For outdoor enthusiasts and lovers of winter sports, you already know the importance of choosing the appropriate outdoor gear. Many people, however, forget some of the basics. Snow pants are one of the most critical pieces of your winter sports wardrobe, yet many overlook their importance. From skiing to snowboarding or hiking in adverse winter conditions, the right pants can make a world of difference.
You're working hard when skiing or snowboarding down the toughest trails. Your snow pants are working just as hard to keep you dry, warm, and comfortable. Regardless of your chosen outdoor sports activities, there's an excellent option for every athlete, at any level of competition.
How to Choose the Best Snow Pants
When comparing snow pants, it isn't about choosing the thickest pants, or those with the highest waterproof rating. Although these aspects are necessary, the sport you engage in will also impact your decision. These are a few critical factors to consider as you're deciding on a pair of pants for outdoor wear.
You're engaging in winter sports, meaning temperatures are going to be cold. The pants need to be warm enough to protect your legs and midsection from the frigid temperatures. Any shell which features a little extra interior lining is going to increase levels of warmth. There is also the option to wear unlined pants with a base layer below (spandex, compression gear, etc.). Depending on comfort and mobility, each skier or snowboarder will choose a different option of pants.
Most ski and snowboard pants have waterproof ratings falling between 5,000 to 20,000. The higher the number, the higher the waterproofing. Materials like eVent or Gore-tex have high scores. The type of finish will also determine the level of waterproofing. Pants with a soft exterior shell are more comfortable than those with a hard exterior shell. However, they have a lower waterproof rating than pants with a harder exterior shell.
A balance of comfort, warmth, and waterproofing are all variables athletes should consider when choosing snow pants.
Snow Pants With or Without a Bib
Snow pants are available with and without a bib. For those who desire extreme comfort, no waistband, and protection from the cold, bibs are the way to go. They do, however, come at a premium cost.
Features of the Best Snow Pants
Every athlete looks for something a little different in their sports gear. When choosing snow pants, it is essential to decide which features are crucial, versus those that are nice to have. These are a few standard features a good pair of snow pants will have.
A gaiter is a feature snowboard, and ski pants alike share. The gaiter is directly below the pant's cuffs and helps keep snow out of the boots. Gaiters feature hooks, laces, and some pants feature a zipper-design which makes them easier to manipulate. When choosing snow pants, consumers should try pairs with and without a built-in gaiter to determine the best fit.
Pockets and cuff reinforcement
Pockets are necessary for storage purposes. And, it'd be safe to assume most manufacturer place at least a couple pockets on snow pants. Some, however, add additional storage pockets. If this is important to athletes, they should look for more pockets when choosing pants. Cuff reinforcements are also on almost every pair of snow pants. They're made to help prevent tearing or damage to the pants.
Zip vents are present on many ski and snowboarding pants. It allows wearers to dispel the heat when the weather gets warmer. The zippers are often around the thighs and many pants feature mesh lining to help increase breathability as well. If this is an important feature, skiers and snowboarders should consider this when choosing pants as well.
Jacket to Pant Connection
An additional snowproof barrier is a jacket to pant connection. Some manufacturers include this feature, and as long as jackets are compatible, they'll close together. It helps prevent wind from seeping in through the jacket. It's also a great feature when riding in thick/deep snow.
The Proper Fit and Comfort Levels for Snow Pants
The fit is indeed a matter of personal preference, at least when it comes to how loose or form fitting the pants are from the wearer's body. Snow pants are available in slim, relaxed, and regular fit. Slim fit is best for people who are active. They fit close to the body so don't hinder movement. Regular fit doesn't constrict movement, and "fit true to size." They'll fit similarly to any pair of jeans or pants consumers own. Relaxed pants are roomier at the hips and waist minimizing discomfort. These pants are best for lower impact sports, or those not requiring much mobility.
Our Review Process
When reviewing snow pants, we looked at pants for both skiing and snowboarding purposes. The levels of waterproofing, wind protection, and warmth were some critical aspects of the review process. Additional features, design, and comfort, were also areas we review. Lastly, we consider the price and overall ratings.
The Best Snow Pants for Winter Activites
Snow pants are available for both skiing and snowboarding activities. Therefore, it is essential to determine the sports one plans on engaging in most to choose the best pants. Some hybrid options are available. It is, however, best to consider pants made explicitly for skiing or snowboarding. These are the best options available.
Free Soldier Lined Ski Pants
- STAY WARM: FREE SOLDIER Snow Ski Fleece Lined Pants are made of 94% Scratch-resistant Polyester 6% Stretch Spandex soft...
- WATER RESISTANT & WINDPROOF: Surface layer is designed with Water Repellent Coating obviously repels rain and snow, cuts...
- MULTI-POCKETS & ERGONOMIC DESIGN: 5 Secured Zipper Pockets with Drawstring can keep your phone, wallet, key, tactical...
The ski pants feature 94 percent polyester and six percent spandex, with a soft shell fabric exterior. The inner layer features a fleece lining for warmth, and the surface layer has a water repellant coat. The pants repel wind and snow, keep skiers warm, and are highly flexible for extending the range of motion when skiing. The pants also feature a moisture wicking treatment, to help keep skiers cool when the weather warms up. Six secure pockets offer a great deal of storage to free the wearer's hands up as well.
Many skiers complain the pants aren't waterproof. They do repel water to a certain extent. However, many indicate that adding a waterproofing protectant can help keep wearers dry.
Wantdo Ski Snow Insulated Pants
- New upgrade: According to customers' suggestion, we improved the quality of zipper and more accurate size to make the...
- Material: The water-resistant and moisture-wicking fabric will keep you dry during snow days, and super soft fleece...
- Features: Elastic waist with belt loops can meet different needs; adjustable bottom will fit your boots and help to keep...
These ski pants feature a 100 percent polyester exterior soft shell finish with microfleece lining on the inside. The wick proof and moisture repelling exterior keep skiers dry and fresh as they heat up exerting energy going downhill. The pants feature four pockets and a quick-drying exterior to ensure high levels of comfort at all times.
A comfortable waist design features side elastics on the pants. This feature helps increase mobility and movement for skiers engaging in fast moving activities. Many reviews also point they are easy to move in and form-fitting, so they don't hinder mobility. Some reviews claim that the pants don't do a great job of repelling water. The exterior is not 100 percent waterproof. And, although they dry quickly, the design does allow some water to seep into the interior lining.
DC Dcsaa Banshee 10k
These snowboarding pants are waterproof up to 10K helping keep snowboarders extremely dry in snowy or rainy weather. The pants feature 100 polyester shell exterior and insulation fill weight of 40 grams. The pants have a taffeta lining and regular fit.
The regular fit is ideal for those who don't want to restrict movement, however, don't want extremely tight snow pants. The insulation filling also helps increase levels of warmth when temperatures get too cold. Snowboarders indicate the high price of the ski pants is a deterring factor when choosing snow pants for sports. Although they are well-made, the rates are much higher than several competitor products available in the category.
Quicksilver Porter Shell 10K Snowboarding Pants
The 100 percent polyester exterior is waterproof up to 10K rating. Even in extremely heavy snow and rain conditions, snowboarders will remain dry and warm. A brushed tricot and taffeta lining help keep snowboarders warm. Snowboarders love the reputation of the brand-name and the highest quality material finishes. A thin insulation shell keeps snowboarders warm, and the four pocket design affords additional storage to free wearer's hands up.
The most criticized design flaw of these pants is the loose-fitting design. They aren't too baggy. However, they might get in the way when moving at extremely high speeds.
Helly Hansen Ski Winter Pants
The pants feature a high tech performance, waterproof exterior, windproof shell. They are breathable, keeping wearers comfortable when skiing conditions warm up a bit in competition mode. The pants are fully insulated and feature a durable water repellancy treatment (DWR).
The snow pants offer flexibility and a stretchy finish. They keep skiers comfortable when moving at fast speeds, without constricting mobility. The pants are waterproof so that water won't seep into the interior. Wearers can also add a base layer below, without feeling limited in motion if they desire to do so. The pants are a little higher in price than other ski pants for winter activities. Many reviews also indicate the sizing is incorrect, and the pants are much larger than the size tag suggests.
Bienzoe Quick Dry Convertible Hiking Pants
- Size Range: For Men Waist size from 30"-44"
- Material Composition: Polyester/Cotton Ripstop Fabric
- Features: Straight-leg, Side cargo pockets, Front and back pockets, Legs can be zipped off into shorts, Pockets design...
This pair of outdoor snow pants is perfect for winter and summertime use. The product is made for hiking and features a convertible zipper at the knee. It allows owners to zip off the bottom portion and wear them as shorts when the weather warms up.
The material of the pants is polyester, and they have a cotton ripstop fabric. The pants also feature cargo pockets on either side for storing small items while hiking. They are breathable and lightweight, allowing for high levels of mobility. Many reviews indicate the pants are not waterproof, although the manufacturer claims they are. They do repel water but aren't suitable for heavy snow or rainfall.
Singbring Outdoor Windproof Hiking Pants
- Men's SIZE: S(Waist:29-32inch), M(Waist:32-35inch), L(Waist:36-39inch), XL(Waist:40-43inch)
- Soft shell polyester
- Adjustable waist allows pant to fit comfortably
A softshell polyester finish and an adjustable waist ensure high levels of comfort when wearing these pants. The product has side pockets and is waterproof and windproof.
Reviewers indicate they like the contouring color of these snow pants. The grey, with yellow finishes in the pockets, ensures wearers are highly visible. It is excellent if individuals are in a dangerous situation, they can signal for help a little easier. Customers indicate the pants are a little thin and require a base layer below to increase warmth. Some also state that the pants run a little smaller than expected.
Columbia Slope Ski Pants
The pants are made of 100 nylon exterior and feature the Omni-tech waterproofing exterior shell. The pants feature multiple pockets for storage, and thermal reflective technology keeps skiers warm.
Many reviews note that the pants are very comfortable for long periods of use. The nylon exterior is well-made and doesn't let water permeate to the interior lining. The biggest complaint is lack of sizing availability and the considerable price discrepancies. Some reviews also note the pants are a little heavier than expected.
O'Neil Exalt Snowboarding Pants
The pants feature a 100 polyester exterior and a connector system allowing owners to attach their jacket to the pants. It helps reduce wind penetration and increases warmth in cold conditions.
The pants have a rating of 10K waterproof eliminating the possibility that water will penetrate the exterior shell. Wearers also remain dry snowy and rainy conditions. The primary complaint reviewers indicate is that the Velcro straps aren't waterproof allowing snow to seep in. In the case snowboarders fall, this could cause snow to penetrate to the interior lining.
Columbia Storm Surge Hiking Pants
- OMNI-TECH: Our proprietary technology provides air-permeable protection that's waterproof and breathable, keeping mother...
- ALL-WEATHER RAIN PANTS: Designed to keep you shielded, the Storm Surge Waterproof Rain Pants are critically seem sealed...
- WET WEATHER COMFORT: More than just a cold shell, these storm pants feature a mesh lining for a touch of extra warmth...
The Omni-shield exterior features a 100 nylon finish and 100 polyester interior lining ensuring high levels of breathability. The pants are waterproof and feature a drawstring closure at the waist for added comfort.
The pants have a mesh lining interior feature. It ensures breathability when hiking trails become too hot. The mesh helps prevent sweat condensation from occurring. One frequent complaint reviewers on Amazon mention is the issue of small/tight sizing of the pants. And, the lack of pockets is also a complaint many reviews note.
The best snow pants will differ depending on the sports athletes are engaging in. Our choice for the best skiing snow pants are the Columbia Slope Ski pants. The Omni-tech design increases breathability while keeping water out with the waterproof exterior shell. The reflective technology helps keep skiers warm when necessary, and the breathability keeps them cool when competition heats up.
Our pick for the best snowboarding snow pants is the Quicksilver Porter Shell. The pants feature a 10K waterproof rating, and the interior lining helps to increase warmth and comfort. Thin insulation keeps you warm. The extra storage pockets allow you to free your hands up when engaging in high flying tricks.
Our pick for the best hiking snow pants is the Columbia Storm Surge. Although they don't have pockets, the excellent material finish, and waterproof exterior keep you dry. The drawstring waist closure feature is also helpful. This fact is true for those who want to experience the highest levels of comfort when hiking.