When it comes to snowboarding, there’s nothing more important than staying warm and comfortable. But with so many layers available on the market, how do you know which ones to pick? Don’t worry – we’ve got you covered.
In this article, we’ll be sharing expert tips on how to layer for snowboarding. By following our advice, you’ll stay cozy and dry no matter how chilly the weather gets. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a beginner hitting the slopes for the first time, these tips are sure to come in handy.
“Layering is an essential part of any winter sport,” says renowned snowboarder Alex Andrews. “The right layers can mean the difference between an enjoyable day on the mountain and a miserable one.”
We couldn’t agree more. That’s why we’ve put together this guide to help you make the best choices when it comes to snowboarding gear. We’ll cover everything from base layers to outerwear, giving you all the information you need to bundle up and hit the slopes like a pro.
So without further ado, let’s dive into the world of snowboarding layering!
Understand the Importance of Layering
If you’re planning to go snowboarding, it’s essential to layer your clothing properly. Layering helps keep you warm and dry in cold weather conditions. When you’re snowboarding, you need to stay focused on your movements, and you don’t want to worry about feeling uncomfortable due to overheating or shivering from being too cold.
Layering involves wearing multiple layers of clothing that work together to regulate your body temperature. The three primary layers include a base layer, an insulation layer, and an outer shell layer.
“The key is to wear layers so that when you get hot, you can remove clothes; when you get cold, you can add them.” -Bear Grylls
Stay Warm and Dry in Any Weather
The first layer you should wear is a moisture-wicking base layer. This layer wicks sweat and moisture away from your body, keeping you dry even as you sweat. A base layer made of merino wool or synthetic materials like polyester would be ideal for this purpose.
The second layer is an insulating layer that traps air close to your body. The trapped air acts as an insulator and keeps you warm. The insulation layer could be a mid-layer sweater or jacket made of fleece or down feathers. Make sure to choose an insulation layer that provides enough warmth but isn’t too bulky or heavy.
The outermost layer is the waterproof and windproof shell layer. This layer protects you from the elements, such as snow, rain, wind, etc. It should also have good breathability, allowing sweat and moisture to escape. Look for jackets and pants with sealed seams, vents, and adjustable cuffs and hoods. Gore-Tex, eVent, and Dermizax are some examples of high-quality membranes used in snowboarding jackets and pants.
Maximize Comfort and Mobility
When you’re layering for snowboarding, comfort and mobility are just as important as warmth and dryness. You don’t want to wear clothing that restricts your movements or makes it hard to bend down or reach out for something. Properly layered clothes should feel comfortable and allow freedom of movement.
The base layer should be snug but not too tight so that it doesn’t impede blood flow or cause chaffing. The mid-layer should provide enough insulation without too much bulkiness. And the outer shell layer should fit comfortably over the mid-layer and have adjustable features like cuffs, hoods, and waistbands that give you a customized fit.
“Skiing is a dance, and the mountain always leads.” -Anonymous
Reduce Weight and Bulk
If you’re taking multiple layers of clothing with you while you go snowboarding, you need to consider their weight and bulk. Wearing heavy and bulky clothing will only weigh you down and affect your performance.
You can reduce weight and bulk by choosing lightweight base layers made from breathable materials like merino wool or synthetic fabrics like polyester. An insulating layer that uses advanced technologies like high-loft, low-bulk thermal insulation could also help save space and weight. Additionally, pick an outermost layer that’s both waterproof and windproof but isn’t excessively thick or heavy.
Customize Your Clothing System to Your Activity
Your snowboarding activity level and weather conditions might vary, which requires a different approach to layering your clothing system. For instance, if you’re going to do some high-intensity snowboarding in warm weather, you might opt for a lighter-weight base layer and a thinner insulation layer. However, if you’re snowboarding in cold weather or for an extended period, you might need to add more layers of warmth and protection.
The key is to pay attention to your body’s needs, the climate conditions, and the type of snowboarding activity you’re engaging in and adjust your clothing system accordingly.
“Snowboarding teaches you to trust yourself – but it also teaches you respect.” -Shaun White
Choose the Right Base Layer
If you want to stay comfortable and warm on the slopes, it’s important to prioritize your layering strategy. An effective way to achieve this is by selecting the right base layer for snowboarding. Here are two things you should know:
Wicking Fabrics for Moisture Management
The first thing you need to consider when choosing a base layer for snowboarding is the fabric used. The best option is wicking fabrics because they can efficiently manage moisture. Wicking fabrics work by pulling sweat away from your skin towards the outer layers of clothing where it evaporates easily or gets absorbed by the next layer (mid-layer). In terms of material, synthetic fibers such as polyester and nylon perform better than natural options like wool and cotton.
Another advantage of using wicking fabrics is that they dry out quickly after getting wet. This means you won’t have to deal with damp clothes while on the mountain which could lower your body temperature and cause discomfort due to chills.
“The main job of a base layer is to keep you dry by moving sweat and other moisture away from your skin.” – REI
Tight Fit for Efficient Insulation
A tight fit in the base layer is also crucial because it allows efficient insulation by trapping warm air between your skin and the fabric. With less space between your skin and the clothing, heat generated by your body stays closer to you. This helps maintain optimal warmth even in cold weather conditions.
In addition, well-fitted base layers won’t bunch up in certain areas like the armpits which could contribute to reduced mobility and cause discomfort in some regions of your body.
“A proper fitting baselayer will hug your body like a second skin and insulate without being bulky” – The Board Basement
Choosing the right base layer for snowboarding is critical. Opt for wicking fabrics for moisture management and a tight fit to achieve efficient insulation.
Consider the Mid-Layer Options
Layering is crucial for snowboarding, especially in cold weather conditions. The purpose of layering clothing is to trap air between the layers and keep you warm while also allowing for breathability and mobility.
Insulating Layers for Warmth
An insulating mid-layer serves as your main source of warmth. This layer should be made of materials such as down, synthetic fibers or fleece. Down jackets offer excellent warmth-to-weight ratio and are perfect for dry, cold days. Synthetic fibers are great for wet weather as they retain their insulation even if they get wet.
Synthetic fleece can provide substantial heat but might lack a compact design that other options allow. These pieces work alone or as part of an integrated modular system. A reliable investment!
“Polyester-based fleeces have several positive attributes that lend themselves well to make utilitarian outdoor wear — namely they avoid water absorption and hold virtually no moisture” – Jeffrey Howard, Darn Tough Vermont Socks
You could opt for a heavier option for colder climates or something lighter for more mild temperatures. If unsure, with versatile mid-layers like Patagonia’s R1 Fleece Pullover, it’s easy to adapt plenty. This jacket offers breathable properties, added sun protection and will wick away perspiration too!
Softshells for Breathability and Mobility
On days where you require more manoeuvrability and breathability than insulation values, Softshell fabrics present ideal choices. Perfect as stand-alone layers on temperate days or paired with heaver insulation on cooler ones, these lightweight fabrics withstand harsh winds without impeding movement.
The North Face presents its Apex line – featuring WindWall™ technology which creates a barrier against the harsher conditions. Even if snow is coming thick and fast, this breathable jacket will help to keep sweat at bay without resulting in temporary stops.
“Soft shell jackets are sort of the Goldilocks solution between winter insulation and summer breathability” – Alastair Humphreys
Snowboarders on several layers can benefit from softshells’ lightweight fit. They offer that extra layer of security for going down icy slopes or navigating dense terrain. Plus, they provide flexible protection while you focus on gaining ground!
- If you require primary warmth – consider investing in an insulated mid-layer like Down
- For daylong wear choose highly adaptable fleeces·
- An ideal Softshell will add wind blocking technology as an added bonus whilst retaining mobility and flexibility ensuring rider precision
Pick the Perfect Outer Layer
When it comes to snowboarding, layering is key. But picking the right outer layer can make all the difference in staying dry, warm and comfortable while hitting the slopes. Here’s how to choose the perfect outer layer based on your needs:
Hardshells for Waterproof Protection
If you’ll be spending a lot of time in wet conditions or deep powder, hardshell jackets are the way to go. Made from durable and waterproof materials like Gore-Tex, hardshells offer maximum protection against the elements. These jackets are also great for layering because they’re often more lightweight than insulated options.
When picking a hardshell jacket, look for features like taped seams, adjustable cuffs and hoods, and reinforced zippers. These details will help ensure that no moisture sneaks in during your ride.
“Gore-Tex is the standard for breathable and waterproof outdoor gear.” – Forbes
Insulated Jackets for Extreme Cold
If you’re planning to hit the mountain during sub-zero temperatures, an insulated jacket is a must-have. These types of jackets contain layers of synthetic material or down to trap heat inside and keep you warm, even in extreme cold.
In addition to warmth, insulated jackets offer excellent breathability, ensuring that you won’t get too sweaty as you begin to heat up during your run. Just be sure to pair with base and mid-layer clothing appropriate for those frigid temps!
“Down insulation continues to insulate well over a wide range of temperatures and has great ability to loft (i.e., fill back out) after being compressed”— REI Co-op Journal
Windbreakers for Light Protection
For riders who are looking for a little extra protection against the wind and lighter precipitation, windbreakers offer an ideal lightweight option.
These jackets are typically made of breathable materials and designed to keep you warm without causing overheating or limiting mobility.
“Although not fully waterproof like hardshells, they are wind-resistant and can withstand light snow. And unlike heavy-duty winter coats, windbreakers tend to be more versatile.” – Snowboarding Profiles
There is no definitive answer when it comes to the “perfect” outer layer for every snowboarder – it all depends on your individual needs, the conditions, and personal preferences. This is why having multiple options in your closet for various weather was great advice from shred philosopher Eric Bergeri.
- Hard shell jackets- Waterproof with taped seems
- Insulated jackets- Great for extreme cold condition
- Windbreakers- Great for light protection such as wind and occasional snowfall
No matter what type of jacket you choose, make sure that it fits well and allows room for layers underneath. Also, don’t forget about other elements of your outfit (like pants, hats, gloves etc.). Layering properly will not only help you regulate body temperature and stay dry out in the snow, but also keep you comfortable and performing at your best!
Accessories to Complete Your Layering
Hats and Gloves for Head and Hand Protection:
To keep your head warm, it’s important to wear a hat that can cover your ears. A beanie is the most common option but make sure to choose one that has a lining or insulation to keep you comfortable in colder conditions. You can also opt for helmets with ear protectors if you want more protection while snowboarding.
Your hands are equally important as they’re often exposed while holding onto your board or adjusting bindings. So, invest in high-quality gloves made of waterproof materials that will keep your hands dry and warm throughout the day. It’s best to avoid cotton gloves as they absorb moisture which will leave your hands cold.
“Invest in a pair of mittens specifically designed for skiing or snowboarding and look for designs with Gore-Tex inserts to ensure your fingers stay dry.” – Forbes
Scarves and Neck Gaiters for Extra Warmth:
If you get cold easily or expect harsh weather, consider adding a scarf or neck gaiter to your layering system. They keep your neck covered, help trap heat, and prevent wind from reaching your skin.
Alongside a scarf, balaclavas or face masks are another useful accessory to keep the lower half of your face protected from freezing temperatures and harsh winds. This helps prevent chapped lips, nosebleeds, and cracked skin due to cold weather exposure.
“Wool buffs around your face tend not to freeze; synthetics do better at wicking away sweat and moisture.” – OutsideOnline
Don’t Forget About Breathability and Waterproofing
If you’re a snowboarder looking to layer up for your next trip, it’s essential that you keep two crucial factors in mind: breathability and waterproofing. When combined correctly, these features will ensure that you stay dry, warm, and comfortable throughout your time on the slopes.
Choose Breathable Fabrics for Comfort
Snowboarding is an energetic activity that can quickly cause overheating, so breathable fabrics are incredibly important. Sweating excessively can lead to chills and discomfort from trapped moisture, so it’s vital to wear layers that allow airflow to move between them seamlessly. This airflow helps to wick away sweat and prevent condensation buildup inside your clothes.
Cotton should be avoided entirely as it retains moisture and loses all insulation properties when wet. Instead, opt for synthetic fibers such as polyester, nylon, or polypropylene, which have excellent moisture-wicking qualities. Merino wool is another good option as it has natural antimicrobial properties that help eliminate odor. It’s also able to regulate temperature better than any other fabric, keeping you warm without being stifling.
Pick Waterproof Layers for Wet Conditions
Snowboarding usually involves plenty of snow, and being constantly wet makes the experience profoundly uncomfortable. As some snowfalls start turning into rain, it’s critical to make waterproof gear your priority during purchase decisions. Snowboarding jackets and pants must feature a waterproof shell material rated based on how many millimeters of water it can withstand (10,000 mm and above ward off light rain and moderate snow). Still, the level of impermeability increases exponentially with more exceptional materials such as gore-tex.
It may sound counterintuitive, but too much clothing can often work against you, especially if it’s heavy or made of unsuitable material. If your layers are too thick to allow moisture to escape, they will cause sweat buildup in colder seasons and quick chill down equally for the reverse situation when the atmosphere is warm enough not to need them.
“Breathability is often just as important as insulation.” -The Clymb
When done right, proper layering practically allows you to regulate body temperature with ease by combining several lighter-weight garments designed explicitly for snowboarding into a super-efficient system that helps maintain peak performance while keeping you dry and comfy. Keeping breathability and waterproofing in mind will ensure that you have an enjoyable experience on the slopes without worrying about how uncomfortable you feel from being overloaded with gear.
Frequently Asked Questions
What base layer should I wear for snowboarding?
When choosing a base layer for snowboarding, go for a material that is moisture-wicking and breathable, such as merino wool or synthetic fabrics. Avoid cotton as it will absorb moisture and leave you feeling cold and wet. Look for a snug fit to keep you warm and comfortable, but not too tight that it restricts movement. Consider the temperature and weather conditions of your snowboarding location to determine the thickness of your base layer.
Should I wear a mid-layer when snowboarding?
Yes, wearing a mid-layer when snowboarding is recommended as it provides extra warmth and insulation. Look for a mid-layer made of fleece or wool that is breathable and moisture-wicking. Avoid bulky mid-layers as they can restrict movement and make you feel uncomfortable. Consider the temperature and weather conditions of your snowboarding location to determine the thickness of your mid-layer.
What type of outer layer is best for snowboarding?
The best type of outer layer for snowboarding is a waterproof and breathable jacket and pants. Look for materials such as Gore-Tex or other waterproof membranes. Choose a jacket with a powder skirt and adjustable cuffs to keep snow out. Consider the temperature and weather conditions of your snowboarding location to determine the thickness and insulation of your outer layer. Look for features such as vents to regulate temperature and multiple pockets for storage.
How many layers should I wear when snowboarding?
The number of layers you should wear when snowboarding depends on the temperature and weather conditions of your location. Generally, a base layer, mid-layer, and outer layer are recommended. However, if it is very cold, you may want to add an extra layer or two. It is important to avoid wearing too many layers as it can restrict movement and make you feel uncomfortable. Choose layers that are breathable and moisture-wicking to keep you warm and dry.
Can I wear the same layers for snowboarding and skiing?
Yes, you can wear the same layers for snowboarding and skiing as they require similar types of clothing. However, it is important to consider the specific movements and motions involved in each sport and choose layers that allow for optimal performance and comfort. For example, snowboarders may want to choose pants with a looser fit while skiers may prefer a tighter fit. Consider the temperature and weather conditions of your location to determine the appropriate layers for your activity.