Gear Institute Expert Test Menu

Ski Jackets

The North Face FuseForm Brigandine 3L Jacket

95

2015

The North Face FuseForm Brigandine 3L Jacket

Made of a bombproof fabric, the Brigandine 3L should last years. It’s also stretchy, so it affords dynamic riding. They got the details right, too. A truly great ski shell. It’s not a cheap ski coat, but the 3L should last longer than most, so there’s some justification for the price.

Obermeyer Capitol Shell

88

2015

Obermeyer Capitol Shell

We like stretchy shells—they are quieter and less restrictive. The Capitol shell has a generous cut, making it a good choice for husky guys. Though a bit stiff off the rack, the Capitol Shell does get more supple with use.

Mountain Hardwear Hellgate

90

2015

Mountain Hardwear Hellgate

Aimed at backcountry users, this lightweight shell is bomber enough to be a good choice for lift riding as well.

Eddie Bauer Telemetry Freeride Jacket

83

2015

Eddie Bauer Telemetry Freeride Jacket

The Telemetry Freeride jacket is a loaded ski shell that performs well on the frontside or backside of ski resorts for a very reasonable price.

Black Diamond Mission

90

2015

Black Diamond Mission

The Black Diamond Mission is avery well built and designed ski shell that performs well inbounds resort skiing and in the backcountry.

Volcom Pat Moore Insulated Jacket

74

2015

Volcom Pat Moore Insulated Jacket

Volcom’s Pat Moore is a stylish insulated jacket aimed primarily at frontcountry snowboarders. It comes in at a reasonable price.

Strafe Highlands Jacket

89

2015

Strafe Highlands Jacket

Built by a pair of hard-charging brothers from Aspen, Strafe gear is made for aggressive skiers who spend a lot of time on the slopes. The Strafe Highlands is the go-to jacket for cold conditions. The insulation breathes better than other synthetics, is light weight, and will never clump up like waterproof down. 

Millet Magic Stretch

85

2015

Millet Magic Stretch

The Millet Magic Stretch is a classic frontside insulated ski shell at a good price. It is warm and fits well with lots of features like zip-off hood and a tethered goggle wipe.

Columbia Heatzone 1000

77

2015

Columbia Heatzone 1000

The Columbia Heatzone 1000 is an extremely warm, very lightweight ski jacket containing some groundbreaking design technology.  This jacket is one of the warmest jackets in the test. However, while the jacket nails the heat, there are very few additional features in this jacket.

Arcteryx Fissile

92

2015

Arcteryx Fissile

The Arcteryx Fissile, is an ideal ski coat for cold weather. The only downfall to this jacket is its hefty price tag—but you get what you pay for—and in the case of this jacket, you get a warm, comfortable, and durable jacket that will last a long time.

DaKine Ledge

77

2013

DaKine Ledge

The Ledge is a basic, solid ski shell with plenty of pockets and features, all at a great price.

Mountain Hardwear Compulsion

90

2013

Mountain Hardwear Compulsion

The Compulsion is loaded for backcountry with huge storage pockets, smart pit zips for ventilation and RECCO.

Patagonia PowSlayer

88

2013

Patagonia PowSlayer

The Powslayer succeeds wonderfully on that score thanks to the new Gore-Tex Pro shell fabric and some careful engineering.

Stio Environ Shell

78

2013

Stio Environ Shell

A full-featured snowsports hardshell.The Environ has everything you want in a ski shell—durability, breathability, pockets in the right places, though it isn’t exceptional in any of the categories.

Flylow Lab Coat

87

2013

Flylow Lab Coat

The Lab Coat’s Neoshell fabric is the best stuff we’ve seen for everyday ski shells.

Black Diamond Dawn Patrol Hybrid Shell

83

2013

Black Diamond Dawn Patrol Hybrid Shell

The Dawn Patrol Hybrid is designed for backcountry use, but would do fine on-piste on all but the stormiest days.

The North Face Sickline

89

2013

The North Face Sickline

The Sickline features Gore’s new Pro Shell, which is more breathable and durable.

Arcteryx Macai

86

2013

Arcteryx Macai

The Macai down ski coat was more effective in wet weather than the others in this test thanks to the innovations.

Patagonia Rubicon Windstopper

86

2013

Patagonia Rubicon Windstopper

The Rubicon windstopper was the tester go-to. It’s just more comfortable than the other jackets in the test.

Bergans Isogaisa

84

2013

Bergans Isogaisa

Great jacket. Testers loved the fit on the stretchy Isogaisa.

Eider Jager

82

2013

Eider Jager

The Jager is a great-fitting, full featured shell for resort skiing.

LL Bean Waterproof Down Ski Jacket

82

2013

LL Bean Waterproof Down Ski Jacket

LL Bean drops an amazing value here—a waterproof-treated down ski jacket for half the price of some competitors with all the same ski features.

Obermeyer Oxnard

78

2013

Obermeyer Oxnard

The Oxnard is comfortable, warm, and studded with amenities like goggle wipes and RECCO.

Scott Brady

76

2013

Scott Brady

The Brady is a very warm jacket for the coldest conditions, though Scott could have used a higher-grade down to improve the jacket’s weight.

Arcteryx Keibo

90

2012

Arcteryx Keibo

The Keibo is an exceptionally well-fitting, meticulously tailored, and uncommonly well-designed ski jacket built from top-shelf materials. Bottom line, if you can afford it, buy it.

Outdoor Research Igneo

86

2012

Outdoor Research Igneo

The Igneo has some great features like Recco and pockets right where you want them, excellent waterproofness and breathability, etc. without a big price tag. The fit is on the baggy side, the insulation is a little thin, and the fabric is a bit crinkly.

Eider Tamos

81

2012

Eider Tamos

Even with the full slate of features and close attention to detail, the Eider Tamos is definitely a bit expensive compared with other jackets offering similar performance.

Scott Ralston

81

2012

Scott Ralston

The Ralston is a solid, all-around performer. It has all the features skiers will likely look for in a ski jacket, but nothing makes this jacket stand out from the many others out there like it.

White Sierra High Camp 3 in 1

66

2012

White Sierra High Camp 3 in 1

White Sierra’s High Camp 3 in 1 is a moderately-insulated combination parka system, consisting of a shell paired with an independent, synthetically insulated jacket. At the cheapest price of any jacket we tested—well, you get what you pay for.

Helly Hansen Enigma

89

2012

Helly Hansen Enigma

The Helly Hansen Enigma is a heavily insulated, full-featured snowsports jacket with a stretchy shell and mix of synthetic (Primaloft) and down insulation.

Mountainforce Park Down Jacket

86

2012

Mountainforce Park Down Jacket

A heavily insulated, full-featured snowsports jacket with a stretchy shell and stuffed with 800-fill down.

Flylow Iceman

83

2012

Flylow Iceman

The Flylow Iceman is a 700-fill down, heavily insulated jacket encased in a hard shell for the coldest conditions.

Spyder Rocket Down Jacket

81

2012

Spyder Rocket Down Jacket

The Spyder Rocket Down Jacket is a heavily insulated, 700-fill down ski-oriented jacket for the coldest conditions.

Patagonia Rubicon Down Jacket

80

2012

Patagonia Rubicon Down Jacket

The Patagonia Rubicon Down is a heavily insulated, 700-fill down jacket outfitted with ski-specific features for the coldest conditions.

Dakine Drift Down Jacket

76

2012

Dakine Drift Down Jacket

The Dakine Drift Down Jacket is a heavily insulated, 550-fill down jacket outfitted with snowsports-specific features for the coldest conditions.

Westcomb Switch LT

87

2012

Westcomb Switch LT

The lightest Polartec Neoshell jacket on the market. Designed for ski touring, climbing and cycling, the two pockets sit high on the chest out of the way of harnesses and hip belts.

Columbia Triple Trail II Jacket

76

2012

Columbia Triple Trail II Jacket

A heavy-duty, winter-weight waterproof shell for skiing, hiking, and cold-weather adventures, with a helmet compatible hood, pit zips, and panels of more-breathable waterproof material in high-heat zones to slightly boost breathability.

Columbia Ultrachange Jacket

86

2012

Columbia Ultrachange Jacket

Two jackets—a lightweight, compressible waterproof and wind-resistant shell with an independent synthetically insulated midlayer jacket, designed primarily for backcountry use but not inappropriate for the resort.