Best Skiing Pants For 2020 (Ultimate Buyers Guide)

Are you on the lookout for a pair of ski pants and only want the very best? Well, It’s a good thing Ridestore always has your back, we created the ultimate buyers guide for ski pants. 

One thing we should stipulate, there is no such thing as the one perfect pair of pants, a sisterhood of the traveling pants, one size fits all situation. The best pair will be different depending on your skiing style, where you ski, your budget plus loads of other criteria. We wanted to write this article to make the process easier, finding the right ski pants just for you. We will list our top picks of skiing pants for different budgets and different types of skiers. Also, refine everything you need to know if you want to navigate by yourself in the jungle of buying skiing pants. 

ski pants buyers guide

The Best Ski Pants

To start with, here are our top picks of ski pants for the different styles of skiers and budgets, as well as the best overall skiing pants for the most bang for the buck.

One of these six pants will fit pretty much every skier out there. So if you just want a quick list to find a pair of great skiing pants, here it is!

Shamless pants pun here- Buckle up your pants folks and let’s dive in! 

Best Overall Ski Pant

Dope Iconic Skiing Pant

The best overall skiing pant, it’s quite a title. It took a lot of thought and field testing until we came to a conclusion.

Combining features, build quality, performance, feeling, and price, there was one pant that stood out. The Iconic pant from Dope. The pants have absolutely everything you need while skiing, excellent waterproofing and breathability, quality, and just a great feeling when skiing in them. And we also love the look of them, this is massively important too. 

They come with a lot of handy pockets and features. They are insulated, which makes them great for cold days but what about the price? That’s important as well for the best overall skiing pant, it needs to be affordable. All of this for 139 euros, out of all the pants we tested, the Iconic pants from Dope are in the lowest price class, but at the same time of the highest quality. 

Best Bang For The Buck Ski Pants

Montec Dune Skiing Pants

Best bang for the buck, this was a hard call to make, because, the best bang for the buck and the best overall are almost the same on most criteria we look at; if it wasn’t for only one specific pant in this test, this would have been the Iconic pant as well, just like the best overall skiing pant. 

However we got our hands on the Dune pant from Montec. They are similar to the Iconic pant in many ways, different design, but the features are alike. Both are two great pants for skiing and will satisfy even the pickiest of skiers. If you add 10 euros on the price of the Iconic pant (which is the best overall skiing pants), you get an upgrade in performance. From 15/15K to 25/25K in waterproofing and breathability. That was what made the Dune pant stand out and grab the best bang for the buck nomination. 15/15k will still keep you dry in all weather which is why they are very much deserving of the award.

Best Backcountry Ski Pants

What a prestigious title, to do this accolade justice, the bar is set really high!

We couldn’t decide on just one pant here, so we have two pants for the best backcountry ski pant award. Two different types of pants, with different price ranges. But still, two backcountry skiing pants of the absolute top level that will keep up with every challenge.

Peak Performance Gravity Skiing Pants

Peak Performance, like the name suggests, allows you to perform at your peak level without any limitations from your gear. That’s why the Gravity pant from Peak Performance is one of our two picks for the best backcountry skiing pants. You get absolute top performance in a pair of pants that are designed to fit the most serious of free-riders out there. It’s a three-layer shell pant with 28k of waterproofing and breathability, which is a lot. Also made with the famous Gore-Tex membrane and equipped with Recco, makes it a definite choose of backcountry skiing pants.

This is one of our premium picks, they will set you back 499 euros, but on the other hand, you will have a pair of skiing pants which will keep up for a long, long time ahead. Peak performance also offe rin house repairs, just take the pants into a store local to you!

Montec Fenix Skiing Pants

Our other choice of backcountry skiing pant is the Fenix pant from Montec.  This is a BIB-pant, which is our favorite type of pant for backcountry skiing. It is a design that gives more protection compared to a standard pant since bibs go up to your chest. That, in combination with your jacket over the pants, makes it almost impossible for snow to get in. Even in the deepest of powder. 

The Fenix pant is a three-layer membrane lightweight shell pant, with top-notch waterproofing and breathability, 25/25K. The Fenix pants also have a lot of handy pockets and features, everything you need to head out backcountry and have a great time, even in the worst of weather. It was a real pleasure to try these pants out in the backcountry, the build quality and feel of the fabric made it feel like any of the 5-600 euro pants we tested. The price of 239 euros is a bargain if you ask us.

Best Bib Pants For Skiing

Bib Pants are great for backcountry skiing, but also a great choice for slope skiing. Depending on the temperature and type of skiing, Bib pants are usually a favorite!  One of our all-time favorite looks is the Bib over t-shirt or hoodie for spring shredding. 

Choosing only one pair of “best bib ski pants” was too hard, so just like with the backcountry pants, we have two. It was a really close call, and we almost ended up with three bib pants here… But the third one will be mentioned further down in the article instead. Here are our two top picks for Bib-pants, judged on features, performance, build quality, price, and how they felt to ski in.

The North Face Purist Futurelight Skiing Pants

If only the best is good enough, the Purist Futurelight Bib from The North Face is our top pick. The new feature light tech from TNF gives you outstanding waterproofing and breathability and at the same time being very lightweight. Ideal for skiing. You have a lot of handy pockets with waterproof zippers.

 It’s really a pant packed with everything, but it comes at a price. 499 euros, but these skiing pants will last you a very long while, and with a performance at this level, you will not need to upgrade for at least another decade… 

Montec Fawk Skiing Pants

The Fawk skiing pants from Montec, another one of our favorite bib pants from this test. Similar performance and build quality to the Purist Futurelight skiing pants, but actually less than half the price… Which makes them an exciting pair of pants. 

Montec is a relatively new brand that has been snowballing the last year. Which made sense when we realized how much performance and build quality you get for a really affordable price. The Fawk skiing pants from Montec have 25/25K of waterproofing and breathability, ECO-friendly DWR coating, and come packed with handy features. For the price you pay, 199 euros, the Fawk skiing pants are certainly one of the best Bib-Pants you can find on the market for 2019/2020.

Ski Pants Buying Guide

It’s time to dig deeper into what makes a pair of great skiing pants, and what you should look for if you go out on your own comparing pants for skiing.  Ready to become your own skiing pants expert? Let’s go!

Types Of Ski Pants

First off, let’s dig deeper into what different kinds of skiing pants there is out there, so you know exactly what kind of skiing pants to look for and why.

Insulated Ski Pants

Just like the name says, insulated skiing pants are… Insulated! Which means that they have added padding to add warmth. This is the most common type of pant for resort skiers. And a good pick if you quickly get cold, ski in cold conditions or just like it warm and cozy. 
Just like most kind of skiing pants, they have an outer layer which is made to resist water and snow. Then there is padding to make you warm. 

It is necessary to look for proper waterproofing and breathability when looking at insulated skiing pants. (Or any kind of skiing pant for that matter) More about waterproofing and breathability later.

Shell Ski Pants

There are a few different types of shell pants, but to make it a bit simpler, we will discuss shell pants as one category. But there are two, and three layers shell pants, soft and hard shell pants, they work in more or less the same way. 

A shell pant is a pant without any kind of padding, which means that it does not add any warmth. Or not much at least. They do block the wind and keep water out while being breathable. So why would you want a pair of skiing pants that do not add any warmth? Easy! 

Versatility, it is easy to add warmth yourself with base layers and second layers. If you ski in warmer conditions or break a sweat easily or thinking about doing some ski touring, the shell pant is excellent. Because you control how much warmth you wish to add. That way, you can use the same pant on warm spring shred day or in the blistering cold, just adjust your layers underneath.

Shell pants are my personal favorite type of pant, I do a lot of different styles of skiing and in many different climates. The shell pant allows me to have just one pair of pants, instead of many different for every type of environment.

Bibs VS Pants for Skiing

Technically, not different types of skiing pants like shell vs. insulated. However, let’s quickly cover Bib vs. Pant as well! 

Both Bib and regular pants can come in all variations mentioned above, three-layer shell, insulated and etc. A regular skiing pant would be a pant that fits like a regular pair of pants and tightens around your waist. The Bib pant usually goes all the way up to the chest and secures over your shoulders with suspenders.

So what’s differentiates them? 

Well, to start with, the style is entirely different. Mostly you are going to have your jacket covering the Bib, which makes it hard to tell if you are wearing bibs or not. Useful to think about is that the bibs will add more warmth to your upper body than a pair of regular pants would. They will also protect you better against snow, especially if you are skiing in deep snow. Although, they can also feel a bit bulkier compared to regular pants. 

In the end, there is no better pick, just personal preference.

Insulation And Warmth

We covered a bit about this above, how warm you are while skiing revolves on more factors than just insulation. In fact, heavy pants might end up making you cold.  If you are skiing in mostly cold weather, and in a resort, most likely insulated pants are the best pick for you. The main thing you want to do if you’re going to stay warm is to keep dry. 

Actually, the most common reason why people get wet while skiing is not from the snow. It’s from getting sweaty and not having clothing that breathes well. It is hard to avoid to get warm when skiing, but if you have clothing that breathes well and is not to warm, you will stay dry. Because what happens when you start to sweat, is that as soon as you stop moving, that sweat will get cold. And you will now be wet and cold, even if you have the warmest pair of pants on the mountain. That’s why most skiing gear isn’t super warm.

Waterproofing

This one is pretty straight forward, how waterproof are the skiing pants. This does not mean waterproof as you could go for a swim in the pants and except to be dry. But how much water it can resist before it starts to leak through. You have maybe seen the 10/10K or 15/15K symbol when looking at skiing pants, that’s the measurement of how water resistant the pant is. You do not need to know what the number stands for, but if you want to see, you will find the answer in the bottom part of this segment. But in short, the higher, the better.

A pair of good skiing pants should have 15K of waterproofing, that will keep you dry in most weather you can end up in on a ski resort. Proper waterproofing will also ensure that you have a good day, even if the weather is terrible. Eventually, if you are out for a full day of heavy rain, you will get wet. Because we do not actually want totally waterproof pants. More about that soon.

First, how is waterproofing measured? Take 15K for example, K stands for thousand, so 15K = 15.000. And the measurement is in millimeters. So 15.000 MM is what 15K stands for. It means that the pants can take the pressure of 15.000 millimeters water before it starts to sip through.

Breathability

So why do you not want fully waterproof skiing pants? That would mean that no water can come in, great, right? That also means that nothing can escape…

So all steam that’s generated by your body heat will remain inside. It will become liquid, and you will get wet, soaked even if you would ski actively. As soon as you stop, all of that wet will make you cold, and just like that, you are soaking wet and cold. We avoid that by having breathable pants, which lead the steam away from your body before it makes you sweat.

Good skiing pants have techniques to keep the water out while allowing steam to pass through. Make sure your pants have both proper waterproofing and breathability. The breathability works like waterproofing, 10K, 15K and etc. Usually, they go hand in hand, 15/15K is first waterproofing and then breathability. So 15/15K means that the pants have 15K in both waterproofing and breathability.

You should look for pants with 15K or higher. 15K will do the job for almost every type of skier, so if you do not know why you would need more, you probably do not need it.

Ski Pant Features

There are many features to be on the lookout for when looking for your best ski pants. We are going to cover the most important ones and why they are must-have features for a great skiing experience.

Ski Pants Pockets

If you are not skiing with a backpack, you depend on your ski jacket and ski pants pockets, make sure that the pants you are looking at have pockets enough to bring what you need. And also, make sure that the pockets secure with either zips or some other technique that keeps your stuff safe.

Ski Pants Ventilation

Ventilation is a significant feature of skiing pants. Usually, it’s vent zips located in the crotch or on the side of the pants. Use the ventilation actively on the slopes to avoid getting too sweaty. Just make sure that you close the ventilation if you are risking to get snow inside. But make use of it in the lift or so, if you are a bit to warm.

Ski Pants DWR Coating

DWR coating is a further treatment that is made to the outer fabric of the skiing pants. It makes water pearl and fall off, instead of staying on the pant to slowly soak in.
Basically, providing much better water protection. An important note about DWR coating. Some brands do still not use ECO-Friendly DWR coating, but a coating containing perfluorinated compounds, which does not break down by nature. And are poisonous for humans, animals, and the environment. So make sure that your pants have an ECO-Friendly and PFC free DWR coating.

Ski Pant Fit

How should your skiing pants fit? Honestly, for most skiers, you can choose your fit, depending on the style you like. Slim, regular, or a baggy fit. Keep in mind that they should not be so slim that your movement gets restricted in any way. Also, you need to be able to add extra layering under if its a freezing day. 

The same goes for bigger sizes, if they are too big in the waist, you will need a belt or something to keep your pants up. You don’t want to have pants so baggy that they won’t stay up. That’s an excellent way to get snow inside. Apart from those notes, choose a style of fitting you like.

Best Ski Pants Worthy Mentions List

Here are some additional great skiing pants that did not fit one of the categories in the top, but that is still some of the best skiing pants you can find.

Dope Notorious BIB Ski Pants

Personally, my favorite BIB pant of all the tested ones. Great functions, of course, but mostly based on the look and overall feeling of the pants. You have excellent waterproofing and breathability, multiple easy to reach pockets which just feel placed and designed to add both looks and function.

They feel super well built and are not restricting any movement at all. Also insulated, great for most winter days.

The North Face Chakal Ski Pant

A stretchy slim fitted ski pant with excellent feel and exciting look. The pants come in a very versatile look. Depending on how you combine your jacket and other gear, you can achieve everything from a really proper look to baggy style park rat.The functions and feel of the pants are high, you will stay dry in most scenarios, and they are packed with handy pockets.

L1 Brigade Ski Pants

Top-performing insulated skiing pants with a military-inspired cargo look. That was for us a winning concept and brought the L1 Brigade pants to our list of best skiing pants. You get 20k of waterproofing and breathability and multiple great features to use on the slopes.

L1 Slim Cargo Ski Pant

Style goes a long way, right? These pants do not have the best waterproofing or breathability in this test. Still, they have enough to satisfy any resort skier. But we just loved the look and the feeling of these pants, so we needed to add them to our best skiing pants list! 

It’s a pair of shell pants, meaning no insulation. And they are jammed with features and pockets. If you plan on going backcountry a lot, these pants might be lacking a little bit in waterproofing and breathability, but nothing we noticed while trying them out. 

Ski Pants FAQ

Let’s answer some of the most common things that are Googled about skiing pants.

Q: What are ski pants?

Skiing pants are a pair of pants, specially made for being active in snowy conditions. Skiing pants have an outer layer that acts as a shield against the elements, in other words, keeping you dry.

Q: Do I really need ski pants?

Short answer: If you are going skiing, yes! 

At least if you want to have a good time. Skiing pants will keep you dry and warm while skiing. Two things that are quite satisfying if I can say so myself.

Q: What do I need to wear under my ski pants?

Depending on the temperature outdoors, this will vary a bit. But you should always wear a base layer, this adds warmth but also leads steam away from your body. If it’s freezing, you can add a fleece layer between your skiing pants and base layer.

Q: What is the difference between ski pants and snowboard pants?

In many cases, none at all. In some instances, snowboard pants can be a bit baggier.

But every skiing pant is excellent for snowboarding and vice versa. In fact, many brands sell the exact same pant, just names snowboarding pants, or skiing pants.

Q: Are ski pants supposed to be long?

They should be longer than a pair of regular pants should. About 10-15 centimeters longer. This is to leave space for ski boots and also so you can wear them high up in the waist if you want to.

More relevant reading?

Still hungry to read more? How about reading all you need to know about skiing jackets? Or read up on the top 50 snow parks in Europe?