Keeping your core body temperature up and keeping your torso and arms warm whilst you're enjoying a snow or ski trip is very important.
If you're planning on taking a ski trip and you've got an old, thick, trusty coat that you pull out every winter, it might not be suitable for skiing and meeting your snow holiday needs.
It’s time for you to upgrade to a dedicated ski jacket and find an appropriate jacket that will suit your needs and accommodate your outdoor activities.
If you're unsure of what you're looking for, or what you're even going to need, it’s time you got to know what makes a great men’s ski jacket.
A Guide to Men's Ski Jackets
Our guide to men's ski jackets is going to break down exactly what you should know about buying, wearing, selecting, and upgrading your current winter jacket situation.
And if you think you can get away with simply throwing on another sweater to escape this winter’s bite, you might be in for bit of a shock...
Buying high quality wear is essential to ensuring that you stay warm and dry, and a ski jacket is a huge part of this.
Let’s have a look at this season’s most favourable jackets. We'll look at the features you need, the ones you can avoid, and the key ratings your jacket should hit.
Although technology and terminology might be advancing, a good quality ski jacket doesn’t have to be complicated.
The Best Men's Ski Jackets to Buy
Here are our picks of the best options of ski jackets.
The North Face ThermoBall Triclimate
Average buyer rating: 5/5
This 3-in-1 ski jacket has about every feature you need for your skiing expeditions. In fact, we rate it as one of the best 3-in-1s on the market right now.
It’s basic in style, but loaded with features. You’ll find that the outer shell is quite comfortable while protecting you from more-than-normal wet conditions. The DryVent technology is to thank for that one.
The liner is also a great piece on it’s own, as it’s designed to be. It detaches easily, and gives you a good layer of insulation when worn altogether.
Most people buy 3-in-1s to get away from pricey options, so the price tag might shock you. But for what it does, we’re happy to submit this as an excellent option for your ski days.
We’re fans of just about everything Outdoor Research produces. It seems that they can’t go wrong when putting out high-quality ski gear for attractive prices.
This is a great beginner’s jacket. It gives you a good introduction to what a ski jacket should do without going overboard on features.
There are a number of vents and zipped pockets on the jacket for items such as wallet, phone or ski goggles. The jacket has wrist closures, waist bands, and straps to hold everything tight to your body. Don’t let any of the moisture in with this simple, straightforward ski jacket.
Mountain Warehouse Apollo
Average buyer rating: 5/5
Mountain Warehouse are one of the most popular names in outdoor clothing, offering quality jackets at affordable prices.
The Apollo jacket is a great jacket if you're going on a ski holiday and will be sticking to the trails. This jacket has breathability and waterpoof rating at 3000 for both, offering plenty of protection for a ski holiday and winter use.
The seams are all completely sealed too, ensuring no moisture gets into the jacket through the stitching. For more Mountain Warehouse jackets, check out our guide: The Best Mountain Warehouse Ski Jackets for Men.
Columbia Everett Insulated Jacket
The Columbia Everett is a jacket that packs plenty of features for a reasonable price.
With fully taped seams, thermal insulation and stretch fit material for added range of motion and less restricting jacket, this is a great choice for men.
As you'd expected from a quality ski jacket, it's breathable and waterproof, keeping your comfortable and dry within. Available in a wide range of colours, there's a design that will suit you - we hope so anyway!
DLX Cassady Ski Jacket by Trespass
The DLX range of jackets is a high performance range offered by popular outdoor wear brand Trespass.
With a waterproof rating of 15,000, the Cassady is going to keep you dry even in the deepest of snow, while the breathability of the jacket, 5,000, will ensure that sweat doesn't build up within the jacket.
The fabric used to construct the Cassady is a stretch-fit material, so the jacket offers more range of motion and increase flexibility. All the pockets, including ski pass pocket and a designated pocket for electrical devices are fully waterproof, ensuring your stored items are safe.
If you’re concerned about getting a roomy jacket, this is the jacket that’s designed with space in mind. You won’t feel restricted, no matter how bulky your ski clothes are.
The style of this Helly Hansen ski jacket for men is so that you can get an easy, free-ride style with great insulation and protection. The longer jacket works well to keep snow and ice out while you’re knee-deep in the freshest powder.
Keep the water out as well with patented cuff and waist elastics. Helly Hansen has been doing ski gear for years, and they know what the riders want and need on the slopes.
Arc’Teryx Ar Beta Men’s Ski Jacket
Average buyer rating: 4.5/5
At the top of the range, you’ll find jackets that exist for those who prefer spending time outdoors rather than in. This is that jacket.
It’s on the higher end of the price range, and it’s worth every penny. Arc’teryx consistently ends up in the top lists of those who know ski jackets. It outperforms other brands on the market and is highly sought after for its technology included in the jacket.
It’s warm, it’s comfortable, it fits extremely well, and you’ll be the envy of every other rider on the hill. No matter if you’re in the most frigid conditions, you’ll come to the end of the day feeling just as warm and dry as when you first headed out.
Why Use a Ski Jacket?
It’s true that there are people on the ski runs right at this moment who are woefully underdressed or make poor choices of ski clothing. But it’s a good thing you know about this guide, so that you can help those misguided souls.
First step, don’t be one of those people.
Ski jackets are essential to keeping yourself safe and warm while outdoors.
And as much as you might think, it’s not just for skiing. Ski jackets can be used for trekking, cross-country skiing, hiking, mountaineering, skating, or any other activity that keeps you outside for long periods of time. There are plenty of ways and activities you can get value for money out of your ski jacket.
You see, your body is excellent at keeping itself regulated. Your core remains a very constant temperature, no matter what the thermometer says.
And your body does clever things to keep itself at that constant temperature.
If it’s too hot, it sweats to cool your body. If it’s too cold, it pulls blood in from your extremities to keep it in your core.
Your body wants to protect its core first and foremost. That should also be your aim when dressing in ski clothes. It doesn’t matter if you have the best ski trousers, top of the range ski gloves, or anything else. If you don’t have a good jacket to protect your core, you could contract hypothermia in a matter of minutes.
Cold weather can be deadly, and a good snow jacket could be the one thing to save your life if you ever get stuck on the slopes or get lost in cold conditions.
You should depend on your ski jacket to provide warmth. You should also demand good protection from your jacket.
This may surprise you: the real killer in the winter isn’t the low temperatures. It’s the wind and the moisture that can really do you damage. Wind chills can drop temperatures dozens of degrees while wet snow and sleet can soak your body, drastically reducing its ability to stay warm.
A good ski jacket protects your body against water and wind, as well as cold temperatures. You should look for the amount of wind and waterproofing.
If you plan on actually skiing with your snow jacket, you’ll need more than basic protection. It’s a good thing that there are good options to protect your body against the deep powder and rushing winds you would experience in the mountains.
We’ve covered why you shouldn’t skimp on a snow jacket this season. Let’s find out exactly what you need in your jacket.
Features of the Best Ski Jackets
Starting from the basics of what you need a jacket for, here are a few of the key features you should expect to find in any of the best men’s ski coats.
Your outer shell is the first line of defence against the harsh elements. You need an outer shell that can carry the bulk of the burden to protect you against the cold.
The best outer shells have two factors that make them worthwhile of your money.
Each coat should be rated with a unique number to signify its ability to repel water. That is its waterproofing number, measured in “mm”. The rating systems for the best ski coats go from 5000mm to 20,000mm+. Expect to find a coat rated at least 10,000 to be an effective guard against water for an average snow day.
As an aside, the waterproofing of your coat does depend on a couple factors. First, the make-up of the material. Is it a natural repelling water fabric? Or has it been treated? Most coats you’ll find are a combination of both of these factors.
The DWR coating is excellent at repelling water and beading off any droplets on the surface. But with time, that coating can, and does, wear off. If your coat isn’t made from a naturally-repelling fabric, you could end up wetter than you had hoped.
You can always re-treat a coat, but it should still protect you effectively without the DWR treatment.
Another way to recognize that your coat is designed to be winter-worthy is its breathability rating. You’ll often find a number, measured in grams, alongside the waterproofing rating. This is your breathability number.
It’s measured in grams of sweat that it can channel away from your body per hour. What’s important is that the higher number, the more effective it is at ventilating your body. In our experience, don’t look at coats with less than 5000g if you’re expecting to do any sort of movement or high-energy activity in them.
As long as you’re going to be active, you need an effective way to wick away the sweat your body produces when confined by a thick jacket. The faster it can be pulled away from your core, the warmer (and drier) you’ll remain during the day.
The next most important aspect of your ski coat is your liner. If you have a ski jacket that has two separate layers, the liner is the thinner part that sits against your body.
The liner should be able to separate from the coat. It acts as a barrier from the wind and waterproofing of the shell, and it provides you the warmth you seek from a good men’s ski jacket.
The liner is usually made from a fleece or wool material, or a synthetic fabric that can breathe.
The insulation of the jacket varies from each style and brand. Sometimes, the insulated layer is the outer shell, a hard-filled layer of insulation within the jacket, making it seem bulky and puffy. Other brands use a third layer to acts as their insulation.
The result is the same. This keeps the warmth in and the cold out. Most insulation layers are either down, fleece, or synthetic microfibers. If they’re adequately protected in a good outer layer shell, they can remain dry and effective at keeping you warm.
Looking at men's jackets online, it’s tough to decide on the type of jacket you want to have. There are so many varieties in styles and models. Although a new style seems to come out every year, the general make up is usually the same.
- 3 in 1
The 3-in-1 design is a ski jacket that has three different jackets all in the one package.
The liner separates from the shell, either by buttons, snaps, or zips. The liner can be worn as a light jacket on its own, usually protecting you from either water or wind.
You can wear the outer shell on its own as well. You won’t gain any sort of warmth form the shell, but it can protect you and your ski clothes from the wind or driving rain.
Or you can combine the three to have a complete ski jacket, one that is warm, insulated, and protected against the elements.
You can also find plenty of ski jackets for men that have built-in insulation in the shell. The outer layer is still coated to protect against water and wind, but the shell also doubles as the liner. It is filled with a layer of down or microfibers to protect you from the cold.
While you don’t have the option to separate the layers, you always know that your jacket will remain in one piece.
Now beyond that, you’re going to come across many more designs and features in your jacket. While they may be exciting and interesting, be warned. These are additional features that shouldn’t sway your decision.
Stick to your guns. Buy a jacket that has all the essentials listed above. Don’t go far from that. If you happen to find a suitable men’s ski jacket within your budget with some of these bonus add-ons, enjoy.
The seams of your jacket can make a difference to your outdoor experience. There are two ways that your jacket seams can be sewn. There are the normal seams, where the joins are double-layered and sewn together. That’s what you will find with about 75% of the ski jackets out there.
However, if you’re serious about warmth and water protection, there is another option. There are ski jackets (expensive ones, mind you) that tape their seams. Once the seam is done, the tape is laid over the seam and heat-moulded over the seam to create a water-tight seal.
If you care about staying out for several hours in thick snowfall or wet conditions, that seam tape might make all the difference. Otherwise, we’re not sure that it will make a difference to the average male skiing jacket.
Most ski jackets for men come with a hood attached to the jacket shell. The choice to pick a jacket based on hood designs is entirely up to preference.
Hood styles vary between different jackets. Some hoods might detach completely with the zip or snaps at the back. Other hoods might have the ability to almost enclose your face with additional flaps.
The best way to choose between different styles is to decide first what sort of activity you’ll undertake with the ski jacket. If you’re planning on extremely cold conditions, you might want to consider a good quality hood that protects your head from water and wind.
You might find a few vents and zips on your jacket that don’t seem to have a purpose. They’re meant to provide extra ventilation when you require it.
If you bought a good quality men’s ski jacket, you’ll already get a decent breathability based on the rating it has (see above). But if you find yourself in some strenuous conditions, or you just need to blow off some excessive steam, then vents and zips open up to allow extra air to flow through.
It could come in handy if you’re skiing on a particularly warm day. Venting the excess moisture from excessive sweating will still keep you comfortable, even during intense activity sessions.
There’s a pocket for everything on some jackets. There are zip-close pockets for gloves, side pockets for smaller items like keys, or maybe even pockets to keep heating pads. Because of the nature of skiing jackets, try to pick a style that has a few secure pockets where you can store items during the day.
- Powder Skirt
Stay dry and warm with a powder skirt, a built-in extra layer of protection on the shell. The powder skirt, sometimes called a snow skirt, is meant for extreme conditions and deep powder snow.
The skirt hangs inside the jacket, and does up with snaps to fit snugly to your body. It keeps the snow from coming up and under the jacket, getting in and soaking the liner. Unless you have extreme runs to complete, this shouldn’t be a necessary feature for the average winter day.
Other things to consider
What else should you consider when choosing a ski jacket? It doesn’t always come down to features and applications. Before we highlight some of the best ski jackets for men, see if any of these options factor in to your decision.
- Matching styles
Some skiers care about the style of jacket they wear. Some jackets can coordinate with the ski pants or ski clothing you buy. If you’re looking to create a skiing clothes set, you can buy all your gear at the same time.
Jackets prices can vary wildly. Like, extremely wild prices differences. There are ski jackets you can get (which would serve you just fine) for around £200, while others can easily run you over £1,500.
Don’t get too caught up on the price. It’s a trap to think that the more expensive jackets are the ones you should buy. You can as much jacket as you need for a decent price, as long as you are honest about your ski jacket needs.
- Men's ski suits
Although you’d think this fashion went out in the 1970’s, one-piece ski suits still exist. And un-ironically as well. If you’re the type of person who’d like to buy a one-piece suit (and not for downhill racing), maybe this guide isn’t for you.
Once you know what you should expect from your jacket, you’ll soon weed out those cheap coats and knock-off brands with your expertise and awareness. The only thing left to do now get hold of your favourite from our selection and hit the slopes.
Want to Read More?
If you want more useful product guides, check out our guide to men's ski boots.