While it is possible to snowboard in street clothes or with any winter jacket, having the proper equipment in any sport gives you an edge and helps your performance. In a sport like this one, the right jacket is just as important to the snowboarder as the right glove would be to the baseball player. There are several functions and distinctions jackets made especially for snowboarding have that will help you snowboard better, faster and stay out on the snow longer.
All snowboarding clothing should have certain features and functions and the jacket has an important role to play in keeping a snowboarder dry, warm and free of weight and constriction.
No clothing is totally waterproof, but one of the first things to look for in a jacket is how water and wind proof it can be. Chances are good that a lot of the snow you are boarding through will fly up. Melting snow all over your body will bring your core temperature down and mean less time spent being outdoors.
A jacket’s waterproof and windproof ratings are found on the label. The figure is not helpful, unless you have seen a waterproofing chart or know what they mean. The waterproof rating starts with low figures being the least desirable and the higher figures being the most useful in staying dry. This means a number between 10,000 mm and 20,000 mm would be a good start when looking for a snowboarding jacket while those around 30,000 mm or above would be the best.
A jacket with a good waterproofing number should do a superior job of keeping out the wind. Naturally, the higher the proofing, the more desirable and the more valuable the jacket, so it is important to take these considerations seriously when looking for a snowboarding jacket. Know the conditions in the area where you will be snowboarding and decide based on what you need and can afford with the understanding that your time on the board might depend on how well the jacket can protect you.
Another factor you can see taking you off the hill in a hurry is not enough breathability. If you do not have the right jacket and you start having a problem with sweating while wearing it, you will find yourself heading homeward. The same material that is keeping out the cold must still have a way to air in so your skin can breathe, or it will become stifling inside the jacket.
Breathability can be even more important in places where temperatures are known to fluctuate throughout the day. Like waterproofing, there is a number on the label of most jackets that indicates breathability. It is measured in the grams of water that are able to outwardly penetrate 1 square meter of the jacket’s material in a day with the higher number being the most breathable.
Look also for style and accessories you might need. Some jackets even have pockets built for PDAs and cell phones. There are enough good quality jackets on the market to find the one you want.