The Standard features thick wrist gaiters. Initially, I thought they were going to be too bulky and that I was going to run into issues getting gloves over them, but this proved to be unfounded. I was able to use them with a variety of gloves, including the thin bike gloves I generally wear while skiing park. The thumb hole is a little smaller than most of the competition though, so keep that in mind if you have bigger hands.
The zipper flap has magnets at the collar and hem that snap shut and lock the velcro down as you zip the zipper. These add a lot of weight to the jacket, but are also pretty dang cool.
The Standard has a permanent, adjustable powder skirt sewn into the lining that has tabs to interface with snow pants. I pretty much never wear powder skirts, and haven’t needed to with the Standard because of its long fit. But Knoble’s is one of the best I’ve seen (so long as you remember you are wearing it) which provides a nice segue into durability…
First the good: This jacket feels burly. The face fabric feels heavy enough to withstand an above average amount of wear and tear, and I’ve definitely put the jacket through quite a bit already. I have a tendency to try to jump between tightly spaced trees, which makes for a lot of pine branch whipping. I also took a few tumbles into trees (along with one early season scree slide) and the exterior of the coat shows nary a sign of wear. I have no reservations about doing my worst to this jacket.
Unfortunately, the interior has not fared so well. As I mentioned before, I never wear a powder skirt since I generally rely on longer coats and bib pants to keep the snow out. I did, however, use the powder skirt on the Knoble Standard jacket one time. Unfortunately, at the end of the day I forgot I had it buttoned up and unzipped the coat and whipped it off. The skirt stayed snapped around my waist and I tore part of the end of the skirt out of the lining.
The skirt is only attached to the thin inner lining of the coat, and not the heavy face fabric. This means that this junction is the only weak point I have found so far in the jacket’s construction.
To be very clear. If you are a normal person who remembers they used the powder skirt, and doesn’t try to fling their ski clothes off at the end of the day, this will be a total non-issue. As it is, since this was pretty clearly operator error and not normal wear and tear I just sewed the skirt back on. However I did reach out to Knoble about how they would handle this as a warranty issue.
Knoble is currently handling warranties on a case-by-case basis, and said that if a consumer had the same issue I had, they would either repair or replace the jacket, based on the extent of the damage. That seems more than fair.
I’ve worn the Standard jacket on bluebird days and during sideways sleet storms, and so far, it’s lived up to its stated 20k waterproofing and 21k breathiblity ratings very well. For a deeper look at what those ratings mean, check out our Outerwear 101 article. We might note that Knoble isn’t using a name brand fabric or membrane, which probably contributes to the low price
I have yet to wet out the Standard jacket, and I’ve worn it in some pretty horrendous weather. I’d be confident using it as an everyday jacket, even somewhere that’s as wet as the PNW was last season.
While I haven’t done much extended touring in the Standard, I have done a lot of high-output biking (on my way to the resort), that put the breathabilty to more of a test than most of my tours would have. To be sure, this isn’t some airy softshell, but I found it to breathe very well. Would this be my first choice for long, high-output efforts? No. Can it handle normal touring without becoming a sauna? Yes.
Who’s It For?
When I initially browsed Knoble’s website, I got the impression that their gear carried a heavy inbounds bias, and was directed more at the “looking classy while skiing crowd.” This is a good looking coat—I’ve been wearing mine around town almost as much as I’ve worn it skiing. But the Standard doesn’t sacrifice performance to achieve this style.
It really seems to be competing in two different categories:
(1) More casual coats like the Orage Sarge (10k/10k, $260) that have a similar style, fit, and price point, but are heavier and not as high performance.
(2) Performance jackets like the the Sweet Protection Supernaut (Gore Pro, $699) or the Flylow Lab Coat 2.0 (Polartec Neoshell, $480) which are a bit more waterproof, breathable, and lighter, and feature a much more technical cut and styling.
The Standard performs much better than many casual coats, and is waterproof and breathable at almost the level of the more technical options. While it does sacrifice some weight and a little performance to the more technical options, that’s a trade I’m willing to make for the versatility, and more casual style and fit of the Standard.
I would recommend the Standard to any skier who is looking for a jacket that can hold its own inbounds in the worst of weather, won’t make your skin-track suffering much worse, and then can still look classy for apres beers. It’s really a one coat quiver, and the fact that it is so versatile—while costing significantly less than most other options—makes it especially attractive.
The Knoble Standard jacket is a surprisingly versatile piece. At first glance it looks like just another casual-styled ski coat that sacrifices performance for style. But in fact, it’s a fully-featured technical jacket that has a great price-to-performance ratio.
If you’re spending more than half your time on the skin track, there are lighter options that are better suited to skinning. But for the resort skier who only sometimes ventures into the backcountry and wants to do it all while still looking good, the Knoble Standard jacket is a great choice, and it doesn’t hurt that your money is going to a good cause, either.