What Makes Good Waterproof and Breathable Kids Ski & Snowboard Gear - SHRED DOG

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What Makes Good Waterproof / Breathable Youth Gear for Snow

What Makes Good Waterproof / Breathable Youth Gear for Snow

by Marc Dietz March 14, 2018 0 Comments

When it comes to kid's winter jackets, ski pants, and snowboard pants, one of the features most misunderstood is the waterproofness and breathability of the gear. Many products claim "fully waterproof" and "breathable" when, in reality, it simply isn't true or, at the very least, they don't differentiate between levels of performance. With this post we will explain what these ratings mean, decipher some of the lingo, and hopefully help parents make informed purchase decisions.

Why Does Waterproof/Breathable Matter?

It goes without saying that a jacket or pants designed for skiing, snowboarding, or just playing the snow, should do a good job keeping moisture out so your kids stay dry. And, yet, obviously some jackets and pants actually keep kids dry and many do not.

And, while they may not sweat as much as adults do, kids skiing or snowboarding or just playing hard outside do, in fact, work up a sweat, making breathability important as well. While it's obvious that a garment that doesn't breathe can make a kid feel overheated when sweating, it actually also makes them cold. If a garment is not breathable, sweat vapor turns to condensation trapped inside the clothing and when your kid stops moving (such as on the chair lift), that sweat chills and makes the child wet and colder inside the jacket and pants.

Shred Dog Girl Snowboarding

What Makes a Winter Jacket or Pair of Pants Waterproof and Breathable?

The primary part of the garment that provides waterproofing and breathability (and the reason they are measured together) is a laminate or membrane layer that is bonded or applied to the inside of the outer (face) fabric of the garment. This layer is designed to prevent larger molecules (such as water) from penetrating the membrane yet allow smaller molecules (like sweat vapor) to escape through the fabric and away from the body. The laminates, coatings, or separate membranes used for this layer are made in varying quality levels and, therefore, there is not one single “fully waterproof” or “completely breathable” option on the market.

The second component of waterproofing a jacket or pant is a durable water repellant (DWR) coating applied to the outer (face) fabric. The DWR is what makes water bead up and roll off of a garment and they enable the membrane layer to do its job by delaying the time it takes for the face fabric to become saturated. DWRs, however, are insufficient alone to make a garment fully waterproof vs just water-repellant or water-resistant. For more details, see this related blog post: Why a DWR is Necessary but Not Sufficient for Waterproof Youth Gear.

Finally, to further waterproof a garment, seam tape is applied to seal all the tiny holes that occur when fabric is stitched together. Once again, there are “good” and “better” approaches to seam taping. See this post for more details: What is Seam Taping and Why is it Important for Youth Winter Gear.

Is Maximum Waterproofing and Breathability Always Best?

No. Because the technical fabrics and DWRs required add significant cost to the clothing being made, it is important to identify your child’s needs based on what your family does.

Designing a jacket to withstand a torrential downpour for eight shred dog shell in nuking snowhours is different than designing a jacket for snow sports. Similarly, the breathability required for most youths skiing, snowboarding, or playing outside, is less than the breathability required for an adult ice climbing or hiking and "skinning" their way up a ridge for 3 hours to get to backcountry ski terrain.

So How Much Waterproofing and Breathability Do Kids Need for Snow Sports?

Waterproofness and Breathability are rated according to industry standard tests and measurements. You will typically see these ratings reported such as “10k/10k” or “15k/15k.” The first number refers to waterproofness, the second number refers to breathability, and the higher each number is, the greater the performance. For a more detailed understanding of what these ratings really mean, see our post on Deciphering Waterproof / Breathability Ratings.

So how good is good?

  • If your child is an ice climber, spends multiple days out backcountry skiing, and hikes or skins their way up ridges for 3 hours straight to get fresh tracks, then perhaps 20k/20k is the way to go. But the truth is, 20k/20k is overkill for the vast majority of kids making snowmen, going sledding, and even skiing or snowboarding hard all day at a ski resort, and it is simply not worth the extra cost.
  • Only the most premium ski and snowboard jackets and pants on the market offer 15k/15k because, again, it is expensive. All of these jackets from other brands, for example, cost at least $250 for kid’s sizes ($500 for adult), and $300 or more for some brands.
  • Most of the popular, average quality brands designed for skiing, snowboarding, and other winter sports, utilize a 10k/10k membrane. 10k/10k is adequate for generally dry days, less active kids, or for relatively short outings. During our testing, however, these products failed when used to ski all day and then play in the snow until dinner. They were also not breathable enough for energetic kids skiing hard in spring conditions.
  • Any rating lower than 10k/10k is usually not even mentioned in a product description and there is a reason for that. These products are simply not waterproof or breathable enough to be considered adequate for kids skiing, snowboarding, or just playing in the snow for any kind of extended period of time.

Shred Dog water repellant fabric


What does SHRED DOG use?

Our goal is to get kids outside, even when the weather doesn’t cooperate and enable them to stay outside having fun, while giving parents the peace of mind that their children are staying warm and dry.

Therefore, all of our winter hardshell jackets and winter snow pants utilize a 15k/15k waterproof/breathability rating and full seam taping. Because of our Direct-2-You pricing, we are able to make this higher investment in high-performance gear, while keeping our prices fair, honest, and lower than competitive brands that utilize lower performing waterproof/breathable membranes.

Please let us know in the comments below or by reaching out directly to info@shreddog.com if you have any questions or first-hand experiences you'd like to share!

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Marc Dietz
Marc Dietz



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Size Guides

SHRED DOG size guides are based on body size not garment measurements. Please note that all SHRED DOG products are designed to layer, therefore each product is cut and sized to accommodate the appropriate layers underneath it. 


If you want a "true to size" fit today with little to no room to grow, order the size that your kid falls into on the charts below.

If you want a "looser" fit with more room to grow, order 1 size up and use the Adjust-A-Fit System to shorten the sleeves or pant legs. As kids grow, the sleeves and pant legs can extend with them (only on Hardshells, Insulators, and Pants).

How To Measure

To get the best fitting products please take a few minutes to measure your kid following these simple steps.

For all measuring use a flexible tape. If you do not have a flexible measuring tape, you can you a piece of string etc. to take the initial measurement and then hold it up to a construction style measuring tape.

  1. Chest - Measure horizontally around the fullest area of the chest (underneath the arms)
  2. Waist or Hip – use whichever measurement is bigger to select your final size

Pre-Order & Team Uniform Products

All measurements are in inches.

 SIZE 4 5 6 8 10 12 14 16


22 - 23 23 - 24 24 -25.5 26 - 27.5 28 - 30 30.5 - 32.5 33 - 34.5 35 - 37
WAIST 21.5 22 22.5 - 23 23.5 - 24.5 25 - 26.5 27 - 28.5 29 - 30 30.5 - 32
HIP 22 23 23 - 24 24 - 27.5 28 - 29.5 30 - 31.5 32 - 33.5

34 - 36


Foundation Kids' Baselayers (Exclusive Pre-Order)

All Measurements are in inches.

 SIZE S (4-6) M (8-10) L (12-14) XL (16+)
CHEST 22 - 25.5 26 - 30 30.5 - 34.5 35 - 37
WAIST 21.5 - 23 23.5 - 26.5 27 - 30 30.5 - 32
HIP 22 - 24 24 - 29.5

30 - 33.5

34 - 36


     Girls Xena Hardshell, Swissie Convertible Bib Pant

    All Measurements are in inches.

     SIZE 4 5 6 S (8) M (10) L (12) XL (14)
    CHEST 22 - 23 23 - 24 24 - 25.5 26 - 27.5 28 - 30 30.5 - 32.5 33 - 34.5
    WAIST 21.5 22 22.5 - 23 23 - 24 24.5 - 26 26.5 - 28 28.5 - 29.5
    HIP 22 23 23 - 24 24 - 27.5 28 - 29.5 30 - 31.5 32 - 33.5


    Girls Seamless Baselayers

    All Measurements are in inches.

     SIZE XS/S (4 - 6) S/M (8 - 10) M/L (12 - 14)
    CHEST 22 - 25.5 26 - 30 30.5 - 34.5
    WAIST 21.5 - 23 23 - 26 26.5 - 29.5
    HIP 22 - 24 24 - 29.5

    30 - 33.5


    Boys Duke Hardshell, Ridgeback Convertible Bib Pant, Malamute Insulator

    All Measurements are in inches.

    SIZE 4 5 6 S (8) M (10) L (12) XL (14)
    CHEST 22 - 23 23 - 24 24 - 25.5 25.5 - 27 27.5 - 29.5 30 - 32 32.5 - 34
    WAIST 21.5 22 22.5 - 23 23.5 - 24.5 25 - 26.5 27 - 28.5 29 - 30
    HIP 22 23 23 - 24 24 - 27.5 27.5 - 29 29.5 - 31 31.5 - 33


    Boys Seamless Baselayers

    All Measurements are in inches.

    CHEST 22 - 25.5 25.5 - 29.5 30 - 34
    WAIST 21.5 - 23 23.5 - 26.5 27 - 30
    HIP 22 - 24 24 - 29 29.5 - 33