As a 35 year lifer on the slopes I’ve seen trends come and go. From beginner to expert, green circle to double black diamond, the skill level doesn’t matter anymore. The top priority is comfort, warmth and safety. So who makes the best mens ski jackets on the market? Lets find out!
Whether you are shredding Park City, Squaw Valley or Steamboat, your ski jacket must be able to withstand continual variations of the surrounding environment. Temperature, wind and sun from the top elevations of the slopes to the bottom lodge, when embraced by a quality jacket, it’s worth having as much versatility as possible.
Why Must I Have The Perfect Ski Jacket?
Staring directly into the unforgiving winds atop mountain faces and snow packed corniced walls will certainly send Siberian bolts of frigidness through your core. And loitering patiently in pockets of freezing air could make your body temperature plunge.
If you ski enough you should easily understand temperature inversions and the unpredictability of weather can play out on the mountain. Have you ever experienced cold air locked in at the valley floor while marvelous bright sunny spring like conditions await you at the summit? Let us not forget copious amounts of snowfall, slush, ice and rain.
Conditions on the mountain change vigorously without much foresight and predictability so it’s vital you’re prepared for all conditions. There’s an vintage saying about the American West. “If you don’t like the weather? Just wait 15 minutes.” So true, so very true!
The assumption of modern day snowboarders and skiers are revising in todays industry. With a sizable percentage of ski resorts incorporating the hike-to option branching off their standard inbounds trails creating more risk and dangers for those extreme adrenaline junkies. If you’re the type of snow puppy that journeys out off the beaten path, or not, modern day quality ski jackets are being fabricated with the design of being more breathable, weather proof, windproof and durable for all conditions.
Characteristics of a Quality Jacket
There is a design trend at the moment which emphasis a more roomier jacket with loose cut seams. As research shows this particular design tends to withdraw condensation or general moisture away from the body while locking in more heat generated by the body. Which ultimately will help keep you warm and comfortable as you organically cool down between runs.
Bordering on paradox, these same exact ski jackets are also created to breathe while actively hiking out of bounds or up the mountain, allowing your body core temperature to remain constantly comfortable whether that be warm, cool and always dry throughout the day.
Desirable characteristics to seek in your next ski jacket:
- Vented Armpit
- Breathable materials
- Waterproof and weatherproof fabrics
- Multi functional chest pockets
Any suitable ski jacket will offer these characteristics to the consumer. However, there’s additional features that one should consider and comes highly recommended by the manufacturer, as well, other experienced mountaineers, skiers, and extreme outdoor enthusiast.
These features include:
- Detachable powder skirts
- Helmet hoods
- Goggle cloths
- Zipper garages
- High-wind collars
- Complete waterproof and breathable fabrics
- Audio ports
These features entice a large section of experienced skiers and snowboarders who desire the ultimate front-line defense against “Old Man Winter”. Though, when it is all said and done, a superior ski jacket represents various things to various people pending their requirements. Since people are like snowflakes, meaning that no two people are ever the same, it’s difficult to dub any jacket the perfect ski jacket. However, we can narrow it down to a handful that I consider to be the best men’s ski jackets on the market.
Steps in Purchasing Your Ski Jacket
In review thus far, you should be aware that a quality ski jacket could be one of the most significant articles of clothing in your arsenal. It should maintain and regulate your core body temp. While keeping you warm in the most severe environmental conditions and visa versa when your body is heating up. A great ski jacket should be comfortable, yet practical, durable and hardwearing. And as a added bonus, it should make you look wonderful in the lodge and on the mountain— if that’s important to you.
Are you overwhelmed yet? Calm down, take a deep breathe. You’re a double diamond expert on the slopes. Reading this article shouldn’t be much of a task for you adrenaline junkies.
Anyhow, where should you begin looking for the right jacket? Obviously right here, with our research and reviews, you’ll be a lot closer to finding the perfect jacket. First let’s discuss a few important steps to consider.
Purchase a Shell
After buying your first shell jacket you’ll be converted. Standard ski jackets come insulated, which benefits the user in cold weather but presents a slight nightmare as temperatures warms up (including body temp). A shell provides breathable protection, while being completely waterproof, with a durable thin layer.
Choose the Best Name Brand for Quality Assurance
If you’re like me, then choosing the best is easy. I love being a brand name snob. Do you remember the old adage, “you get what you pay for”? If not, it’s the truth about almost anything you buy.
When it comes to your safety, health and comfort then it’s an easy rule to live by again.
Discover the Best Shape
No matter how you shake it, vanity is in our DNA. We all want to look good and present well to others no matter what you might say. Same goes for your ski jacket too. No body wants to look like a bright soggy mess on the slopes.
Lucky enough, outdoor clothing manufacturers have long taken this aspect into consideration. However, be diligent and make sure your jacket fits properly before impulse buying a great looking jacket.
- Can you move about freely?
- Are the sleeves long enough?
- Are you able to tuck your chin under the collar?
Unravel the Technical Data
When purchasing a new ski jacket, major manufacturers could be a slightly confusing with their descriptions. Tossing about descriptive terms that seem suitable for the lab only, making it strenuous to select.
I will not bother you with the technical slang. However, I will inform you to keep an eye on:
- Water and weatherproof up to 20,000mm
- Breathable up to 20,000gr
- Vented zip
- Snow skirt
Selecting Vivid Colors
So what if you look like a bag of Skittles, the color of your ski jacket is key. You’ll be wearing your new jacket the whole season, for perhaps a whole decade.
Selecting a bright colored jacket will set your character’s personality upon the slopes as well as becoming easily identifiable if you’re ever lost and stranded.
The Best Men’s Ski Jackets To Purchase
Now that we’ve covered in depth the most important features, aspects, and designs characteristics that make up a superior jacket. Are you ready to take the plunge? I’ve taken the liberty of creating a short list of the best mens ski jackets while incorporating all the attributes we’ve discussed thus far without busting the bank in the process.
Dakine Mercer Jacket
Weight: 2.3 pounds
Dimensions: 23 x 18 x 3 inches
Features: Material: Gore-Tex 3-layer, insulation: tricot, seams: fully taped, regular fit, hip length
Best Use: Skiing, snowboarding, winter sports
Made with harsh conditions in mind, Dakine Mercer Jacket is perfect for shredding any mountain. Rest assured, you’ll stay dry in the Mercer Jacket. Constructed with a Gore-Tex 3 layer membrane and fully taped seams, this jacket is both breathable, waterproof and durable. The jacket features a drop hood, with adjustable front and back cords and an inner collar, all for added protection against the weather.
The inner storm flap, wrist toggles and powder skirting, will shield you from any harsh conditions, letting you be free to enjoy the snowy outdoors. This jacket also has tricot insulation, adding a layer of comfort to this jacket. With all these features, even blizzard conditions are no match for this jacket.
This premium jacket has been designed with the active person in mind. The zippered underarm ventilation, allows you to let some of the heat out, once you start to build up a sweat.
Also included are secure internal and external pockets, ensuring you can take your personal items on your adventure. The internal pocket is a great place to put your music device. Tear down the mountain, while listening to your favorite tunes, knowing your things are safely secured in this jacket.
Faction Franklin Ski Jacket
Dimensions: Regular, true to fit, hip length
Features: 2 Layer Lined Jacket, standard fit, Toray Dermizax 2L with Stunner Stretch, 20,000 mm waterproof, 20,000 gm breathability
Best Use: Snow boarding, skiing, mountain climbing, snow sports
Ideal for ‘tearing it up’ in the snow, the Faction Franklin Ski Jacket has been built for superior performance. Constructed from the high tech Toray Dermizax fabric, the membrane of this jacket is highly waterproof, windproof and eco friendly. Great for when the weather conditions are harsh, you’ll have confidence in the Franklin jacket to keep you dry.
The fabric of this jacket also boasts superior breathability, allowing you to comfortably engage in your extreme outdoor activities. Also included in the design is a powder skirt, to ensure you are thoroughly protected from the harsh elements.
Understanding your need to have unrestricted movement, this jacket has been fitted with a 40g Thinsulate insulation, providing you warmth without bulk. Stay warm on the slopes, without the hassle of restricted movement. Armpit ventilation has also bee included to allow excess heat to escape, once you start to sweat.
The Franklin ski jacket was made with your safety in mind. It has an adjustable hood, that is helmet compatible, so you can stay both dry and safe. A RECCO reflector is built in to this jacket, making you easier to locate and ensuring you feel safe when venturing out.
The standard fit and stylish design of this jacket, along with its functionality and high performance features, make it a flawless companion on your next ride down the mountain.
Flylow Genius Jacket
Weight: 1.15 pounds
Dimensions: 3 x 8 x 12 inches
Features: Polartec NeoShell: Guaranteed waterproof, ultra breathable, 72% polyester, 28% nylon, articulated shoulders and sleeves, fully seam taped with 13 mm tape, 2 mesh-lined chest pocket/vents
Best Use: Winter sports, skiing, snowboarding, climbing, hiking, canoeing, fishing
Looking for a lightweight jacket you can wear all year round?, look no further. This Flylow Genius Jacket is as smart as its name suggests. Constructed from the technologically advanced Polartec Neoshell, it delivers guaranteed waterproofing, ensuring you stay dry when the weather turns gnarly. All seams have been fully taped, to avoid even the slightest amount of moisture from getting gin.
What sets this jacket from the competition is its permeability to air, allowing fast evaporation of sweat give you greater thermo-regulation during excessive activity. The design also includes underarm ventilation, to provide you with control over the heat in your jacket.
This jacket has been designed with the importance of unrestricted movement in mind. The four-way stretch of the jacket, maintains maximum mobility, regardless of what activity you are enjoying. Although thin and impressively light, this jacket features a superior robust design, so there is no need for you to sacrifice durability for weight.
Additional features include, a helmet-compatible hood, ensuring you never need to compromise comfort for safety, and pockets designed to allow access even with a backpack on. The secure internal and external pockets, provide a safe place for your essential personal belongings.
With its impeccable functionality and superior versatility, the Genius jacket is guaranteed to please all outdoor enthusiasts .
The North Face Gatekeeper Jacket
Features: Waterproof, windproof, breathable, fully seam sealed, distinctive herringbone two-layer shell, dual-adjustment, helmet-compatible, removable hood, underarm vents, wrist accessory pocket with goggle cloth
Best Use: Snow boarding, skiing, winter sports, alpinist, mountaineering
Shred your favorite mountain in comfort and timeless style, with The North Face Gatekeeper Jacket. Built for superior performance, this alpine ski jacket boasts a DryVent exterior, that can withstand wind, snow and slush. All seams on the jacket have been fully sealed. You’ll stay dry in this waterproof ski jacket.
Heatseeker insulation has been used to line this jacket, which is both light and low profile, keeping you warm without the bulk. And to top it off, this jacket offers premium breathability, allowing you to work up a sweat, without compromising your thermo-regulation.
Designed with versatility in mind, the Gatekeeper jacket has underarm vents, to increase air circulation when you need it. The jacket also has a removable hood. allowing this jacket to transition easily in to there warmer months. Plus, the hood is helmet-compatible, so you’ll never have to compromise warmth for safety.
This jacket also features a four snap powder skirt, keeping you dry, even when you are carving you way through deep powder. Also included in the design, is a wrist accessory pocket and goggle cloth. Conveniently positioned, so you can easily access any small personal items, or give your goggles a quick wipe when needed.
If you are looking for the ultimate alpine performance jacket, then the Gate Keeper jacket is a must for you.
Black Diamond Helio Jacket
Weight: 370 grams
Dimensions: regular fit, hip length
Features: Nylon, soft hand GORE-TEX C-Knit backer, Integrated Cohaesive cord management system, harness compatible, full-length pit zips, two extra large, cross-access chest pockets
Best Use: Snow boarding, Skiing, ski mountaineers, ski tourers, alpinists, ski mountaineering
The Black Diamond Helio Jacket is for those who want the ultimate in protection, comfort and packability. Designed to meet the needs of serious ski mountaineers and alpinists, this jacket has been constructed with a cutting edge soft-hand GORE-TEX. The jacket is not only waterproof, but offers premium comfort as well. The softer feel of the jacket, makes it ideal for layering.
When you are high on the mountain and the weather turns harsh, this jacket will provide superior protection. The cohesive cord system, on both the hood and hem, guarantee you’ll remain dry. And once the weather clears, it can be easily packed away. Full-length pit zips have been included in the design, ensuring excess heat doesn’t build up once you start to sweat.
The jacket is harness compatible, making it an ideal companion for mountaineering. Two extra large cross access chest pockets, have been included in the design. This gives you a secure place, to store essential items, that you need to be easily accessible.
This premium jacket exhibits advanced protection and packability, while offering a level of comfort, that is second to none.
Flylow Albert Jacket
Weight: 1.6 pounds
Dimensions: 23 x 16 x 3 inches
Features: 20k/20k waterproof breathable membrane,high performance DWR (Durable Water Repellent), fully seam taped, eco insulation made from post-consumer recycled plastic, helmet-compatible hood
Best Use: Skiing, snow boarding, winter sports, outdoor adventures
The Flylow Albert Jacket is too good to be true, combining flexibility, durability, compressibility and superior thermo-regulation, all into the one jacket. The jacket is constructed from a 2-layer, stretchy ripstop fabric, making it tough and easily packable, at the same time. With its fully taped seams and high performance Durable Water Repellent (DWR), you’ll feel confident knowing this jacket will keep you dry.
The design of this jacket has taken things to the next level, with its Primaloft Eco insulation. Made from post-consumer recycled plastic, it is extremely lightweight and warm, giving you superior protection with minimum bulk.
Several secure pockets have been included in the design, to ensure you have easy access to any essential items you might need. You’ll feel better knowing your personal things are safe, while you are crushing the back-side of any mountain.
Understanding the importance of safety, this jacket features a helmet-compatible hood, so you can be both safe and warm during your next snowy adventure. Be prepared for when the weather turns nasty on your next snowy adventure, with the Albert jacket. Rest assured you’ll be warm and you won’t even know you are carrying it.
Time to Gear Up and Head Out
By visiting the options I presented above, you’ve already opened the doors to a solution of endless protection, comfort and reliability against the elements outside. Now it’s your time to journey off the beaten path and explore the outer boundaries of the mountain (and life) in your new ski jacket.
Reinvigorate your love of the mountain and the outdoors by jumping into a splendid looking jacket that will leave your snow buddies green with envy. How will you use your new jacket?
Remember that mother nature is a gentle soul that can turn on you quickly with vengeance. She should be treated with respect at all times and never under estimated. Mother nature is a beautiful piece of art and we should all be so lucky to leave our small existence of paint on her canvas.
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