Buying instructions for ski jackets


05 October 2020

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Types of jackets

When shopping for a ski jacket, find two different types that are available. One is an insulated jacket and the other is a soft shell jacket. The most common question that people have is, "which one should I buy?" The simple answer to this question is that there is no right answer. The reason for this is that each person has a different regulation of body temperature. Some people get very hot a lot and it will cause discomfort to have an insulated jacket. Others, however, are routinely cold, and it only makes sense to have an insulated jacket because a soft shell jacket will leave them even colder. That said, the first step to choosing the jacket that is best for you is by deciding if you are warmer or colder by nature. Once this is determined, you can proceed in the process of choosing your jacket.

Insulated jackets

Construction characteristics of an insulated jacket include an outer layer that is waterproof and windproof, along with an insulated layer that is built directly into the jacket. The insulating inner layer is probably made of fleece, down or a synthetic fabric like Primaloft. Many insulated jackets also contain an extra piece of insulation that can be removed. These types of insulated jackets are sometimes called system jackets or 3-in-1 jackets.

The insulation found in insulated jackets is most often measured in grams. The larger the number in grams, the warmer the jacket becomes. Insulation types can vary as low as 30 grams and go as high as 800 grams, which is most often found with Down material. For people who are colder by nature, an insulated jacket is the most suitable option.

Soft Shell jackets

Soft shell jackets are windproof, waterproof jackets that have no internal insulation and are highly breathable. Now you may be wondering why someone chooses a jacket that does not contain any internal insulation. The reasons for this are several, one of which has already been identified; to be a warmer person by nature. Another reason why one may choose this type of jacket is because they prefer to have added mobility that is not available with an insulated jacket. Since soft shell jackets are usually worn over a base layer and an intermediate layer, soft shell jackets do not have the extra volume of an insulated jacket. This means that you can contain the heat from your body via your base and middle layer, but have added range of motion.

A soft shell jacket can be worn alone on warmer days or layered with bottom and middle layers on colder days. However, a soft shell jacket is probably not the best option for extremely cold temperatures and extended periods outdoors, but the final decision is ultimately up to you. For more information on bottom and middle layers, see our article on the importance of layering.
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