No matter what ability level you are or the style you like to ride, you need a snowboard jacket. This is one of the essential clothing items you wear on the mountain, and you want to keep you warm, dry, and comfortable.
I’m a certified snowboarding instructor who has been working on the mountain for the last ten years. I’m also a women snowboarder and have worn many different jackets over the years. I know what to look for in the best option.
The Volcom Fern is my pick for the best women’s snowboard jacket. It has a solid Gore-Tex construction, a great fit, and many other features that any female rider can appreciate.
I’ll show you a few other great options in this post. There are many good jacket options out there, and a lot of them won’t make my list. But every jacket you see here comes highly recommended.
Let’s zip up and get going.
- Best Overall: Volcom Fern
- Best for Cold Weather: Roxy Andie Parka
- Best Shell: Burton AK 2L Gore-Tex Kimmy Anorak
- Best for Backcountry: Arc’teryx Atom LT Women’s Hoody
- Best for the Money: 686 Athena
- Best for Versatility: Airblaster Nicolette
Best Women’s Snowboard Jackets: Top Picks
Here are my top picks for the best women’s snowboard jackets of the year.
1. Volcom Fern
- Best for: Overall
- Key features: Gore-Tex membrane, fitted sleeves, zip vents, powder skirt, adjustable hood, hand gaiters
- Insulation: Low Loft Polyfill 80G body/60G sleeves
- Waterproofing: Gore-Tex
- Cost: $$$
The Volcom Fern is my top pick for a women’s snowboarding jacket. This is an excellent all-around option that can work all season long in various conditions.
It’s built with a Gore-Tex membrane outer layer that gives you outstanding protection from the elements. You can expect serious waterproofing capabilities and excellent wind deflection as well. The Gore-Tex makes it a super durable option.
The Fern is plenty warm, thanks to a layer of low loft polyfill insulation. This synthetic material is designed to keep you warm by trapping warm air in when you need it. You get 80 grams of the stuff in the body and 60 grams in the sleeves.
The jacket has a great fit. It’s not too tight and not too loose and hits the sweet spot for sure. Fitted sleeves give you more of a relaxed look, but it’s not overly baggy.
You can use the zip tech jacket-to-pants interface to connect the jacket to your snow pants as an additional level of protection against the elements. It also comes with a powder skirt you can cinch down when the snow starts to pile up.
Additional features include zipper vents for adequate ventilation, an adjustable hood for extra weather protection, and a V-science two-way cuff system that helps hold your cuffs in place for a customized fit.
I don’t have a lot of negative things to say about the Fern. It might not be the option for you if you like a baggy fit, and it’s slightly expensive.
- Best for: Cold Weather
- Key features: Warm, comfortable, flexible, durable
- Insulation: Primaloft Black Eco 60G body/40 G hood, sleeves, collar
- Waterproofing: 10k mm Roxy DryFlight
- Cost: $$$
If you live in a colder region or plan on visiting one this winter, you’ll want to be well prepared. The Roxy Andi Parka will have you warm and comfortable in all colder conditions and is my top pick for a jacket to use when the thermometer drops.
Warmth is provided by Primaloft black eco insulation. This is a synthetic insulation that is lightweight and effective. You’ll get 60 grams of it in the body and 40 grams in the hood, sleeves, and collar for a well-placed and thought-out design.
10K mm of Rocky DryFlight material in the membrane gives you excellent waterproofing capabilities. It’s also very breathable to help prevent you from overheating when your body or the outside temps heat up.
The Andie Parka comes with a tailored fit that I think looks and feels really good. It’s not tight but is form fitting and won’t flap around or get loose as you ride. It also has pleated shoulders to help increase flexibility.
Additional features included plenty of pockets to store your gear, mesh-lined pit vents for increased airflow, a 3-way adjustable hood, and critically taped seams as another layer of protection against the wind and cold.
This is another one that might not be loose enough for anyone who likes a baggy fit. It can also be a bit too warm for spring riding.
- Best for: Shell
- Key features: lightweight, excellent waterproofing, articulated fit, side entry zipper, pit vents, fully taped seams
- Insulation: None/Shell
- Waterproofing: Gore-Tex 3L
- Cost: $$$$
If you want a shell jacket instead of an insulated one, the Burton AK 2L Gore-Tex Kimmy Anorak is the way to go. This jacket is extremely well built and designed and features many high-end performance elements.
The Gore-Tex 2L membrane gives you outstanding protection from the snow and cold. It’s highly waterproof and leads to a reliably dry and comfortable experience. It’s also very strong and durable.
A Living Lining is designed to help trap body heat when it’s colder and allow you to breathe when the temps heat up. This will give you customized comfort that you can count on in variable conditions.
An articulated fit is nice and allows for a lot of flexibility. It has a natural feel that will flow with you when you ride.
Additional features included a dual-entry kangaroo pocket for storing larger items, pit vents for excellent ventilation, and fully taped seams for great protection from the wind and cold.
This AK doesn’t have insulation, so it isn’t’ the best option for extreme cold. It’s also very expensive.
- Best for: Backcountry
- Key features: Lightweight, comfortable, warm, trim fit, articulated elbows, adjustable storm hood, flexible
- Insulation: Coreloft 60G
- Waterproofing: Tyono 20 DWR finish
- Cost: $$$
If your snowboarding adventures take you into the backcountry, the Arc’teryx Atom LT Women’s Hoody will have you covered. It’s a functional and flexible option that will keep you warm and dry without constricting your movement up or down the mountain.
60 grams of Coreloft insulation give you all the warmth you’ll need. It’s lightweight and highly breathable, making it ideal in the backcountry.
Waterproofing abilities are made possible by a Tyono 20 nylon material treated with a Durable Water Repellent finish. It will keep you dry when the snow starts to fall.
The Atom LT has a trim fit that is designed to be tighter. This might seem restrictive, but it also is built out of a very flexible material that will move with you, despite being form-fitting.
Additional features include an adjustable storm hood to add another layer of protection against the elements, textured zippers for easy use, and plenty of pockets to keep your gear stowed when you ride.
This might be too tight for some riders and isn’t your standard resort option.
5. 686 Athena
- Best for: The Money
- Key features: Affordable, well-insulated, breathable, waterproof, modern fit, plenty of pockets, critically taped seams
- Insulation: infiLoft 80G body/60G sleeves/40G hood
- Waterproofing: 2-layer infiDry with DWR finish
- Cost: $$
The 686 Athena is the jacket to choose from if you want to save some money and still get plenty of warmth, comfort, and protection while you ride.
You’ll get a lot of quality waterproofing thanks to 2 layers of infiDry fabric treated with a DWR finish. This is a laminated membrane that will hold up for many washes and create a good barrier against moisture.
There is plenty of insulation built into the Athena as well. It features Comfotzone body mapping, which uses various amounts of insulation in different parts of the body for a more customized approach to staging warm.
The Athena comes with a modern fit, which again hits the sweet spot between being too loose and too tight.
Air-flow vents are designed to add ventilation when you need it, and critically taped seams lock out the snow and cold.
It can be a little too warm if you run hot, and the color options are a little weird.
- Best for: Versatility
- Key features: Versatile performance, comfortable, long fit, plenty of pockets, pit vents, adjustable hood, affordable
- Insulation: Zonal Synthetic 60G body/40G sleeves
- Waterproofing: 2L ripstop Nylon with DWR
- Cost: $$
The Airblaster Nicolette is a versatile jacket that will let you explore anywhere you want to go on the mountain.
It has the perfect amount of insulation to be used all season long, and the synthetic material will dry quickly and keep you warm in various temperatures and conditions.
The ripstop nylon face fabric with a DWR treatment works well to keep you dry at all times.
The Nicolette comes with a long fit that lets you adjust your underlayers as needed. It provides you with an extra inch of material in the front and back.
It also comes with five zippered pockets to store anything you want to bring along with you, mesh-lined pit vents for increased airflow, and an adjustable two-way hood for added protection from the elements.
It’s not the warmest option on the list, but that makes it all the more comfortable and versatile in different situations.
How to Choose Women’s Snowboarding Jacket
Here are the main factors you need to consider while picking a jacket that fits.
We all want to look good on the mountain, let’s face it!
When I first enter a shop, I always look at those jackets with the color I like first, not their functions and compatibility. The look of a jacket can keep you happy all season long and match your style as a rider.
It’s not technically the most important consideration you should make, but it’s still worth spending some time to make sure you choose a jacket that you actually like to wear. Form over function, right?
Insulation is directly related to how warm your jacket is and is divided into insulated and shell.
Insulated jackets contain an insulation layer under the outer waterproof layer. They are super warm and usually more expensive than shell outerwear. Outerwear with down insulation is generally warmer than one with synthetic insulation.
Shell outerwear offers more effortless movement and less warmth, and less weight than an insulated jacket since there is no built-in insulation. Usually, it’s cheaper than insulated outerwear because there is less material used.
Note that it’s not always better to pick insulated outerwear than a shell. It’s more about whether you prefer “all-in-one” or flexibility.
An insulated jacket may be too warm for a sunny and warm day, while you need to wear different layers with a shell during a cold winter’s day.
Pick a jacket that is both waterproof and breathable! Waterproof ability concerns your jacket’s ability to keep out the water, while breathability is about the degree of moisture that can pass from inside the jacket to the outside.
Both components tend to keep your body dry, but one deals with the water from outside the jacket while the other handles the water from inside.
Typically a jacket with 10000 mm or above 10,000 mm water resistance and breathability can offer you pretty acceptable performance. For sure, the higher the number, the better the performance, but this means more expensive too.
If you are someone with the budget and are looking for an ultimate waterproof and breathable jacket, go for a Gore-Tex! It’s guaranteed to keep you dry. Gore-Tex is one of the best jacket materials out there, and I would highly recommend it.
“Must Have” Features
Powder skirts are the elasticated bands that seal the gaps between your jacket and pants to keep the snow and cold air out. Sometimes these skirts can be removable, which is nice on a warmer day.
Pit vents usually can be found under the arm/ by the side of your body or chest. Opening the vents can cool you off by releasing the heat and moisture when you are feeling too hot.
I would say a hood is another “must-have” item because I always ride in Hokkaido, Japan, most of the time, we have heavy snowfall throughout the winter. Once I experienced a total of 28 continuous snow days!
The hood really saved most of my days, especially by late afternoon, when it’s almost sunset, and the temperature started to drop.
Some people would consider a hood is not that important because they wear a helmet. I agree with that, and it’s just much warmer when your hood can cover your helmet.
So what I would suggest is – just get one with a hood and make sure it can cover your helmet too. It’s almost like a built-in component among all snowboarding jackets now, just about if it’s fixed or removable.
I prefer a jacket with lots of pockets. They are just very convenient to have in all sorts of situations.
I would say it’s a good idea for beginner snowboarders to wear a jacket with more pockets, as well. You can put everything into your pockets instead of wearing a backpack: sunscreen, lip gloss, hand cream, spare gloves, wallets, keys, trail map, chocolate…whatever!
Trust me, it’s not a good idea for beginners to wear a backpack. Once I had a student who insisted on bringing along his hot tea because he was worried that he would be feeling cold during his first lesson.
I, of course, ended up carrying his backpack throughout the whole lesson, and he didn’t even take a sip of his hot tea because he was already sweating like hell with all the practices and exercises.
Pass pockets, D-rings, media pockets, and headphone loops are a plus component for your jackets. More entertainment and convenience are always welcomed!
Taped seams, waterproof zips, moisture-wicking lining, and storm flaps are add-ons to increase the water resistance, breathability, and windproofing of your outerwear.
Size and Fit
Picking a size bigger than your usual size is a good idea since it leaves you room for more layers and protection while your powder skirt can still keep the snow out.
Fit is more of a personal preference thing. I like a looser fit because you can add more layers underneath to adjust to different conditions and temperatures. Some riders like a snug fit that is tighter and more form-fitting. It’s up to you.
Hopefully, you’ve got the best snowboarding jacket that fits. Additionally, I’d like to share with you some valuable tips on buying a suitable one based on my personal experience:
- Check if your helmet can fit into the hook of your jacket before purchasing it.
- Check the stitches of your jackets. It’s always better to have double stitches than single ones. I used to have one that broke within ten days because of the poor stitching!
- 2-way zippers are always better than one way.
- If you love backcountry snowboarding, try to pick a jacket that’s as bright as possible, so it’s easier for people to spot you.
If you want one of the best women’s snowboard jackets around, it’s hard to beat the Volcom Fern. This is a jacket that will work in just about any type of condition that comes your way on the mountain. And it looks and fits good, as well.
All of the jackets on this list come highly recommended, but that doesn’t mean they are the only good options out there. If you don’t find what you are looking for here, make sure to read over my suggestions on what to look for in a good women’s snowboard jacket.About Lorraine