6 Best Mid Layers for Snowboarding

The key to staying warm while you ride is having layers, and a good mid layer gives you the flexibility to adapt to changing conditions and stay ready for everything. Having a quality mid-layer is essential for every snowboarder. 

I’m a lifelong snowboarder who loves everything about the sport. I’ve seen every type of winter condition you can imagine and know through first-hand experience how important a good mid-layer is. 

The Jones Re-Up Down Puffy Jacket is my choice for the best overall mid layer for snowboarding. This high-quality garment will give you an extra layer of reliable insulation while being lightweight and comfortable. 

There are a handful of other solid mid layers to choose from, and I’ll provide you with all my favorites in this post. I aim to make sure you find something that fits well and is within your budget. 

Let’s get started. 

Top Picks of Best Mid Layers for Snowboarding

Here are my top picks for the best mid layers for snowboarding. All of these items will help you stay warm, comfortable, and dry in all sorts of conditions. 

1. Jones Re-Up Down Puffy Jacket

  • Best for: Overall 
  • Key features: Warm, comfortable, durable, lightweight 
  • Style: Zippered jacket
  • Materials: Nylon/recycled down 
  • Cost: $$$$

The Jones Re-Up Down Puffy Jacket is my pick for the best overall mid layer for snowboarding this season. This is a great jacket that can easily fit underneath your shell and over your base layer to provide added warmth and flexibility. 

The jacket is made from a 20D recycled down proof nylon, giving you a ton of durability without adding a lot of weight. It’s comfortable to wear and is insulated with 750-fill recycled down to provide tremendous warmth. 

The fact that the jacket features recycled materials is another reason I like it. Every snowboarder should keep the environment in mind when they ride, and eco-friendly products are a good way to spend your money. 

The downside of the Re-Up Puffy is that it’s pretty expensive. This isn’t a budget pick, but if you can afford it, you’ll have a mid layer that will easily last for many years of regular use. It’s also not the smallest option. 

2. 686 Women’s Thermal Puff 

  • Best for: Women’s Option 
  • Key features: Comfortable, lightweight, warm, water repellant, women’s fit
  • Style: Zippered jacket 
  • Materials: Fleece, Poly II insulation 
  • Cost: $$$

If you are looking for a women’s specific mid layer, the 686 Women’s Thermal Puff is a recommended option. This is another solid option all-around and delivers everything you want in terms of comfort, warmth, and performance. 

The garment is a zippered jacket style with a hood, giving you the option to wear it as an outer layer on warmer days or if you want something to rock on the streets after the day is over. It’s pretty stylish but still small enough to fit under your shell. 

Made of a fleece outer layer, it will keep you warm and comfortable without adding a lot of weight, which is ideal for any mid layer. It also is treated with a DWR layer to add extra protection from moisture if needed. 

This one does have a somewhat slim fit, so you’ll want to size accordingly if you aren’t able to try it on with all of your snowboarding gear. It’s also a little expensive but manageable if you have a decent budget.  

3. The North Face TKA Glacier Quarter Zip 

  • Best for: Budget Option 
  • Key features: Affordable, many color options, comfortable
  • Style: 1/4 zip pullover 
  • Materials: Polyester
  • Cost: $$ 

If you are looking for a budget mid layer that will still keep you warm, check out the North Face TKA Glacier Quarter Zip. This is a good item from a well-known brand that will have you covered in a range of different on-snow situations. 

This is a very comfortable mid layer with a soft and free-flowing polyester fleece design. It has a natural fit that won’t hold you back and comes with a 1/4 zip design that allows you to increase airflow if you’re warm or bundle up when it’s cold. 

I also like that it’s made from recycled material, which is another nod to environmental friendliness that is essential in today’s day and age. If it gets wet, this isn’t the best option, but the price is definitely right. 

4. Helly Hansen LifaLoft Insulator 

  • Best for: Quality 
  • Key features: High quality, good fit, warm, comfortable, durable
  • Style: Zippered jacket
  • Materials: Down Proof fabric, LifaLoft quilt
  • Cost: $$$

Helly Hansen has been one of the top names in winter weather gear for decades, and the LifaLoft Insulator is one of the best mid-layers the brand currently offers. This is a lightweight but warm option that gives you excellent protection from the elements. 

This one has a unique quilted design that features LifaLoft insulation. That keeps the jacket lightweight but very warm. It’s also wind and waterproof to give you extra protection from snow and cold when riding in variable conditions. 

There are also plenty of sizes and colors to choose from, so you can style your entire outfit if you want to. This is another pretty expensive mid-layer, so it might not be the best choice for anyone on a budget. 

5. Mountain Hardware StrechDown Light Pullover

  • Best for: Lightweight Option 
  • Key features: Lightweight, active fit, insulated pockets
  • Style: 1/4 zip pullover 
  • Materials: Nylon/Elastane 
  • Cost: $$$$ 

The Mountain Hardware StretchDown Light Pullover is a very lightweight mid layer option that still provides plenty of warmth and comfort. It has a slim-fitting design that can easily sit under your shell but isn’t too tight to be uncomfortable. 

This one is great for travel, thanks to its lightweight and packable design. It’s also insulated, so you get extra warmth on those days when the weather is frigid. The fit is also great, and the jacket has a natural stretch to it that won’t restrict movements. 

The StretchDown Pullover comes in a variety of sizes and colors, so there are options for just about everyone. This quality jacket will cost you, though, and it’s another expensive item. 

6. Smartwool Merino 250 1/4 Zip 

  • Best for: Warmth
  • Key features: Warm, natural fibers, comfortable, odor-resistant
  • Style: 1/4 zip pullover
  • Materials: Wool 
  • Cost: $$$

The Smartwool Merino 250 1/4 Zip is a great mid layer option to choose if you want the added warmth that wool provides. This natural fiber is still one of the best you can use and maintains its insulating properties even when wet. 

Technically, this one can function both as a base layer and a mid, but I think the 1/4 zip style lends itself more to a mid layer. You can still wear it on its own if you want or need to, and it’s also odor-resistant in case you build up a sweat. 

If you ride in warmer temperatures or locations, this one might be a bit too warm. You’ll also want to make sure to wash it in cold water and never dry it, or else you are sure to shrink it.  

Best Mid Layers for Snowboarding: What to Look For

To find the best mid layer for snowboarding, you need to keep a few important things in mind. All the factors below will help you find an option that works well all season long. 

Fit

An initial consideration with any mid layer for snowboarding is how it fits. This garment will sit over your base layer, but under your outer shell, so you need it to be comfortable and not get in the way as you ride. 

I also like mid-layers that have a bit of a looser fit – think like how a sweatshirt or sweater fits. It’s not skin tight like a base layer, but it’s tighter than your shell. Fit is a personal choice, but finding one that works well for your preferences is important. 

Getting the right size out of a mid layer is important with this in mind. Be sure to check the sizing guide of the product you choose if you aren’t sure how the manufacturer’s products are sized. Trying it on before purchasing is always a good idea. 

Materials

You also want to consider what a mid layer is made of before buying it. There are many options out there, and each has a somewhat different feel or purpose. The two main varieties are synthetic materials and natural fibers. 

Synthetic materials are more common these days and are what most of the products on this list are made out of. Synthetic materials tend to be a little more affordable and still provide plenty of warmth and comfort. 

Natural materials, such as wool, can be a better option if warmth is a significant factor in your decision. Wool keeps its insulating properties even when it gets wet, which not all synthetic materials do. The downside is that natural fibers are going to be more expensive. 

Whatever you do, you don’t want to wear cotton as a mid layer. If you have an old sweatshirt lying around the house, you might be urged to use it, but cotton is a terrible material in the cold and should never be used. 

Style

There are also different styles of base layers to consider. The most common is a pullover, which is basically like a sweater or sweatshirt. Pullovers literally just pull over your head and your baselayer and are easy to wear. 

You can also get zippered mid layers that are more like jackets. These can be good options if you want a versatile garment that you can wear when you aren’t snowboarding. A lot of down mid layers feature zippers. 

Some mid layers are also quarter-zipped, meaning they have a collar zipper that only goes down your chest a little ways. These can be good for anyone who wants a little more climate control over a standard pullover because you can let in additional airflow. 

My Verdict

The Jones Re-Up Down Puffy Jacket is my pick for the best overall mid layer for snowboarding. This is a great item that will give you reliable warmth and comfort, no matter what type of conditions you like to ride in most often. It’s durable and built to last as well. 

All of the mid-layers on this list come highly recommended. They will all provide you with warmth and flexibility to adapt to changing conditions on the slopes. Everyone can benefit from a good base layer regardless of what type of riding you like to do.   

About Lorraine
I'm a certified snowboard instructor. My first experience with snowboarding occurred at an indoor resort. One run had me hooked, and it has turned into a lifelong passion ever since then. I'm here to share with you some of the tips and advice I have learned along the way.

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