Need some new snowboard pants? What a coincidence, us too. Which is why we made this guide to all the best around. Tried, tested, and recommended by riders, for riders. Let's go!
So, you’re after some snowboard pants, eh? Us too. Nothing gets our binding screws all aquiver like an ace pair of snowboard pants. But how do you sort the good from the great and make sure you’re getting the right pair for you? It’s a tough job with things like cut, style, waterproofing, material, features, storage, and fly closure to consider. Yeah, fly closure is a big deal. When you gotta go, you gotta go, right?
We distilled choosing a pair of snowboard pants down to an art, and have spent weeks scouring the internet for every shred of information we could find about the latest and greatest from your favourite snow brands. And the result is this. The best snowboard pants around, laid out and argued for your benefit. You’ll find our top choices, as well as where they’ll do best listed below. So relax, think about the pow days to come, and grab yourself a truly awesome pair of pants for this season.
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of the best pants, it’s crucial that we let you in on the criteria we used to rate the best ones. Now, you are aware that all models are made differently, right? But just how different are they? And which features are a must-have when picking the best models?
Snow is frozen water. So it makes sense that snowboard pants would be made waterproof. However, waterproofing in these pants is not as straight forward like it is with tech gadgets and other clothes like raincoats. While high-quality pants are water resistant even when subjected to high pressures, the fabric eventually gives in and starts to leak. So in a sense, snowboard pants are not unconditionally waterproof. Why?
Well, waterproof materials are designed to prevent entry and exit of liquids. So while you could snowboard with a thick raincoat made from rubber, at the end of your snowboarding session, you’ll be soaking wet from your own sweat. Sounds nasty, right? The trick is to strike a perfect balance between letting perspiration pass through and protecting your legs from the weather elements.
The best fabrics are Dry.Q, FlashDry, and eVent. When checking on waterproofing ability, check the rating stamped on the pant. The waterproofing rating is offered in mm. The higher the number, the higher the water resistance.
Most models range between 0 and 20,000mm. So, say you come across a pair with a waterproof rating of about 15,000mm. If you place a 1×1 square tube over the fabric, you can fill it up to about 15,000mm before it starts to leak.
Past this, things get complicated and very scientific. So we won’t bore you with the unnecessary waterproof tech jargon. All you need to know to buy a great pair of pants is that a higher rating means the fabric is less likely to leak.
We recommend getting snowboard pants with a waterproof rating of about 5,000mm. But if you frequent the mountain slopes and snowboard hard, then anything above 10,000mm is excellent.
Now, you are probably thinking that a high waterproofing rating equals low breathability. Well, while that might be true with other materials like rubber, it’s not the case with the materials used to make snowboard pants. And actually, the two concepts are different and distinct
Breathability rating (BR) is measured in grams. A high rating means you are less likely to get soaked in your sweat. A high BR rating translates to more water vapor passing through the fabric from the inside. We’ll put it into perspective to help you understand it better.
When you pick a model with a 20,000 gram BR rating, it means that the fabric will allow evaporation of 20,000 grams of sweat in 24 hours. This is the reason why manufacturers are working around the clock crafting materials with high BR and WR rating. They are looking to strike a balance between waterproofing and breathability. How awesome are they?
This is where we get the clever stuff. Different manufacturers are trying different things. After all, they are all in the race for being the industry leaders. For consumers, this is a great thing as you’ll always find what you are looking for.
Some of the features include:
Venting – some snowboarding pants have zippered vents. The vents are opened to dump heat and improve air circulation when you start feeling too hot. Most vents are placed on the inner thigh. To prevent stray snow from gaining access to unwanted areas, they are protected by a functional mesh lining.
Jacket-pant connection – some brands have an elaborate system that will allow you to connect your jacket to the pants (if they are compatible). How cool is this? This further increases protection from stray snow that could otherwise work its way down your snowboard pants or up the jacket.
These are pretty obvious. But even so, it’s important to consider them. For instance, if you snowboard with a backpack, then you don’t need the extra pockets. But if you are going to be exploring all day and don’t want a bag to weigh you down, then cargo pockets would be beneficial to carry essentials and snacks.
With all that said, it’s important to remember that the number of features included affects the price of the pants. For this reason, always check to ensure you don’t pay for features you’ll never use. But aside from that, you can pick out any pants that you fancy.
Now, let’s be honest. A pair of snowboard pants may have the best WR/BR rating, great features and all. But if it doesn’t look good or suit your style, it’ll probably end up in the back of your closet never to be worn. So instead of investing in a pair of perfect and expensive snowboard pants that you’ll never wear, get one that suits your style.
At the very least, you should like the design, fit and color.
Iconic by name, Iconic by nature. The 2020/21 Iconic snowpants get a few little tweaks this year and maintain dominion over the Dope range, as well as the snow pants world.
With a classic cargo style design and plenty of baginess, the Dope Iconic deliver the quintessential classic snowboard pant experience. Only now, they’ve got the sort of technical DNA that will allow you to venture out of the park, and all over the mountain.
With a very respectable 15k/15k split in waterproofing and breathability, and a modest but effective 40gsm insulation weight, these land perfectly between a technical shell and an easy-going resort pant. Add in oodles of thoughtful design, plenty of storage, and that unique Dope style that you won’t find anywhere else, and you’ve got a classic pant that look and feel amazing in both waist-deep powder and on the groomers.
The Montec Fawk are a staple in the Montec lineup, and are one of the best all-around bibs you can find anywhere. When you take into account the necessities of a stand-out bib — all day comfort, elemental protection, and that baggy bib style, the Fawk delivers in spades.
With an awesome baggy look and lots of design touches to make your life easier, these check all our boxes. Up top you’ve got comfy elasticated straps for the perfect fit, as well as an adjustable waist-cinch for added powder protection. And with waterproof storage options and all the features you need for a long day on the mountain, you certainly won’t be left wanting.
But what about the tech specs? Well, those live up to expectations, too. With a hefty 20k/20k split, you can go from park to pow without any trouble and venture far beyond the reaches of the resort. And with 40gsm of insulation, these things won’t balk at a cold day, either. Warmth, waterproofness, and style, bibs don’t get much better than this.
Ham and cheese. Pasta and cheese. Wine and cheese. Some things just go perfectly together. And the Picture Panel pants are included in that. The ideal partner for the Panel jacket or just an all-around great pant for resort cruising and mountain hijinks, they’re ready to shred.
Modelled with the same geometric styling as their Panel jacket, they are the perfect amount of baggy, and come with a handy feature to help keep the powder out even when you’re wearing them low. With a waist-gaiter, they hug snuggly without feeling tight, and allow you to home in on side hits like a pow-seeking missile!
Made using Picture’s DRYPLAY membrane beefed up with their awesome Teflon EcoElite DWR coating, they have a 10k/10k split and a healthy dose of insulation to keep the cold at bay. So whether you’re serving up park laps or lapping the resort in search of fun, the Panel pants are a great choice and won’t let you down.
The Montec Dune pants are another classic pair of pants that bring back-country specs and resort-styling together in a unique way. With a baggy style that harks back to cargo pants, but delivers their functionality in an interesting way, the Dune are a great middle-of-the-road choice that certainly fulfil that ‘one pant for all occasions’ need you have.
At their heart, these are designed for the whole mountain. They’ve got a wide waistband for comfort, easy suspender integration, ventilation for when it gets hot, insulation for when it gets cold, and two thigh pockets for extra storage. There’s not a thing they haven’t considered here, and for us, that makes them a great choice for any situation.
Add in their 20k/20k split on waterproofing and breathability, along with 40gsm of compact insulation, and you’ve got a pair of pants that have no problem in the backcountry, but are comfy enough to cruise the park. Talk about the whole package!
Ah, would this list be complete with a park-focused pant? We don’t think so, which is why we included the Antek. Wouldn’t it be great if you could find a pair of pants that felt like sweatpants? Well, that’s what you get with the Antek. Made for park laps, but packing stats you can take all over the mountain, the Antek are a true winner in our books.
Up top you’ve got supreme comfort in the form of an elasticated waistband with integrated belt. A little lower down, you get big side pockets for lots of storage, a set of front-set cargo pockets to stuff your gear into, and then two huge outer-thigh vents for spring sessions in the slush.
At the bottom you get an elasticated hem with rear-gusset for a truly unique style, all of which is bolstered by the 15k/15k split in waterproofing and breathability. As such, these may be a park-ready pair of pants, but you’ll have no trouble taking them up the mountain. They’re more than equipped to deal with anything the resort can throw at you.
The Dope Con pants slide into the number one spot because they combine the best of both worlds. Their a slightly baggy, slightly snug, slightly stretchy, lightweight insulated pant with oodles of style and bundles of tech. They check all the boxes, hug in all the right places, and give you total shredding freedom.
Made with a stretchy fabric, they are super comfortable without being overly baggy, which means their ideal for more body-shapes, and provide a slim yet flared silhouette that just goes with every style. But, unlike most ‘skinny’ moels, they also have a 40gsm insulation weight so they’re perfect for colder weathers.
They don’t skimp on specs either, and have a 15k/15k split in waterproofing and breathability, as well as an awesome DWR coating, which makes them perfect for everything from powdery adventures to spring park laps. Ride inhibited and tackle the whole mountain in what might just be the perfect pair of pants.
The Montec Fawk Bib is about is versatile as bib’s come. It’s got awesome tech specs, and a the perfect amount of space inside to make it comfortable all day long. But as well as the specs and the fit, it’s design means that they are are ideal for both the resort and the backcountry.
With oodles of storage, as well as elasticated and comfortable suspenders, four big storage pockets on the hips and thighs, a cinchable waist for powder protection, and a waterproof media pocket on the chest, this bib is never out of place. You can wear it just over a hoodie for cruising the resort or pair it with a technical shell for the backcountry. It just works everywhere.
And that’s down in part to its tech specs, too. A hefty 20k/20k split for waterproofing and breathability means that these can weather any storm, and with 40gsm of compact insulation, cold weather adventures are a walk in the park.
Would this list be complete without the Dope Iconic pants? We don’t think so. Whether fashion outside the resort has moved away from baggy, the need for low-hanging, spacious, bunched up cargo pants will never die on the slopes. And the Iconic embraces that timeless style with this year’s lineup of Iconic.
The Iconic does stand out with its constrast drawstring styling and oversized cargo look. It has a perfect cut to provide an awesome silhouette, and suspender compatibility to stop your pants from falling all the way down.
But they’re not just a pretty face. With a 15/15k split in waterproofing and breathability, as well as 40gsm of compact insulation, they may look like a laid back resort cruiser, but they’re actually more than capable of going all over the mountain. Which we think more than earns them a spot on this list
Picture have been making excellent ski gear for a long time, and this year’s version of the Haakon is no different. A firm favourite of ours, the Haakon combines high technical specs with a slimmer fit for total powder protection without the cost of style.
With diagonal cut contrast zippers and a cinched in waist-hugging fit, they are perfect for taking outside the resort, as well as for cruising groomers. They’re sure to turn heads thanks to their good looks, but won’t let you down when you’re facing tough conditions, either.
With a 20k/20k split in waterproofing and breathability, as well as 40gsm of insulation to go with their easy-access front zipper system, they are the whole package, and will become a firm favourite for any all-mountain rider.
You know we were saying baggy never goes out of style? Well, that doesn’t mean we haven’t embraced skinny. And there’s no better pant to lead that charge into modern ski styling than the Tigress. When it comes to shedding excess fabric and insulation, the Tigress are on the prowl.
With a skinny-yet-flared profile to provide that figure-hugging look in all the right places without unsightly boot-bulge, the Tigress are a unique offering. Constructed with a stretch fabric, they’re comfortable all day long, but don’t skimp on tech either.
With 15k/15k in waterproofing and breathability, and plenty of quirky design touches to make the functional all over the mountain, they pack in a lot of convenience to go with their style. Waterproof zippered pockets provide a minimalist and clean look without the flaps, and an elasticated velcro waist adjustment ensures perfect fit for all sizes. Meow.
Now that we have gone through some of the best snowboard pants on the market, here are some tips to help you choose the right ones for you:
It would be regrettable if you bought a pair of snowboard jeans only for them to fall apart after a few weeks of use. And believe it or not, this happens to a lot of people.
To avoid being part of this statistic, you should always check on the material used to make them.
Moreover, you should consider the build and construction of the pants as well as the warranty. The type of warranty offered can shed some light on their durability.
Another great way to determine the quality of snowboard pants (especially when purchasing online) is going through consumer reviews before making a purchase.
Most newbies think that since they’ll be gliding on snow, then the jacket and pants need to be warm. Well, that’s not entirely true. How warm the pants should vary from one person to the other. This is why some pants have microfleece lining for extra insulation and others don’t. You see, when snowboarding, the most significant part to keep warm is your core.
However, if you are the kind who freezes fast, then you should wear mid and base layer thermal leggings.
Almost all snowboard pants come with vents on the inner thighs. These vents are designed to increase air circulation and to regulate temperature during the warmer days and when you are going extra hard and generating a lot of body heat. They complement the breathability of the pants.
For smooth operation, these vents are zipped. Additionally, they are lined with a mesh to prevent specks of snow from finding their way into your pants.
Pants designed for technical backcountry snowboarding have vents on the outside of the thighs along the length of the pants. They are longer and promote maximum ventilation.
First, we need you to understand that when companies speak about ‘waterproof’ what they truly mean is ‘water resistant’. That said, you cannot afford to compromise on this. Why? Well, regardless of your snowboarding style, ability and crew, there is a high chance you’ll spend some significant amount of time seated in the snow or worse still, crashing through the snow.
You might not know it now, but there’s nothing as bad as snowboarding with a wet butt when it’s not even raining. And even if it is raining, waterproof pants will help keep you dry through the rain to a certain degree.
Some important features that we skipped earlier on were critical seams vs. fully taped seams. These features, along with the material used will determine the level of waterproofing. Pants with fully taped seams will have every seam reinforced to promote water resistance. The process is intensive, and as such, these pants are expensive. Critical seams, on the other hand, mean that only seams located in parts that will suffer significant wear and tear are reinforced.
Here are some of the main types of snowboard pants that you can choose from, depending on the mountain you frequent and your style:
These are also known as shell pants. They are usually windproof and waterproof. These types of pants are made from thick nylon since nylon is durable and abrasion resistant. These pants can further be divided into three-layer and two-layer pants.
The two-layer pants have a breathable liner and a water-resistant outer material while three-layer pants feature a membrane between these two layers.
Most newbies often assume that these are the best pants to purchase. But they are wrong. Here’s why. When snowboarding, unless you freeze fast, you’ll almost never feel the cold on your legs. As such, these pants are only necessary during frigid weather.
Insulated pants have different warmth ratings and thicknesses. These range from polar-explorer to bare minimum insulations. It’s often a challenge to manage temperature levels when snowboarding. And unfortunately, this can get uncomfortable fast.
Though these are not a category on their own, it is important to point them out. Softshell pants are made from less durable and lighter material. They also have lower waterproof ratings. For this reason, if you are a beginner and will be crashing a lot, you should prepare yourself to get wet fast.
But there is an upside to these pants. They offer excellent breathability and flexibility in comparison to thicker snowboard pants.
We know you think these will make you look like an old grandpa descending a mountain – but no. Actually, snowboarders have fallen in love with these pants for their protection and style. These pants stay up even after you’ve crashed many times. Also, they don’t allow snow to get into your pants since they have no waistline.
But while they are loved and popular, before you buy one, you should ensure that it’s the right size. If not, and this goes for the men, the straps will pull up your pants and make your ‘twins’ super uncomfortable.
These are a must-have. All snowboard pants have boot gaiters. In case you are wondering what those are, they are the elastic cuffs located on each leg. They are designed to stretch over your snowboard boots to prevent snow from finding its way into your boots.
Most women’s snowboard pants feature small pockets. Sure, they reduce bulkiness, but in the grand scheme of things, they are not ideal for storage. Pants with thigh or cargo pockets are more convenient for essential items you’ll use while on the mountain.
Some snowboard pants feature a system that connects the pants to the jacket. However, to use these systems, the jacket and pants must be compatible. This feature creates a snow barrier. It makes your jacket and pants behave like a one-piece suit.
Dope Snow – This is a company that is taking the snowboard apparel industry by storm. It has fresh and functional products
Adidas – Adidas is a renowned athletic and footwear company that’s making huge ripples in the snowboard pants industry
Picture – This company makes functional and stylish snowboard pants from recycled and eco-friendly materials
Montec – A new brand in the game that stands for high quality snow gear combined with affordable prices
The North Face – Their pants feature innovative waterproofing and insulating technologies to keep you dry and warm
Well, honestly, baggy pants have their pros and con even though most feel that baggy snowboard pants are a thing of the past.
They are loved because they offer a wider range of motion. But on the flip side, the baggy pants could fall off at any time.
So what should you do? Well, we recommend that you first get the waist measurements right. If you’ll be wearing some layering clothes, you should consider that as well. When the waist measurements are right, the pants will stay in place.
Nylon and polyester are the most common and preferred choices.
This is because nylon is durable, and when woven in the right patterns, it is waterproof. We love the fact that it is windproof as well.
However, polyester is also a great option. Though it doesn’t last as long as nylon, it is functional and serves its purpose. Since it readily absorbs moisture, it’s not the best material for those looking for pants with a high waterproof rating.
Suspenders might make you look like a dork, but they are functional. For those having problems keeping their pants up, it works like a charm.
But even then, we recommend first getting the right size of the pants. This way, they will fit perfectly. You might even end up not needing suspenders or belts.
Ultimately, the decision of which snowboard pants to buy lies with you. But we hope that this guide has left you with a better idea of what to look for and which features would be overkill for you.
And as you make your choice, remember to factor in your personal preferences. There’s no point in getting the top snowboard pants if you’ll not feel comfortable and confident in them.