Hoodie is a good alternative to the above jacket for its classic design, lightweight and windproof features and 800-fill power Traceable Down. It’s a great combination of warmth and comfort.

Check the price on Amazon

Outdoor Research Women’s Havoc Jacket

Weight: 16 ouncesOutdoor Research Women's Havoc Jacket

Sizes: XS to XL

Specific features: 100% nylon shell, adjustable hood, double separating zipper, water resistant, Primaloft Eco 60 g synthetic fill, windproof

Best use: Warmer weather front and backcountry

If you want a lightweight, packable jacket and the Nano Puff doesn’t do it for you, check out the Outdoor Research Women’s Havoc Jacket.

This jacket features a 100% nylon shell for extra durability, as well as a WINDSTOPPER coat for added wind and water resistance. The PrimaLoft 60 g fill is packable and warm, and the entire jacket packs into its own pocket for quick and simple storage.

While a great option for folks who need a lightweight insulated layer, this jacket is not as warm as some of the heavier products, and the casual fit reduces some of the body hugging heat. Nonetheless, this Outdoor Research coat is a great option for front and backcountry skiers in around or above freezing temps.

PROS:

  • Adjustable hood
  • Windproof
  • Lightweight and packable
 CONS:

  • Less warm
  • Looser fit

Related: For a jacket with a little more warmth, check out the Outdoor Research Women’s Sonata Hoodie. This is another water and wind resistant jacket from OR that utilizes 650-fill goose down instead of synthetic fill for extra warmth and insulation.

Check the price on Amazon

Arc’Teryx Women’s Thorium AR Hoody

Weight: 16 ouncesArc'Teryx Women's Thorium AR Hoody

Sizes: XS to XL

Specific features: Arato 40 fabric, Down Composite Mapping for moisture control, 140 g Coreloft synthetic fill, wind flap neck, packs into pocket, DWR shell

Best use: Cold weather front and backcountry

The Arc’Teryx Women’s Thorium AR Hoody brings together the best of warm insulation, weather resistance, and packability. This fitted jacket features a lightweight ripstop nylon shell with DWR as well as a blend of Coreloft 140 g synthetic and 750-fill goose down insulation.

This is one warm jacket, and it includes an insulated, adjustable hood and chin guard to prevent wind burn. The moisture control technology prevents sweating – you won’t instantly freeze when you take it off!

This is a fantastic all around jacket for front and backcountry adventures. With great quality, however, comes a greater cost. This jacket is best suited to sub freezing temperatures when you need the very best insulation.

PROS:

  • Extremely warm
  • Packable and lightweight
  • Water and wind resistant
 CONS:

  • More expensive
  • More bulky

Related: If you need even more warmth than the Thorium, the Arc’Teryx Cerium SV Hoody has you covered. This is one of the warmest jackets made by Arc’Teryx, featuring 850-fill down and durable materials for extreme weather conditions.

Check the price on Amazon

Mountain Hardwear Women’s Kelvinator Jacket

Weight: 20 ouncesMountain Hardwear Women's Kelvinator Hooded Jacket

Sizes: M to L

Specific features: Multiple colors, 100% ripstop nylon, insulated hood, lined chin guard, Q-Shield water resistant shell, packs into pocket, 650-fill down

Best use: Dry cold weather

The Mountain Hardwear Women’s Kelvinator Jacket delivers exceptional warmth without added weight. This jacket combines a whopping 214 g synthetic fill with 650-fill down, making it a great coat for those sub freezing settings. Despite its relative bulk, the Kelvinator packs down well and fits into its own pocket.

While a great option for cold weather, this jacket is not especially water resistant. This is a product well suited to cold, dry conditions where a little extra bulk isn’t a problem.

PROS:

  • Extremely warm
  • Stays warm when wet
  • Lightweight for the bulk
 CONS:

  • Bulky
  • Not very water resistant

Related: Mountain Hardwear doesn’t slack on the high quality jackets. The Mountain Hardwear Men’s Supercharger Jacket is another ultra warm down/synthetic blend jacket, designed especially for men.

Check the price on Amazon

Columbia Women’s Vail Square Jacket

Weight: 22 ouncesColumbia Women's Vail Square Jacket

Sizes: XS to XL

Specific features: 100% polyester, attached scuba hood, 100 g Omni-Heat synthetic fill, water resistant

Best use: Cold weather front country

If you need a warm, water resistant jacket that won’t break the bank, the Columbia Women’s Vail Square Jacket is for you. This jacket features 100 g synthetic fill, specially designed to have the highest heat retention per gram on the market.

The inner shell uses reflective technology to lock in heat, and the exterior is coated with Omni-Tech DWR to prevent water saturation.

This is a great jacket on the lower end of the price spectrum that doesn’t sacrifice quality for affordability. The biggest downside to this jacket is its weight and its lack of packability, making it best suited to front country use.

PROS:

  • Warm
  • More affordable
  • Water resistant
 CONS:

  • Heavier
  • Not a contoured fit

Related: The Columbia Women’s Mighty Lite III is another Omni-Heat and Omni-Shield treated jacket with a little less hefty of a fill – perfect for warmer conditions.

Check the price on Amazon

Obermeyer Men’s Foundation Jacket

Weight: 16 ouncesObermeyer Men's Foundation Jacket

Sizes: XS to XXL

Specific features: HydroBlock polyester shell, RECCO rescue reflector, integrated powder skirt, detachable goggle cloth, mesh lined vents, 100 g synthetic fill

Best Use: All weather front country

The Obermeyer Men’s Foundation Jacket was designed specifically with skiers in mind. Featuring a 100 g synthetic fill and reinforced seam sealing, this jacket will keep you toasty and tough it out through all your falls.

The shell is coated with HydroBlock Sport DWR, which boasts exceptional water resistance and breathability. Combined with the adjustable powder skirt, the Foundation will leave you dry at the end of the day.

The one downside to the Foundation is its lack of packability. If you need something quick to store, this may not be your product, but if you want an all around great option for serious skiing, you won’t be disappointed.

PROS:

  • Adjustable zip vents
  • Water resistant and breathable
  • Includes powder skirt and goggle cloth
 CONS:

  • Bulky
  • Less adjustable fit

Related: For a comparable jacket , take a look at the Obermeyer Men’s Capitol Shell Jacket. It boasts the HydroBlock Elite 100% Polyester 3-layer stretch for the best kind of added warmth, comfort and durability.

Check the price on Amazon

Summing Things Up

Skiing doesn’t have to be cold and wet. These eight brands are the top of the line when it comes to ski clothing, and the eight jackets we reviewed here are an example of their excellent quality. Now that we’ve given you all you need to make the best purchasing choices, get out there and ski!

Do you have advice for finding reliable brands? Are there any of these brands that you love? Tell us about it in the comments!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sean Nelson
Sean Nelson

Sean was backpacking since he was 7. He was born close to the RMNP and his father was a ranger, so life surrounded by mountains and wildlife is a norm for Colorado. He likes to explore, but prefers to stay in USA. In his opinion, there are too many trails and options in US to go abroad.

  • Trish Oostdyk

    Love, love, love the Spyder Women’s Timeless Hooded Long Jacket! Definitely the most comfortable jacket I have ever put on! It’s soft, lightweight and it warms you up so well within just seconds of putting it on!

  • Mark Seidel

    I got my sister the Arc’Teryx Thorium AR Hoody for her birthday last year. She was telling me recently how much she liked having it last winter. It’s lightweight, travels well and is really warm. Glad I got it for her!

  • Sean Nelson

    This is a fabulous jacket and the 700-fill power down will ensure you won’t get chilly. I gave this for my girlfriend last year and she loved the tapered look, too. I think it’s a great combination of beautiful form and excellent function.

  • Sean Nelson

    Thanks for sharing Mark and I’m not surprised that your sister liked the hoody. The Arc’Teryx is an excellent jacket and it fits well, too. If you’re going out in freezing weather, then this is the jacket for you. The colors are wild, too!

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