the author opening the venting zips on the Carbide bib pants
(Photo/Mary Murphy)

Best Ski Jacket for Women: Outdoor Research Carbide Jacket Review

Hands down one of the best women’s ski jackets we’ve tested this year, Outdoor Research’s Carbide Jacket has a great design and some unique features.

Outdoor Research’s Carbide Jacket (and bibs) blew our editors away in testing. In fact, the Carbide Jacket won our best overall pick for women’s ski jackets this year.

In short: The Outdoor Research Carbide Jacket ($299) works for backcountry, side-country, or inbounds skiing as well as snowboarding and snowshoeing. Its fit is great, its durability is high, and it’s covered in lots of great features (venting galore).

Outdoor Research Carbide Jacket Review

Carbide jacket with hood
(Photo/Mary Murphy)

In testing, this jacket wasn’t just good — it was damn near perfect. For skiing (both resort and backcountry) and other backcountry winter activities, the Carbide Jacket excelled. It’s got a three-layer Pertex Shield shell, two zippered hand pockets, two zippered chest pockets, an inner drop pocket, and a helmet-compatible hood.

In essence, this jacket is:

  • a technical shell with a women’s-specific fit
  • covered in pockets
  • durable
  • comfortable
  • and more!

A few weeks ago, I was riding up a chairlift at Arapahoe Basin — one inch of fresh snow beckoned and excitement hung in the air. There was the usual chairlift chit-chat, then a female skier on the other end leaned over and said, “Excuse me, what jacket is that? I love it!” She was referring to the two-tone purple colors.

Since then, I’ve received this inquiry a few more times: “What jacket is that? It looks so light!” or “What jacket are you snowshoeing in? Is it breathable?” Yes, yes, and yes. Yes to the flattering two-tone design, yes to the lightweight, waterproof-breathable shell, and yes to the long pit zips that provide ample room to breathe on the uphill.

Jacket Features

This jacket has a bigger helmet-compatible adjustable hood and thoughtful details like a ski pass pocket and adjustable cuffs. It also packs down nicely. But if I had to pick just one praise for this jacket, aside from its overall look and feel, it’d be the pockets. Boy, does this jacket deliver great storage.

The jacket is fully seam-sealed with water-resistant zippers. The zippers lay and slide just OK, so this may be one area of improvement for the brand. The pocket placement for both the hand pockets and chest pockets is great, and I loved the ability to carry lots of essentials (phone, map, snacks, ski pass on resort days, etc.) in the jacket while carrying things like a beacon in the beacon-specific pocket in the corresponding bibs.

the author sliding her phone into one of the OR carbide jacket chest pockets
Double chest pocket detail on the Outdoor Research Carbide Jacket; (photo/Mary Murphy)

Testing the Carbide Jacket (and Bibs)

When testing this jacket on the uphill, I barely noticed it was there. It was comfortable, and the venting was plentiful (both the jacket and bib have long zippered vents on both arms and thighs). The matching Outdoor Research Carbide Bibs ($299) also performed well on the uphill, namely on a 5-plus-mile snowshoeing slog this November.

view of the Outdoor Research Carbide bib zippered hand pockets
(Photo/Mary Murphy)

The temps were mild, but between the wind and an hour of snowfall, I was very glad to have a waterproof shell.

The bibs also pair seamlessly with the style and elements of the jacket. Here are a few of the bibs’ features: a drop zipper down the side (for easy bathroom access), open venting on both sides, two zippered thigh pockets, and one chest pocket on the upper bib panel. The bibs are also finished with some pretty amazing (read: adjustable) one-inch suspender straps.

All in all, this lightweight, waterproof ski jacket and bibs will be one of my go-tos throughout this season.

Check Carbide Jacket Price at REICheck Carbide Jacket Price at Outdoor ResearchCheck Carbide Bib Price at Outdoor Research

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Mary Murphy

Mary is the Managing Editor of GearJunkie and is based in GearJunkie's Denver, Colo. office. She has a degree in English and journalism, and has a background in both newspaper and magazine writing. Her outdoor interests span from running to sport climbing, from landscape photography to skiing to pack-paddleboarding. If she's not writing, you can most likely find her at the top of a fourteener, or in a local bakery.