Comparing Ski Jacket vs. Hiking Jacket: Key Differences

This article will discuss the difference between a ski jacket and vs. hiking jacket. So let’s read to the end right now to know the difference between these two jackets!

Top Rated Best Budget Ski Jackets for the money

Top Rated Best Budget Hiking Jackets for the money

Comparison Table: Ski Jacket vs. Hiking Jacket

As their name suggests, ski jackets are designed for skiing, while hiking jackets are built for hiking. It may sound unrelated, but the two jackets have many overlapping features, allowing them to be interchangeable in some cases.

Ski Jacket Hiking Jacket
Main Characteristics
  • Very breathable.
  • Weather-resistant.
  • Provide some level of insulation.
  • Movement capacity.
  • Very lightweight.
  • Decent waterproof.
  • Good breathable protection.
  • Durable, non-stretchable fabric.
Important Features
  • Hood.
  • Zippers.
  • Snow Skirt.
  • Multiple Pockets.
  • Underarm Venting.
  • Hood.
  • Pockets.
  • Reinforced Areas.
  • Adjustable Closures.

The Differences Between Ski Jacket vs. Hiking Jacket 

Ski Jacket vs. Hiking Jacket has actually come with unique pros and cons that serve a specific purpose. Let me walk you through the core differences between these two categories.


Ski Jacket

For resort skiing, especially in the coldest periods, it is essential to pick insulated jackets that can keep you warm all day long. Well-insulated ski jackets can keep you warm and protect you from the wind when skiing fast.

Insulation comes in three types, including:

  •  Synthetic Fabric Insulation

Synthetic fabric insulation is a more durable and economical system, but it does not pack down as small as synthetic down and down, and it also does not insulate.

The insulating ability of this insulation type depends on the density and quality of the used fibers, measuring in grams/meter2.

  • Down

For people who easily get cold, duck down or goose down is the right choice as they feature unmatched insulation qualities because of their lofting ability.

  • Synthetic Insulation, Imitation Down

This insulation type mimics the down’s natural structure, which is more robust and less expensive, especially in wet conditions. It makes synthetic insulation an excellent alternative to down.

When you are ski touring or freeriding in the backcountry, when you work harder and move more, we recommend opting for the 3-layer system.

Another group that will also benefit from this system is people who frequently ski throughout the whole season.

Hiking Jacket

By protecting you from wind and rain, most hiking jackets indirectly also protect against the cold. But the level of thermal insulation in your layering system is delivered by your mid layer, which might be anything from synthetic long-sleeve T-shirts to light-down jackets or fleece jackets.

As a result, we recommend not using jackets with integrated linings like ski jackets, which are usually too warm, for trekking and hiking. They are also too bulky and heavy for your backpack.


  • Ski Jacket

How breathable ski jackets affect how comfy you can get while skiing. Although you may believe that you cannot sweat on the slopes due to the cold conditions, performing any type of physical activity, such as skiing, can lead to sweat.

Breathable ski jackets enable minor perspiration molecules to escape from the inside and prevent water or snow from entering from the outside. So these jackets make you feel less clammy and hot inside your jacket.

Moisture vapor transfer is related to how much vapor can pass via the fabric within twenty-four hours. It is measured in grams. The higher this number, the more breathing ability your gear will be.

  • Hiking Jacket

Hiking is one of the active sports, so you’ll need hiking jackets with good breathability. Regardless of how much protection your chosen hiking jacket provides, it must be breathable to enable perspiration to escape from inside your garment.

A softshell-type, water-repellent jacket that lacks a membrane is adequately breathable for hiking and other activities, such as trail mountaineering or running.

Jackets with waterproof membranes do not feature the same breathability level.

You must go upmarket to get the best breathability in a waterproof jacket. Also, the breathability of a hiking jacket can be improved with mechanical ventilation, typically through zippers underneath the armpits.

Important Features

Ski Jacket

Multiple Pockets

Jackets with many pockets will let you carry essentials while skiing. Depending on your model, you will find several pockets with different functions:

  • Side pockets.
  • Chest pockets.
  • Interior telephone pocket.
  • Ski pass pockets near the wrist or on the shoulder.
  • Interior mesh pockets for stashing your goggles or gloves.


You should get jackets with hoods that will protect your lower face or neck in bad weather. Some products come with removable hoods.

Ensure the hood of your chosen jacket is compatible with your head movements and helmet (you should turn your head forth and back when trying the hood).


Zippers could be water-repellent and covered, and even supported by a soft fabric for extra coziness.

Snow Skirt

Many models have this feature that prevents snow from getting inside your jacket while skiing in deep snow.

It is typically made from a stretch fabric and an elastic waist with one snap closure. Also, it provides extra insulation, and many are removable. A snow skirt is ideal for powder skiing and freeriding.

Hiking Jacket


Pockets on your hiking jacket should be able to close. Exterior pockets should also have flaps or waterproof zips to prevent water.

Ensure pockets are well positioned so that they are not in the way and are used when your backpack belt is closed or if you are utilizing a climbing harness.


It is a crucial feature of hiking jackets that delivers excellent protection against rain and wind. A decent hood must be waterproof and have one elastic adjustment system or more.

Hoods with a visor can protect your face from runoff and deliver extra protection against the wind. It is also essential to ensure the hood of your chosen jacket doesn’t restrict your movement.

Reinforced Areas

To use in any extreme condition, reinforced areas will protect hiking jackets from premature deterioration.

Also, the shoulder area typically has a double or thicker fabric layer to improve waterproofness and abrasion resistance from your backpack straps.

Adjustable Closures

For the hiking jacket to deliver full protection, you must be able to close it at the wrists and tighten it at the hips utilizing a Velcro or elastic system.


If you still need more information about Ski jackets vs. Hiking jackets, don’t skip this section. I will answer all your questions about these two products to give you more insights into their qualities.

Can I Wear Ski Jackets for Hiking?

Yes, you can wear ski jackets for hiking. These jackets provide optimal protection with warmth, protection, and insulation from the weather. But in general, we recommend not using your ski jacket as your only hiking equipment.

What’s the Difference Between a Ski Jacket and a Normal Jacket?

Ski jackets come with specific features designed for skiing, such as movement capacity, weather resistance, and increased breathability.

Can You Wear a Ski Jacket Casually?

You can wear ski jackets every day, but you have to consider the temperature where you will be wearing this jacket.

Remember to pay attention to the styling as the ski jacket is designed to be worn in the mountains. Hence, their styles and colors may not be suitable for wearing around the city or town.

Can You Use Ski Jacket as Rain Jacket?

Ski jackets are typically water resistant or waterproof and insulated, making them ideal for light rain.

Are Ski Jackets Good Winter Coats?

Insulated ski jackets are created to keep you warm, even in icy conditions. They also provide breathable protection from snow, wind, and water.

Do I Need a Rain Jacket for Hiking?

We recommend every Backpacker have and take one or more rain jackets for their trips.

Are Down Jackets Good for Hiking?

Down jackets are ideal for hiking since their warmth-to-weight ratio is much better than any other option.

What Weather Is a Puffer Jacket Good For?

Puffer jackets are great for cold weather.

Why Are Ski Jackets So Expensive?

These jackets use better-performing materials. They are usually lighter, more waterproof, more robust, and more breathable.

How Do You Know if a Jacket Is a Ski Jacket?

Ski jackets will be lighter and might be more useful when layering. They will also have a decent amount of breathability. Most ski jackets tend to be fully waterproof or weather-resistant.

Leave a Comment