Gore-Tex Snowboard Jackets: How to Choose the Right One for YouPublished on 05/22/2023 · 11 min readStay dry on the slopes this season with a Gore-Tex jacket! Snowboarding Expert Will Koons gives the rundown on Gore-Tex jackets and how Gore-Tex works!
Photo by Jack Atkinson
TL;DR: When buying a GORE-TEX snowboard jacket, prioritize excellent waterproofing and breathability. Ensure a comfortable fit with room for layering, and look for features like taped seams, adjustable hood, ventilation, and ample pocket storage. Consider your budget, style preferences, and intended weather conditions for optimal performance.
Hey, I’m Will, an outdoor gear enthusiast and a certified gear expert with 20+ years of experience in various outdoor activities, including climbing, mountaineering, skiing, and, most importantly, snowboarding. I've explored different terrain and weather conditions that require high levels of protection. As a result, I've become an expert in selecting the perfect GORE-TEX jacket.
Throughout my adventures, I've had the opportunity to try out many GORE-TEX jackets and understand the intricacies of their designs and features. This hands-on experience has helped me develop a keen eye for quality and practicality, allowing me to confidently guide people in choosing the right jacket for their needs.
In this article, I'll share my insights on what to look for when choosing the best GORE-TEX jacket for snowboarding. With my guidance, you'll be well-equipped to make an informed decision to keep you dry, warm, and comfortable snowboarding in any weather. So let's dive in and explore the world of GORE-TEX snowboard jackets!
What Is GORE-TEX?
GORE-TEX is a high-performance, waterproof, and breathable fabric used in a lot of outdoor gear, including snowboard jackets. It's made with a special membrane with microscopic pores that are big enough to let water vapor (like your sweat) escape but small enough to keep water droplets (like rain or snow) out. Basically, it's like having a personal shield against the elements, keeping you dry and comfortable when you're shredding the mountain. It's pretty awesome stuff!
What to Consider When Buying a GORE-TEX Snowboard Jacket
1. How Does the Jacket Fit?
A good fit is crucial for comfort and mobility on the slopes. Ensure the jacket allows for layering underneath and doesn't restrict your movement. Also, consider if you prefer a relaxed or more tailored fit based on your style. Many snowboard-specific jackets come in a baggier, relaxed fit. If you prefer a tailored fit, you may find more options in ski-specific jackets. Many newer, high-end jackets employ stretch fabric, allowing for a lot of mobility and comfort.
2. How Much Should a GORE-TEX Jacket Cost?
GORE-TEX jackets can range from $200-$600+ depending on the design, materials, and features. Lower-end options ($200-$350) provide good performance, while mid-range ($350-$500) and high-end ($500+) jackets offer higher durability, advanced features, and sometimes better warranties. Determine your budget and balance it with your performance requirements to find the right jacket for you.
3. What Level of Waterproofing and Breathability Rating Do You Need?
When selecting a GORE-TEX jacket, consider the waterproofing and breathability ratings, as they determine its performance in various conditions. Here's a guideline to help you choose:
Waterproofing Rating (measured in millimeters mm):
- 5,000 to 10,000mm: Light rain and dry snow, occasional use.
- 10,000 to 20,000mm: Moderate rain and wet snow, suitable for most outdoor enthusiasts.
- 20,000mm and above: Heavy rain, wet snow, and extreme conditions, ideal for serious adventurers.
Breathability Rating (measured in grams g):
- 5,000 to 10,000g: Low-intensity activities or cold weather, casual outdoor enthusiasts.
- 10,000 to 20,000g: Moderate to high-intensity activities, suitable for most active outdoor enthusiasts.
- 20,000g and above: Extremely high-intensity activities or prolonged exertion, ideal for serious adventurers.
Choose higher ratings for intense activities or harsh conditions and lower ratings for casual or occasional use.
What Are the Different Kinds of GORE-TEX Jackets?
In this section, we will break down the differences between the two-layer, three-layer, and insulated GORE-TEX jackets so you can make the best choice for your snowboarding adventures.
1. Two-Layer GORE-TEX Jackets
These jackets have a GORE-TEX membrane bonded to the outer fabric and a separate inner lining. They're generally lighter, more supple, and more affordable than other options. While they still provide solid waterproofing and breathability, they're best suited for less extreme conditions or occasional riders.
- Benefits: They're lighter, more flexible, and generally more budget-friendly, making them a great option if you're just getting into snowboarding or don't need heavy-duty protection.
- Keep in Mind: They don't offer the same level of durability or performance as three-layer jackets, so they might not hold up well in super harsh conditions or for hardcore riders.
2. Three-Layer GORE-TEX Jackets
These bad boys have the GORE-TEX membrane sandwiched between the outer fabric and an inner protective layer, making them more durable and robust. In addition, they offer superior waterproofing and breathability and are designed to handle harsher weather and more intense riding. If you're a dedicated rider or frequently face tough conditions, a three-layer GORE-TEX jacket is a solid investment.
- Benefits: These jackets are the ultimate in waterproofing, breathability, and durability. They're designed to handle the gnarliest weather so that you can stay dry and comfortable even in the toughest conditions.
- Keep in Mind: With higher performance comes a higher price tag, so they might not be the best option if you're on a tight budget. They can also be slightly stiffer and bulkier than two-layer jackets, although with modern material science, we are seeing several 3L options in lightweight stretch fabrics.
3. Insulated GORE-TEX Jackets
Insulated jackets combine the waterproof and breathable GORE-TEX technology with added insulation, providing extra warmth for those cold days on the mountain. These jackets are perfect if you easily get chilly or plan to ride in frigid temperatures. Just remember to adjust your layers accordingly to avoid overheating.
- Benefits: These jackets bring together the best of both worlds—waterproof, breathable protection with the added bonus of insulation to keep you warm on those frosty days.
- Keep in Mind: The extra insulation can make them bulkier and heavier, and you might be overheating if you don't adjust your layers properly or ride in milder conditions.
With the benefits and downsides of each GORE-TEX jacket type in mind, you can make a well-informed decision and hit the slopes confidently, ready to tackle any weather Mother Nature throws at you.
Features to Look for When Buying a GORE-TEX Jacket
When you're searching for the perfect GORE-TEX snowboard jacket, there are some key features and technologies to look for.
- Waterproof and Breathable Ratings: While all GORE-TEX jackets are known for their waterproofing and breathability, some have higher ratings than others. Check the specs to ensure you're getting the level of protection you need.
- Taped Seams: Fully taped or critically taped seams can make a big difference in keeping you dry, as they prevent precipitation from seeping through the seams. It's a nice touch to keep the elements at bay.
- Adjustable Hood: Make sure your jacket has an adjustable hood that fits over your helmet and can be tightened to shield your face from wind and snow.
- Ventilation: Look for a jacket with zippered vents, usually on the sleeves under the arms, which allow you to regulate your temperature and prevent overheating.
- Pockets: You'll want a jacket with plenty of storage, like chest pockets, a media pocket, and a goggle pocket. Trust me, having the right pocket for your gear is super handy on the mountain.
- Wrist Gaiters and Powder Skirt: These features help keep snow and cold air out, making your ride more comfortable and enjoyable, especially getting fresh tracks on pow days.
By considering these features and technologies, you'll be able to find a GORE-TEX snowboard jacket that perfectly matches your needs and riding style, ensuring you stay dry, warm, and comfortable on the slopes. Now, let's discuss what to avoid!
Features to Avoid in a GORE-TEX Jacket
While GORE-TEX jackets are known for their top-notch performance, there are still a few things to watch out for when making your choice. So let's dive into the features to avoid.
- Inadequate Ventilation: Some GORE-TEX jackets may not have sufficient ventilation options, which can lead to overheating. Steer clear of jackets without zippered vents or low breathability ratings if you're prone to getting too warm.
- Poorly Designed Closures: Avoid jackets with flimsy zippers, snaps, or Velcro that don't hold up well over time. The last thing you want is a wardrobe malfunction in the middle of a gnarly run!
- Ill-Fitting Hood: Avoid jackets with too small hoods to fit over your helmet, or don't stay put in the wind. It's important to have a hood that offers protection without getting in the way.
- Overkill Insulation: Riding sweaty can be miserable at the resort and dangerous in the backcountry. If you run hot or ride in milder conditions, avoid GORE-TEX jackets with excessive insulation. They can cause overheating and discomfort, making it harder to enjoy your time on the mountain.
- Lack of Adjustability: Some jackets may not have adjustable cuffs, hem, or hood, limiting your ability to customize the fit for maximum comfort and protection. Opt for a jacket with more adjustability options.
By considering these potential pitfalls, you'll be well on your way to finding the perfect GORE-TEX snowboard jacket that keeps you dry, comfortable, and looking rad on the mountain.
How to Choose the Right GORE-TEX Snowboard Jacket for You
In this section, we will go over examples of three common types of snowboarders or personas, what specific needs they should look for when shopping for jackets, and examples of products that we recommend.
Tyler: The Freestyle Snowboarder
Tyler has been snowboarding for years and loves ripping it up in the terrain park. He spends his season taking laps in the terrain park and hiking jumps and rails. He values mobility, style, and breathability for his riding style.
- Freedom of movement for tricks and jumps
- Breathability for high-energy sessions
- Stylish and functional design
Features to look for:
- GORE-TEX softshell or stretch fabric
- Pit zips for ventilation
- High breathability rating
Products to consider:
- Burton GORE-TEX Powline Jacket: A durable, lightweight jacket with an articulated fit and GORE-TEX two-layer fabric, offering unrestricted movement and dependable weather protection
- Volcom BL Stretch GORE-TEX Jacket: The ultra-waterproof two-layer GORE-TEX fabric with V-Science lining is fully sealed and incorporates powerful stretch for freedom when navigating huge kickers and open faces.
- Quiksilver Mission 2L GORE-TEX Jacket: A versatile, budget-friendly choice that combines GORE-TEX two-layer fabric with an ergonomic design for optimal performance and style
Chris: The All-Mountain Snowboarder
Chris just loves to cruise the whole mountain. He spends most of his time in bounds on groomers and likes to get off into the trees when the conditions are good. He has a season pass and frequently rides throughout the season, regardless of the conditions.
- Versatility for changing conditions
- Durable and reliable protection
- Layering options for varying temperatures
Features to look for:
- Minimum two-layer or three-layer GORE-TEX fabric
- Adjustable hood and cuffs
- Multiple pockets for storage
Products to consider:
- Burton Men's [ak] Cyclic GORE-TEX 2L Jacket: A premium jacket featuring 2-layer GORE-TEX fabric and a helmet-compatible hood, providing top-notch protection and durability for all-mountain adventures.
- The Marmot Men's KT GORE-TEX Component Jacket: A 3-in-1 ski shell for all-mountain skiers and snowboarders to combat harsh winter weather conditions and warm springtime temperatures. The Component Jacket features a two-layer GORE-TEX membrane for ultimate leakproof protection
- The 686 Women's GORE-TEX Willow 2L Insulated Jacket: A feature-packed garment designed to keep you warm and dry during winter activities. Its adjustable bottom hem cinch, adjustable cuffs, and adjustable helmet-compatible hood provide a customizable fit for maximum comfort.
David: The Backcountry Snowboarder
David lives to earn his turns. He spends most of his weekends hiking new lines in the backcountry. He doesn’t mind shelling out for top-of-the-line gear and likes the lightest, most protective materials on the market.
- Advanced weather protection for backcountry use
- Lightweight and packable waterproof shell
- Enhanced safety features
Features to look for:
- GORE-TEX pro or active fabric
- Avalanche transceiver pocket
- RECCO reflector for added safety
Products to consider:
- The North Face Women's Summit Verbier FUTURELIGHT Jacket: A high-quality, technical jacket ideal for backcountry skiing and snowboarding. This jacket is designed to withstand the rigors of backcountry skiing and snowboarding, with features like reinforced shoulders, pit zips for ventilation, and ample pockets for storage.
- The Arc’teryx Beta 3L Jacket: Durably waterproof and windproof, its GORE-TEX fabric with GORE C-KNIT backer technology is quiet, soft, and engineered for enhanced breathability. A streamlined hood quickly adjusts with a single pull, and the trim fit accommodates light layers and is patterned for mobility and freedom.
- The Outdoor Research Archangel Jacket: The gold standard of alpine protection and mobility delivered by GORE-TEX Pro with stretch technology. Built-in collaboration with award-winning alpinist and Outdoor Research Ambassador Graham Zimmerman.
In this article, we explored how to choose the perfect GORE-TEX jacket for your snowboarding adventures, considering the specific needs and preferences of freestyle, all-mountain, and backcountry snowboarders. We examined the essential features to look for and highlighted some top product recommendations.
Remember, the key to finding the right GORE-TEX jacket lies in understanding your individual needs and the type of snowboarding you enjoy. Considering the factors we've discussed, you'll be well-equipped to make an informed decision to keep you comfortable, protected, and looking good on the slopes.
If you have any questions or need personalized advice, don't hesitate to reach out to the Snowboarding Experts here on Curated.com. Our Experts are always available to help you find the perfect gear for you. Happy shredding!