What fabric is best for snowboarding?

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Written By Dominic Howard

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When it comes to snowboarding, having the right gear can make all the difference in your comfort, performance, and safety on the slopes. One of the most important elements is your snowboard outerwear, as the fabric and materials used can greatly impact your experience in cold and wet winter conditions. So what is the best fabric for snowboarding jackets, pants, and other gear?

There are a few key factors to consider when choosing fabrics and materials.

Best Fabric For Snowboarding

When gearing up for snowboarding, having high-performance outerwear is essential for comfort and safety in harsh winter conditions. The fabric technologies used in snowboard jackets, pants, gloves, and layers play a major role in keeping you warm, dry, and protected on the slopes.

Snowboarders need waterproof, breathable fabrics that block moisture from rain, snow, and meltwater while allowing sweat vapor to escape. Top membrane technologies like Gore-Tex and eVent combine waterproofing and breathability for optimal function. Durable water repellent (DWR) treatments applied to face fabrics make them water-beading.


Staying dry is crucial for snowboarding since getting wet from snow or rain can quickly lead to feeling cold. Look for fabrics with waterproof or water-resistant coatings and finishes that will repel moisture and prevent it from soaking through. Common waterproof fabrics used in snowboard wear include:

  • Gore-Tex – One of the most well-known and trusted waterproof, breathable membranes. Gore-Tex jackets have a waterproof and windproof outer layer with a breathable inner layer to allow sweat vapor to escape.
  • eVent – A waterproof, air-permeable membrane that is both durable and breathable. eVent fabrics tend to be lighter than Gore-Tex.
  • HyVent – The North Face’s proprietary waterproof, breathable fabric technology. It features a polyurethane (PU) coating that blocks moisture combined with a mesh backer for breathability.
  • H2No – Patagonia’s waterproof, breathable fabric finish is made from polyester with a durable water-repellent (DWR) finish. It’s used on the exterior of jackets and pants
  • Dry.Q – Mountain Hardwear’s proprietary waterproof, breathable fabric technology is designed to keep moisture out while allowing internal sweat vapor to escape.

In addition to membrane technologies, many snowboarding outerwear pieces also use a DWR chemical treatment on the outer fabric face to make the surface water-repellent while maintaining breathability from within.

Insulation and Warmth

Staying warm is also crucial for comfort and safety when snowboarding in cold temperatures and wind. Different insulating and warmth technologies are used in snowboard outerwear based on the climate and temperatures where you’ll ride. Some common ones include:

  • Down or feather insulation – Provides excellent warmth for the weight and loft. But down loses insulating ability when wet. Best for dry snow conditions.
  • Synthetic insulation – Polyester or Primaloft insulation provides warmth even when wet. Not as lightweight as down but better for wet snow.
  • Fleece lining – Brushed polyester fleece makes a warm, cozy lining to retain heat. Often used in jackets, hoods, gaiters, and pants.
  • Wool or wool blends – Merino wool is moisture-wicking, breathable, and provides warmth even when wet. Often blended with synthetics for durability
  • Inner wind-blocking layer – Many jackets add a separate wind-blocking inner layer to prevent cold air penetration while allowing sweat vapor out.

Fit, Stretch & Mobility

Snowboarding gear needs enough stretch and mobility to allow free movement while carving hard or catching big air. Look for snowboard fabrics with some elastane/spandex blended in for stretch, along with articulated and pre-curved patterns allowing natural mobility. Softshell fabrics with stretch and breathability are also popular for snowboard outerwear.

Durability & Abrasion Resistance

Fabrics need to stand up to the abrasive effects of being rubbed by a snowboard edge or sliding on snow repeatedly. Look for fabrics with reinforcements in high-wear areas and durable water-repellent (DWR) coatings that maintain water beading over time. Cordura, ballistic nylon, and other synthetic fabrics add rugged durability.


Hard-charging snowboarders build up sweat while carving and moving. Good breathability allows internal sweat moisture to evaporate through the fabric rather than building up inside. Breathable membranes and venting features are key.

Weather Protection

Changeable mountain weather can bring anything from sun to snow squalls. Choose fabrics offering complete weather protection including windproofing, snow, and rain resistance. Taped seams prevent moisture from entering while sealed wrist gaiters and jackets with powder skirts keep snow out.

Comfort & Softness

Comfort features help you enjoy long days on the slopes. Soft, brushed fleece linings feel great next to the skin. Mesh-lined pockets and vents allow airflow to cool you. Articulated patterns and stretch fabrics aid mobility. Consider convenience features like helmet-compatible hoods, lift pass pockets, and sleeve pockets.

Eco-Friendly Materials

Many snowboard brands now incorporate recycled synthetics like PET polyester from plastic bottles into their fabrics. Some use eco-friendly waterproofing like plant-based eucalyptus. Bluesign-approved textiles have been audited for sustainable processing. Look for fabrics that meet the highest eco standards.

Key Snowboard Outerwear Pieces

Each garment in your snowboard wardrobe serves specialized functions and requires optimal fabric performance. Here’s what to look for:

Snowboard Jackets

Shell jackets protect from the elements while insulating jackets add warmth. For shells, look for waterproof breathable membranes like Gore-Tex with DWR finish outer fabric. Insulated jackets use down or synthetic fills with windproof, water-resistant outers. Stretch panels, vents, and helmet-compatible hoods are useful features.

Snowboard Pants

Durable waterproofing combined with breathability and stretch are key for snow pants. Articulated patterns allow free knee bending and reinforced scuff guards protect high wear areas. Bib styles keep snow out while vents allow cooling airflow. Zippered pockets secure valuables and wrist gaiters integrate with jacket sleeves.

Snowboard Gloves

Waterproof, insulated gloves with good dexterity provide warmth without sacrificing grip and feel. Leather palms are durable while inserts at knuckles protect from impact. Inner liners can add extra warmth. Look for wrist leashes to keep gloves attached to jackets.

Base Layers

Moisture-wicking base layer tops and leggings worn next to the skin help regulate body temperature. Merino wool or synthetic fabrics like polyester and nylon work well. Flatlock seams prevent chafing while stretch allows freedom of movement.

Snowboard Socks

Warm snowboard-specific socks made from merino wool or synthetic fibers help wick moisture and retain warmth even when wet. Cushioning zones relieve pressure while flat toe seams prevent blisters. Tall heights keep snow out of boots.

Snowboard Beanies

Insulated snowboard beanies trap body heat to keep your head and ears warm. Wool, acrylic, or fleece linings provide lightweight warmth. Some feature windproof ear covering flaps and cuff bands to seal out the cold. Recycled and organic materials are eco-friendly options.

Face Masks

Cold weather snowboard masks protect exposed skin from wind, snow, and frigid temperatures. Neoprene, fleece, or balaclava-style masks cover the nose, cheeks, chin, and neck areas prone to frostbite. Breathable vented masks prevent goggles from fogging up.


Most snowboard helmets have a durable polycarbonate outer shell covering an EPS foam inner liner to protect your head from impacts. Models with multiple vents keep you cool while inner liners wick away sweat. Look for MIPS technology to reduce rotational force in a crash.


Snowboard goggles need rigid, impact-resistant thermoplastic shells with anti-fog lenses for clear vision. UV protection filters out harmful rays. Lenses with VLT (visible light transmission) ratings around 30% to 60% work well in most conditions. Mirrored lenses reduce glare while light colors help in flat light.

Consider the Climate Where You’ll Ride

The climate and temperatures where you snowboard help determine the best fabric choices. Colder and wetter conditions call for maximum waterproofing and insulation with synthetic fills. Warmer, drier climates allow more breathable shells and lightweight down insulation. Check the weather rating of all your gear.

Match Your Riding Style and Terrain

Freestyle riders hitting the terrain park and backcountry enthusiasts need maximum mobility from stretchy softshell pants and jackets. Big mountain and free-riders can go burlier with reinforced Gore-Tex Pro Shells and insulated jackets for rugged conditions. Layer accordingly for changing terrain.

Care for Your Gear Properly

DWR finishes wear off over time affecting water beading. Refresh water repellency by washing with specialized cleaners and tumble drying on low. Follow all care label instructions. Store gear clean and dry in the off-season. Repair any rips right away and replace worn-out gear. Your safety depends on well-maintained outerwear.

The Best Snowboard Fabrics and Material

For optimal function across different riders and conditions, the top snowboarding fabrics feature some combination of the following:

  • Waterproof/breathable membranes – Gore-Tex, eVent, HyVent
  • Durable water repellent (DWR) finishes
  • Synthetic insulation – PrimaLoft, Heatseeker, Thermoball
  • Fleece linings – Polartec, Cohesive
  • Four-way stretch fabrics with spandex – Neoprene, softshell
  • Windproof / water-resistant outer face fabrics
  • Reinforced scuff guards, wrist gaiters
  • Helmet-compatible hoods, vents, lift pass pockets
  • Recycled and Bluesign-approved eco-materials

Shop Top Snowboard Outerwear Brands

Leading snowboard clothing brands design specific lines dialed in for optimal shred performance. Look for these industry leaders:

  • Burton – Iconic board brand making technically advanced gear for all abilities.Known for AK down insulated jackets, waterproof and stretch styles.
  • Volcom – Makes a wide range of outerwear from Gore-Tex shells to insulated jackets and 4-way stretch softshells.
  • The North Face – Trusted for quality, outdoor performance, and signature HyVent waterproofing. Great insulated and shell jacket selection.
  • 686 – Known for jackets and pants loaded with rider-friendly features like tons of pockets, vents, and stealthy lifts.
  • Dakine – Rider-owned brand designing durable, articulated outerwear for mountain performance. Great gloves and layers too.
  • Patagonia – Environmentally conscious brand making H2No performance shells and insulated jackets from recycled materials.
  • Arcteryx – Technical outdoor brand designing athletic fit Gore-Tex shells layered for serious alpine conditions.
  • Outdoor Research – Innovates waterproof breathable fabrics and designs featured in Expedition quality snow gear.
  • Helly Hansen – Trusted for water sports, HH makes high-tech shells and base layers to keep you dry and comfortable.
  • Spyder – Specializes in performance ski and snowboard apparel including customizable shells, down jackets, and fleece layers.
  • Obermeyer – Legendary Colorado brand engineering high tech, high functioning insulated and shell snow wear for over 70 years.
  • Holden – Known for eco-friendly materials and stylish designs, Holden makes premium jackets tuned for freeriding.
  • Karbon – Technical outerwear brand focused on lightweight shells with Primaloft insulation that packs down small.
  • Roxy – Quiksilver’s sister brand designing fashionable jackets and pants for female boarders to shred in style.

Considerations for Men, Women, and Kids

Men’s and women’s bodies and preferences differ, so snowboard wear is specially engineered for each gender. Kids also need appropriately sized gear with a growth room built in.

Men’s Snowboard Outerwear

  • Athletic fit allows mobility while binding boots and strapping in
  • Longer cuts, larger sizes, and extended lengths are available
  • More simplified styling and colorways
  • Designed around roomier hips and broader shoulders
  • Reinforced seat and knees handle hardcore riding

Women’s Snowboard Outerwear

  • Tailored shapely fit through the hips, waist, and bust
  • Shorter cuts, smaller sizes with articulated shaping
  • More stylish designs, colors, and detailing
  • Adjustable features accommodate curvier figures
  • Made to layer over women’s specific base layers

Kid’s Snowboard Outerwear

  • Insulating and waterproof but less extreme ratings needed
  • Grow systems allow sleeves, pant legs, and waists to extend
  • Bright colors help kids stand out on the hill
  • Roomy enough to layer beneath comfortably
  • Durable fabrics withstand repeated falls
  • Reflective elements increase visibility

Whatever your size, shape, style, or skill level, there are many excellent fabrics and technologies available allowing you to ride in comfort and perform your best on the slopes. Analyze the conditions and terrain you’ll be riding along with your personal preferences to choose the snowboard-specific outerwear that’s just right for you. With high-quality gear made from the best technical fabrics, you’ll stay warm, dry, and protected from the elements so you can make the most of every snowboarding adventure.

Frequently Asked Question

1: What is the best fabric for snowboarding jackets and pants?

1: The best fabric for snowboarding jackets and pants is typically a waterproof and breathable material, such as Gore-Tex, that keeps you dry and comfortable in various snow conditions.

2: Why is waterproofing important in snowboarding fabrics?

2: Waterproofing is crucial because it prevents snow and moisture from getting inside your clothing, keeping you dry and warm during your ride.

3: What is the significance of breathability in snowboarding fabrics?

3: Breathability allows sweat and body heat to escape while still keeping the cold out, ensuring that you stay comfortable and avoid overheating.

4: Are there specific fabric blends recommended for snowboarding clothing?

4: Yes, fabrics with a combination of materials like nylon, polyester, and spandex are often used in snowboarding gear for durability, flexibility, and moisture management.

5: Should I look for insulated or non-insulated fabrics for snowboarding clothing?

5: Whether you choose insulated or non-insulated depends on your preference and the weather conditions. Insulated fabrics provide extra warmth, while non-insulated options are more versatile.

6: Are there any eco-friendly fabric options for snowboarding gear?

6: Yes, some brands offer eco-friendly options like recycled materials or fabrics with a lower environmental impact, which can be a great choice for environmentally-conscious snowboarders.

7: How can I tell if a snowboarding fabric is of high quality?

7: High-quality snowboarding fabrics are often backed by reputable brands and feature technologies like seam sealing, durable water-repellent (DWR) coatings, and good breathability ratings.

8: Can I use regular winter clothing for snowboarding?

8: While regular winter clothing may work for occasional snowboarding, it’s not recommended for serious riders. Snowboarding gear is specially designed for the sport’s unique demands, providing better performance and protection.

9: Is it essential to have waterproof and breathable clothing for snowboarding?

9: Yes, waterproof and breathable clothing is essential for comfort and safety in the snow. It helps you stay dry and warm and prevents moisture-related issues.

10: Are there any specific care instructions for snowboarding fabrics?

10: Yes, always follow the care instructions provided by the manufacturer to maintain the performance and longevity of your snowboarding clothing, which may include washing, drying, and reapplying DWR treatments.


In conclusion, selecting the best fabric for snowboarding is a critical decision that can greatly impact your comfort and performance on the slopes. The ideal fabric should strike a balance between waterproofing and breathability, keeping you dry while allowing moisture and heat to escape. Fabrics like Gore-Tex and those with a blend of materials like nylon, polyester, and spandex are popular choices for their durability and flexibility. Insulated or non-insulated options offer versatility depending on your needs and weather conditions. Additionally, for those concerned about the environment, there are eco-friendly fabric options available.

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