How to Choose Your Next Pair of Snowboarding Pants

You don’t have to spend a fortune to find quality outer pants for snowboarding and skiing.

Snowboarding is one of the fastest growing winter sports today. To enjoy your ridin’ days to their fullest, you want to be sure you’re wearing snowboard pants that keeps you warm, dry, and comfortable. With the dizzying array of garments out there, how do you select snowboard pants that will provide great performance and still leave you with enough cash to buy a lift ticket? We’ve taken the hassle out of hunting for pants by narrowing the options to look for, so you can spend less time shopping and more time on the slopes. Here’s how to choose a great pair of snowboard pants.

Adjustable Waist

These are super warm thanks to 85 grams of ThermaTech insulation while 600 Denier Ballistic used to reinforce the ankle, scuff and hem guards provides excellent wear resistance. Arctix

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Whether you’re an expert rider or just beginning, there is nothing worse than feeling wet when you’re out for a fun day of cruisin’, which is why doing some research into the waterproof capabilities of different snowboard pants is important. Seams are the vulnerable points where water from melting snow can creep in. Garments touting seams that are taped at critical points or seam sealed along critical seams provide some protection, but if you want to guarantee you’ll stay totally dry, look for garments that are “fully seam sealed” to cover the entire garment.

Waterproof ratings (measured in millimeters) can also be helpful. Basically, the rating is based on the number of millimeters of water that would have to stack up on a garment before the water leaked through to your inner layer. Not all garment makers provide this information, but if they do, look for pants that have a minimum rating of 10,000mm to 15,000mm.

Large-Capacity Pockets

The 100% polyester outer shell keeps H2O out, while the plush inner lining provides warmth. Gash Hao

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We’ve all been there; you’re cranking through a morning in fresh powder when all of a sudden you feel clammy. That’s sweat building up inside from pants that aren’t breathing. When shopping for snowboard pants, look for breathability ratings (measured in grams). These ratings equate to the ability of a garment to allow water vapor (sweat) to be wicked outside of the garment while preventing water droplets from seeping back in. Consider 5000 grams to be a minimum. Ratings above that are even better. This is exactly what Gore-Tex (and similar wicking fabrics) are designed to do. You’ll pay a bit more for garments made with these breathable materials, but they’re worth it.

For Extreme Weather

Designed to move with you, these feature low-slung front pockets and two external, side-wrap cargo pockets. Wildhorn

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Unless you’re snowboarding in high winds or extremely low temps, you’ll generate plenty of heat heading downhill. It’s the ride back up on the chair that’s the killer. This is when warm snow pants really count. Bibs are always a warmer option because they protect your lower back and core (no gaps when you’re sitting on a chair and the wind is blowing). And insulated pants are great for those sub-zero days. Wearing a breathable layer underneath your snow pants, however, is a smart alternative to heavily insulated snowboard pants, and you can lose the extra layer on warmer days and still be totally comfortable.