What Are the Most Essential Features in a Hardshell Jacket?

Even though temperatures are still comfortable this early in the seasons, you can be sure that cold weather is coming to Mammoth Mountain. As the temperature drops, the need for a jacket that will keep you warm and dry increases.

The team at ASO Mammoth wants everyone to enjoy Mammoth Mountain as much as we do, so we’ve put together a list of essential details you need to pay attention to when shopping for a jacket. Although weather dictates what kind of jacket you’re wearing, we’ve focused on the most common and versatile type of jacket, the hardshell, for this list.

Waterproofing and Breathability

It’s easy to see why how waterproof your ski jacket is matters, but when it comes down to the actual numbers and names it can be a little confusing. When looking for a hardshell jacket, you’ll see the waterproofing rating expressed in mm ranging from 5,000g/m2 to 20,000g/m2 and beyond. What you need to know is that the higher the number, the more waterproof the jacket is. To know how waterproof your jacket needs to be, you need to know what kind of conditions you’ll be using it in.

Jackets near 5,000g/m2 are best suited for light rain and snow while the 10,000-15,000 g/m2 range will keep you dry on the mountain unless you spend a lot of time sitting in the snow. Anything beyond will reliably keep you dry in all situations.

As with waterproofing, the more breathable your jacket is the more expensive it will be too. Breathability is also measured in mm with similar ranges. The basic rule is the more effort you exert in your jacket (a.k.a. the more you sweat) the more breathable you’ll want your jacket to be.

The Hood

While the hood may seem like a simple feature of any harshell jacket, it can come back to bite you if you don’t pay attention to it. While a hood being detachable or having fur is an obvious factor, one thing many people fail to consider is if their hood is made to fit a helmet underneath.

Don’t make yourself decide between staying safe and keeping your head warm. Check the size of the hood on any jacket you’re considering before making a purchase.

Vents, Pockets, and Seams

Vents and pockets on your hardshell jacket can come down to your personal taste as well as what you’ll be wearing your hardshell for.

Some people may enjoy having a dozen different pockets spaced all over their jacket, while others may be frustrated at the number they have to dig through and how they look. Vents allow the person wearing the jacket to regulate their body temperature by opening or closing them and can also give a jacket a distinct look.

Another aspect to pay attention to is how the seams of the jacket are waterproofed. The main method is seam taping which means that the seams of the jacket are covered with waterproof material. While seam taping is simple, the amount of seams that are taped can vary from jacket to jacket, so it’s an important feature to take note of.

The Fit

For many riders and skiers, the fit of a jacket is a choice of style. Some riders prefer larger, baggier jackets while others prefer trimmed and fitted jackets. What everyone can agree on is the importance of layering.

When buying a hardshell jacket you always need to consider what kind of conditions you’ll be wearing it in. For most people buying a ski jacket, that means they can expect cold temperatures and that they will room to layer underneath the shell against the cold.

If you have any questions about hardshell jackets or any ski and snowboard gear, reach out or stop by ASO Mammoth to have all your questions answered!

Leave a Comment