Best Snowboard Apparel: From Baselayers to Outerwear

Published on 12/08/2023 · 10 min readElevate your snowboarding experience with the best of the best in snowboard clothing, as we recommend the most trusted brands and gear for comfort and performance!
Miguel Machado, Snowboarding Expert
By Snowboarding Expert Miguel Machado

Photo by Dmitry Molchanov

With fresh powder piling up out west and the lifts churning to life at more than a few mountain resorts, riders across the hemisphere are getting ready to ring in another snowboard season. And, for many of us, that means cracking open the storage closet or garage, and taking inventory of our gear.

With that in mind, whether you’re a beginner snowboarder who doesn't know your greens from your blacks, or a seasoned all-mountain rider, we’re here to help you navigate the 2023/2024 season's latest snowboarding gear.

Things To Consider When Investing In Snowboarding Apparel

You’ll want to keep in mind that getting properly outfitted for a snowboarding trip is an entire process. This guide will help you narrow down the big ticket items such as:

This gear is designed to function as a system, which can quickly add up, especially for the budget-conscious. If you’re new to the sport and need to purchase a lot of gear, you’ll probably want to stick close to our budget recommendations. Upgrading a piece of well-worn gear? It might be worth it to spend a little extra and get something that will last for years or round out your kit. So, let’s get right into it.

The Best Snowboarding Base Layers

Newcomers to snowboarding are often surprised that a snow jacket and some proper snow pants are only one part of the equation. Any seasoned snowboarder knows that a good base layer is your first line of defense against the cold. But what boxes should a good base layer check?

Firstly, it should be breathable without sacrificing warmth. The right base layer will provide a balance between breathability, keeping you comfortable as you ride and expend energy, and insulation, keeping you warm when you stop moving. Another important factor is comfort. It’s important to choose a base layer that isn’t so tight that it restricts your movement, but also, isn’t loose enough to lose insulation or bunch up painfully inside your boots.

Here are my recommendations for the best snowboarding base layers for the upcoming season:

Overall: SmartWool Intraknit Merino Wool Base Layer

SmartWool’s Intraknit Merino Wool tops and bottoms combine comfort, warmth, and breathability for a high-quality base layer. Their Intraknit technology allows for extra breathability in places that generate the most heat. But that technology does come at a cost, literally, as these base layers are on the pricier side. The SmartWool Intraknit Merino Wool Base Layer is available for both men and women.

Rider’s Choice: Airblaster Ninja Suit

The Airblaster Ninja Suit adds a much needed layer of protection for those riders who choose to forgo a bib for the more traditional pants and jacket. The suit’s 350-degree zip also makes bathroom breaks a breeze. However, keep in mind that with that full body coverage comes extra warmth too, so it’s not the best choice for those who tend to run hot.

Best For Your Budget: SmartWool Classic All-Season Thermal Merino Base Layer

SmartWool’s classic all-season offering is lighter than their standard classic. This makes it the perfect base layer for beginners to the sport who aren't ready to invest in more expensive gear, and will work up a sweat as they learn the basics. The all-season nature of the base also means that riders can wear it from winter to spring, and not have to worry about upgrading.

The Best Snowboarding Middle Layers

Once you’ve got your base layer dialed in, a mid layer is crucial to enjoying time outdoors on cold days. From providing additional warmth against the elements to helping keep your base layers dry, a good mid layer can elevate your game. And, if you’ve opted for a shell-type snow jacket as your main, you’re going to need a good mid layer for anything other than springtime riding.

Which middle layer you choose depends heavily on the type of riding you do. For wetter climates, synthetic insulation beats out organic. Do you spend most of your time on the resort rather than in the backcountry? A fleece mid layer will be perfect for keeping the cold at bay in between the lodge and lift track.

Overall: Burton Crown Full Zip Weatherproof Fleece

Made from weatherproof fleece, the Crown Full Zip is pretty warm when paired with an insulated snow jacket, but also light enough to make the transition from winter to spring. However, the real sell is the weatherproofing. The Crown does an amazing job staying dry, something that comes in handy on days when it’s snowing or raining, especially for East Coast riders and those in the Pacific Northwest. I recommend the zip version, as I find it a tad bit more versatile on warmer days—but either version performs great on the slopes.

Best For the Backcountry: Jones Ultra Re-Up Down Recycled Jacket

Leave it to Jones Snowboards to perfect eco-friendly construction without sacrificing performance. For the coldest of cold days, the Ultra Re-Up Down Recycled Jacket packs 750 Fill recycled down into a stylish and sustainable package—perfect to keep you warm for those cold backcountry nights or frigid resort days. However, that kind of performance doesn’t come cheap, making this one of the pricier mid layers. The Jones Ultra Re-Up is also available for women.

The Best Snowboarding Snow Pants

Photo by Anna Tamila

Can you even snowboard without snowboard pants? While technically you can (who hasn’t seen the occasional jean-clad shredder?), a good pair of pants and a snowboard jacket are key for making the most of any snowboarding adventure. And as with mid layers, your style of riding will impact your choice of snow pants.

When searching for snow pants, the first choice is whether to go the traditional route or opt for a bib. A bib is made of the same weatherproof materials as regular snow pants, but instead of stopping at the waist, they extend to the chest. This provides greater warmth and protection from snow. Bibs also tend to be roomier around the waist. However, in warmer regions or for springtime shredding, bibs heat up faster which is something to keep in mind as they don’t have as much venting.

If you’re mainly a resort rider and confident that your base layers provide the right amount of insulation, traditional snow pants are probably best. More of a backcountry hiker? A bib will provide more adequate protection against the elements and keep snow from sneaking its way down to your base layers.

Best Overall: Burton [ak] Gore-Tex Cyclic Pant

The Burton Cyclic Pants are durable snowboard pants designed to handle whatever you throw at them, whether that's on-piste or a little backcountry use. With high-quality weatherproofing, and top-notch comfort, they’re a great purchase for anyone looking to get double digit days in this season. An expanded colorway addresses one of the main criticisms of past models. Keep in mind, these pants are on the pricier side.

Check our expert review of last season’s Cyclic Pant here.

Best for Backcountry: Outdoor Research Skytour AscentShell Bib

Forgoing Gore-Tex for a custom fabric that provides next-level breathability and comfort, the Skytour AscentShell Bib also provides top-notch weatherproofing. It’s simply a must for deep days in the backcountry. However, the available colorways are a bit lacking. The Skytour Ascent Shell Bib is also available for women.

Best For Your Budget: Burton Covert 2.0 Pant

When it comes to bang for your buck, the Covert 2.0 Pant has you covered: insulated to provide warmth, with a fit that’s not too baggy and not too tight, at a price that’s just right. Plus, this season’s update has added some pop with stylish colors. Keep in mind though that these pants aren’t as waterproof as some more expensive alternatives.

Check out our expert review of last season’s Covert pants here.

The Best Snowboarding Jackets

Photo by Sergey Furtaev

Snowboarding jackets can be broken down into two categories: shells or fully insulated.

Shell jackets are a non-insulated waterproof outer layer, designed to sit over a bulkier mid layer. This means that what they sacrifice in warmth, they make up for in backcountry versatility. When paired with the appropriate mid layer, they will protect riders from mother nature’s worst.

Insulated jackets prioritize warmth and comfort, and are good picks for those riders that rarely venture beyond the ropes at their local resort. Insulated jackets can also be further divided by material. Some utilize synthetic materials, such as polyester, while others utilize wool or down. As I mentioned in the section on mid layers, synthetics are better when wet, while down and wool provide better insulation.

Best Overall: Burton [ak] Cyclic Gore-Tex 2L

If you’re looking for quality performance that will last, Burton’s AK Cyclic is the way to go. For resort riders, this Gore-Tex shell will withstand intense machine-blown powder and steep tree runs, staying fresh for multiple seasons. For the more adventurous lot, the Cyclic is at home in the back and side-country. While earning top marks in comfort and breathability, this is a shell, so warmth is somewhat lacking. But with the right layering, it’s got everything you need to take on your choice of mountain. It also has a dedicated cellphone pocket.

Check out our review of past seasons’ Cyclic here.

Best For the Backcountry: Outdoor Research Skytour AscentShell Jacket

For steep ascents in the backcountry, breathability is key. Outdoor Research’s Skytour AscentShell excels in ventilation and comfort on the way up, while being durable enough for anything the mountain throws at you on the way down. The jacket also has plenty of pockets to store backcountry accessories. The only drawbacks are a lack of insulation and a somewhat bland colorway. The Skytour AscentShell Jacket is also available for women.

Best 3-in-1: 686 SMARTY 3-in-1

If you can’t choose between an insulated jacket and a shell, then the 686 Smarty is for you. Like all 3-in-1s, it boasts a detachable insulated liner that can be worn either with the shell or solo. However, what separates the Smarty from the rest of the pack is its price point for what it provides. More economical than other big name brands without skimping on warmth or weatherproofing, the only drawbacks to the Smarty are drawbacks shared among the group: mainly its heavier weight and mediocre breathability. The 686 Smarty is also available for women.

For more details, here’s our expert review of last season’s model.

Best For Your Budget: Burton Covert 2.0

With a wide variety of fits leveraging the latest technology and tested by the pros, Burton continues to push the sport forward. However, that advanced tech can make some of their offerings a bit pricey, especially for newcomers to the sport. The Burton 2.0 represents the sweet spot, providing riders with basic waterproofing that doesn’t break the bank. While it isn’t the warmest or the most durable jacket on the market, for those who might not spend more than the occasional Saturday or Sunday on the mountain, the Covert is a great option.

Check out our review of last season’s model here.

Find the Best Snowboarding Clothing for You

Photo by Dmytro Vietrov

That wraps the season’s best snowboarding clothing recommendations! As I mentioned at the top of the article, this is just the tip of the iceberg. If you’d like more help finding the best apparel for your day on the slopes, chat with a Curated Winter Sports Expert for free, personalized advice on the right fit for your needs.

Curated experts can help

Have a question about the article you just read or want personal recommendations? Connect with a Curated expert and get free recommendations for whatever you’re looking for!

Shop Apparel on Curated

Smartwool Men's Classic Thermal Merino Baselayer Crew
$115.00
Airblaster Men's Classic Ninja Suit
$69.93$79.99

Browse more Apparel

Burton Men's Crown Weatherproof Full-Zip Fleece
$69.96$99.95
Burton Men's Covert 2.0 Pants
$127.46$169.95
686 Men's SMARTY 3-in-1 Form Jacket
$217.46$289.95
Burton Men's Covert 2L Insulated Jacket
$127.99$219.95
Outdoor Research Men's Skytour Ascent Shell Bib Pants
$378.95
686 Men's GORE-TEX GT Jacket
$258.97$369.95

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