A Guide to Wearing the Correct Snowboarding Gear

Young woman wearing ski goggles outdoors on snowy day
Henrik Sorensen / Getty Images

The right clothing is essential equipment for snowboarding. Staying warm and dry often makes the difference between an enjoyable day and a miserable day on the slopes. The ideal clothing fits well and allows for plenty of movement while keeping you dry and warm. It's best to dress in layers so your outfit is versatile for variable conditions. And choose your fabrics comfort and performance. 

Base Layer

A base layer is long underwear—pants and a long-sleeve top. This should be snug-fitting and made from a synthetic, moisture-wicking fabric. Avoid cotton at all costs; cotton absorbs moisture and ends up cold and wet. Look for polyester or polypropylene materials; popular brands include Coolmax®, Polartec®, and Capilene®. Your base layer also includes socks. Again, choose a high-performance synthetic fabric, and be sure to wear only one pair of socks. Wearing two pairs can result in bunching or pinching that can cut off circulation and cause severe discomfort.

Second Layer

Your second layer, or mid layer, insulates you from the cold and can serve as an outer layer on warm days. Look for a nice fleece jacket or vest, depending on temperatures. Again, a synthetic fabric like Polartec® is your best bet due to the durability and ease of washing. When temperatures allow, this second layer is often enough to keep you warm and dry, but when riding in the dead of winter, you'll want to have a third layer to protect from the wind.

Third Layer

Your outer layer includes water- and wind-resistant snow pants and a jacket. The jacket may be a heavy insulated parka or a lighter shell, depending on your preference and the warmth of your mid layer. When shopping for snow pants and a jacket, try them on while wearing your base and second layers to ensure freedom of movement. Since the third layer protects from water and the wind, you'll want to spend enough to ensure you stay warm and dry. Jackets and pants made with waterproof/windproof membranes, such as GoreTex®, are lightweight yet durable and will provide years of protection. Finally, look for pants that come with belt loops. The constant movement of snowboarding can pull down even the best-fitting pants. A belt easily solves this problem.


Accessories include mittens or gloves, a hat or helmet, and goggles. Look for durable gloves with leather or synthetic leather palms that won't get torn up during edge grabs. Gloves for snowboarding usually have a long cuff that's designed either to fit over your jacket sleeve (gauntlet style) or under your sleeve (under cuff style). Choose goggles that are optimized for the kind of riding you do most often. Also, make sure they fit well with your helmet if you're wearing one. For the coldest days, a face mask or neck gaiter may also be added to protect your face and neck.

Dressing properly for a day of snowboarding allows you to ignore the elements and focus solely on how much fun you're having!