These jackets can be used in many ways, and are available in many different weights with varying features. Some jackets are lighter, made to be easily rolled up and put into your backpack only to be pulled out if needed. The lighter weight shells are not as durable as heavier ones can be, so the activities that you intend to do while wearing them may be limited. Rugged activities such as rock or ice climbing may require something more durable. Even when carrying a heavy backpack, you may want a tougher hardshell.
There is also a wide range of features that you may find or want in your hardshell. Some popular features are: waterproof zippers, pit-zips, adjustable hoods (some are helmet compatible and some are not), high chest pockets, a Recco reflector, adjustable cuffs and hems, powder skirts, double zippers, and interior pockets. Finding the perfect combination of features in your jacket will ensure your happiness with your purchase.
Hardshell jackets are also made from different materials. A common membrane that can be used is called GoreTex. This is a waterproof and windproof membrane that is the key to protecting you from the elements. Many companies use their own type of membranes which are very effective as well. These materials must also be able to breath while keeping water and wind outside.
This is the most common form of insulated jackets. They are generally cheaper than down jackets, and do not loose their ability to keep you warm if the insulation gets wet. The insulation may be thin for cooler weather, or thicker for cold weather. Every jacket can be a bit different, so be sure to choose the proper insulation piece for your needs. The outer face fabric used on all insulated jackets makes a big difference on performance.
Jackets for Skiing and Snowboarding need to be durable, waterproof, windproof, comfortable, and allow for movement. They should have a powder skirt to keep snow and ice out , a large helmet compatible hood that is adjustable, and Plenty of pockets for your hats, gloves, goggles, and even your ski passes. An other nice feature is to have pit-zips, a great way to expel heat and keep you comfortable. Many jackets may also have a Recco reflector which is a device that helps rescue teams find you if your lost or buried in the snow!
For more specific information on Jackets from various companies, please go to my YouTube Channel, and use the playlists to help you find the video you’re looking for!