Backcountry Ski Gear

The Best Jackets and Pants for Backcountry Skiing

What you wear on active days outside of the resort goes a long way in determining how comfortable you'll be during your adventures. Start here.

Dressing appropriately for the backcountry is the difference between a great day and one you wish you never embarked upon. When your adventure is human-powered, i.e., skinning or hiking for your turns, it’s imperative to dress in layers and choose the right materials to help you retain heat when you need to and shed it when don’t. These carefully selected pieces of outerwear, midlayers, and baselayers will keep you warm and dry and allow you to travel light and efficiently on your next adventure outside of the resort boundary.

Black Diamond Dawn Patrol Hybrid Jacket & Pant

Lightweight softshell touring option for the highest-output days

Black Diamond outerwear

Black Diamond Dawn Patrol Hybrid Jacket and Pants

Black Diamond has engineered a soft-shell jacket and pant built for the skin track. The Dawn Patrol Hybrid is made from a combination of four-way stretch fabric complemented by a breathable two-way-stretch laminated material called BD.dry at the chest, shoulders, and hood, creating the ultimate protection where backcountry skiers need it most. Features include an adjustable, helmet-compatible hood, harness-friendly pockets big enough to stash skins, and a center zipper with incorporated mesh panel for venting. Available in men’s/women’s. Jacket $349, pants $299

Buy it at REI: Black Diamond Women’s Dawn Patrol Hybrid Jacket and Pants | Men’s Dawn Patrol Hybrid  Jacket and Pants 

Related: 10 Best Backcountry Skis of the Year

Patagonia Stormstride Jacket & Pant

Stretchy hardshell jacket and pant made for ski touring’s ups and downs

Patagonia outerwear

Patagonia Stormstride Jacket and Pants

Designed for dedicated ski-tourers, the Stormstride kit is made from a three-layer stretch fabric that’s 54-percent recycled and completely waterproof and breathable. It boasts all the features appreciated on the skin track and the descent that follows, including pack-friendly vents and pockets, helmet-compatible hood, soft knit backer to glide over layers, and harness-friendly pockets and vents on the pants. From a user perspective, the Stormstride stands out for its ease of uphill movement, which is no small detail. A solid hardshell touring kit. Available in men’s/women’s. Jacket $499, pants $429

Buy it at Backcountry.com: Patagonia Men’s Stormstride Jacket and Pants | Women’s Stormstride Pants

Go Deeper: Best Backcountry Ski Boots of the Season

Dynafit Beast Hybrid Jacket & Pants

Hardcore touring kit for unpredictable conditions

Dynafit outerwear

Dynafit Beast Hybrid Jacket and Pants

Aptly named, the Beast is a force to be reckoned with in any type of weather conditions you might find on the skin track and the descent. Look for excellent protection and breathability thanks to the veteran backcountry brand’s signature Dynashell three-layer outer fabric on the hood, chest, shoulders, and arms and reinforced by Dynastretch breathable technology everywhere else. Of course there are plenty of vents, a stowable hood, a generous internal skins pocket, and other nice-to-haves on a ski tour. Available in men’s/women’s. Jacket $400, pants $350

Buy it at Backcountry.com: Dynafit Women’s Beast Hybrid Jacket and Pant
Buy it at REI: Dynafit Men’s Beast Hybrid Jacket and Pant

Ortovox Ortler Jacket

A lightweight touring jacket for high-output adventures

Ortovox outerwear

Ortovox Ortler Jacket

The Ortler was made for touring, plain and simple. By focusing on only what’s absolutely necessary, Ortovox built this jacket with lightweight protection in mind. The result is a 15.7-ounce jacket with Dermizax outer fabric that’s incredibly stretchy, breathable, and wind- and waterproof, supported by Merino mesh inserts in targeted areas for comfort and performance. Tour-friendly features such as two-way zippers, underarm vents, two-way adjustable storm hood, and bright colors for visibility make the Ortler a smart pick. Available in men’s/women’s. $490

Buy it at Backcountry.com: Ortovox Women’s Ortler Jacket | Men’s Ortler Jacket

Keep Reading: Backcountry Skiing Accessories

Ortovox Piz Boe

Minimalist and eco-friendly touring insulator

Ortovox insulation

Ortovox Piz Boe insulator

A light insulator packed with 60-gram Swisswool—the heat-regulating, anti-odor wool that comes from the black sheep of the Swiss Alps—the Piz Boe is what you’ll reach for on ski tours in mild weather, when a bit of wind- and water resistance will serve you well. There’s also a nice eco story here, what with the Piz Boe being entirely PFC-free and made with renewable raw materials. Available in men’s/women’s. $280

Buy it on Amazon: Ortovox Women’s Piz Boe | Men’s Piz Boe

Black Diamond Coefficient Fleece Hoody

Easy layering piece with great thermal regulation

Black Diamond midlayer

Black Diamond Coefficient Hoody

An ideal grab-and-go piece for touring, the Coefficient Hoody uses Polartec Power Dry fleece’s gridded technology to increase wicking and breathability. Pull up the under-the-helmet hood for better protection in stormy weather, or use the full front zip to dump heat when temperatures rise. Bonus: thumb loops, low-profile chest pocket, and several color options. Available in men’s/women’s. $179

Buy it on Amazon: Black Diamond Women’s Coefficient Hoody | Men’s Coefficient Hoody

Related: Best Accessories for Hut Trips

Stio Basis Power Wool Zip Neck & Tight

Better-than-Merino baselayers that don’t sacrifice on next-to-skin comfort

Stio baselayer

Stio Basis Power Wool Zip Neck and Tight

Stio teamed up with Polartec to come out with this baselayer option ideal for high-intensity ski days where alternating between moisture control and thermal regulation issues is de rigueur. The Basis top and bottom employ Polartec Power Wool, a fabric construction with silky-soft Merino wool next to the skin and a synthetic material on the outside, thereby addressing some of Merino baselayers’ biggest foes: poor durability, losing its shape, and taking too long to dry. It’s Merino where it counts, and better-than-Merino performance where it doesn’t. Available in men’s/women’s. Top $119, Bottom $109