Words by Tom Copsey
The last thing you want is apparel that’s soaking wet after an hour of snowfall and has you shivering until your teeth fall out – which means you’ll want to go with with a technical jacket. Something that you’ll certainly not want, though, is looking like your mom dressed you, so you might want to take style into your considerations as well. We’ll give you an insight into snowboard outerwear’s tech features while you can decide for yourself what’ll get them haters going over the following pages:
Waterproofness and breathability ratings of outerwear tend to be represented as numbers (5K, 10K, 20K etc) with higher ones being more functional. It depends on what riding you have planned to determine what you will need. For missions in the backcountry you’ll need to rely on your gear, while spring slush offers the best conditions for riding in a hoodie.
Snowboard outerwear features different levels of of insulation: shell (zero insulation), part insulation, removable insulation, full insulation and apparel that has a mixture of real and synthetic down. Apart from when you’re a beginner, built-in insulation won’t be as necessary because you’ll be charging hard, so it’s best to have a little in key zones and concentrate on layering to have more control over how warm you get. It’s also worth noting that premium, teched-out shell jackets often don’t have any insulation at all, aside from being windproof. Always check the tech data before you release your credit card into the shop wilderness.
Extra bits and bobs will be much appreciated when you’re out shredding on a regular basis. Armpit and leg vents, Lycra wrist gaiters, fully adjustable hoods, water-resistant zip covers and plenty of well placed pockets will make the riding experience a lot more convenient. For basics you should look for powder skirt (or ankle gaiters on pants), zips and adjustments that are easy to handle with gloves on, and zippered spots to stash everything you can’t live without – lift pass, phone and dollah dollah bills.
Layering might not seem important – slap on a hoodie and a jacket, how hard can it be? But if done wrong it could feel as if your teched out jacket isn’t waterproof, which she probably is, but when you pair it with a warm cotton hoody you’ll be soaked after a while – in your own sweat that is. Remember to look for moisture wicking layers so your sweat can get out instead of sticking to your body and making you smell like your gym teachers’ feet. Go for a base layer and a mid-layer which should be breathable, lightweight and insulated, like fleece.