How Should a Snowboard Jacket Fit?

The fit of your snowboard jacket is important for a successful day in the mountains. The function of your jacket is to keep you warm and protect you against the snow. A jacket that doesn’t fit you well is not going to perform these functions. Snowboard jackets come in a variety of fits and sizes. A good rule of thumb is to try your jacket before buying if you don’t know your true size. With the jacket on, you should be able to wear your mid and base layer underneath without feeling restrictive. At the same time, the jacket should not feel too loose.

Below I have discussed the fit of a snowboard jacket in detail. So keep reading.

The Overall Fit

A snowboarder in the mountains wearing a jacket.
A snowboarder wearing a well-fitted jacket in the mountains.

Your snowboard jacket should fit you well, which means it shouldn’t be too tight or too loose. A jacket that’s too tight will restrict your freedom of movement while performing tricks. It also limits the choices of layers that you wear underneath your jacket. Unlike ski jackets that are relatively tight for maximum speed, snowboard jackets are designed to be a little baggy so you can perform tricks easily. They also give you enough room to wear layers underneath. Finally, they also give you enough room that once you get all zipped up and bundled in, you are still going to have enough room to move around properly and maintain mobility on the hill.

A too baggy jacket, on the other hand, is not going to keep you warm. Also, you are not fully protected against the snow, which is important. When performing tricks, there’s a high chance that snow can enter your jacket. A baggy jacket can also be very uncomfortable especially if it has long sleeves. You simply cannot snowboard in this kind of jacket. Furthermore, a loose-fitting jacket is not going to be compatible with your snowboard pants because they attach to each other and better protect you against the snow.


If you’ve got a jacket that is just a shell, it should have enough room so you can have your mid or base layer underneath. Depending on the temperature in the mountains, you can put layers underneath to customize how warm you are going to be for the temperature that day. If you live somewhere colder, you may want to consider a jacket that has some built-in insulation. There are two main types of layers that snowboarders wear underneath; i.e. a base layer and a mid-layer.

A base layer (aka underwear) is the layer that touches your skin. The main function of this layer is to wick moisture efficiently. This next-to-skin layer needs to fit snugly on your body to wick moisture effectively. In warmer conditions, some people will choose a loose fit so that they can enjoy better air circulation and cooling. However, a loose-fitting layer doesn’t wick moisture efficiency. Learn more about choosing a base layer here.

The mid-layer is the layer that actually keeps you warm by trapping your body heat. Most people use a lightweight fleece underneath the shell because it breathes well and dries out faster. It also retains its insulating ability even when damp. Other mid-layer options include down and synthetic jackets. Both have their pros and cons. Learn more about down and synthetic insulation here.


Your sleeves should be long enough to go down and cover down over the top of your mittens or your gloves. Keep in mind that you want some extra length in your sleeves so they don’t rise above the gloves when you bend your arms. The length of the sleeves also depends on the fit of the jacket. Some are longer in more baggy jackets while others are shorter. However, your sleeves running down to the tips of your fingers indicates that the sleeves are a little too long. In that case, you need to size down. One thing I would like to mention is that long sleeves don’t affect performance on the slopes. So, if you don’t care about the looks, you will appreciate that extra length in the sleeves.


You want your snowboard jacket to be long enough so that you’re not going to have to constantly worry about cold air or snow going up onto your jacket every time you bend over to strap into your bindings or to unstrap from your bindings. The length can also be a preference thing. But in general, you want some overlap between your jacket and pants to minimize snow to crack contact. Also, snowboarding involves a lot of sittings on the snow. A longer waterproof jacket is going to better protect you from the snow. Finally, a bigger and longer jacket looks cool though.


So in conclusion, your snowboard jacket should neither be restrictive nor too loose. You want to feel like your movements are as free as possible in your jacket. You don’t want to feel any tension across your back or tightness around your waist. Anything that restricts you from moving the way you need to see while snowboarding is not good. So, make sure that you get a jacket that just makes you feel as free as possible so that you can move in any way that you need to when you’re up on the mountain.