Reviews You Can Rely On

REI Co-op Powderbound Insulated Review

An average-performance ski jacket with decent features at an affordable price
REI Co-op Powderbound Insulated
Photo: REI
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Price:  $199 List | Check Price at REI
Pros:  Inexpensive, moderately weather resistant
Cons:  Not warm enough for many winter days, bland style
Manufacturer:   REI
By Jeff Dobronyi ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 30, 2021
  • Share this article:
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
52
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#16 of 17
  • Warmth - 20% 5
  • Weather Resistance - 20% 6
  • Comfort and Fit - 20% 5
  • Ventilation - 15% 5
  • Style - 15% 5
  • Features - 10% 5

Our Verdict

The REI Powderbound Insulated jacket is a decent all-around performer at an attractive price. Our testing showed that the jacket isn't warm enough for most ski days on its own, and needs insulating mid-layers worn underneath. It has decent weather resistance that can withstand most snowstorms, but when the snow gets wet and slushy, the jacket can't keep up. It has some useful pockets and vents, but they could be better. The main attraction of this jacket is its price, which makes it a good choice for occasional skiers and for users who want to use it as a general winter jacket as well.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards  Best Buy Award Best Buy Award Best Buy Award  
Price $199 List
Check Price at REI
Check Price at REI
Compare at 3 sellers
$300 List
Check Price at REI
Check Price at REI
Compare at 3 sellers
Check Price at REI
Compare at 2 sellers
Overall Score Sort Icon
52
72
65
54
51
Star Rating
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Pros Inexpensive, moderately weather resistantStrong value, highly versatile, warm, loaded with ski-friendly featuresWeather resistant, good vents, plenty of featuresVersatile, inexpensive, warmAffordable, weather resistant, good set of features
Cons Not warm enough for many winter days, bland styleHeavy, poor ventilation in combined figurationHanging liner makes it a bit warm for a shell, fit isn't perfectBulky, basic fit and styling, limited weather protectionNot stylish, no ventilation, boxy fit
Bottom Line An average-performance ski jacket with decent features at an affordable priceThis versatile and reasonably priced jacket helps you customize your layers, whether you prioritize warmth, weather resistance, or bothA high-performance shell at a great priceA versatile and very affordable jacket for the occasional skier or snowboarderA good entry-level ski jacket for an affordable price
Rating Categories REI Co-op Powderbou... The North Face Ther... REI Co-op First Cha... Columbia Whirlibird... Columbia Last Tracks
Warmth (20%)
5.0
8.0
4.0
8.0
6.0
Weather Resistance (20%)
6.0
7.0
7.0
6.0
7.0
Comfort And Fit (20%)
5.0
7.0
7.0
4.0
5.0
Ventilation (15%)
5.0
6.0
7.0
4.0
2.0
Style (15%)
5.0
7.0
7.0
3.0
4.0
Features (10%)
5.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
6.0
Specs REI Co-op Powderbou... The North Face Ther... REI Co-op First Cha... Columbia Whirlibird... Columbia Last Tracks
Main Fabric Nylon 100% nylon 2-layer Gore-Tex Nylon 100% nylon
Insulation 60g polyester sleeves, 80g polyester body 100% Post-Consumer Recycled Polyester Recycled polyester lining 80g MicroTemp synthetic Omni-heat thermal reflective
Pockets 2 zippered hand, 1 sleeve, 1 internal zippered chest, 1 internal mesh Shell: 2 zippered hand, 1 zippered chest,1 internal media, 1 internal goggle, 1 internal zippered sleeve. Liner: 2 hand 2 handwarmer, 2 chest, 1 internal chest, 1 sleeve Shell: 3 external, 1 internal. Liner: 2 external, 1 internal Zippered hand, chest, and ski pass
Weight (pounds) 1.96 lbs 2.86 lbs 1.76 lbs 2.94 lbs 2.14 lbs
Water Resistance 2-layer waterproof breathable laminate DryVent 2L Gore-Tex OmniTech Multi-layered waterproof construction
Hood Adjustable Adjustable Adjustable Adjustable Adjustable and Removable
Pit-Zips Yes Yes (shell only) Yes Mesh-backed (shell only) None
Cuff construction Interior wide hook-and-loop adjustments and external velcro Velcro Velcro Velcro Velcro
Powder skirt? Yes Yes Yes, removable Yes Yes
RECCO? No No No No No

Our Analysis and Test Results

Performance Comparison


The REI Powderbound finding better snow on the edges of the groomer...
The REI Powderbound finding better snow on the edges of the groomer during early-season testing in Colorado.
Photo: Jackie Kearney

Warmth


The REI Co-op Powderbound Insulated uses synthetic insulation to provide warmth to the user. It's a lightweight jacket, at just under 2 pounds, which means there isn't much insulation in general, and the hood is completely uninsulated. Our testing occurred during early winter in the high Colorado Rockies, and this jacket was no match for the cold November temperatures we found on the ski slopes. For cold days, this jacket needs to be paired with more insulating layers.

Synthetic insulation provides the Powderbound's meager warmth.
Synthetic insulation provides the Powderbound's meager warmth.
Photo: Jackie Kearney

Weather Resistance


The Powderbound uses a proprietary waterproof and breathable membrane to keep out wind and water. We found this material to be reasonably effective at keeping out liquid water, but during our shower test, the shell fabric soaked through quickly. Furthermore, only some seams are sealed, which means water can leak in through the stitching. The zippers aren't waterproof either. If you ski or ride in a wet winter climate close to the ocean, this jacket won't be an every-day tool. On the upside, the hood provides full coverage of a helmeted head.

The full-coverage hood is the best part of the Powderbound's weather...
The full-coverage hood is the best part of the Powderbound's weather resistance system.
Photo: Jackie Kearney

Comfort and Fit


The cut of the Powderbound is boxy and uncontoured. This means there is a lot of extra material that drapes around the body, which makes for a less comfortable experience. The interior lining is soft against the skin, and the handwarmer pockets are lined with fleece, which is nice. But overall, we aren't huge fans of the fit for slender body types.

While the Powderbound's boxy fit isn't that comfortable, the...
While the Powderbound's boxy fit isn't that comfortable, the fleece-lined pockets are.
Photo: Jackie Kearney

Ventilation


Generally, the Powderbound doesn't vent well. The synthetic insulation and inner lining feel stuffy and not that breathable, keeping heat inside the jacket. In fact, the times we felt warm in this jacket were during aerobic activities like walking to the chairlift or skating across long flat areas. The armpit vents are unlined and open completely to the interior of the jacket, but they aren't very long, and the vent zippers pulls are hard to find and grasp with gloved hands.

The armpit vents on the Powderbound are relatively short, but they...
The armpit vents on the Powderbound are relatively short, but they open completely and allow decent ventilation during aerobic skiing and hiking.
Photo: Jackie Kearney

Style


The Powderbound's style is generic and unremarkable. The straight, boxy cut and wide hem produce an untailored look, and the baggy fit isn't our favorite style. It comes in a decent selection of colors, and the jacket generally fits into a crowd, rather than standing out. The style fits in with other budget ski jackets that we have tested, so if you are trying to blend in with a refined crowd, this jacket might not be a good choice.

We aren't huge fans of the Powderbound's style, but our testers like...
We aren't huge fans of the Powderbound's style, but our testers like to stand out on the slopes, and you might not.
Photo: Jackie Kearney

Features


The Powderbound features two fleece-lined handwarmer pockets that are large and useful. It comes with a left sleeve pass pocket, making RFID-reading lift turnstiles easy to navigate. The external zippered chest pocket has a horizontal opening, making it hard to manipulate and less useful. On the inside, a powder skirt, mesh stash pocket, and zippered chest pocket round out the set of features.

Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

Value


At a fraction of the cost of many high-end ski jackets, the Powderbound provides decent general winter jacket performance without excelling in any metric. If you are an occasional skier or rider looking for a jacket that can perform on the slopes for the cheapest price, this product is a good value, but there are other jackets on the market for a similar price that perform better. If you are a regular skier, you will quickly wish you shelled out a little more money for a better jacket.

Conclusion


The REI Co-op Powderbound is a decent ski jacket that provides acceptable performance at a rock-bottom price. It won't protect you on the coldest and stormiest winter days, but it is adequate for occasional use, and is a good choice for users in temperate winter climates who want a ski jacket that can also double as a general-use winter jacket as well.

The Powderbound on the slopes during testing in Wyoming.
The Powderbound on the slopes during testing in Wyoming.
Photo: Jackie Kearney

Jeff Dobronyi

Ad-free. Influence-free. Powered by Testing.

GearLab is founded on the principle of honest, objective, reviews. Our experts test thousands of products each year using thoughtful test plans that bring out key performance differences between competing products. And, to assure complete independence, we buy all the products we test ourselves. No cherry-picked units sent by manufacturers. No sponsored content. No ads. Just real, honest, side-by-side testing and comparison.

Learn More