A good jacket is vital, no matter what kind of skiing you are pursuing. And cross country skiing is a unique style of the sport that requires somewhat specialized equipment. Getting geared up with a cross country ski jacket will pay off immensely on the trails.
I’ve been skiing for decades and have years of experience as both an alpine and nordic skier. I know what to look for in the best jackets for cross-country skiing and have thoroughly researched each option mentioned here.
The Arc’teryx Norvan LT Hoody is my pick for the best cross country ski jacket of the year. This lightweight but highly waterproof model will provide you with all of the performance features you want and need for winter days on the trail.
There are a handful of other solid options to choose from out there, and I’ll give you all the best cross country ski jackets in this post. My goal is to get you ready for your nordic adventures, no matter how far or long you want to stay outside.
Let’s wax up those skis and get started.
- Who Should Get This
- Best Cross Country Ski Jacket: Top Picks
- Best Cross Country Ski Jacket: What to Consider
- Useful Tips & Resources
- Final Verdict
Who Should Get This
Cross country skiers need to be able to protect themselves from the elements, regardless of their experience level or how far they plan to travel. Even a short trip can lead to trouble without proper preparation, and a good jacket is essential when out on the trails.
Every skier can appreciate a great jacket, and the following models have what it takes to stand up to the elements for an extended period. The models here are built with cross country skiers in mind and are lightweight and comfortable.
These jackets are typically less insulated than standard alpine ski jackets. Nordic skiing is hard work, and you are often sweating, so you don’t need as much insulation.
Best Cross Country Ski Jacket: Top Picks
Here are my picks for the best cross country ski jackets of the year. Each model below comes highly recommended and will give you outstanding performance when you need it most.
1. Arc’teryx Norvan LT Hoody
- Best for: Overall
- Key features: Strong construction, flexible, breathable, excellent waterproofing, lightweight
- Waterproofing: Gore-Tex
- Insulation: Shell
- Cost: $$$$
The Arc’teryx Norvan LT Hoody is the best cross country ski jacket around. This isn’t sold specifically as a nordic ski jacket, but it has all the features that you’ll want and need on the trails.
A Gore-Tex shell gives you outstanding protection from the snow and wind while also being very breathable to help wick away sweat while you ski.
The lightweight design is highly flexible and will move with your body so you can ski as fast as and as long as possible. It’s a minimalist design that experienced skiers will appreciate.
It also comes with a strong and effective zipper and hood, so you can bundle up if the weather gets horrible.
This is an expensive jacket, especially for a shell – but it gets the job done.
2. Swix Women’s Strive Cross-Country Softshell
- Best for: Women
- Key features: Affordable, women’s specific design, lightweight, versatile, good fit, durable construction
- Waterproofing: Water-resistant
- Insulation: Shell
- Cost: $$
Female cross country skiers will appreciate everything about the Swix Women’s Strive Cross-Country softshell jacket.
This is another lightweight option that is built for life on the trails. It’s very comfortable while also offering solid wind and water resistance.
Durable construction means you can put this model through constant abuse without worrying about it breaking down or wearing out.
It’s not fully waterproof, so you probably won’t want to take it out when the snowflakes are falling hard.
Read More: Best Women’s Ski Jackets
3. Swix Surmount Down Cross-Country
- Best for: Warmth
- Key features: Extremely warm, solid construction, chest pockets, puffy hood, comfort fit
- Waterproofing: Water resistant
- Insulation: 600 fill down
- Cost: $$$$
Cross country ski jackets don’t get much warmer than the Swix Surmount Down Cross-Country. This is another option from one of the most well-known manufacturers in the world of nordic skiing.
The jacket comes with an impressive amount of insulation in the form of 600 fill down. This will keep you cozy and retain its insulating properties, even when wet.
Other fantastic features include YKK watertight zippers, chest pockets, and a puffy hood for added warmth and weather protection.
This can be overkill for most skiers, but if you need extra warmth, it’s a solid choice.
4. Camel Crown Waterproof Ski Jacket
- Best for: Budget Option
- Key features: Affordable, good fit, wind and waterproof, anti-scratch shell, adjustable cuffs
- Waterproofing: 10K polyester
- Insulation: Shell
- Cost: $
The Camel Crown Waterproof Ski Jacket is a very affordable option that will meet the needs of many nordic skiers.
This jacket is fully wind and waterproof, thanks to a 10K polyester shell. It also has good breathability and will dry out quickly if you build up a sweat.
A detachable hood lets you adapt to changing conditions, while an ergonomic fit leads to lasting comfort and unrestricted movements on the trails.
This isn’t the most durable option, but that’s a tradeoff you make with cheaper materials.
Also Read: Best Budget Ski Jackets
5. Chamonix Caden XC
- Best for: Lightweight
- Key features: Lightweight construction, comfortable, waterproof, breathable, two hand warmer pockets
- Waterproofing: 5K with DWR
- Insulation: Shell
- Cost: $
If you are looking for a lightweight option that won’t hold you back as you ski, the Chamonix Caden XC is highly recommended.
This is a simple jacket, but it is very affordable while still giving you good comfort and performance on the trails.
It has a 5K waterproof rating to keep you dry and is also highly breathable to make sure you stay comfortable when skiing tough.
This jacket has a somewhat smaller fit, so you might want to size up if you are in-between sizes.
Best Cross Country Ski Jacket: What to Consider
Here are some good things to keep in mind when shopping for the best cross country ski jacket to meet your needs this winter.
Every ski jacket, cross country or otherwise, exists to keep you warm. Special linings, soft fabrics, and plush interiors are all qualities to look for when picking out snow clothing. You need a jacket that can insulate your body no matter where you go.
Cross country jackets don’t need to be as heavily insulated as alpine jackets, but you still don’t want to get cold. It helps to find jackets with pocket or hoodie options to give you a little extra warmth – but be sure to match insulation levels to whatever your preference is.
The primary purpose of your jacket is to keep away the cold, and that includes water. Do your best to find jackets that offer weather resistance, water resistance, or waterproof materials. You’ll also be sweating, so look for materials that dry quickly.
You’re going to encounter a lot of snow, sleet, and ice while on the trail, and that means your clothing needs to wick away moisture quickly. Strong seams and premium materials both go a long way as well.
Cross country skiing is an intense activity. As such, no matter how cold it gets outside, you need a way to prevent overheating. Jackets with substantial ventilation help on that end by providing a place for your body heat to escape.
Not only does that cut down on sweat, but it can also prevent you from developing problems like hypothermia. Look for options that have vents built into the design or have zippers that allow for extra airflow.
Useful Tips & Resources
If you have never tried cross country skiing before, I would highly recommend it. It’s a great form of exercise and a lot different than downhill styles. It can be challenging at first, but once you get the hang of the basics, it’s a ton of fun.
Taking a lesson is always a good idea for newbies, but you can also just dive in and learn through trial by fire. There are some great tips to keep in mind in this post, and if you take this advice to heart, you’ll pick up nordic skiing in no time.
It’s also good to know that cross country is also often called Nordic skiing or XC skiing. They all mean the same thing, and it just depends on who you are talking to. Check out the video below for some more tips on proper techniques to help you ski better.
The Arc’teryx Norvan LT Hoody is my top pick for the best cross country ski jacket of the year. While this option isn’t explicitly marketed as a cross country jacket, it has a lightweight build and extreme waterproofing, making it very well suited to the task.
All of the jackets you see above will work well for nordic skiers of all types. Whether you are just learning how to get on the trails or gearing up for an extended race, you need to have good gear to stay warm and try while you ski.