what to look for when buying snowpants

What Do I Look For When Choosing Ski/Snowboard Gear – Pants

Welcome back to my ski gear series. I explain why I choose certain items of gear, as well as showcase what I personally use when out shredding on the mountain.

Last week, I started with jackets, so naturally, this week, we will be looking at pants.

Pants and jackets can have similar desirable features, so some will be the same, but there’s also some extra things to keep in mind. Check them out below:


Insulation is a great thing to look for in pants. While we can wear puffys, sweatshirts, long sleeves and such on top, pants are a little more limited when it comes to insulation layers. There are such things as puffy pants, but the average skier doesn’t have them lying around in their gear bag. A couple instances where you would not want insulation are for sports where you might be hiking (such as ski touring and snowshoeing) or for warmer spring days where you don’t need as much warmth.

ski touring up a ski resort with uninsulated pants

Zippered Pockets and Vents

Zippered pockets, as mentioned in my jacket post, are great for holding the essentials you might need throughout the ski day. But what about pants? Personally, I’d rather have pockets in a jacket than pants because my legs are moving more, so I don’t want to place anything too bulky in pockets on the lower half of my body. I am more likely to feel the item in my pocket if I crash or if it gets rotated to wear my hips meet my legs. However, it is a good idea to take into account what the pockets are like on your jacket. Either your pants or your jacket should have a quality zippered pocket.

As for vents, if you are ski touring, it’s great to have wide open zippered vents to have serious air flow while hiking up. Vents are still handy in pants used for downhill, but you don’t need them to be as big.

Bibs or Pants?

This is definitely a huge debate when it comes to ski gear, and I can honestly say that I don’t think I prefer one over the other. Bibs are definitely a trend right now in the ski space, and so I might have the lean towards them. Bibs offer a little more warmth on your torso, and they also cut out the need for a belt. When wearing my pants, I have to wear a belt to make sure the waist sits where I need it to.

Note that bibs may also be a little more difficult to get off when nature calls.

how to choose pants for downhill skiing

Reinforced Fabric

Snow pants definitely show signs of wear quicker than your jacket. The seat of the pants from repeatedly sitting down on cold chairs and also the bottom of the leg getting ripped up by your ski edge. Luckily, some companies have recognized this problem and have chosen to reinforce these sections on pants to prevent excessive wear. The most noticeable wear on my past pants have been on the inside of the leg bottoms, so I try to look for gear that has extra fabric to avoid extreme wear and tear.

Old vs. New

Because of what I mention in the paragraph above, I think that it is a little harder to find secondhand pants in good condition. When looking for used pants, make sure to double check for tears in insulation or outershell.

skiing with uninsulated pants


Just like other everyday clothing, ski outerwear is an expression of who you are. Pants are a another huge signifier when you are on the hill, so it’s nice to have something that makes you feel like yourself. I feel like pants are usually more muted or basic colors rather than patterned because jackets are the star of the show, but choose a color that you like, because look good, ski good, amiright?

Now that you know what factors to look for in pants, head to A Look Into My Winter Gear – Pants for more information on what I am riding in on the mountain.

Your nacforadventurer, and person who can’t choose between bibs and pants,



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