What to know when buying the perfect snow jacket

Are you stumped on how to go about buying the perfect snow jacket? A snow jacket might be the most important item of clothing you buy for a snow trip. Which means knowing what to look for before purchasing is crucial. A quality snow jacket keeps you warm in the harshest of weather, and should also be robust, practical, and of course stylish...

So where to begin? 

Understand Waterproof Ratings

When you see a rating on a garment i.e. 20,000mm/15,000g the waterproof rating is always the first figure, in this case 20,000mm. This rating tells you at what point the garment will allow water to penetrate the fabric to the layers below. Waterproof ratings are measured in millimetres and will be found either on the swing tag or on the internal tag of the garment. The larger the figure the better the garment is at keeping water out.

How do you rate the material?

You first pull a section of the material to ensure it is laid flat and has nothing underneath, you then place a tube with inner dimensions of 1” x 1” over the fabric. The tube with millimetre measurements along the side is then filled with water. The water builds up inside the tube and creates a downward force. Once the moisture starts to penetrate the material the water level within the tube is measured. This measurement is known as the waterproof rating.

For a garment to be classed as waterproof it must achieve a minimum rating of 1,500mm, so always be careful of garments that do not state a numerical rating. In Australia with our often wet conditions, it is important to have a snow jacket with a strong waterproof rating. There's nothing worse than getting wet at the snow because your clothing is not up to the conditions.

Buying the perfect snow jacket


Understand Breathability Ratings

When you see a rating on a garment i.e. 20,000mm/15,000g/m² the breathability rating is always the second figure, in this case 15,000g/m². This rating tells you how good the garment is at transferring moisture from the body back into the atmosphere. Breathability ratings are measured in grams per meter squared. Like waterproofing, the larger the figure the more breathable the garment is

How is the material rated?

The breathability test is done by measuring how many grams of water vapour are transferred through one square meter of fabric within 24 hours. The vapour must be taken from inside the garment and released into the external environment. For instance a 10k rating means that 10,000 grams of vapour were successfully passed through 1m² over the duration of 24hrs.

When it comes to selecting the correct garment for you, it is very important that you understand what the waterproof/breathability ratings actually mean. It is not always as simple as the jacket with the highest ratings being the best choice overall. The higher the rating, the higher the cost of the product also. The key to making the correct choice lies in the activities you wish to perform in the garment. By fully understanding the rating systems, you will ensure that you do not pay for more than you need. A quick example: A rubber coat will protect you from a down pour as it has great waterproofing abilities, however if you were to perform any physical activities with the coat on you would be dripping wet in no time with your own perspiration, this is because rubber has terrible breathability properties.

Buying the perfect snow jacket

The XTM recommendations -

This is a simple guide we have introduced to ensure you make the correct decision when selecting performance sportswear.


Snow Gear – We do not believe that 5,000mm/5,000g/m² rated garments are good enough quality to ensure adequate performance within snow sports. This is why in 2013 we removed all 5,000mm/5,000g/m² rated garments from our line of snow jackets.

Outdoor Wear – This rating is perfect for general day to day wear. It will keep you dry during short periods of exposure to water while also prevent you from over sweating while getting from A to B. Many brands will only reach the bare minimum rating (1,500mm) so they can call their garments waterproof. At XTM we start our rainwear collection at 5,000mm/5,000g/m² as we believe anything less is just not good enough


Snow Gear – This is probably the most common rating found in all snow wear. When it comes to XTM technical snow wear, we set 10,000mm/10,000g/m² as our minimum. It is the baseline we set for anybody who wishes to spend the day at the snow.

Outdoor Wear – This rating offers a waterproofing that can withstand a heavy down pour while also keeping you dry and comfortable during mid to high levels of activity. We feel that this is the perfect rating for people who often partake in long walks or hikes in varying conditions.


Snow Gear – This is our favoured rating for the most avid of snow enthusiasts. If you are a keen adventurer and like to spend your time searching for the freshest powder and cleanest lines this is the rating we recommend. Its waterproofing will withstand any freak blizzard you may encounter and it is also highly breathable which means sweating will not be an issue on those hikes to the peak. Introduced to our range in 2014 it was an instant hit.

Outdoor Wear – Again this rating is perfect for the year round adventurer type. Its unique breathability properties means it is perfect for high intensity activities even in warmer climates and its waterproofing of 20,000mm means it will keep you dry even in monsoon conditions.


You want something that suits you to a T. Modern styles make it easier than ever to stay comfy – not to mention look great, all while you shred on the slopes.

XTM Performance have different styles for every occasion and a style for every taste - 3 in 1 jackets, removable hoods, the latest colour trends and more!

Quality Brand

XTM Performance are an official supplier for the entire Australian Winter Olympic Team. That includes the athletes you see tearing down the mountain, and their coaches who need to endure hours outside in the elements. Our ambassadors are not just athletes, they are our designers, our refiners, our product testers. They are the ones who ensure that XTM produces some of the world’s finest snow and outdoor gear. We work very closely with them to ensure our products perform in the harshest of conditions. You will find that all our ambassadors share our passion to constantly improve, to always be the best that we can be. So when you’re on the hunt for top quality snow jackets, you can be sure that XTM has you covered.

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