Snowboarding: the younger, arguably cooler sibling of skiing. For over 50 years, it’s been the activity of choice for the mountain’s more laid-back visitors and inhabitants, fusing the chilled-out, anti-establishment culture of skateboarding and surfing with the mountain lifestyle of winter sports.
This is a sport that by definition must be done in extreme environments. You don’t have to be venturing into the backcountry or dropping out of a helicopter for things to get extremely chilly and wet. Even a patrolled resort with freshly groomed pistes can be brutally cold in poor conditions, which is why it’s vital to have the right kit.
Waterproof jackets and trousers, mid layers, gloves, hats and goggles are all essential wear for beginners and seasoned pros alike. So, whether you’re busy putting a shopping list together for your first snowboarding trip, or just looking to upgrade your old kit for next season, these are the best snowboarding brands for Gore-Tex outerwear, thermal base layers and everything in between.
Best For: Everything
Founded in 1977, Burton is the biggest, best-known and most respected snowboard name there is. One of the sport’s first dedicated brands, Burton started out making boards but quickly expanded its offering to include everything from boots and bindings to clothing.
The company has also sponsored some of the best athletes the sport has ever seen, including half-pipe legend Shaun White, who Burton first signed at the age of seven.
Best For: Jackets & Pants
Californian brand Volcom caters for the whole spectrum of boardsports, from skateboarding to surfing, but its snowboard gear in particular has a reputation for being some of the best in the game.
Known for its bright colours and quirky designs, Volcom’s outerwear blends high performance with eye-catching looks and incorporates all sorts of cool tech, like the Zip–Tech system, which allows many of its jackets and pants to be zipped together for maximum protection.
Best For: High-Performance Outerwear
Arc’teryx has a well-earned reputation as one of the best outdoor brands in the world, famous for its high quality, attention to detail and innovation. Speak to anyone who spends any amount of time doing extreme things in extreme places, and chances are all of them will own some of this high-performance kit.
While historically a climbing and mountaineering brand, Arc’teryx’s range also caters for alpine sports, including skiing and snowboarding. Expect top-drawer Gore-Tex Pro jackets and pants, with the price tags to match.
Best For: Jackets, Pants & Mid-Layers
In snowboarding circles, Iceland is probably best known as the home of Halldór Helgason, one of the sport’s most creative, innovative and rambunctious personalities. It’s also the home of 66° North, a high-performance outdoor label with more than a century of experience creating kit to combat some of the harshest conditions on Earth.
The brand has a tightly curated range of multipurpose shells and mid-layers, designed to perform for everything from skiing to backcountry snowboarding to mountaineering, and built to take a serious beating. Take the Hornstrandir jacket for example: a premium Gore-Tex Pro shell, featuring cleverly placed stretch panelling, that could happily go toe to toe with Arc’teryx’s iconic Alpha SV when it comes to extreme-weather performance.
Burton AG (Analog)
Best For: Statement Gear
This Burton sub-brand launched in the late 90s as an offshoot to produce simple pieces like T-shirts, hoodies and sweats. Since then, it has grown into a snowboarding brand in its own right, with a strong visual language and some of the best outerwear around.
The designs take their aesthetic cues from the decade in which the brand was born, but the garments are anything but old fashioned in terms of technical details and performance.
Burton AK (Alaska)
Best For: High-End Gear
AK, short for Alaska, is Burton’s high-end line, dedicated to creating cutting-edge performance gear for snowboarders using the latest materials and technology. The range is designed in conjunction with Gore, making use of Gore-Tex fabrics to craft the most resilient, weatherproof and breathable garments possible.
The fit of the jackets and pants is tailored around snowboarders’ needs, with articulated joints, elongated hems and pre-shaped knees for on-board ergonomics.
Best For: Boots
Founded in 1995, ThrityTwo is a key brand at the forefront of the snowboard-boot market. ThirtyTwo’s boots are known for being some of the best in the game, with a dedicated research team looking into every aspect of board/rider dynamics and interaction in order to create the best possible interface between the two.
There’s also a complete range of kit, from hoodies and tees to jackets and pants, all featuring bold branding and oversized, park-friendly fits.
Best For: Goggles & Glasses
Regardless of the sport, if there’s eyewear involved, chances are Oakley has the lion’s share of the market. Snowboarding is no different, but not only does the American brand produce some of the best goggles in the game, it also has a whole range of stylish snowboarding apparel, including waterproof jackets and pants, and is endorsed by top pro riders like Stale Sandbech, Jamie Anderson and Scotty James.
Picture Organic Clothing
Best For: Eco-Friendly Outerwear
Born in the French Alps, Picture Organic Clothing is a snowboard brand built around sustainable practises. Everything the brand does, from shipping (sea only) to the fabrics (made from recycled materials and natural fibres) is done with the environment in mind.
Picture’s top-of-the-range Object jacket, for example, is made using bio-sourced hardshell material while still offering the absolute pinnacle of technical performance.
Best For: Explorers
Founded by backcountry legend and eco warrior Jeremy Jones, this freeride-focused snowboard brand specialises in gear for splitboarding, powder hunting and generally getting off the beaten track.
The brand is known for its snowboards, but also makes everything from jackets to pants and bibs, all designed with off-piste adventures in mind.