Product: Volcom Billie Jacket
Price: $180.00 (USD) recommended retail
My rating: 6.65/10
Hello and welcome to this week’s jacket review. Today we are looking at the Volcom Billie Women’s Snow Jacket.
I will assess the jacket on a number of factors including waterproofness, breathability, functionality, style and value for money.
O.k. let’s get straight into it.
There are two important things concerning waterproofing – the waterproof rating of the fabric and the way the seams are sealed.
If you want to get more detail on waterproofing and the other things to look out for in a snowboard jacket check out the article below.
The Key Specs to look out for when Choosing a Snowboard Jacket
The Volcom Billie has a waterproof rating of 8,000mm. This is a bit low, in my opinion. I would always look for a minimum of 10,000mm.
Usually they come in a rating from between 5,000mm to 20,000mm. My own jacket is 10,000mm and always keeps me dry – whereas my jacket before that was only 5,000mm and I was always wet.
My jacket is also fully seam sealed which helps it to be a good waterproof jacket. So let’s see if the Billie is.
Waterproof rating score = 8,000mm = 1.2/2.0
Unfortunately the Billie only has critically taped seam sealing. I would really recommend fully seam sealed if you can – unless you only ride in nice weather, then you can get away with it!
Seams sealed score = critically sealed = 1.0/2.0
The Billie’s breathability rating is 3,000g – again this is low. This usually ranges from 3,000g to 20,000g. So that is really the bottom of what you will see (though I have seen some at 1,000g).
If the fabric doesn’t breathe well then it’s going to get very uncomfortable when you sweat and the material doesn’t wick that sweat away – instead the moisture stays inside the jacket and is at least uncomfortable. At worst the sweat will cool down when you take a break and then you end up cold when you start again.
In my opinion breathability is the next most important thing to waterproofing. Naturally women don’t sweat as much as men so maybe not as big an issue in a women’s jacket but I would still look for something around 8,000g and up.
Breathability score = 3,000 = 0.80/2.0
As far as insulation goes the Billie has a lining. There is no extra insulation, which as far as the Billie in concerned is actually a good thing. I would usually add extra points for extra insulation but in the Billie’s case I think it’s actually a good thing!
Hear me out.
If you get this jacket, you really are getting it as a fair weather jacket. Due to its lack of waterproofness I wouldn’t take this out in bad weather. So if you are going out only in nice weather in this jacket then you don’t want that extra insulation or you may overheat.
And since the breathability is poor also you definitely don’t want to overheat too much.
Insulation score = 0.80/1.0
It’s definitely handy to have a powder skirt – unless you want snow down your pants all day. They’re not going be 100% foolproof but usually do their job.
Most snowboard jackets do have them and the Billie is no exception.
Powder skirt = yes = 1.0/1.0
The Billie has one of these too. Okay now we’re starting to get some points going.
Hooded = yes = 1.0/1.0
And it does have venting. Phew! At least if you do get too hot you can zip down those armpit vents for a bit of relief.
Venting = Yes = 0.25/0.25
The Billie has a couple of hand pockets and the all important “media” pocket. The media pocket is the only internal pocket though. It could do with another internal pocket or an extra external pocket.
Pockets = 2 exterior, 1 interior media pocket = 0.20/0.25
Style is very subjective but personally I quite like the look of the Billie. Keep in mind this is coming from a male perspective.
It has enough shape to look feminine but not so much that you look like you’re going for a night out on the mountain. Some of those super tight fitting women’s jackets just don’t look comfortable for riding in!
Style score = 0.40/0.50
O.k. let’s see what the final verdict is. Check out the score in the table below.
|FACTOR||RATING (OUT OF 5)||CONTRIBUTION TO FINAL SCORE|
|Waterproofing (seams sealed):||2.5||1.0/2.0|
|TOTAL||6.65 out of 10|
This is of course only one way to look at it. But it does give some indication. And the indication for me is that it’s not the ideal jacket for snowboarding in.
One thing we haven’t taken into account is price so let’s see if it’s value for money.
Value for Money
Even though $180 is definitely cheaper than your average snow jacket it’s still too much for what you get (in my humble opinion).
Of 8 women’s jacket’s I analysed in the $150 to $200 price range the average score was 7.7/10. Admittedly most of those were closer to $200 than $150 but goes to show you that you can pick up something decent for around $200 RRP.
In fact couple of those jackets scored over 8 using the same criteria and one of those, the Burton Horizon scored 8.9
Where to Buy
I found the Billie at both The-House.com and Backcountry.com.
At the time of writing (mid March) it was on sale (for $135). Personally I still wouldn’t get it at that price – I need something that’s highly waterproof and breathable (and that’s something you can find for around $200 – and I would just spend the extra money).
That said this could actually sound like the perfect jacket for you (if price is your biggest concern and you are willing to sacrifice a bit of functionality).
>>The Volcom Billie at the-house.com
>>Volcom Billie at Backcountry.com
>>Volcom Billie at Torpedo7.com (New Zealand)
If you are looking for something else you can check out the full catalogues at the link below.
>>Full Collection at the House.com (over 200 different women’s jackets)
>>Full Collection at Backcountry.com
I hope this review has helped you in your research and if you have any questions or comments just leave them in the comments below.
Snowboarding jackets can be very hard to pick out. I have always like the ones with light insulation and breathable. I get very hot when going down a mountain but very cold on the lifts. Water proof is probably the most important aspect and for that reason I probably would go with a different coat and spend a little more cash
Hey Bryan – 100% agree. It’s definitely worth spending a bit more – and really you only have to fork out an extra $10-$20 and you can find something a whole lot more waterproof. Hot on mountain, cold on lifts – that is always the dilemma. Need to find a good balance. Though I find if I can stay dry (from rain, snow and sweat) then usually I will be warm enough – except of course on those super cold days – but I always just add another Merino layer underneath for those occasions. Thanks for reading and your input.