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.
686 - GLCR Peak 3-Ply Jacket 2014 2015 Review
| Price: €345.00 |
Nice as it is to have outerwear that is at the cutting edge of the latest in wizardstyle, we also like to see a bit of no nonsense technical outerwear that looks clean, simple and most importantly gets the job DONE. Marco Feichtner spends most his winter in nipple deep pow, so needs high performance functional outerwear and this is exactly what 686 have crafted for him with the GLCR Peak jacket. 20k-rated infiDRY fabric with fully taped seams and water-resistant zips will seal you in from the elements and the looser cut is perfect for both layering and allowing you to move freely. With built in RECCO, pit vents, Vader vents and a removable pow skirt, this is the perfect jacket for getting it done whatever the weather throws your way.
686 - Women's Parklan Sasha Insulated Jacket 2014 2015 Review
| Price: €260.00 |
For their Parklan line, 686 managed to strike the perfect balance of fashion and function. The fully street-styled cut hides a technical, 15k fabric with a bunch of shred-specific features - 60g full body insulation, Air-Flo underarm vents with Smooth Operator mesh gussets and a bunch of discrete, well-placed pockets are but a few of them. If you’re a chica looking for a jacket to take you from lift to lodge, this Parklan Sasha could be just the ticket.
adidas - Aspis Shield Gore-Tex Jacket 2014 2014 Review
| Price: €400.00 |
The flagship jacket in adidas’s new range has been developed in close conjunction with the team to fit the demanding needs of their endless assaults on the backcountry. Unsurprisingly, the Aspis Shield is therefore super waterproof and breathable thanks to its Gore-Tex membrane, rugged as hell and offers a subtle, stylish design, including the Eric Jackson signature ‘collegiate burgundy’ shown. Features include a 3-way adjustable hood, wrist gaiters, pit vents and odor-reducing close cell mesh in heat zones, not to mention all the pockets you will ever need. If all-conditions protection is top of your agenda, peep this.
adidas Women's Access 2L Jacket 2014 2015 Review
| Price: €200.00 |
You won’t get missed in this, and if a floral explosion isn’t up your street you can still reap the rewards of this jacket in a more conservative all-black number. Jacked up with team-driven performance, this 10k cloak has critically taped seams, handwarmer pockets, wrist- and waist gaiters and universal jacket-to-pant interfacing. The jacket of choice for girls wanting to bring their style to the mountains.
Analog - Highmark Jacket 2014 2015 Review
| Price: €320.00 |
Pullovers are the new hype. Camo is the new hype. Analog have combined the two and given it the extra weather-beating awesomeness of Gore-Tex to keep you all double hyped on the hill. Stow space is abundant with a roomy Kangaroo pocket across the front for stashing your swag, and an additional three Dump pockets for all you could ever wish to pack. The hood is fully adjustable, there are adjustable Thumb Cuff links and mesh-lined pit vents for you to manage your warmth through. Analog’s Lining System is developed to give you insulation where you need it and freedom of movement where you don’t for better shredding, and there’s even a pullover-specific waist gaiter to seal you in securely.
Billabong - Bode Jacket 2014 2015 Review
| Price: €249.95 |
Sure, the look is understated but if you ride like Bode Merrill there’s no need for excess flair. From the streets to the backcountry Bode needs outerwear that performs, and Billabong have given him just that with this 15k, fully taped jacket made of durable ripstop canvas. The cut is ergonomic for a shred-specific fit and there’s zonal insulation to keep you toasty on the hill, while also plenty of ventilation should you get overheated. With hand gaiters, a removable pow skirt and stash spots for days, this is an awesome all-mountain bit of kit.
DaKine - Mansfield Jacket 2014 2015 Review
| Price: €230.00 - €250.00 |
We have a feeling new DaKine recruit Louif Paradis will feel right at home in this workwear-inspired number, and its street styling blended with all-mountain tech certainly made us take note. Loaded with all the pockets you could ever need you’ll not skimp on stash space, and there’s a fixed hood, fixed Lycra pow skirt and fully taped seams to seal you in. With its 10k-rated fabric, you can be sure that the Mansfield will see you right for everything but full-on mountaineerboarding, and it’s available insulated or as a lighterweight shell so you can opt for your preferred level of built-in warmth.
DaKine - Women's Wren Jacket 2014 2015 Review
| Price: €240.00 |
This classic cut shred cloak effortlessly bridges the gap between style and substance. 10k waterproofness/breathability with fully taped seams wraps 60g of insulation to guarantee you stay warm and dry, plus there are pockets for passes, media devices, goggles and more. Pit vents, a powder skirt and wrist gaiters wrap up the features front, while removable faux fur brim and a patterned liner ensure you’re looking good too.
DC - Tick Jacket 2014 2015 Review
| Price: €229.95 |
New for this season, the Tick drops in with a military-inspired look and a bunch of performance-enhancing specifics that make it a solid choice for the dude who wants to do it all. Its 15k, critically taped fabric affords you more than enough weather protection for most kinds of riding and as it’s made of stretch twill freedom of movement is accentuated, allowing the Tick to have a more tailored cut without interfering with manoeuvrability. There’s 60g of Thinsulate warmth in the arms and body to keep you toasty when the mercury heads south, and the fact that the hood can be stashed in the collar improves its street smarts, too.
Nike - Kampai 3L Vapor Shell Jacket 2014 2015 Review
| Price: €400.00 |
This super tech jacket from Nike is so light it’s unreal. The three-layer construction is tough as nails and is certainly one for those who like their jackets to look as mountainwear legit as it is. The Kampai 3L’s 20k fabric will protect you even if the weather turns biblical and, better still, it’s one of the most breathable fabrics on the market so even with heavy hiking your sweat will disperse rapidly – alternatively if you derobe to hike it’s so light it only takes up minimal space in your pack. The fit has been tailored for the ultimate in snowboard-specific freedom of movement, and all the pockets and vents have been strategically placed for the maximum amount of functionality with minimum of fuss.
Nike - Women's Hudson Parka Jacket 2014 2015 Review
| Price: €280.00 |
The Hudson is a sturdy jacket that’s a solid choice for girls who charge, but who are also prone to feeling the nip of Jack Frost’s fingers. With 100g insulation in the body and 60g on the sleeves, not to mention some in the hood and the removable ‘fur’ hood lining, you can be sure of feeling warm inside no matter how cold it gets, and if things heat up there are well-placed pit vents to dump the excess warmth. 10k of waterproof/breathable protection means the fabric will keep the weather out with zero worries, and the upper waist cinch, longer cut and fishtail hem adds a touch of class to this classic parka-styled bit of outerwear.
Oakley - Ståle Sandbech Nighthawk Biozone Jacket 2014 2015 Review
| Price: €300.00 |
Ståle’s got so much style on his stunt stick it’s unreal, so it’s not surprising that his pro model Oakley jacket is a steezy affair. This camo number benefits from Oakley’s Biozone concept, which utilises different materials with different properties in different zones to increase the awesomeness of the jacket. So under the arms, on the back and chest you have fabric with great wicking properties to keep you dry; around the neck, sholders and waist you have more insulation to keep you toasty; and everywhere else it’s all about freedom of movement. Additionally, this has a 15k fabric, pit vents, wrist gaiters, a pow skirt and an external sleeve pass pocket – in short all you need to rip the park and BC.
Protest - Fishing Jacket 2014 2015 Review
| Price: €159.99 |
This season, Protest have a line that’s all about what they dub ‘Frozen Nomads’ - fully technical outerwear that invokes a rootsy, traveller’s vibe. In keeping with this they collaborated with Dutch rug creators Marc Janssen who designed two of their handmade Nepalese rugs, the details of which have been used on the likes of this Fishing jacket. The all-over print is definitely eye grabbing and beyond the aesthetic this jacket holds a respectable 5k fabric, 100g of insulation and shred-specific features – ergonomic fit, vents, assorted pockets – that are essential for a day on the hill.
Quiksilver - ACT 3N1 Jacket 2014 2015 Review
| Price: €359.95 |
If you’re after versatility combined with some legit urban style, check out this Quiksilver jacket right here – it’s made from a waxed nylon twill gaddamit! The wax jacket look is rad, but under the hood there’s some serious tech involved to make this more functional than simply fashion. The fully-taped, 15k fabric will handle whatever’s thrown at it and Quik’s 3N1 system – a removable inner liner – means you can adjust how warm you want it depending on conditions. A host of other mountain-specific tech has been worked into the ACT, too, like a two-way adjustable fixed hood, mesh-backed vents, Lycra wrist gaiters and a powder skirt, so you’re guaranteed to be both well-dressed and well-protected in this number.
The North Face - Free Thinker Jacket 2014 2015 Review
| Price: €500.00 |
Xavier De Le Rue is well-known for charging faces that put the fear of god into mere mortals, and The North Face are known for making outerwear that copes happily with weather that puts said fear of not-so benevolent deity into those who venture off the beaten track. It comes as no surprise, then, TNF’s jacket built for Xavier is built for pinnacle performance in even the most demanding of conditions. Three-layer Gore-Tex will keep you comfortable, the durable construction is damn near bombproof and the jacket is loaded with the kind of features essential for real deal backcountry shredding – well-placed pockets, pow skirt, vents, fixed hood, articulated fit and more.
ThirtyTwo - Welkin Jacket 2014 2015 Review
| Price: €300.00 |
The Welkin is the most advanced jacket ThirtyTwo has ever produced. For 2015 they’ve developed a new fabric – Infinite Mechanical Stretch – that gives unmatched freedom of movement without compromising one iota of waterproofness or breathability. Think of a hoody that can withstand the worst that the weather can hurl your way and you’re on the right track, as this four-way stretch material gives you zero restrictions to movement yet still benefit from a top-end, fully taped 20k fabric. Of course, on top of this the Welkin is backed up with the kind of shred-specific features you need for a day on the hill: strategically-placed pockets, a fixed, helmet compatible hood and water-resistant zippers.
Volcom - Guide Gore Jacket 2014 2015 Review
| Price: €499.95 |
Mountain guides are the most badass of badasses, seeing as they spend entire seasons out in the wilderness enduring every kind of weather condition imaginable. As such you can be sure that gear designed for these hardy folk will be both badass and guaranteed to get the job done in any situation, and this is exactly what Volcom’s GPT (Guide Proven Technology) range prides itself on. The Guide Gore uses three-layer Gore-Tex to seal you in from the elements and is loaded with killer features like their ZipTech jacket-to-pant interface, FaceTech stashable facemask, mesh-backed vents, Lycra wrist gaiters and even more mountain-specific radness...
Volcom - Women's Gauge Insulated Jacket 2014 2015 Review
| Price: €339.95 |
Style and functionality are the cornerstones of Volcom’s VS range of women’s outerwear, from which the Gauge hails, and while you can tell the former are taken care of from the image – we were particularly digging the long cut and sleek styling – we’ll break down the latter so you know this packs a technical punch too. Comfort is taken care of thanks to the fully taped, 15k fabric with a breathable lining system and you’ll feel the heat of the 60g of insulation should temperatures drop. Mesh-lined vents allow you to dump excess warmth, plus there’s some sick specifics like a pull-down pass pocket, adjustable pow skirt with ZipTech and peripheral hood adjustment to give you even more bang for your buck.
Vans - Penken Jacket 2014 2015 Review
| Price: €120.00 |
For the new season, Vans have opted to focus their attentions on what they call ‘Hybrid Apparel’ – outerwear designed to have the look and feel of your favourite kind of streetwear, but with a degree of on-hill functionality thrown in for good measure. The Penken is all about that. With the look of a hoody housed beneath a button up jacket you’ll look the part whether you’re in the park or in the bar, but the full insulation, handwarmer pockets and DWR coating mean that it’ll keep the elements at bay for a day of lapping the pro-line. Comfy, stylish and affordable, it’s a good option for the fair-weather park rats of the world.