Best Budget Ski Jackets of 2023-2024

A ski jacket is one of the most expensive pieces of gear. The Arc’teryx Macai, for example, is pushing $1000. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get a good ski jacket for a reasonable price. If you’re a resort skier looking for a warm and well-constructed jacket, you can still get a waterproof and well-constructed jacket for a very reasonable price. Most budget skiers prefer the all-in-one functionality of a 3-in-1 jacket, which includes an insulating layer that zips into the shell.

The following is a list of the best budget ski jackets that will keep the snow off and will keep you dry all day long.

1. REI Co-op Powderbound Insulated

REI Co-op Powderbound Insulated
Type: Insulated
Insulation: 80g & 60g polyester
Waterproofing: 2-Layer Peak
Best use: Resort

REI Co-op Powderbound is a decent all-rounder ski jacket at an attractive price. It is an average performer with a good set of features that will get the job done for most budget-conscious skiers. Even though the jacket is labeled as “insulated”, it isn’t as warm as other insulated jackets and needs insulating mid-layers underneath. However, the shell of the jacket performs decently and keeps the elements out. The material of the shell is reasonably effective at keeping out water. The hood also completely covers a helmeted head. The jacket has some functional pockets and vents, but they could be improved.

The jacket has a boxy and uncontoured fit, which means there is extra fabric around the body. This extra fabric can make you feel uncomfortable. The interior lining is soft and feels great against the skin. Two large and useful handwarmer pockets are lined with fleece. You also get a left-sleeve pass pocket. There’s also an external zippered chest pocket, which has a horizontal opening. The jacket also comes with a built-in powder skirt that you can use to seal out snow completely. When it comes to ventilation, this jacket does have armpit vents but they aren’t very long. This results in poor ventilation.

What I like: Bargain price, reasonable weather resistance

What I don’t: Not warm enough and requires a mid-layer, poor ventilation

See the REI Co-op Powderbound See the Women’s Powderbound

2. Helly Hansen Alpha LifaLoft

Helly Hansen Alpha LifaLoft
Type: Hardshell
Insulation: 80g LifaLoft
Waterproofing: Helly Tech Professional
Best use: Resort

Helly Hansen Alpha LifaLoft offers two separate layers of insulation that will keep you well-protected out on the mountain. The outer fabric is designed with Helly Tech professional fabric technology which is waterproof and breathable. The jacket also features fully taped seams for all-day comfort and performance. When the temperature drops, the LifaLoft 80g insulation will be sure to keep you warm while still remaining lightweight. Also, if you work up a sweat and need to cool down, this jacket has underarm pit zips for ventilation. In terms of flexibility, the Alpha LifaLoft jacket is designed with four-way stretch fabric and articulated sleeves to give you unrestricted movement out on the slopes.

To protect you from the elements, this jacket comes equipped with a removable and adjustable helmet-compatible hood, thumb-hole wrist gaiters, adjustable Velcro cuffs, a powder skirt, and a drawcord at the hem to help block out snow from getting inside. For added safety, this jacket comes with the RECCO Avalanche Rescue System, which allows you to be searchable in the event of an avalanche or emergency. For pockets, there are two zippered waist pockets, two chest pockets, and a pass pocket on a sleeve. On the inside, the Life Pocket uses Aerogel Insulation to protect your phone from the cold while a larger mesh pocket is ideal for items like your goggles.

What I like: Good performance for the price.

What I don’t: Snug fit isn’t for everyone.

See Helly Hansen Alpha LifaLoft

3. Columbia Bugaboo II Interchange

Columbia Bugaboo II Interchange
Type: 3-in-1
Insulation: Omni-Heat reflective lining
Waterproofing: 2-Layer Omni-Tech
Best use: Resort

Bugaboo has been in Columbia’s line for quite some time. This jacket has recently been updated to be much warmer than the previous version. The inner fleece now has Omni-Heat reflective material, making this a much warmer jacket without adding any weight, and it’s a little lighter than before. Another great feature is that the outer fabric has been upgraded to an Omni-Tech breathable membrane. These jackets were very warm years ago, but every time you sweated stayed inside. When you sweat, it now breathes well and keeps you nice and warm inside the jacket.

Because it’s an interchangeable jacket, you get a lot of versatility. Everything zips apart, and this can be worn as an outer or inner jacket separately. The inner jacket is made of a soft fleece material that is perfect for layering over a t-shirt. It has great hand pockets that zip shut so you don’t lose anything, as well as a small keyring holder. There’s a removable hood on the back, so if you’re skiing with a helmet, you don’t need it, but if you’re using it as an around-town jacket, you can always flip the hood up if it starts to rain.

What I like: Provides good value for money, affordable 3-in-1 option

What I don’t: Generic fit, cheap construction

See the Columbia Bugaboo II See the Women’s Bugaboo II

4. CAMEL CROWN Mountain Snow

CAMEL CROWN Mountain Snow
Type: 3-in-1
Insulation: 240g
Waterproofing: Yes (10000mm)
Best use: Backcountry & Resort

Mountain Snow is a waterproof and cheap ski jacket that is made of 100% polyester. It keeps you warm and has several pockets. The inside of the jacket that touches your skin is made of fleece material and it is very comfortable. This part would get wet, but the rest of it is waterproof. There is a detachable hood, so you can remove it if necessary. It’s ideal for wearing underneath a snowboard or skiing helmet. Because the pockets are so large, you can store the hood in any of them when not in use. The jacket is also windproof and the cuffs are elastic with stretchable thumb holes.

Ski jackets are usually too hot and uncomfortable to drive in. They’re too big and difficult to move in. But this jacket is extremely well thought out and you’ll be excited to wear it. The jacket has all of the essential features, such as a hand warmer with a hole for your thumb, a brim on the hood to keep it from getting in your eyes, and it is completely water-tight. The fit of the jacket is very ergonomic and it is well-insulated. It uses 240g of lightweight warm cotton insulation that locks the body heat effectively.

What I like: Warm, comfortable, durable, fuzzy lining makes the best heat retention.

What I don’t: The double zipper is hard to use.

See the CAMEL CROWN Mountain Snow

5. Outdoor Research Carbide

Outdoor Research Carbide
Type: Shell
Insulation: None
Waterproofing: 3-Layer Pertex Shield
Best use: Backcountry

Outdoor Research is known for making some budget-friendly outerwear and the Carbide jacket is one of them. This particular jacket features a 3-layer Pertex Shield waterproof membrane. This membrane is stretchy and offers versatile protection for backcountry skiing. The seams are fully taped and do a good job of sealing out snow. The jacket is very lightweight weighing around just 1.3 pounds. This lightweight construction also makes it a good option for minimalist backcountry-goers. Despite the lightweight design, the Carbide jacket still offers all the essential ski-specific features like pit zips, a powder skirt, a ski pass pocket, and a smooth-running two-way front zip.

The Carbide jacket is designed for both resort and backcountry skiing. However, it is hard to recommend as a dedicated resort jacket due to its thin shell. It is a 40D shell and it does have a ripstop pattern built into it. The shell is not tough enough to withstand day-long exposure and the rigors of inbounds use. Furthermore, the jacket doesn’t have insulation built into it. You do have to wear an insulating mid-layer underneath to stay warm. The jacket provides plenty of room underneath and you can even wear your down jacket underneath.

What I like: Inexpensive 3-layer option, breathable shell

What I don’t: Thin shell, no built-in insulation

See the Outdoor Research Carbide See the Women’s Carbide

6. Outdoor Research Snowcrew

Outdoor Research Snowcrew
Type: Insulated
Insulation: 60g and 80g synthetic
Waterproofing: 2-Layer Ventia
Best use: Downhill skiing

This is a feature-rich ski and snowboard jacket with stretch weatherproof fabric and synthetic insulation. The jacket’s shell is waterproof and windproof and breathable fabric giving you excellent performance when skiing or snowboarding. The material has stretch properties providing comfort and freedom of movement. The hood is an example of attention to detail. It is helmet-compatible but the wire brim allows you to fine-tune the fit whether or not you’re wearing a helmet. There are plenty of pockets including one on the arm for ski passes, an insulated pocket to preserve the battery life of electronics, an interior pocket with a media port, and more. The adjustable cuffs have internal gaiters, the hem is drawcord adjusted, and there’s an internal powder skirt. The jacket has a standard fit to allow performance layers underneath.

VerticalX ECO insulation in this jacket is body-mapped putting warmth where it’s needed. For example, there is 80g of insulation in the torso of the jacket to keep your core warm. The sleeves and the hood on the other hand contain 60g of insulation providing warmth without bulk. VerticalX ECO has temperature-regulating properties. It manages moisture to keep you warm when you need it while reducing the chance of overheating. In addition to this adaptive insulation, underarm zippers provide excellent venting opportunities. This synthetic insulation retains the ability to insulate when it’s damp something that skiers will appreciate.

What I like: Great fit, looks good, well-insulated, plenty of technical features

What I don’t: Zippers are difficult to use, not very budget-friendly

See the Outdoor Research Snowcrew See the Women’s Snowcrew

7. Trew Gear Jefferson

Trew Gear Jefferson
Type: Shell
Insulation: None
Waterproofing: 2-Layer PNW
Best use: Resort

Trew Gear is an Oregon-based brand that makes mid- and high-range jackets for resort and backcountry skiing. The design of the jacket is clean and simple, and the jacket is well-built and stylish. The look and feel of the jacket often remind me of Gore-Tex. The jacket is also very durable and waterproof, and it performs really well in most situations. It is a shell jacket so it doesn’t have built-in insulation. The jackets perform well in all kinds of weather thanks to their lengthy cuts and robust shells. You need an insulating mid-layer underneath. The shell of the jacket is a 2-layer PNW, which is durable and waterproof.

The men’s Jefferson and women’s Astoria both come in tri-color layouts. However, the men’s Jefferson comes in a few solid colors as well. The Jefferson jacket has a smooth lining, which makes it impressively comfortable. The jacket also has essential snow-specific features like pit zips and interior and exterior pockets. One of the downsides of this jacket is its weight. It is pretty heavy for a shell jacket that doesn’t have built-in insulation. Therefore, I wouldn’t advise taking it on any lengthy sidecountry adventure. The Jefferson, on the other hand, merits your attention if you intend to remain within the ropes and want a well-organized, durable shell.

What I like: Good coverage, durable shell, a solid set of useful features

What I don’t: Heavy for a shell jacket.

See the Trew Gear Jefferson

8. Patagonia Powder Town

Patagonia Insulated Powder Town
Type: Hardshell
Insulation: 80g Thermogreen
Waterproofing: H2No
Best use: Resort

The Powder Town is a super comfy piece from Patagonia. It offers a medium amount of insulation with a quilted look inside. The insulation is around 80g in the core and 40g in the sleeves. It feels like an insulated jacket for sure but it doesn’t feel like a sauna in here. This amount of insulation makes a great option for mid-winter days and storm days. You get built-in insulation but you can always increase it with a baselayer or a mid-layer underneath. The outer fabric feels soft but it’s not a Gore-Tex piece. Patagonia is using their proprietary H2No fabric and it doesn’t have any sort of rigidity to it. It feels really comfortable and nice to move around.

In terms of features, Patagonia Powder Town has a very streamlined design. You get a pass pocket on your sleeve, you get a chest pocket for your valuables, two mandatory side pockets with fleece lining, and one interior pocket. For storm skiing days, you also get a hood with an elastic drawcord to match your helmet. The hood is also insulated! Also, the jacket features a powder skirt for those deep days. If you mostly ski in the resorts and you don’t to deal with a bunch of layers but you also don’t want a sauna like a jacket, Powder Town is a great option for you.

What I like: A great value option from a bigger brand.

What I don’t: No insulation on the collar, runs a little large

See Patagonia Powder Town

9. REI Co-op First Chair GTX

REI Co-op First Chair GTX
Type: Shell
Insulation: None
Waterproofing: 2-Layer Gore-Tex
Best use: Resort

The First Chair is a high-performance shell jacket at a great price. This jacket offers Gore-Tex waterproofing, a soft-touch interior, and useful snow-specific features like a powder skirt, pit zips, and seven well-distributed pockets. The front zipper is waterproof and keeps water out. The shell of the jacket is a 2-layer Gore-Tex fabric that keeps the wind out helping you stay warm. However, warmth is not a standout feature of this jacket. Instead, it is designed to offer all of the characteristics of a winter jacket. You are supposed to wear an insulating layer underneath to match the temperature in the mountains.

The primary function of this shell is to keep the weather out, and Gore-Tex excels at this task. In addition to waterproofing, the shell is breathable as well. The shell also has a DWR coating to bead water off the exterior shell fabric. This DWR coating is slightly more durable compared to other brands. You also get a thin liner that hangs from the shell fabric’s side. The jacket has a large hood, a long hem, and long sleeves, so it will provide complete coverage through a variety of athletic body movements. There is a storm flap on the zippered pocket and the front zipper is waterproof as well.

What I like: Most affordable Gore-Tex shell, good ventilation, plenty of features

What I don’t: Cuffs are a little oversized

See the REI Co-op First Chair See the Women’s First Chair

10. Columbia Last Tracks

Columbia Last Tracks
Type: Hardshell
Insulation: 80g synthetic
Waterproofing: Omni-Tech
Best use: Resort

Columbia Last Tracks is a budget ski jacket with a great classic style, specifications, and features that will make it your go-to winter jacket. The jacket is made of waterproof material and has 80-gram synthetic insulation. On the inside, you’ll find an Omni-Heat reflective liner. This exclusive technology provides excellent waterproof protection, keeping Mother Nature’s elements out while allowing the inside to breathe. It will keep you dry and wick away any moisture, keeping you comfortable and dry. This jacket is also critically seam-sealed, which prevents moisture from entering the jacket through manufacturing seams.

Adjustable cuffs, a snap-back snow skirt, and a removable storm hood keep the powder at bay. Because of the jacket’s sleek design and lack of bulk, it can be worn for both skiing and everyday winter use. This jacket does not have pit zips, so it cannot be stripped down for spring skiing or warmer days. Furthermore, Columbia’s proprietary waterproofing technology falls short of Gore-Tex standards, and you shouldn’t expect Patagonia or Arc’teryx build quality. Overall, the Last Tracks is a great option for those just getting into skiing and who don’t want to spend a lot of money on a jacket.

What I like: Great value, warm, plenty of features, and an affordable way to get out on the slopes

What I don’t: No pit zips

See the Columbia Last Tracks See the Women’s Last Tracks

11. Eddie Bauer Sandstone Shield

Eddie Bauer Sandstone Shield
Type: Hybrid hard/softshell
Insulation: None
Waterproofing: StromRepel DWR finish
Best use: Backcountry

The Eddie Bauer Men’s Sandstone Shield jacket is lightweight, waterproof, and breathable. It has StromRepel DWR, taped seams, and YKK zippers, and despite all of that functionality, it weighs just over half a pound. The shell of the jacket repels water so it doesn’t soak in. There are mesh-backed pockets, so there is no extra layer to obstruct the breathability. The pockets are enormous; you can even fit half your arm inside. Velcro cuffs, an adjustable hem, and a helmet-compatible hood with a single point of adjustment are also included. You also get a fully adjustable helmet-compatible hood. This hood fits great with and without a helmet.

This jacket provides excellent wind protection. When you zip up the collar all the way, it feels like you’re wearing a hoody, and keeps your neck warm. The collar is a good size, and when you zip it up, it doesn’t feel like your jacket is trying to strangle you. In comparison to other Eddie Bauer jackets, this one has a more athletic fit in the body. The 4-way stretch makes it extremely comfortable. Most jackets are too tight on the shoulders and difficult to drive in, but this one is fantastic. Overall this is a good option for beginner skiers.

What I like: Lightweight design, proper collar, true to size

What I don’t: The sleeves run a little larger than normal.

See the Eddie Bauer Sandstone Shield

12. Columbia Cushman Crest

Columbia Cushman Crest
Type: Softshell
Insulation: Omni-Heat
Waterproofing: Omni-Tech
Best use: Downhill skiing

Cushman Crest is a waterproof and breathable jacket made of cutting-edge technology materials. It has synthetic insulation that will keep you warm while also being backed by the quality craftsmanship that Columbia is known for. Columbia’s Omni-Heat is the ultimate body heat management system for outdoor performance. The interior lining has a metallic dot pattern that is intended to retain heat while the breathable fabric dissipates moisture. The jacket keeps you dry and warm thanks to its air-permeable protection waterproof and breathable. The jacket is versatile and can be used for multiple purposes. There are pit zips that you can easily configure for different winter weather conditions.

The Columbia Cushman Crest jacket has a snapback powder skirt, underarm venting, a PU-coated chest pocket, a ski pass pocket, an interior security pocket, a goggle pocket, and zippered hand pockets. There are also adjustable wrist cuffs for a custom fit and a drawcord in the hem to keep heat in. This jacket has a 3-in-1 solution, i.e. a waterproof outer shell and an inner fleece layer that you can wear separately or together for maximum protection. If you’ve already spent a lot of money on boots, bindings, skis, and poles, but still want a high-quality jacket, the Columbia Cushman Crest Insulated Jacket might be a good choice.

What I like: Stylish and sleek design, zippered pockets, offered in a variety of colors

What I don’t: The shell does soak water if exposed to rain for a long time but it does not make the inside damp.

See the Columbia Cushman Crest

Best Budget Ski Jackets: Comparison Table

REI Co-op PowderboundInsulatedPolyester2-Layer PeakResort
Helly Hansen Alpha LifaLoftHardshell80g LifaLoftHelly Tech ProfessionalResort
Columbia Bugaboo II3-in-1Omni-Heat2-Layer Omni-TechResort
CC Mountain Snow3-in-1240gYes (10000mm)Backcountry
Outdoor Research CarbideShellNone3-Layer Pertex ShieldBackcountry
Outdoor Research SnowcrewInsulatedSynthetic2-Layer VentiaDownhill skiing
Trew Gear JeffersonShellNone2-Layer PNWResort
REI Co-op First ChairShellNone2-Layer Gore-TexResort
Patagonia Powder TownHardshell80g ThermogreenH2NoResort
Columbia Last TracksHardshellSyntheticOmni-TechResort
Eddie Bauer Sandstone ShieldHybridNoneStromRepel DWR finishBackcountry
Columbia Cushman CrestSoftshellOmni-HeatOmni-TechDownhill skiing

Critical Ski Jacket Considerations

Critical Ski Jacket Considerations

The following are the key things to consider when looking for the perfect ski jacket at an affordable price.


Softshells are, as the name implies, soft and stretchy. When the weather is milder, they can be great for backcountry or resort skiing because they are breathable, but they are not always fully waterproof, only water-resistant.


Hardshells, on the other hand, are completely watertight. They’re called hard shells because the material isn’t as stretchy as soft shells. They are the best option if you are looking for a dedicated ski jacket. They breathe fairly well, but their primary function is to keep rain and snow out. If you’re going backcountry skiing, hiking, or backpacking, you should bring a hard shell.

Insulated Hardshell

The insulation in an insulated hardshell jacket is built into the jacket itself. It is typically sandwiched between an inner and outer liner material.

Non-Insulated Hardshell

These jackets are more versatile because they are light enough to bring on backcountry trips and can accommodate as many layers as necessary underneath.

Ski Pass Pockets

A Ski Pass Pocket is a small pocket on the arm into which you can slip your RFID ski pass.


RECCO is a small strip that serves as an avalanche beacon. It enables rescuers to quickly locate you if you are buried under snow. This function is integrated into your ski pants or jacket.

Vents or Pit Zips

Look for a jacket with vents or pit zips that you can close when it’s cold or open when you need to dump something.

Powder Skirt

A powder skirt is built into many jackets these days. They usually blend in with your pants, keeping you warmer and dryer.

Helmet-Compatible Hood

You should also look for a jacket that has a helmet-compatible hood. Every ski jacket has a hood, but you should try it on with a ski helmet to make sure you can get the hood up over the helmet.

Wrist Gaiters with Thumbholes

It keeps snow from getting into your gloves and sleeves. It also helps to keep your hands warm and dry.