Stay warm and stylish whether you’re on- or off-piste with our picks of the very best ski jackets for the whole family
Planning on hitting the piste this winter? Then you will need a warm, waterproof jacket to ensure you get the most from your time on the slopes. Jackets specifically designed for skiers and snowboarders come with additional features that you won’t typically find in jackets intended for cold city mornings and frosty countryside walks.
Below, you will find our selection of 10 of the best jackets for skiing and snowboarding, whatever your style, budget and skill level. Take your pick from highly technical shells designed to keep you dry off-piste, super-insulated options for the coldest days, all-in-ones and super-fun snow suits for the kids. There’s something here to keep any skier, big or small, young or old enjoying the slopes for as long as possible.
Read on, and we will explain all the key elements and features you should look for when shopping for the best ski jacket for you.
How to choose the best ski jacket for you
How much should I spend on a ski jacket?
Ski gear tends to be pretty expensive, with most jackets priced upwards of £100. Our list includes some great options at lower prices, but we wouldn’t recommend winging it with the absolute cheapest ski-wear you can find – skimp on the essentials you’re likely to cut short your day’s skiing and potentially ruin your enjoyment.
Besides, all good ski wear – including base layers, mid layers, fleeces, insulated jackets and hardshell waterproofs – will come in handy for seeing you through cold snaps and keeping warm on winter walks once you’re back home, too.
Whatever your budget, invest in clothing that’s functional and that fits you well. Trying on jackets from a few different brands will give you a good idea of which kind of cut suits your physique best.
How important is waterproofing?
In the freezing snow, it’s vital. Avoid any garments that claim to be “water-resistant”; look for a jacket that’s made with a waterproof fabric such as Gore-Tex, or that has a hydrostatic rating. A basic jacket with a rating of more than 1,500mm should be capable of withstanding rain and snow for a while; but we would recommend at least 3,000mm, ideally more to be on the safe side. A figure of 10,000mm or more should mean you will keep completely dry in any weather. Taped seams and a snowskirt will also help to keep out the white stuff and the warmth in.
How many layers do I need for skiing?
The answer to this question will be different for every person. Broadly speaking, you can either combine a technical shell jacket with suitable base and mid layers to provide the insulation required, or you can opt for fewer or thinner mid layers in favour of a thicker insulated jacket. The choice greatly depends on the type of skier you are, how cold you get, and how extreme the conditions. It’s generally accepted that if you’re working hard, a thermal baselayer, fleece mid layer and light insulated jacket will do a decent job of controlling your temperature. Add a waterproof and windproof shell and you’ve got a versatile system that can be adjusted throughout the winter.
That said, if you’re spending all your time in resorts and on chair lifts, an insulated jacket might be preferable. Such jackets are also great for younger kids who may not be working as hard, and need to stay warmer, to remain happy.
What else should I look out for?
Snowsports-specific jackets tend to have a host of features that you won’t find in a regular winter jacket. Look for a warm fleece lining, a snowskirt (an elastic inner layer to stop snow creeping in if you fall), a lift-pass pocket on the jacket’s sleeve, an inner pocket for valuables, and thumb loops on the cuffs to stop snow getting in and to prevent your sleeves from riding up. A helmet-compatible hood is also useful – and, if you’re heading off-piste, it might be wise to choose a jacket with a Recco transceiver that allows rescue teams to find you more easily if the worst does happen.
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The best ski jackets to buy in 2023
1. Planks All-Time Insulated Jacket: Best value insulated ski jacket
Price: £250 | Buy now from Planks
Established in 2008, British skiing-focused brand Planks makes high-quality functional clothing for fair prices, while also using eco-friendly materials. Here, we have the fantastic All-Time Insulated jacket for women, but we also recommend the men’s Good-Times Insulated jacket, which features the same attention to detail and casual style.
Made from Repreve recycled polyester, a Bluesign approved fabric made using used plastic bottles, this two-layer jacket has a 15,000mm waterproof rating thanks to the RIDEdry15 Membrane and DWR coating. It also has a healthy layer of insulation for added warmth, and while you may still need some technical layers on the coldest days, it runs warmer than most, especially for the price.
Offering a regular fit, there’s plenty of room for layering, and the longer length helps to keep the tops of your legs protected. In addition, it has taped seams and plenty of pockets, including separate zones for your phone, goggles and lift pass.
Key specs – Waterproofing: 15,000; Snowskirt: Yes; Insulation: 100g synthetic
2. 686 Men’s Gore-Tex Stretch Smarty 3-In-1 Weapon Down Jacket: Best ski jacket for all seasons
Price: €659 | Buy now from 686
Yes, it’s expensive, but this is a hugely practical all-in-one jacket that combines a high-quality fully waterproof stretch Gore-Tex outer shell with a separate super-warm down jacket. Add base layers and you will be ready to go in any conditions.
The insulated down jacket is a seriously impressive option in its own right, and can be bought separately (€259). We love the versatility of being able to clip the down jacket inside the shell for sub-zero days, or wear it on its own in the spring. And yes, it also has a DWR layer, so it can cope with snow showers.
The main shell offers four-way stretch, which is extremely comfortable and oddly quiet compared to a classic hardshell, while being as waterproof as most people will ever need. It’s also loaded with practical features including a merino wool chin liner, Recco receiver for avalanche rescue, Lycra wrist-cuffs and lots of pockets.
Key specs – Waterproofing: Gore-Tex Stretch; Snowskirt: Yes; Insulation: 600 Down Fill
3. Picture U88: Best ski jacket for sustainability
Price: £320 | Buy now from Snow+Rock
Picture is one of the most sustainable ski brands on the planet, doing more than most to create high-performance apparel with the smallest ecological footprint. This two-layer jacket is the perfect example, being highly waterproof (20,000mm HH) but also made from 54% biosourced polyester (made from repurposed sugar cane waste) and 46% recycled polyester. And as you would hope, all the waterproofing treatments are free from any nasty chemicals.
With a relatively long fit and a liner for added insulation, this jacket is warmer than a traditional shell, and keeps your bum toasty on the chairlift. It has plenty of snow sport-specific features including an elasticated snowskirt, fully adjustable helmet-compatible hood, pit zips for cooling off and five pockets – including one for your lift pass.
Key specs – Waterproofing: Dryplay 20K/20K; Snowskirt: Yes; Insulation: Coremax lining
4. Oakley Tc Gunn 2.0 Rc Shell Jacket: Best ski jacket for “steezy” style
Price: £294 | Buy now from The Snowboard Asylum
For those unfamiliar with current snowsport parlances, “steezy” is the term given to those with an effortlessly easy style. Designed for, and with the help of, Olympic athlete and Steezy icon, Ståle Sandbech, this jacket is supremely cool – assuming you’re brave, or skilful, enough to pull it off.
Made using 100% recycled polyester and Oakley’s FN Dry waterproof but breathable membrane (10,000mm), it also has an extra layer of waterproofing so snow and water will bead off, which makes it fast-drying in terrible conditions. It has a relaxed, but not overly baggy fit, allowing for multiple layers to be worn beneath, and the taped seams help to insulate, as well as keep you dry, in freezing conditions.
As you would expect from a jacket designed to be enjoyed in the freestyle park, it offers great ventilation, a snowskirt to avoid powder up your back when you take a slam, and multiple waterproof pockets for action camera, goggles and snacks, too.
Key specs – Waterproofing: 2L 10,000mm; Snowskirt: Yes; Insulation: Shell
5. Arc’teryx Rush: Best premium ski jacket
Price: £600 | Buy now from Arcteryx.com
Arguably, if you only ski for a week a year, this is more jacket than you will realistically need. However, if you’re heading off to the backcountry, ski-touring or split-boarding in changeable weather, you won’t be disappointed.
Surprisingly light for a three-layer Gore-Tex Pro jacket, it has a comfortable fit for layering, and a marginally longer than average cut. All zips are waterproof, all seams are taped, the hood is exceptional – even when wearing a helmet – and we appreciate the option of either using the snowskirt, or clipping the jacket onto compatible snow pants. Being designed for off-piste action, there are plenty of pockets for essentials, cuffs are storm-proof, plus there’s a Recco reflector, for helping to locate you in an emergency.
An equally brilliant women’s version offers the same attention to detail. It uses 80D 3L Gore-Tex instead of Gore-Tex Pro, for a softer feel, but remains impervious to the worst weather.
Key specs – Waterproofing: Gore-Tex Pro; Snowskirt: Yes; Insulation: Shell
6. Burton Lodgepole 2L: Best ski jacket for simplicity
Price: £180 | Buy now from The Snowboard Asylum
Available in seven sizes (XXs to XXL), this effortlessly cool jacket from Burton Snowboards will not only look good on virtually everyone, it performs solidly whatever the weather. Unless you’re heading out in seriously awful conditions, or tackling multi-day off-piste adventures, you won’t need much more than the 10,000mm Dryride two-layer waterproofing here. It’s soft, appreciably breathable and fast-drying, making it an ideal jacket for resort riding.
It lacks some bells and whistles, but that’s reflected in the modest price; nevertheless, the basics are still included. That means you get a snowskirt, pit vents, a fixed adjustable hood, adjustable cuffs and all the pockets you’ll need.
Add in that it’s available in six cool colourways, and you’re bound to find something you like – and while the Lodgepole is a men’s jacket, the Burton Lalik offers the same features and price in a women’s specific fit.
Key specs – Waterproofing: Dryride 10,000mm; Snowskirt: Yes; Insulation: Lined
7. Adidas Terrex 3L Post Consumer Snow Jacket: Best ski jacket for style
Price: £380 | Buy now from Adidas
This high-quality shell jacket from Adidas’s superb Terrex division is super-durable and extremely waterproof, but it’s also cut with a cool [read: youthful] silhouette. Available in three equally stylish colourways, it’s lightweight and perfect for layering when the temperatures drop.
It’s expensive, unless you compare it to the equivalent three-layer Gore-Tex Pro models. Next to those options it starts to look like solid value, especially since it’s part-made using post-consumer fabric scraps and 100% recycled nylon. In addition, it has all the on-show features you need including snowskirt, pit vents for dumping excess heat, lift-pass pocket and a generously sized, helmet-ready hood.
Key specs – Waterproofing: 3L 20,000mm; Snowskirt: Yes; Insulation: Shell
8. Oneskee Nasa Snow Suit: Best all-in-one ski jacket
Price: £169 | Buy now from Oneskee
British brand Oneskee appreciates that skiing is all about having fun, and if you don’t smile at the sight of a kid in a bright orange NASA-inspired snow suit – or, better still, their Dad trying to keep up in a matching outfit – you shouldn’t be allowed out on powder days.
All Oneskee’s suits are fun and affordable, but the brand is deadly serious when it comes to features and performance. For instance, the kids’ Nasa Snow Suit has a hidden waist zip, which enables the jacket to be separated from the pants and worn separately. This Acclimate Zip is also available on 15 adult (male and female fit) designs, too.
The seams are sealed on all the suits and, depending on the specification you need, you can choose waterproofing levels from 10,000-20,000mm as well as the amount of insulation you like, plus all the essential pockets and fastenings.
Key specs – Waterproofing: 15,000mm; Snowskirt: No; Insulation: 60-80g synthetic fill
9. Isbjörn Backflip: Best ski jacket for kids and teens
Price: £190 | Buy now from Alpinetrek
Swedish kid-specific outdoor brand Isbjörn makes superb-quality outdoor clothing that will survive being handed down through all the family. Backflip is their snowsports collection, available for ages 7-15 (122cm-176cm), and this jacket is simply a shrunken adult design made as warm and comfortable as possible.
It has a 15,000mm waterproof DWR fabric with fully taped seams and a generous dose of Primaloft synthetic insulation to help youngsters stay warm and dry. But since this is Primaloft, the jacket can be thrown in the washing machine for cleaning without affecting performance – although remember to wash with NikWax to maintain its waterproof quality.
Fit is generous, so please measure carefully before ordering; but we love the fact that you can extend the sleeves by up to 3cm (by unstitching a hidden seam inside), meaning it will fit properly for more than one season.
Key specs – Waterproofing: 15,000mm DWR; Snowskirt: Yes; Insulation: Primaloft
10. Black Diamond Recon Stretch LT: Best value ski jacket shell
Price: £350 | Buy now from Black Diamond
At just 480g, this is a spectacularly light, three-layer jacket that, while far from a bargain, offers a huge level of performance for the price. And the reason it’s so good is the use of BD.Dry, Black Diamond’s waterproof/breathable membrane and rip-stop outer that’s unusually stretchy, and quiet, for a hard shell jacket.
Despite feeling extremely lightweight – more like a waterproof than a ski jacket – there’s a reassuring durability to the jacket, and with a 20,000mm waterproof rating and impressive water beading, you certainly won’t be getting wet while wearing it. We would class the sizing as regular, for America, meaning it’s quite generous – but not overly so. Note that being a shell, you will need layers beneath it to stay warm.
There’s an equally impressive women’s version available, too, which sports a more tailored cut that removes a bit of the bulk, yet still leaves room for layers beneath. And yes, we admit that the jacket is a bit minimalist; but it performs so well we’re happy to do away with the superfluous extras.
Key specs – Waterproofing: 3L BD.Dry 20,000mm; Snowskirt: Yes; Insulation: Shell