Peeling the Layers: What Makes a Snowboarding Jacket Warm?


Snowboarding is a sport that obviously can only be done when there is snow; and when there is snow, you can expect to get cold so keeping yourself warm is certainly a priority. The way to do this is to wear a jacket that is specifically built for maximum warmth, mobility, and flexibility, also known as a snowboarding jacket.

People might wonder, what is the difference between a snowboarding jacket and a regular jacket? Are snowboarding jackets warm? If they are, what makes snowboarding jackets warm?

The answer: varying features. With the right combination of features incorporated into a jacket, it can create the perfect snowboarding jacket to keep you warm, make you feel comfortable, and even make you look fashionable. Here are some of the most important features a snowboarding jacket needs to make it warm.

Two Layers vs. Three Layers

It might seem obvious that three layers are always better than two when it comes to providing warmth, but that isn’t always the case with outerwear. When it comes to layers, a jacket with three layers can last longer as it can withstand the wear and tear over time, but for many snowboarders two layers are more than enough because of its lighter weight and durability. Plus, a two layer jacket is more affordable than a three layer jacket.

Type of Insulation Used

Snowboarding jackets usually offer three different types of insulation: down, synthetic, and shell. They each offer a different level of protection against the cold and come with their own pros and cons.

  • Down Insulation – This type of insulation is the warmest, weighs the lightest, and can easily be compressed to fit your bag. Down feathers work by using the warm air and trapping it inside to retain its warmth. It’s simple yet effective. Although they seem to be the best option for warmth, down jackets can be more expensive and if they are not made properly by the manufacturer, they can lose their loft and in effect, their warmth. Another downside is due to the down feathers trapping warm air from the inside, you can easily heat up when you are exerting too much.
  • Synthetic Insulation – Using synthetic materials for insulation means the snowboarding jacket is cheaper and more likely to be water-resistant, but they are heavier and less breathable, which can make them uncomfortable to wear.
  • Shell (No insulation) – Although technically a shell is not a type of insulation, it is an outerwear that is preferred by many snowboarders. It is very lightweight and versatile but requires layering on the inside to provide warmth. This means you can adjust your layers to fit the conditions and still use the shell without having to buy another jacket.


Pit vents are a very helpful feature for a snowboarding jacket to have. These strategically placed vents help in proper ventilation to make sure your body does not trap sweat inside your jacket. If sweat isn’t ventilated properly, it can dry up and cause the inside of the jacket to become colder causing you to shiver and feel cold, even while wearing a properly insulated snowboarding jacket.


Not all jackets come with a hood. In fact, hoods can come as a permanent attachment, removable, or not at all on snowboarding jackets. The hoods come in handy during extremely windy and snowy days, as they can usually be cinched over a helmet for added protection from the cold.


Gaiters are a feature on jackets that help keep the cold and snow from entering your snowboarding jacket. They are two common gaiters found in snowboarding jackets: wrist and waist gaiters.

  • Wrist – Your gloves will cover the wrist gaiters to ensure no snow goes up your sleeve.
  • Waist – A waist gaiter, or also known as a powder skirt, is typically built into the jacket and wraps around your waist. This creates a seal in that area to prevent snow from entering, most especially when you tumble down into the snow. Some waist gaiters are removable to give you the option of not using them when the temperatures are not too cold.

Are Snowboard Jackets Warm Enough?

Depending on the weather conditions and your planned activities, snowboarding jackets will keep you warm. Jackets like the Mountain Hardwear StretchDown Hooded Jacket for Men or the Burton Covert Insulated Snowboard Jacket for men offer proper insulation and many other features that are guaranteed to keep you warm and dry on your next snowboarding trip.


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