10 of the best backcountry ski jackets

Tough, light and super-breathable. Here’ s the best men’s and women’s jackets for getting you hike on.

Arcteryx-Lithic-Comp-Jacket-Green-BoaMENS

1. ARC’TERYX
LITHIC COMP JACKET
£340

This might be one of the cleverest jackets we’ve ever reviewed. Arc’teryx have used their own fabric, Trusaro, in back and underarm panels. As you ascend, it releases heat and moisture, but when you rest, it retains warmth and dries quickly. Elsewhere, Gore fabric panels are used to keep harsh winds and snowstorms out, whilst still maintaining breathability. Cooling can be aided further by opening the mesh backing of the hand pockets, allowing air to flow across the chest. 

armarda_Balfour_Bronze_High2. ARMADA
BALFOUR GORE-TEX PRO JACKET
£500

With its weatherproof but breathable technology, Gore-Tex Pro has become the material of choice for backcountry manufacturers and it’s no surprise that Armada has used it in its top-of-the-range Balfour. Armada has backed it up with some equally impressive features, including Gore-Seam seals, a reactive hood system, water-repellent zippers and mesh-lined pit zips. 

C71120_6369_randonnee_jkt 00023. MARMOT
RANDONEE JACKET
£450

You can always rely on Marmot to perform with their backcountry garb, and this is no exception; weighing in at less than 660g, it offers lightweight, very breathable protection courtesy of Gore-Tex 3-layer stretch fabric, along with a helmet-compatible hood and integrated collar. Tricky ascents are aided by angel wing movement, which allows a full range of movement in the arms, while the zip-in gasket means you can integrate them with the matching pants for the ultimate touring set-up. 

Mountain Hardwear Seraction4. MOUNTAIN HARDWEAR 
SERACTION JACKET
£400

Mountain Hardwear collaborated with top alpinist Tim Emmet to design this elite jacket, and it shows. It’s packed with touring-friendly features, including a Pocket DrainPort system for wet gloves, single-pull adjusting hood, and two super-light vents for comfort. Stretch side panels and underarms give a customised fit for ultimate mobility and Dry.Q Elite provides breathability from the offset.

TNF FREETHINKER JACKET_FOREST NIGHT GREEN5. THE NORTH FACE
FREE THINKER JACKET
£450

Built for backcountry antics from Antarctica to Alaska, it’s unbeatably waterproof, windproof, breathable and durable and is complemented by every other feature The North Face could think of. 

 

HAGLOFSRando Jacket ASJacketWOMENS

6. HAGLÖFS 
RANDO AS JACKET
£400

The clever thing about the Rando is that it works on the up and the down, shedding heat on those sweat-inducing climbs, while retaining it on blustery descents. Gore-Tex 3L Active allows for breathable waterproofing, and is backed up by reinforced DWR treated shoulders for extra protection. Ventilation is aided by durable and laminated pit zips and articulated sleeves increase mobility. 

C75570_6206_a-w_catapult_jkt 00097. MARMOT 
CATAPULT JACKET
£420

Light, breathable and tough. It seems this is the mantra Marmot stuck to when designing the Catapult. Durable, weatherproof but ever so breathable Gore-Tex 3L stretch is the membrane of choice. Mobility is another feature Marmot haven’t skimped on; they’ve used the ski-mountaineer-friendly ‘angel wing movement’ technology so that your jacket won’t ride up when you stretch your arms. Mesh goggle pockets, water-resistant zippers and a helmet-compatible hood complete the jacket.

Noronna8. NORRONA 
LOFOTEN JACKET
£499
Norrona have nailed it with the Lofoten jacket. Its removable powder skirt has a silicon grip to stop it shifting, while its helmet-compatible storm hood has a wired brim for extra protection. Plus there are sealed seams and underarm ventilation for those long climbs. 

SALOMON_SOULQUEST_BC_DOWN_JACKET_W_little_violette9. SALOMON
SOULQUEST BC DOWN JACKET

£350

This jacket is made with down for natural warmth on chilly days and uses Smartskin construction to keep the right insulation in each zone. It is harness- and backpack-compatible, and Motion Fit technology allows the whole jacket to move with you. 

SCOTT Explorair Jacket10. SCOTT 
EXPLORAIR NG JACKET
£400

Scott’s toughest jacket for the toughest backcountry exploits. Made with 3-layer Gore-Tex Pro, it is super durable. Features include pack-friendly seamless shoulders, water-resistant zippers, venting and pockets in all the right places, and a riveted cord lock for easy one-hand adjustment on the hem and hood. 

Fall-Line Skiing Magazine
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