An Expert Guide to North Face Snowboard JacketsPublished on 06/20/2023 · 10 min readStay warm and stylish on the slopes with our expert guide to North Face snowboard jackets. Explore top features and find your perfect match!
Photo by Matthew Cabret
TL;DR: When buying a North Face snowboard jacket, you should consider what style of jacket you’re looking for such as an insulated, shell, 3-in-1, or parka. From there you can narrow down your options even more by considering additional features like waterproofing and breathability. You should also focus on specific North Face technologies like DryVent, GORE-TEX, ThermoBall, and Futurelight to meet your exact needs and wants.
Hiya! My name is Gaelen, and over the past 11 years I’ve spent my winters snowboarding with an average of 50+ days a season…so you might call me a cold-weather fanatic. The key to enjoying cold weather activities like snowboarding always comes down to the right outerwear, with jackets being one of the most important pieces of outerwear. Luckily for you, I’ve gained extensive knowledge of outerwear tech through personal experience as well as helping thousands of customers online at Curated. Today I’ll be sharing this outerwear knowledge, focusing on North Face jackets!
Who Is North Face?
The North Face is an American outdoor apparel and equipment brand founded in 1966. They’ve become known for high-quality and durable gear that is appealing to athletes, adventures, and crunchy granola people alike. They’ve established themselves as a major player in the outdoor industry and have built an image around material quality, performance, style, and sustainability. This is showcased in these innovative designs, such as the iconic Denali fleece and Thermoball insulation (which we’ll get into later).
North Face caters to many outdoor activities, snowboarding included. They produce a whole slew of snowboard apparel from jackets and snow pants, to gloves and socks. It’s easy to spot their logo at ski resorts as many people purchase North Face products due to their reputation. Today we’ll be exploring what gives them such a good reputation and what to consider when purchasing one of their snowboarding jackets!
What to Consider When Buying a North Face Snowboard Jacket
1. How Should I Choose Jacket Insulation?
Considering the insulation of a snowboard jacket is essential as it’ll determine how warm you are out on the slopes, that’s a given. Unfortunately, there’s no perfect formula to choose a jacket’s insulation, as it’ll depend on many factors such as where you’re most frequently riding, how you like to layer, and if you prefer to run warm or cool. Consider these questions as you read more about North Face insulation types later in this article.
2. Does North Face Produce Waterproof and Breathable Jackets?
Yes they do, and you should always try to get a snowboard jacket that is waterproof and breathable to protect against snow and allow moisture to escape. However, the amount of each you actually need is dependent on the typical weather conditions at your local resort. Many North Face jackets feature DryVent or GORE-TEX technologies which offer varying levels of waterproofing and breathability. We’ll explore these technologies later, so take some time to ponder what level of waterproofing and breathability you’ll need.
3. How Does North Face Sizing and Fit Work?
I think it goes without saying that having a jacket that fits properly is crucial for comfort and mobility. North Face offers their jackets in different sizes and also different fits—from slim to relaxed. Therefore, you should take some time to think about how big you want your jacket to be and how you want it to fit you, you might even consider trying on a few different styles. You can also get a better idea of North Face jacket sizing by consulting this North Face sizing guide.
4. How Much Should a North Face Snowboard Jacket Cost?
North Face jackets can range a lot in price, anywhere from $250 (which is considered a reasonable price) all the way up to $650+. The exact price of a jacket will depend largely on what type of jacket it is and what sorts of features it has, which we’ll be exploring next!
What Are the Types of North Face Snowboard Jackets?
1. Insulated Jackets
Insulated jackets combine warmth and protection, featuring either down, synthetic, or hybrid insulation. Down insulation is quite warm while still being lightweight, but it’s not the best for wet conditions. Synthetic insulation is more resistant to moisture and generally more affordable but not as warm as down insulation, and hybrid insulation attempts to combine the benefits of both. Benefits
- Eliminates the need for excessive layering, as insulation is built in
Keep in Mind:
- Can be too warm for milder conditions
- You can't remove the insulation when not needed
2. Shell Jackets
Shell jackets are lightweight and highly breathable, as they contain no insulation in them. They’re meant to act as a “shell” to weather conditions, so they’re typically waterproof. If riders have a shell jacket, they will also need to wear base and/or mid layers underneath when it’s cold, or the shell can be worn as a stand-alone jacket in warmer riding conditions (such as spring riding). Benefits
- Less bulky than other jackets, making them easy to carry around and store
- Excellent breathability, preventing overheating for warmer days
- Versatile, as they can be used for layering to suit varying temperatures
Keep in Mind
- Not suitable without base layers and mid-layers on colder days
3. Three-in-One Jackets
3-in-1 jackets feature a waterproof shell and an insulated liner. The key here is that the insulated liner can be removed so you can wear them both together, just the shell, or just the liner (it’s essentially three jackets in one, hence the name). This means that riders can adjust as needed depending on the weather conditions and their desired level of warmth. Benefits
- Highly adaptable to various weather conditions
- Typically more cost-effective than buying an insulated jacket and shell jacket separately
Keep in Mind
- Limits your options for what style of insulated jacket and shell jacket you can get
Parkas are extremely long jackets that often go down to the hip or below. While North Face sells them, they’re designed to be more of a general-purpose fashion jacket than a snowboarding-specific jacket and lack many of the features you’ll find on snowboard-specific jackets. I wouldn’t recommend purchasing a parka if your main priority for your new jacket is snowboarding. Benefits
- Typically cheaper than a dedicated snowboarding jacket
Keep in Mind
- Typically more fashion focused than performance focused
- Will lack the features of a dedicated snowboard jacket
Additional Features to Look for in North Face Snowboard Jackets
Below are two lists of features to look for in snowboard jackets. The first is a generalized list of features you should look for in any snowboard jacket, including a North Face (since we’ve already discussed the importance of insulation and waterproofing, I won’t include those here). The second list is features that are specific to North Face jackets:
Features in All Snowboard Jackets
- Sealed seams: Moisture from snow/water can actually seep through the area where jackets are stitched. However, some snowboard jackets will have “fully taped” or “critically taped” seams to prevent this moisture seepage.
- Powder skirt: This is an integrated powder skirt at the bottom of the jacket that prevents snow from going under your jacket and up your torso, it’s very handy for powder days.
- Ventilation zippers: Many jackets will have zippers in the armpit or side area which can be unzipped to cool off, making the jacket more versatile for different temperatures.
- Adjustable hood: Many snowboard jackets have hoods that can be adjusted to be large enough to fit over your helmet. This can provide an extra layer of weather protection when needed—it’s clutch on a windy chairlift ride!
- Cuff and/or wrist gaiters: These pieces of tech allow you to create a seal between your mitten/glove and your jacket, which ensures that no snow can go down them.
- Pockets: Jackets with zipper pockets will be your best friend for keeping essentials on you while riding. Deeper or larger pockets are better as you can fit more and the items will feel less bulky on your person as you ride.
Technology Specific to North Face
- DryVent: This is North Face's proprietary waterproof and breathable technology and is used in various jackets for weather protection.
- GORE-TEX: This is a premium waterproof and breathable material often used in North Face's high-performance jackets. GORE-TEX is known to be the best of the best when it comes to waterproofing, but it should be noted that it is not exclusive to North Face products.
- ThermoBall: This is a synthetic insulation technology developed by North Face that mimics the structure of down clusters, so it provides warmth even when wet and is cheaper than down insulation.
- Futurelight: This is a highly breathable and waterproof fabric technology engineered by North Face and used in many of their jackets. North Face claims it is 100% waterproof while still being air permeable.
- FlashDry: This is a moisture-wicking technology that speeds up drying time; jackets with this technology will quickly return to being dry and comfortable after they get wet or sweaty.
- PrimaLoft: Like Thermoball, this is another synthetic insulation used in some of North Face's jackets which is warm, water-resistant, and cheaper than down insulation.
How to Choose the Right Jacket for You
Now that we’ve covered the main types of jackets that North Face produces as well as specific features you should consider for your next jacket, it’s time to put it all together and run through some examples! Below are two different scenarios of snowboarders looking for a new North Face jacket, each with their own specific needs and wants.
Shelby: Looking for Versatility
Shelby is on the hunt for a new jacket. She typically wears a base layer and mid-layer so this new jacket will go over the top of those, but she also wants to be able to wear this jacket on warmer days that won’t require as much layering.
Features Shelby should look for:
- A shell jacket that can be worn over layers or as a stand-alone jacket
- A highly waterproof jacket, as she’s already got insulation but needs waterproofing
Freddy: Needing Warmth
Freddy needs a very warm jacket, as he’ll be moving to Colorado for the winter and doesn’t have any suitable snowboard jackets. However, he’s trying to keep things affordable and would like a jacket that won’t cost him an arm and a leg.
Features Freddy should look for:
- An insulated jacket for maximum warmth
- A synthetic insulation (like Thermoball), as it’ll be more affordable
Connect With a Real Expert
While this buying guide is meant to give you a headstart on your North Face jacket research, you don’t need to continue your shopping journey on your own. That’s because here at Curated, you can always connect with a Snowboarding Expert, like me. Chat with us in real-time and we can offer you any sort of recommendations from dozens of snowboard gear categories for men, women, and kids.
Whether you’ve got no idea where to start, or you just want to confirm a couple of specs, shopping at Curated is the easiest way to get the right gear the first time around. With free shipping on orders over $50 and free exchanges, what are you waiting for? Find your new North Face jacket now and have it at your door in just a few days!