Outerwear Buyers Guide

Here in New Zealand, we can experience all 4 seasons in one day, especially on the mountain. The key to comfort on the mountain whilst riding is having the combination of waterproof and breathable outerwear.

Getting your outerwear choice right can keep you on the mountain doing what you love for a longer amount of time.

Keep on reading, and we will explain all you need to know.

Love to ski/board in NZ’s powder? Then we will have a jacket and pant that will keep you dry and warm all day. If going into the café and warming up with a hot chocolate is more your vibe then we can help you out with finding the right combination of warmth and breathability.

The three main factors that go into all our snow outwear is insulation, breathability and waterproofing. So here we go...


There are many different types of water resistant fabrics used on our snow jackets and pants and all have different ratings which are focused on suiting different uses on the mountain.

All our jackets and pants have waterproof ratings that suit different level of activity and climates. The lower the rating the more suited to fair weather it is as its more suited to low moisture activities. Clothing that has a higher rating are more suited to people that will be out in the elements for a longer amount of time as they will need their gear to stay performing at a high level if the weather takes a turn. A high level of activity in wet snowy conditions will put even the best rated outerwear to the test.


Here is a rating waterproof chart to put it into perspective.

Waterproof Rating (mm)  Water Resistance Provided Conditions
0-5,000 mm No resistance to some resistance to moisture. Light rain, dry snow, no pressure.
6,000-10,000 mm Rainproof and waterproof under light pressure. Light rain, average snow, light pressure.
11,000-15,000 mm Rainproof and waterproof except under high pressure. Moderate rain, average snow, light pressure.
16,000-20,000 mm Rainproof and waterproof under high pressure. Heavy rain, wet snow, some pressure. Think PNW.
20,000 mm+ Rainproof and waterproof under very high pressure. Heavy rain, wet snow, high pressure

A high level of activity in wet snowy conditions will put even the best rated outerwear to the test. Right now at BaseNZ we off some of the best high performing jacket and pants. Some of which are made with GORE-TEX .

  • GORE-TEX - Gore-Tex is a waterproof, breathable fabric membrane. Basically it stops liquid water going through it but allows vapor to pass through which keeps you cool. Pretty clever aye.

Other companies now have their own brand of waterproof membranes also.


The first thought of being in snow is to protect yourself from getting wet. A close second would be to stay warm. Both can be accomplished by two different types of jackets. The shell jacket which is one waterproof layer that then you can add a separate insulated layer underneath even sometimes 2 layers depending on how cold the climate is. It’s a good option if you’re doing a high level of exertion for a longer amount of time. Your other option is having an insulated jacket that has all the warmth already attached to it. This can be the right choice if you tend to feel the cold a lot more and are doing shorter levels of activity. Having separated layers allows you to be more versatile as you can add or reduce layers depending on what level of activity you are doing, this is why it’s a staff favorite here at BaseNZ!


Being on the mountain means at some point you will be doing some level of activity. Whether its shredding the mountain or carrying the skis from the car to café your layers are going to need to be able to breathe. Here in New Zealand, we can have bluebird sunny mornings followed by freezing afternoons so having breathable outerwear is a must. As the body warms up our clothing must be able to breathe through all the layers we are wearing otherwise our sweat will become trapped and then freeze. We want to make sure you have the right technical layers on so you can spend the maximum amount of time on the mountain. We offer great base layer options which are all merino allowing for maximum breathability.

Outerwear tips and tricks

Like any technical wear, you will have to give your snow gear some love to help keep it performing at its best. Below are some little tricks and products that can help!

  • If you have had a big ol day in the snow and you’ve really tested out your gear you will need to make sure you dry it out completely. By making sure it is completely dry before you use it again means there wont be any moisture in it and it will allow it to immediately start doing its job of keeping you warm and dry the next day.
  • The more air that gets to it, the quicker it will dry. Try to hang it up as soon as you can. There is nothing worse than putting on wet cold snow gear the next day. Sad Face.
  • Hello Tumble dryer! If your garment has a GORE-TEX layer on it, by putting it in the tumble dryer on a low/gentle setting for 20 minutes it will reactivate the durable water-repellent (DWR) treatment on the outer fabric. Just make sure the item is completely dry before putting it in.

Washing Your Gear

Over time your waterproofing on your jacket or pants will decrease. There are some simple ways to get it back performing like they should. Here at BaseNZ we offer a range of Nikwax Tech Wash products. This is a product that has no additives and this means that it will not interfere with the garment performance. By following the label instructions, you cannot go wrong.

Need more info? Give us a call on 0800 227374 or you just Contact Us