Buying a kids ski jacket is not the same as buying an everyday kids jacket as there are many more things to look for with a skiing jacket. Here we will go over the different features found in kids ski jackets and the differences between these jackets including some new kids ski jackets that grow with your child.
It may seem that there would only be one style of kids ski jacket but there are actually three variances you will commonly find. There are insulated, shell and 3 in 1 kids ski jackets. Don’t worry if you don’t now what these are, we will cover that below.
Insulated Kids Ski Jackets- These are the most common style of kids ski jackets and work the best for most children that ski. An insulated ski jacket as the name implies is a ski jacket with built in insulation. These insulated jackets offer warmth, durability and are waterproofed to provide ample protection on the slopes.
Shell Kids Ski Jackets- Shell ski jackets offer a windproof and waterproof shell with no internal insulation. Typically used by the more demanding child skier offering more maneuverability as the shell has no internal insulation to bulk it up. On warmer days these shells can be worn with only one layer beneath and still protect from wetness and wind.
3 in 1 Kids Ski Jackets- 3 in 1 ski jackets are becoming increasinly popular as they are more versatile than insulated kids ski jackets or shell kids ski jackets. A 3 in 1 jacket enlists the best of both an insulated and shell jacket having a shell jacket with an inner liner zipped in. When the inner liner is zipped in it is the same as an insulated ski jacket, when zipped out it simply turns into a shell.
When shopping for a kids ski jacket you will see several different numbers and specifications. Here we will go over exactly what to look for when shopping for a good kids skiing jacket and demystify the ratings and jargon used to describe them.
Waterproof Rating- The waterproof rating is going to be measured in millimeters. This rating shows the amount of water the fabric can handle before it is no longer waterproof. A typical waterproof rating will read: 2,000mm with a variation of numbers depending on the actual rating. Waterproof ratings on kids ski jackets can range from 1,000mm to 20,000mm but typically fall around 5,000mm. Remember, as the waterproof rating goes up the cost usually follows.
Breathability Rating- A good ski jacket will be waterproof yet still breathable meaning it won’t let moisture in from the outside but will release sweat and moisture from the inside. The breathability rating will be measured by pinpointing the moisture vapor transmission rate or MVTR which is measured in grams. The MVTR is measured on a 24 hour scale and the number indicates how many grams of sweat can escape the jacket per 1 square meter. Breathability ratings on kids’ jackets can range from 2,000g – 25,000g with the higher numbers going with the highest end jackets.
Fabric Durability- Ski jackets are formulated for skiing specifically and are going to offer more durability than an everyday jacket from a department store. A kids ski jacket can definitely work as an everyday jacket but we would not suggest wearing an everyday department store bought jacket skiing. With all the unique technology used in ski jackets and the hard work that goes into them being durable you can trust in them lasting through each ski outing. Look in the product specifications when you are looking at kids ski jackets and pay special attention to the Exterior Material section to see exactly what makes the ski jacket you are looking at special.
Taped Seams- Taped seams refer to the seams of the jacket being fused together not only with thread but actual weatherproof tape to offer a fully functional seam that is weatherproof. This may not seem like much but a ski jacket is littered with seams and these can act as tiny little gaps for moisture to leak in. With them being taped you get a seal and there will be no doubt you will be covered in any conditions. There are two commonly found versions of taped seams in kids ski jackets, fully taped seams and critically taped seams.
Fully Taped Seams- This refers to all the seams in the jacket being taped. This is typically found in mid to higher end skiing jackets.
Critically Taped Seams- This refers to only critical seams of the jacket being taped. This is still a great option and is found on lower price ski jackets.
Hood- OK, yes, almost all jackets have hoods but ski jackets have special hoods. In a skiing jacket the hood will typically offer adjustments so you can actually cinch the hood around the head so the jacket can comfortably be used for skiing without the hood adjusting or moving around on its own. Ski jacket hoods are also a bit larger in size so they can be worn over skiing helmets comfortably. You can also remove the hoods on these jackets meaning that depending on weather or preference you can ski with or without a hood.
Storm Flap- Found on most all ski jackets this is the cover that goes over the front zipper of the jacket covering and protecting it. This is another feature unique to ski jackets and will not be found on most department store bought jackets. This extra protection not only saves the zipper from being damaged but will also stop it from getting unzipped while skiing.
Wrist Closure- A wrist closure is a key feature of skiing jackets. The jacket can be tightened at the wrist which will secure the jacket and glove bond so that no snow can escape into any gaps as there will not be any. This also works well when wearing the jacket casually as you can tighten the wrist closures to fit snug around the wrist creating a cleaner more comfortable look.
Powder Skirt- The powder skirt can be found on all kids ski jackets and refers to the inner piece of material on the jacket that can snap tight to the body. Being on the inside of the jacket and hidden from external view this simply offers a seal stopping snow from getting in between your jacket and inside layers. The powder skirt can be left unsnapped for everyday use of the jacket.
Pit Zips- Pit zips are not found in all kids ski jackets but can be found in some models. This refers to the ability to unzip an area of the armpit area to recover from overheating and to allow some fresh air into the jacket. Some pit zips will be lined in mesh and some will simply unzip revealing the inner layers of clothing with no mesh. Pit zips are great for children that overheat easily and would like a way to quickly cool off.
Cinch Chord- You can find plenty of cinch chords and adjustable areas on kids ski jackets but for this we are referring to the bottom of the jacket. To accompany the job of the powder skirt you can cinch the actual bottom of the jacket so it will fit snugger and bond with the snow pants. This will be a feature found on all kids ski jackets.
Special Pockets- Ski jackets are all about pockets and kids ski jackets are not that different. You will find plenty of pockets on skiing jackets but some to keep an eye out for are electronics pockets and goggle pockets. Electronic pockets will typically be a bit more protected and offer a soft scratch free interior. A goggle pocket will simply be an oversized pocket made to fit a pair of goggles and keep the safe.
Hopefully now you are a kids ski jacket connoisseur but if there are still questions we left unanswered please feel free to leave your question in the comments section below. For sizing questions please see our size charts section for brand specific sizing on ski jackets.