The Best Outerwear for Cross-Country Skiing

The Best Outerwear for Cross-Country Skiing

Cross-country skiing is a popular winter pastime that’s also a great workout. Rather than gliding down a ski slope as in downhill skiing, cross-country skiing involves trekking across flat, snowy land on skis. Although the specifics are different, both downhill and cross-country skiing requires the right apparel. Keep reading for tips on putting together the right skiing outfit, and which types of women’s and men’s winter coats are best for this sport.

The Basics of Ski Apparel

A good place to start when choosing a cross-country-skiing outfit is with thermal underwear. There are men’s and women’s thermals that produce heat by absorbing body moisture—keeping you warm and dry. For maximum comfort, choose a stretchy fabric like a polyester/spandex blend. This material fits close to the body and is perfect for layering under any winter outfit. Plus, it moves with you, so you’ll never feel constricted as you tackle the terrain.

Layer ski pants over your thermals to prevent wind and snow from getting through. You don’t want to wear men’s or women’s jeans for cross-country skiing because denim isn’t water-resistant. When it comes to shirts, a long-sleeve sport tee can be worn over your thermal top and under your outerwear. Now let’s take a look at the best coats and jackets for cross-country skiing.


Women’s and men’s parkas are a coat style that’s good for cross-country skiing. When choosing outerwear, you’ll want something warm and water-resistant—and parkas check both boxes. Features of parkas are much the same for men and women. They have to cinch at the waist for a shapely look and can be found with and without hoods. You’ll probably want a hooded style, although there are women’s and men’s winter hats that are also good for cross-country skiing and any other winter activities.

Parkas come in insulated styles for maximum warmth. There are down parkas and those insulated with synthetic down materials like ThermoPlume®, which has the warmth and loft of down without the feathers. Look for a full-zip parka with a chin guard to keep frosty air at bay; you might also want a parka with adjustable cuffs to prevent snow from getting in.

Puffer Jackets

The classic puffer—which also comes in down and ThermoPlume® styles—is another type of outerwear for cross-country skiing. It’s also suitable for downhill skiing, and like all these coats, it works for daily wear, too. Look for puffer jackets with channels to keep the insulation from shifting around; other features to look for include elastic at the cuffs and a hood with a drawcord to keep cold air and moisture out.

Puffers come in many colors, so you can find one that matches the rest of your ski outfit. There are packable down coats in this style that fold up for easy transport. You can tuck one into your ski bag or suitcase without it taking up valuable space.

Squall Jackets

As the name suggests, Squall jackets and coats are designed for the most demanding conditions. There are different styles of Squall outerwear—including parkas, hooded jackets, stadium coats, and 3-in-1 styles. The 3-in-1 style is perhaps the most versatile, as the components can be worn separately or together depending on the weather.

There are Squall snow pants, waterproof gloves, and even hats. This coat style isn’t just good for skiing—it’s also an excellent winter option for the whole family. There are kids’ Squall coats and even insulated dog coats for those winter walks.

Barn Coats

Another water-resistant outerwear style for cross-country skiing is the barn coat. These coats are as stylish as they are practical; some have full-zip fronts with button closure. There are men’s and women’s barn coats in quilted styles—many of which are water-resistant. One thing you may appreciate about this coat type is that it’s not too bulky, so you won’t feel constrained.

Barn coats come in packable styles, so they’re great for travel. Even if you don’t wear one of these coats on the ski trail, you can wear one in the après-ski lounge. They coordinate with most winter outfits, whether you’re wearing ski apparel or a casual everyday outfit like fleece-lined leggings and a tunic sweater. Barn coats—along with all Lands’ End outerwear—come in men’s, women’s, and kids’ sizes to fit every body.

Winter Accessories

Complete your cross-country skiing outfit with the right accessories. As mentioned, there are Squall hats and gloves with insulation for toasty warmth. You’ll also want protective eyewear to safeguard against UV rays and glare, along with winter socks under your ski boots. A winter scarf can also be helpful when it comes to keeping the wind away from your body.

There’s a coat style that’s right for every skier. Shop the selection to find outerwear with the features you need and the style you want.


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