Choosing Snowboarding Jackets
Snowboarding jackets have changed a lot over the years as technology has improved. Those big, puffy, down filled jackets used to be the best solution. While they were warm they really didn’t stand up all that well to wear and tears, moisture or active movements. Once again, technology has come to our aid with the invention of new materials.
The new materials available have resulted in snowboarding jackets that are warmer even when wet, lighter, compact and tear resistant. The most important area of improvement is the functionality of these new products. The main areas of improvement are in waterproofing, windproofing, and breathe-ability.
Things to consider when buying a snowboarding jacket
Waterproofing is perhaps the most obvious idea and potentially the most important as well. This is linked to your jacket’s ability to breath. If clothing is wet, body heat will be drained off very quickly making a person feel cold much faster. Waterproofing has moved way beyond a simple chemical coating. Today, there is a waterproofing standard that is measured by how many centimeters of water can rest on top of the material before leaking through. The best fabrics can support tens of meters of water before leaking!
Waterproofing is more than just the type of fabric used since the final product is only as strong as its weakest link. What good is a waterproof jacket of water can pour through the zipper? A good quality waterproof jacket will have many extra features built into it that may not be visible. For example, it should have all of its seams sealed with a waterproof tape. The zipper should be covered. The inner layer must not absorb water. The entire jacket and all its sections should be made of waterproof materials.
The next area to consider is wind proofing. Windproofing is almost becoming a thing of that past. Of course, the wind will greatly affect how fast you lose body heat but is a non-issue if your jacket is highly waterproof. A jacket that can withstand a column of water tens of meters high is windproof. The only time wind proofing is an issue is if your jacket is either entirely fleece or not fully waterproof.
The final thing to consider, and arguably the most important, is the breathe-ability of your jacket. As we work and ride we create heat that translates into a sweat. Of course, a build up of sweat is a bad thing since it will allow cold to be conducted through to us, so it must be dealt with. In order to deal with moisture, we must use layers of clothing. The purpose of the first layer is to pull the moisture away from our skin but it must go somewhere. A breathable cloth will allow the moisture to escape outside our jacket without letting water seep in.
Using a shell
One option that you may find when shopping for a snowboarding jacket is something called a shell. A shell is a relatively special purpose adaptation of the jacket. Those not bothered by the cold and live in mild climates can use a shell. A shell is a stripped down version of a full jacket that provides wind and water protection but minimal climate protection.
After deciding the amount of protection that you require you must then think about options available and if you want them. Things commonly available in snowboarding jackets include removable hoods, oversized pockets for snacks and drinks, lift pass pocket, cooling vents, waist pull cords and reflective materials. Then, of course, you need to consider the style of the jacket if you haven’t already decided.
Putting all of these elements together will ensure that you have a good jacket for all of your snowboarding needs. Being well informed will help you make a better decision that will enable you to enjoy snowboarding even more.