The best ski jackets for men 2023: protection from the winter elements

Collage of the best ski jackets for men
(Image credit: Future)

Dark nights. Deep snow. Chairlifts, cafes, après bars. One of the best ski jackets keeping you cosy. Yep, we’re seeing in the New Year by embracing the ski season. Very little in life is more satisfying than a great day on the slopes. However, that day can be made miserable if the wrong kit leaves you cold or wet. 

Choosing the best ski jacket is one of the most important gear decisions you’ll make. The range of options can be confusing. Should you go for an insulated jacket or a non-insulated shell? Do you require a snow skirt? How many pockets will you need? Should those pockets be internal or external? Do you want a hood? How much do you have to spend? See our additional buying advice at the very bottom of this article for more information about these decisions.

Our guide to the best men’s ski jackets covers the best options for all levels of skiers across a range of ability levels and budgets. If you don’t see what you’re after here, have a look at our guide to the best women’s ski jackets, the best waterproof jackets and the best down and puffer jackets

Best waterproof ski jackets

Artilect Shadow Canyon men's ski jacket

(Image credit: Jack McKeown)

1, Artilect Shadow Canyon Jacket

A well-designed ski jacket with impeccable build quality and outstanding waterproofing and breathability

Specifications

Waterproofing: High & Dry 30,000 / 30,000
Insulation: None
Sizes: XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL
Colors: Ash & Black / Hot Spot & Ash / Black
Compatibility: All mountain

Reasons to buy

+
Incredibly weatherproof
+
Soft feel
+
Faultless build quality
+
Stylish

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive
-
No sleeve lift pass pocket
-
No insulation

Based in Boulder, Colorado, Artilect combine high-end fabrics and excellent quality with simple but effective design in the Shadow Canyon men’s ski jacket. Its waterproofing and breathability ratings are both 30,000 – making it the most weatherproof and breathable jacket in this test; but there is no insulation. The Shadow Canyon features a three-layer 40D fabric. Lightweight and supple, it moves with your body and whispers rather than crinkles. 

There are two hand pockets, a deep chest pocket and a shallow horizontally zipped pocket for a phone, keys or a lift pass. There’s no sleeve lift pass pocket though, which feels like an oversight. Inside there’s a good-sized ski goggles / ski gloves pocket. The helmet-compatible hood has multiple points of adjustment and there are side vents to release heat. 

This isn’t a baggy freerider’s jacket. It’s close fitting and trim. In fact, those with wide shoulders or long torsos may want to go up a size – especially as you will most likely need to don a mid layer beneath it at some point.

The only thing missing is a snow skirt. However, this makes the Shadow Canyon a jacket you can wear year-round as a rain jacket. It’s light enough to throw on during a summer storm and stylish enough to wear into town as well. A premium price tag means this is a jacket you’ll need to wear for all occasions to get your money’s worth. Its comfort, style and performance mean you’ll want to have it on all the time anyway. 

Rab Khroma Kinetic men's ski jacket

(Image credit: Jack McKeown)

2. Rab Khroma Kinetic

Hardshell performance with a softshell feel in a tremendously lightweight package

Specifications

Waterproofing: Proflex 20,000 / 25,000
Insulation: None
Sizes: S, M, L, XL, XXL
Colors: Army / Marmalade / Orion Blue
Compatibility: Backcountry, touring, cross country, spring skiing, hiking

Reasons to buy

+
Exceptionally light and breathable
+
Extremely waterproof
+
Soft feel 

Reasons to avoid

-
Not much warmth
-
No snow skirt

Rab claim their Khroma Kinetic jacket offers the performance of a hardshell with the feel of a softshell. And we agree, it does exactly that. The material is soft, supple and stretchy. It moves with your body and makes a soft rustle instead of the usual crinkle. 

Yet if the weather closes in it will keep you protected from anything the heavens can throw at you. Figures of 20,000 and 25,000 for waterproofing and breathability are exceptional. In extended wet weather we found the water beaded and rolled off the jacket, thanks in part to its fluorocarbon-free DWR treatment. Even in strenuous exertion we never overheated or became sweaty either. On the slopes, it’s perfect for warm weather or high-effort skiing. 

Oversized Napoleon chest pockets offer plenty of storage and – cleverly – double up as vents. One of the chest pockets has a smaller zipped pocket inside for keys or a phone. 

There’s a lift pass pocket in the bicep and an internal dump pocket that will swallow gloves or goggles. A helmet-compatible hood can be adjusted with one hand. 

There’s no snow skirt but this is a minimalist jacket and we never felt it needed one. Indeed, the lack of a snow skirt and its light weight means we found ourselves reaching for the Rab Khroma Kinetic as a hiking jacket when we weren’t hitting the slopes. 

Fit-wise, it’s a good length, hanging to mid-hip level, and has a cut that’s trim yet easy to layer under – a good thing, as the Khroma Kinetic doesn’t offer much warmth on its own. 

The Rab Khroma Kinetic is exceptionally breathable and stretchy, and it’s available with matching ski pants, which are also excellent. Unless temperatures were extremely low this was the jacket we found ourselves reaching for more often than any other. 

Mammut Haldigrat HS Hooded men's ski jacket

(Image credit: Jack McKeown)

3. Mammut Haldigrat HS Hooded Jacket

A robust but comfortable hardshell jacket that’s built for on- and off-piste adventures

Specifications

Waterproofing: Mammut DRYTechnology Pro (HH) 20,000
Insulation: None
Sizes: S, M, L, XL, XXL
Colors: Marine-Highlime / Marine-Hot Red / Black-Cheetah / Black-White / Black-Magma / Marine-Ice
Compatibility: Backcountry / off-piste

Reasons to buy

+
Lightweight
+
Stretchy
+
Good weather protection
+
Breathable
+
Nice range of colorways 

Reasons to avoid

-
No insulation
-
Small dump pocket
-
No hand pockets

Boasting high-end waterproof and breathability ratings (20,000 / 20,000), Mammut’s Haldigrat jacket is an impressive weatherproof ski shell that shrugs off the worst weather mountains can throw at it. The three-layer shell jacket has impressive levels of stretch and articulates well with your body’s movements. You won’t find any insulation in the Haldigrat, as it’s a shell jacket. As such it will protect you from the worst rain, wind and snow you encounter but it won’t keep you warm. 

That’s perfect if you’re a hard-charging backcountry skier, as most of the time you’ll be hiking to the best spot and your body will be working hard enough to keep you warm; its deep pit zips also allow you to quickly vent heat if you get too hot. But you will need a warm mid layer in your pack.

The Haldigrat shouldn’t be ruled out for on-piste endeavors either. While Mammut’s regular fit is more trim than most there’s still room underneath for mid layers to keep you warm. Unless you’re skiing somewhere exceptionally cold, such as Canada in January, you’ll easily be able to layer up enough for comfort.

On the features front, the Mammut Haldigrat comes with a built-in snowskirt and a helmet-compatible hood. There are two deep outer pockets placed Napoleon-style on the chest so you can access them with a backpack on. You get a bicep pocket for a lift pass. Inside there’s a phone pocket and an elasticated dump pocket. The dump pocket isn’t very deep, however, and we would also like to have seen external hand pockets. 

If the pocket configuration works for you the Haldigrat is a great jacket. It comes in a range of striking colors, has a dialled-in fit and feels built to last for many seasons. 

Haglöfs Elation GTX men's ski jacket

(Image credit: Jack McKeown)

4. Haglöfs Elation GTX Jacket

Versatile free-skiing parka that’s ready for any weather conditions

Specifications

Waterproofing: Gore-Tex (HH) 28,000mm
Insulation: None
Sizes: S, M, L, XL, XXL
Colors: True Black / Autumn Leaves / Dark Ocean & Fjell Green / Tarn Blue & Nordic Blue / Habanero & True Black / Olive Green & Aurora
Compatibility: Backcountry / all mountain

Reasons to buy

+
Weatherproof
+
Longer length gives great protection
+
Good choice of colors

Reasons to avoid

-
Crinkly fabric
-
No pit zips
-
No insulation
-
No internal pockets 

The Haglöfs Elation GTX is made out of burly 70 denier Gore-Tex fabric, which will resist encounters with tree branches and rock faces. Its waterproof rating of 28,000mm is exceptionally high and makes the jacket fully weatherproof, although it lacks insulation. Like many models tested here the Elation GTX is a shell jacket, but the generous cut means there’s room for layering underneath. On a cold day we were easily able to layer a Rab Xenair (opens in new tab) insulated jacket underneath – giving plenty of warmth in temperatures well below freezing. 

It’s a little longer than most ski jackets too, and thus offers better protection in wild weather. A lack of pit zips means you can’t dump heat easily on warm days, however. 

Two chest pockets, two hand pockets and a liftpass pocket on the sleeve give plenty of stowage space. We would have liked to see an internal dump pocket, though. 

An elasticated snow skirt keeps the powder from getting into the jacket. A cord waist adjustments helps you cinch in the fit as well. Meanwhile, the large hood articulates well on top of a helmet. Indeed, the entire Elation GTX jacket offers great freedom of movement as long as you don’t mind a bit of crinkling noise from the heavy-duty fabric. 

While we wish it had internal pockets and pit zips, the Haglöfs Elation GTX is a high-quality ski jacket that should last for years and years and, with no fewer than seven color options, there’s a version to suit all tastes. 

Best insulated jackets

Schöffel Hohbiel men's ski jacket

(Image credit: Jack McKeown)

5. Schöffel Hohbiel

A performance resort jacket for hardcore piste bashers

Specifications

Waterproofing: (HH) 20,000mm
Insulation: Primaloft Eco
Sizes: S, M, L, XL, XXL
Colors: Orange / Yellow / Blue / Navy
Compatibility: Resort skiing

Reasons to buy

+
Comfortable
+
Excellent performance
+
Good insulation
+
Lots of pockets

Reasons to avoid

-
No drop hem
-
Expensive
-
Not ideal for backcountry

This high-performance jacket from German outdoor clothing experts Schöffel is aimed at advanced skiers who stick to resort runs. Excellent 20,000 / 20,000 waterproof and breathability ratings are achieved with a stretchy and soft fabric that moves without any of the crinkle associated with a lot of ski jackets. Insulation is provided by recycled Primaloft Eco. This is body-mapped, giving you more warmth in your core and less in areas where your body needs to breathe. It has enough insulation to keep you warm on all but the most frigid days but doesn’t feel bulky and has an athletic fit. The helmet-compatible hood can be removed, which makes it great for resort skiers who can leave it at home on bluebird days. 

The Schöffel Hohbiel has all the pockets you could need. On the outside you’ll find two zippered chest pockets and two zippered hand pockets. There’s also a lift pass pocket on the left forearm. Many ski jackets put their lift pass pockets on the bicep, which means taller skiers need to awkwardly lean over to scan their pass. With the Schöffel you just wave your forearm and you’re through. Inside there’s a zippered security pocket and a deep dump pocket for goggles or gloves. This comes with a handy microfiber cloth attached to a bungee cord that’s handy for giving your goggles a quick wipe. In a nice touch it has first aid instructions printed on it. Also on the safety front, a RECCO reflector helps rescue teams find you in case of an accident. 

The Schöffel Hohbiel is available in a nice range of vivid colors and looks good on the slopes. It’s cut fairly short and there’s no drop hem so it won’t give you as much protection as some jackets. Advanced skiers who stick to the piste will love this jacket. It’s also a terrific jacket for beginners and intermediates as well, but with a hefty price tag you need to be sure you’ll be hitting the slopes at least one or two weeks a year to get value out of it. 

Columbia Snow Slab Black Dot Insulated men's ski jacket

(Image credit: Jack McKeown)

6. Columbia Snow Slab Black Dot Insulated Ski Jacket

Insulated ski jacket featuring innovative reflective technology to retain serious amounts of heat

Specifications

Waterproofing: Omni-Tech
Insulation: Omni-Heat thermal reflective
Sizes: S, M, L, XL, XXL
Colors: Compass Blue / Black / Warm Copper
Compatibility: Resort skiing / cold weather

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent warmth
+
Fully featured
+
Innovative technology

Reasons to avoid

-
Less waterproof and breathable than some others
-
Styling is an acquired taste 

New from Columbia is the Snow Slab jacket, which is designed to supply excellent warmth for its weight. Employing technology first used in the space race, the Columbia Snow Slab features reflective gold foil on the inside and patches of black dots on the jacket’s face. The former reflect your body heat back inside, preventing it escaping. Meanwhile the black dots on the exterior soak up the sun’s warmth and draw it into the jacket. This technology works alongside traditional synthetic insulation and makes for a ski jacket that punches above its weight for warmth. Whether you’ll like the look of the dotted panels on the outside and the shiny foil inside is a matter of personal taste. 

The Columbia Snow Slab comes with an attached powder skirt and a helmet-compatible hood that has plenty of adjustment. There’s a chest pocket, hand pockets, ski pass pocket in the forearm, internal security pocket and a dump pocket, as well as an internal key clip. 

The Omni-Tech fabric has waterproof and breathability ratings of 10,000. These are fairly average and will be fine for resort skiing, though powder hounds will want the performance of higher-end Gore-Tex fabrics for long days in extreme conditions.

A 32in center back (in size medium) and a drop hem offer good coverage and mean the jacket’s hem covers all of your backside, giving extra protection on wet chairlifts. 

The Columbia Snow Slab feels built to last. It has a mid-range price tag and offers a good blend of performance, comfort and durability. 

Best budget ski jackets

Wedze Men’s Warm Ski Jacket

(Image credit: Jack McKeown)

7. Decathlon Wedze Men’s Warm Ski Jacket

A budget ski jacket with plenty of warmth that’s ideal for beginners and intermediates

Specifications

Waterproofing: 10,000mm membrane
Insulation: Down and feather
Sizes: XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL, XXXL
Colors: Black / Deep Teal / Pearl White / Khaki
Compatibility: Resort skiing

Reasons to buy

+
Affordable
+
Very warm
+
Good pocket layout
+
Snow skirt

Reasons to avoid

-
Bulky and heavy
-
Less waterproof and breathable than others
-
Hood is tight when used over a helmet

The Wedze Men’s Warm Ski Jacket does exactly what it promises – it keeps you warm. And it does so at an exceptionally low cost. Coming in at under a quarter of the price of many ski jackets tested here it’s a budget model but one that offers good performance for the money. It has a HH waterproof rating of 10,000, which is plenty for most resort skiing, but it won’t keep you as dry as others here, especially out in the backcountry. The insulation is a mix of goose feather and down. At this price point you can’t expect 850 fill down, but it offers more than enough warmth in temperatures well below freezing. 

There’s a helmet-compatible hood and five pockets – two hand pockets, a ski pass pocket in the forearm, a zipped inner pocket and an inner dump pocket. Despite its low cost, the quality feels good. Seams and zippers are taped for water and wind resistance and the fabric feels rugged enough to last a good few seasons. 

For advanced skiers it will be too hot, and you’ll be better off with a hardshell and a good mid layer. But beginner and intermediate skiers will really appreciate the high levels of warmth this jacket offers. 

Given the price there’s very little to criticize. The puffy down-and-feather insulation means it’s a little on the bulky side. And we found that while we could put the hood on over a helmet it was a snug fit and we couldn’t turn our head very freely with it up. 

If you only go on one ski trip a year and don’t want to drop a ton of cash on a jacket, this is a great option. 

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Best ski jackets
JacketPriceWaterproofingInsulationCompatibility
Artilect Shadow Canyon Jacket$500 (US) / £420 (UK)High & Dry 30,000 / 30,000NoneAll Mountain
Rab Khroma Kinetic$350 (US) / £320 (UK) Proflex 20,000 / 25,000NoneBackcountry, touring, cross country, spring skiing, hiking
Mammut Haldigrat HS Hooded Jacket$499 (US) / £430 (UK)Mammut DRYTechnology Pro (HH) 20,000NoneBackcountry / off-piste
Haglöfs Elation GTX Jacket$500 (US) / £410 (UK)Gore-Tex (HH) 28,000mmNoneBackcountry / all mountain
Schöffel Hohbiel£519.99 (UK) / €499.95 (EU)(HH) 20,000mmPrimaloft EcoResort skiing
Columbia Snow Slab Black Dot Insulated Ski Jacket$280 (US) / £315 (UK)Omni-TechOmni-Heat thermal reflectiveResort skiing / cold weather
Wedze Men’s Warm Ski Jacket£89.99 (UK)10,000mm membraneDown and featherResort skiing

How we tested the best ski jackets

Each of the ski jackets featured here was tested by our expert reviewer in the mountains of Scotland and the Alps in the midst of winter, and assessed against a range of criteria including warmth, waterproofing, comfort, fit, features, build quality and price.

How to choose a ski jacket

All skiers are different, and therefore so are their jacket requirements. The type of ski jacket a beginner or intermediate skier will need will be very different to the jacket an expert level skier or a backcountry powder specialist will go for.

Three men sitting in snowbank

If you’re planning on sitting in the snow like this, you need a jacket with good waterproofing – look for one with a Hydrostatic Head rating of 20,000mm or greater (Image credit: Henrik Sorensen / Getty Images)

Waterproofing

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All the ski jackets tested here are waterproof, but levels of protection vary. Waterproofness is measured by a Hydrostatic Head rating. Anything above 5,000mm is reasonable but as a rule you want at least 10,000mm. If you’re going to be spending extended time in the backcountry where you’ll be swimming in powder and exposed should the weather close in then you’ll want 20,000mm or greater. 

For resort skiing, anything more than 10,000mm is overkill. Snow doesn’t penetrate fabric as readily as water and not many recreational skiers will stay out all day in blizzard conditions anyway. 

Insulation

Does your ski jacket need to be insulated? That depends on what level you ski at and what temperatures you ski in. If you’re a beginner or intermediate it’s likely you’ll want some insulation. Likewise if you’re in a high altitude resort in January with temperatures well below zero. 

However, more and more skiers are going for non-insulated jackets these days. Modern mid layers worn under a shell offer plenty of warmth and can be ditched if you’re on the slopes in warm spring weather. Many models come with pit zips – large underarm vents that can be opened and are a blessing when you’re too hot. 

Three men skiing

Pockets are handy, especially if you want to whip out your cell phone for a selfie on the slopes (Image credit: Thomas Barwick / Getty Images)

Pockets

Even if you wear the best ski backpack you’ll still want your ski jacket to have a good selection of pockets. At least two external pockets are a must and you’ll need a lift pass pocket, which is usually on the forearm or bicep of one sleeve. On the inside there should be a dump pocket for spare gloves or goggles and a zippered valuables pocket. This is useful for keeping your phone in. Being inside the jacket means your phone is kept warm by your body heat, which helps extend battery life. 

Environmental considerations

Many of the best ski jackets are made with recycled materials nowadays. Look out for jackets with high recycled content levels to leave a lighter footprint on the planet. 

Jack McKeown is a Scottish journalist, hiker, skier, runner and beach volleyball player. Having walked many of Scotland’s long distance trails, last year saw him tackle his first ultramarathon. He lives in Dundee and in his spare time Jack and his golden retriever Bracken are often to be found exploring the mountains, forests, lochs and rivers of Highland Perthshire.