A snowboarder in search of a new jacket needs to know basic differences and key features of the main jacket types that are available. Although individual jackets contain many variations, the main types they fall under are shells, technical shells, insulated jackets, 3-in-1 jackets, and softshells.


An uninsulated shell is sometimes called a hardshell, jacket is generally what one sees on a local shred hill. Shells are quite versatile, being waterproof enough for most general conditions, with a few taped seams at least, and often they feature vents to offer breathability for the prevention of overheating.

Technical Shells

A technical shell is lightweight and quite breathable as well as being very waterproof. Often made with seams fully taped and of such high-end fabrics as Gore-Tex and eVent, technical shells tend toward higher costs, but they offer features and quality that are a must for dedicated boarders.

Insulated Jackets

For snowboarding in quite cold conditions the majority of the time, an insulated jacket might be the best choice. This jacket type features an outer shell and a built-in layer of insulation, either synthetic or down. Synthetic insulation is a good choice for outerwear in the snow; it is not as expensive as down is, has more durability, and works when wet.

3-in-1 Jackets

The jacket with perhaps the greatest degree of versatility, 3-in-1 jackets feature an outer shell and some sort of inner insulated or technical fleece jacket that generally zips within the shell. These jackets are best for those knowing they will face a broad range of conditions during the season and desire a single jacket to handle all of them. When it’s warmer, just the shell can be worn; both together can be worn when temperatures drop; and finally, the inner layer can be worn alone when it is dry and warmer.


Maintaining waterproof properties, softshell jackets feature stretchy, soft fabrics. They tend to be less resistant to wind and water than hardshell jackets and contain fewer features. Softshell jackets feel and look like hoodies but have a coating on the fabric’s surface to keep moisture out. Softshells are quite breathable, which is their primary benefit. They are also inexpensive and suitable for spring weather and temperate areas.

When looking for a snowboarding jacket, it is crucial to consider all of your options. From shells to 3-in-1 jackets, there are plenty of choices to check out before you invest in one.