What’s in a Snowboard Jacket & Why They’re So Expensive

Buying a new snowboard jacket is like buying a new car. You want durability, dependability, a luxurious interior that keeps you warm in the winter and cool in the heat (why would you be wearing a snowboard jacket in summer? High Cascade Summer Camp? Oh, nevermind…continue), and the best bang for your buck.

However, it’s not always the easiest considering there’s a thousand different terms thrown around for the technologies involved in creating a snowboard jacket. Gore-Tex, DryRide, 10K, 15K, 20K…sure, it sounds appealing and attractive, but what does it mean and why do you need it?

You need it like a bear needs honey, like Kim Kardashian needs Instagram, and how I need my student loans to be forgiven.

But let’s break it down like this: Materials, Features, Accessories, and Jacket Fit.

Snowboard Jacket Materials: 

You have about 4 basic materials that are the major components of a snowboard jacket. They are Polyester, Nylon, Gore-Tex, and Microfibers.

Polyester

Polyester is like Lou Ferrigno. Strong, doesn’t shrink or stretch too much, dries fairly quickly, and has no interest in smelling like trash. This is why it’s such a great material for snowboard jackets. When wound up tightly, polyester becomes resistant against water and even more durable. Combine that with an applicable steroid (not really, it’s actually called Durable Water Repellant) and this DWR enhances the strength and waterproof characteristics of polyester. Think of DWR as the legal steroids for polyester.

Polyester also comes in different weights or densities. Now, to get any idea of these ratings, we’d have to discuss breathability/waterproofing grades. This is where the whole factory assigned 10K, 15K, 20K ratings etc…come into play. But that’s for later. Keep reading. Reading is good.

Nylon

You know The Mountain from Game of Thrones? Yes, No? If you don’t, look him up. A physical freak of a human being. Why is he being brought up? Because he is insanely strong. Like crush your head with one of his hands strong. Bending steel strong. Tearing encyclopedias in half strong. Okay, you get the idea. Very strong. But so is Nylon.

Nylon absorbs very little moisture, washes easily, and can be dyed into a variety of colors. No wonder why it found its way into the manufacturing of snowboard jackets. Like polyester, nylon needs just a little bit of love before being sent into the world. That’s why a nice coating of some chemical cocktail (the non-toxic kinds) are applied to nylon to increase its protectiveness.

Much like the measurement system of aforementioned polyester, you’ll have to rely on the factory or company to provide the specifics of the jacket. After reading this though, you’ll be able to decipher their meaning and make the appropriate purchase in your choice of jacket.

Gore-Tex

One of the snowboarding’s most popular words. Gore-Tex. Not to be confused with Tex-Mex (which is delicious, Frito Pie, are you kidding me? It’s like the all-star of Tex-Mex food), is a scientifically developed technology that is used from the medical industry all the way to snowboarding. If you can, try to imagine a hole that is 20 thousand times smaller than a bead of water. Difficult to do, I know. But with this kind of technology, sweat and body moisture are small enough to get through these pores and keep you nice and dry while its dumping outside.

This part is extremely scientific. So Gore-Tex tissue is applied to our friends nylon or polyester to create a shield that becomes the outer surface of your snowboard jacket. It becomes outstandingly resistant to snow, chilling rain, frostbite-inducing winds, and the month of February in Buffalo when it’s pants-shitting cold outside.

Gore-Tex. Savior of extremities, limbs, and lives. Provider of fun times in pow days, excursions, and backcountry debauchery.

Micro Fibers

Microfibers are essentially the finer fibers of nylon or polyester that are used in creating shell jackets. The fine fibers are spun very tightly to create high performing, durable like your ’95 Chevy Cavalier, and light as a feather outerwear. Great for resisting wind and water, microfibers are found in top of the line jackets. I’m talking the Cadillacs, Jaguars, and Maseratis of snowboard jackets here people. The most high-tech and protective jackets are made with microfibers. You got the budget? Highly recommend jackets made with microfibers.

You could layer it up all you want this season or you could work hard (like an adult), save some cash (like an adult), budget yourself (like an adult), and then purchase a jacket made with microfibers and be proud of all your hard work. Capitalism…it’s rewarding.

Sometimes.

Women's Outerwear

Women’s Outerwear

Snowboard Jacket Features

Okay, so this is the section where we’ll give you the nitty gritty on those ever elusive ratings that companies provide you on the tags that are attached to snowboard jackets.

The main two features of a snowboard jacket are water-resistance (waterproof) and breathability. You want a jacket that can keep you dry but you don’t want one that makes you feel like you’re sitting in the Shu (Solitary Confinement, for you folks who aren’t familiar with prison terms) in the middle of July in Alabama.

You wan’t the best of both worlds. Insulated is a plus as well if you happen to live in an area where winters are especially cold. Like Minnesota. Or the Yukon. Or Alaska. Or your ex-girlfriend’s heart.

Waterproof Rating

Moving forward, jacket manufacturers will usually apply a nice, loving coating to the nylon or polyester fabric of your future coat to increase its waterproofness. Gore-Tex? Not so much. It’s already got those high level waterproof genes.

So why do companies give out ratings and what do they mean? 10,000mm means that the jacket can withstand around 10,000 millimeters of rain over a 24-hour period before becoming wet or soaked.

So this means that a 20k (20,000 millimeters) jacket is more waterproof than one at 15k or 10k. Furthermore, just to give you an idea of what 20,000 millimeters of rain would look like…it’s 66 feet of rain. Which I don’t think could even physically occur. If I’m wrong, please enlighten me and comment on this, Howard Hughes.

Breathability Rating

Breathability. You want it. You need it. Do you want to look like you just ran a half-marathon in the steamy Congolese forest? No, because nobody finds that attractive or functional.

Breathability ratings are those other thousand number ratings you’ll find beside the waterproof numbers. Except, breathability is measured in grams. So take 15,000g, which means 15,000 grams of vapor or steam that can escape through one square meter of fabric over the course of 24 hours. Gotta love that 24 hour rule.

Now this will get even more scientific than you want but you took earth science right? Remember the hydrologic cycle? The journey that water takes from the ocean or land to the sky and then back down to the ocean. Image that going on inside your snowboard jacket but with your sweat. Your sweat goes through the gaseous phase of turning into water vapor and magically passing through the pores of the jacket into the air around you, essentially covering everyone around you with your stank.

Science is fucking great. But to the point, the higher the number of breathability rating the less humid you will be inside your jacket. The less humid you are, the less hot and sweaty you feel, the less hot and sweaty you feel, the more likely you’ll have the courage to try that backside lip 270 out or just talk to the girl whose been struggling to learn how to carve all day. Your choice.

Windproof

Wind makes you cold. The weaving of materials and fabrics stupidly tight prevents this. Most jackets should cover you when it’s windy but make sure you’re not picking up some $60 jacket at Target and thinking it’ll cover your ass when it’s blowing harder than Monica Lewinsky in ’96.

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Shell Jackets. Great for Impact.

Snowboard Jacket Accessories

Accessories, like anything else, are completely necessary. Snowboard jackets usually come with a thousand of ’em. From pass pockets and cuffs to powder skirts and armpit vents. Every jacket is going to have some combination of neat accessories or features that set it apart from its competitor.

Going back to the car analogy because I lack creativity to think of anything new, some cars offer more bells and whistles than others. It all depends on what you’re looking for.

Want a ton of utility pockets and vents because you’re the go-to on mountain mechanic/buddha supplier?

Do you happen to find yourself eating shit more than others? Reinforced knees/seat in the pants are the way to go.

Only live for those powder days? Get yourself a jacket with a powder skirt, gaiters and cinch cuffs.

One thing that should be noted, especially if you’re a park rat and always feeling the need to pretzel, butter or tripod out of or onto everything…make sure you try to get a jacket with articulated elbows or pants with articulated knees. It gives you a little bit more wiggle room so you don’t feel constricted like I do at a cash bar wedding reception.

Snowboard Jacket Fit

How a jacket fits is a combination of your size and your style. Don’t think being 6’4″ and 225lbs, you’re going to fit into a medium or large. They make XL for a reason. Don’t be an idiot.

However, even if you are exceptionally large or small, there are different jacket styles. From baggy to tailored. A slim fit versus a relaxed one. It all depends on how you want to portray yourself on the mountain. Some think that having relaxed and baggy outerwear gets in the way and that’s why the slimmer, more tailored option may be your choice.

Conversely, some folks think the slimmer looking outerwear hugs the babymakers too much and makes you look like Tommy Lee in his prime.

You dress how you want to. I’m no judge; neither are any of us at the shop. Personally, do what makes you feel comfortable. You want to go all black with the tight jacket and pants? Go for it. You think relaxed is the way to go? Sure thing. I don’t care. But what I, and all of us here at the shop do care about, is that you like what you’re buying and it’s what you want in a jacket or pants.

WHY SO EXPENSIVE?

Ah the question you’ve been mindlessly skimming this whole blog for. I know, snowboard jackets seem crazy expensive and believe me, they are. But they are for a reason.

Severe weather needs a severely dependable jacket to keep you warm and dry. Ever been cold and wet? It’s fucking miserable. No one, absolutely no one, enjoys it. However, that’s what you might get if you decide to skip for some cheaply manufactured jacket. Bad jacket = Bad times.

Like we mentioned above, snowboard jackets offer a ton of technology and materials that are specifically engineered and design to keep you having fun all day or night long. If you want a jacket that can connect digitally via Bluetooth to your phone and has fully tapered seams with pit/thigh vents, multiple stash pockets and a powder skirt…expect to pay top dollar. You want the bells and whistles? You gotta pay for ’em. Life is a hustle, son.

Sure you can get the used 2002 Pontiac that will get you from point A to point B, but then there’s the new fuel efficient, wireless enhanced, weatherproof, comes with a free bottle of Courvoisier 2016 Audi.

It all depends on what you want…yet at some point, you have to realize that you will be spending 3-6 hours out in freezing weather sweating and moving around. Make a smart decision.

Invest in a good time. Not a bad one.

Furthermore, layering is also important. Don’t believe the jacket will be the only thing you’ll need.

DON’T BUY ONLINE

Sure, we’re a local shop and online sales cut into our business but we’re saying this because actually trying on a jacket in-store is monumentally significant in the buying process. You can’t try on a jacket online. Sure, you could do all the measurements and compare them to the online sizing guide but who actually does that shit?

When you get a snowboard jacket from us, you get the expert advice and information that you would come to expect from a bunch of guys who save up half their income, eat dollar pizza, and drink cheap beer in order to purchase a season pass.

Along with getting the highest level of customer service, you get personal style recommendations, a wide selection of brands, and get to speak with someone who shares the same interest as you. Not some online representative sitting behind a desk hating their life and regretting their decision not to pack everything up, move to Tahoe, and try to see where life takes them.

Okay, that’s the end of that. We miss anything? If we did. Comment or Call us. 716-837-8743. We’ll see you soon. Cheers

 

 

 

 

 

New Phatman Decks!

Ask and you shall receive. New Phatman buffalo logo decks are in! We got you covered for all sizes. From 7.75 to 8.5. They are priced at $40 and come in a variety of colors. Stop in and get setup before this weekend begins, weather is supposed to beautiful.
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The Art & Debate of Snowboard Boot Fitting

Snowboard boots. How are they supposed to fit? Which boots are right for you? Why do mine continually smell like the inside of tuna can left out in the baking sun? These are questions that have plagued the Snowboarding industry and consumers alike for years. Fortunately for you, we decided to get off our lazy asses and write a scientifically-backed (not really), professional (debatable), and quick (also, debatable) guide to how your snowboard boots should fit and why buying boots online is the devil.

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First let’s talk about the Fit of the Boot:

  • Yes, when you first put on a fresh, out-of-the-box snowboard boot, it will be tighter than security for the Pope’s visit in NYC. Don’t think that they don’t fit. They’re brand new and they have yet to be broken in.
  • Your toes should be grazing the top of the boot but not crunching. If you think you need the half inch rule here, get out. Having someone try to feel the top of your boot to find your toes is like trying to find water in the Sahara. It’s nearly impossible. You are the only person who knows where your toes are.
  • Your heel should be sitting nice and proper in the back of the boot; especially when you lean forward. Any heel lift is a big red flag for an improper fitting boot. Just make sure you have laced up or tightened up the boot before you go ahead and start leaning forward.
  • Socks. No, those nice Banana Republic dress socks aren’t what you are going to be wearing when you go out on the mountain. You’ll be wearing a medium weight acrylic or wool sock, possibly a compression sock that will fill out the boot more.

What kind of Snowboarder are you:

  • What kind of Snowboarder you are and how often you go will determine the kind of boots you should get. Are you a park rat? Are you an all-mountain rider, slaying groomers and hitting park on the way down? Are you new to Snowboarding? Are you an OG who still has one of the first Sims boards?
  • If you’re going to be riding 10+ times during the season, you’re going to want to invest a little more cash into your boots for the sake of durability. Considering the national average of how many times the typical US citizen goes snowboarding is like 4.5 (don’t quote us).
  • Let’s say you’re new to snowboarding or a park rat that doesn’t go all mountain, you’re going to want a boot on the softer flex side. It’s comfortable, tweakable, and quick to break in. Like a Kardashian.
  • Going all mountain, big jumps or backcountry? Something stiffer is in your future. A stiffer boot gives better response, support, and durability throughout a season. It may take longer to break in the pair of boots but they’ll last you the 10-50 times you’ll go from mind-numbingly helping your little cousin on the bunny hill to the pristine, powdered covered Wasatch Mountain Range of Utah.
  • Seasoned vet like a vintage Bordeaux? Depends if you’re casually ripping or going full steam ahead on the mountain. Comfort is going to be your number one priority. Lean on the side of stiffer for better response though. Chances are, the benefits will outweigh the time it takes to break in.

Lacing or Boa? Jam or Jelly? Mimosa or Bloody Mary?

  • Life hands us decisions on a regular basis and it all depends on personal style, preference, and attitude that influence our choices.
  • Lacing? Traditional as lukewarm hot dogs and flat beer at a Bills game. You can get a customized fit with laces with a tighter upper, looser lower or tight all around. Downside of laces, if it’s below freezing out, can be rough on those soft hands of yours and you may have to re-lace during the middle of the day. However, most snowboarders prefer lacing. Who doesn’t enjoy tradition?
  • Welcome to the world of Boa and Zonal Lacing. Convenient, easy-to-use and can be done wearing gloves, mittens, and those yellow cleaning gloves your mom uses to clean the bathroom and kitchen. The fast tightening systems of Boa and Zonal Lacing gives you an all around snug fit without the ability to customize (unless its Zonal, which means forget what we just wrote). Negatives? Boa steel lacing can break in frigid weather but fortunately this issue has been researched and developed by companies like Burton, who have partnered with New England Ropes, so that any below freezing weather does not affect the Boa lacing system. Sidenote* – do not sit with your board on top of your boot because the edge can cut into both laces and the boa lacing system.
  • Boa system with lacing? Take both descriptions above and combine them. Customization with convenience.

Liners

  • Stock, Moldable and Heat Moldable.
    • Pretty straight forward. Stock is padding that will conform to your foot over a period of time.
    • Moldable liners offer better materials but an increase in price. Constructed to mold to your foot like your favorite pair of Levi’s that fit to you perfectly after that Phish concert tour you decided to follow around the country without bathing. Get a job hippie.
    • Heat Moldable. The Rolls Royce of foot liners. Comes with a complementary bottle of Rémy Martin..if only. But seriously, heat molding offers the best custom fit and there’s no doubt about that. Just be prepared to devote some of your rent money to paying for those kind of boots.

And now we come to the most debated topic within Snowboard Boots, Sizing. You might as well call CNN, get a stage, some podiums, and a moderator because this may need political backing. Do you go true-to-size? What about half-size smaller?.. “I have wide feet so I need extra big boots..”. Our professional, scientifically-proven response below will answer all your past, present, and future questions about Snowboard Boot sizing. No, shhh, we know exactly what we’re doing.

  • Traditionally, go a half size smaller. “But..but, they hurt my feet!” Yes they might but did you think Snowboard boots are going to feel and fit like slippers made of puppy ears? I hope not. Snowboard boots break in and pack out. This means that over time they will become roomier and ultimately be the perfect size you need.
  • If you decide, god forbid, to go your actual shoe size or bigger, you will end up with a clown shoe that gives you less response and heel lift, which may or may not lead you to falling on your face. Does this sound like ‘fun’ or ‘happy’ time for you?
  • Companies manufacture a variety of boots that have different fits. It’s called capitalism and it’s what Adam Smith pioneered, what this country, and most of the Western world depends upon for economic growth. Don’t like it? Take you and your Commie ass to Russia , North Korea or Cuba.
    • On a serious note, boots will fit differently depending on the company that makes them so open up yourself to a variety of sizes that may fit you. You may be a 10 in a pair of ThirtyTwo’s but a 10.5 in a pair of Burton’s.
  • Also, boots have different profiles. Some are low and more park or urban oriented like the Maven from ThirtyTwo or are aggressive and meant for big mountain riding like the Burton Driver X or Salomon Synapse. You have to account for this when trying boots on and what kind of board you have as well.
  • Low profile can mean a more narrow board. Conversely, a bigger, sturdier boot may mean a wider board.
  • If you got some Shaq-sized feet, you may need to look around for a boot that will fit but don’t worry, here at Phatman, we cater to all sized people. Just be aware you’ll need a wider board.

Some ending notes you should take into consideration.

  • Boots are the most important part of your setup. If you have shit boots, you’ll have a shitty day. Easy as that. Sure price is a concern for many people but really take the time to get a great fitting and comfortable boot that you know you’ll enjoy for multiple seasons.
  • DO NOT BUY A BIGGER SIZED BOOT.
  • Boots are like cars, some may look cooler than others but it comes down to the driver of the car. Get it? Buy on size and fit, not just on colors or how great it will match with the rest of your set up. If it happens to match, wonderful, if not, so what. That’s why snowboarding pants were created so they cover the boot and keep snow out.
  • Don’t buy online. You can’t actually try a boot on over the internet. Technology isn’t quite there yet and even if you did, your credit card number will be snatched up faster than your girlfriend at the Ultra Music Festival in Ibiza. Those spaniards know how to swoon a woman…But in all seriousness, buying online hurts local businesses (aka us), doesn’t give you the customer service you deserve, and may lead to a difficult return policy.
  • Oh yeah, don’t showroom us either. We know that game.

Any questions or concerns? Contact us or call the shop at 716-837-8743.

Disagree or have a complaint? You can fill out our complaint form below.

PS – If you mention you read this article while you are shopping for boots at the shop, we’ll give you 10% off.

 

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Winter Necessities

Below you’ll find a nice flyer showcasing some of our new products…PS – there’s some coupons in there too.

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Mucho Jib Jam Update

Don’t forget, this Saturday over at Kissing Bridge! Figure out your carpool, borrow your neighbor’s construction helmet if you have to, and get down to KB before 11:30 AM to sign up.

Our sponsors this year include Smith, Pret, Red Bull and East Coast Wax. Prizes and products will be handed out so nobody will go home empty-handed. See you goons there.
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New Shoes – Vans and Emerica

What’s up homies. Dog days of summer are in full effect. Although the weather has been a bit moist, there’s been some days full of sunshine and perfect summer nights. We’re still in the process of setting up an online shop to sell Shop Shirts, Decks and some other stuff so check back in for that. This is a bit late but we do have the Rowley Solos in stock (in Black and Blue) and the new Westgate Mids. We also are restocked on the Herman G6 from Emerica.

 

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Vans new shoe, the Rowley Solos, feature the Vans’ Duracap technology in the toe, Ultra-Cush HD cushioning and the OG Original Waffle outsole. It’s a shoe designed and built for skating.

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After Westgate’s last running inspired shoe, Emerica has gone back to a simple Mid with a vulc sole and a stabilizing tongue so that sucker stays in place. Just might be your new favorite Mid.

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Stay tuned for updates on the online store and check back for new products, videos, and all that other shit. Cheers and oh, read this article on Jenkem about why you should still shop at and support local skate shops. Because if you don’t, we’ll end up homeless and doing favors for unsavory characters.

 

 

 

Graduation Season Deals

It’s that time of the year again, kegs are being tapped, hot dogs are being grilled, and high school graduated teenagers are enjoying the only summer of their lives where they literally have nothing to worry about. In honor of this tradition, we are offering those who just graduated high school FREE GRIP with any Deck purchase. Additionally, since high school just finished, if your bring in your report card or whatever the hell they’re calling them these days, you can get up to 30% off clothing and shoes purchases. This promotion will be running until Father’s Day, which is ironically Go Skateboarding Day (June 21).

 

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Hey I’m trying to score points with the teacher today. DON’T SCREW IT UP.

Thanks for the Award Artvoice!

We are very happy to announce we have just been awarded the “Best Snowboard / Ski Gear” of Buffalo for 2015 by the friendly folks over at Artvoice. The Best of Buffalo Awards are an annual tradition ran by Artvoice showcasing the best places in Buffalo to Eat, Drink, Shop, See a Concert, Get Drunk,  pretty much anything you can imagine, there’s a Best of Buffalo for it. Click here to see a full listing of the awards. Anyways, we’d like to thank everyone out there who supports us in what we do, from the Companies to the Reps to our loyal Customers, we wouldn’t be here without your non-stop support and patronage. Cheers homies.

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