Should You Wear a Shell Jacket or an Insulated Jacket?

It doesn’t matter how great the snow is. If you’re too cold or too hot then you won’t enjoy your skiing or snowboarding.

One of the biggest factors in how comfortable you are on the snow is your jacket, so the ASO Mammoth team has put together a short guide on whether you should wear a shell jacket or an insulated jacket here! Read all about it, then visit the ASO Mammoth store for the best ski and snowboard rentals and gear in Mammoth Lakes!

Insulated Jackets are Easier to Stay Warm With

Insulated jackets combine waterproof exteriors with interior down or some other insulation that keeps the rider or skier warm and dry while on the snow.

Since insulated jackets come with a layer of insulation that is specifically fitted to the jacket, they’re easier to stay warm with. That also means you don’t have to wear layers underneath besides whatever is comfortable for you.

Shells are More Adaptable

Shell jackets are designed to keep you dry and protect you from the wind, and that’s about it.

As the name implies, shells are about protection, not warmth, so when you’re wearing a shell you must layer underneath with base and mid-layers to make up for the lack of insulation. All that may sound like a bad thing, but the truth is a shell’s lack of insulation allows you to easily adjust how warm you are.

If you ever ride on a warm day or must hike to your drop-in then you may get hot and begin to sweat. Sweat is a major problem when skiing and snowboarding because once you start sweating your clothes will get wet, and if your clothes are wet then you’ll be cold soon after.

Shells help avoid that problem by allowing you to remove layers from underneath them easily so you never sweat more than you have to.

Insulated Jackets are Best for Extreme Cold

All that being said, even with proper layering, a well-made insulated jacket is more likely to keep you warm than a shell and layering.

If you know you’re going to be skiing or snowboarding in consistently frigid conditions then a shell may be your best bet since it will keep you warm more consistently.

Shells are Easier to Pack and Transport

If you’re taking a jacket on a ski trip then you won’t just be carrying it around with you while you’re on the slope. You also have to pack and carry it with you wherever you go, and insulation like you’d fine with an insulated jacket takes up much more space than a simple shell.

The same thin design that makes it easier to move around in a shell jacket also makes it easier to pack into a bag and carry with you. If you expect to be skiing or snowboarding in a variety of temperatures and know you’ll be traveling, then consider a shell over and insulated jacket!