snowboarding pants considerations buying

The Snowboard Pants Buying Guide: Learn What to Look for

Snowboarding can be one of the most fun experiences when everything on the mountain is going you as planned. With that in mind, you need to stay comfortable while you’re out riding. Having the right pair of snowboard pants is vitally important to ensure you are warm, dry, and protected from the elements.

 With so many snowboard pants to choose from, how can you be sure you’re buying the right ones? In this article, we will guide you through the 13 key factors to consider when finding the ideal snowboard pants.

Before hitting the slopes, it’s essential to invest in a pair of snowboard pants that cater to your specific needs and riding style. Here are the features you should consider looking for.

Waterproof and Breathability Ratings

Look for pants with high waterproof and breathability ratings. Ideally, you’ll want a pair of pants with a waterproof rating of at least 10,000mm and a breathability rating of 5,000g/m² or greater. This detail will ensure that you stay dry from both external moisture and internal sweat. It’s equally as important to consider breathability because if you sweat, that sweat can freeze inside of your gear, which can reduce your overall maneuverability, make you colder, and make for an uncomfortable session. 

Staying dry is non-negotiable when you are snowboarding. One of the fastest ways to end your session quickly is to be cold and wet. 

Insulation

Look for pants with enough insulation to keep you comfortable without overdoing it.

The level of insulation you need in your snowboard pants depends on the weather conditions you ride in and your personal preference. Insulated pants are excellent for cold climates, while shell pants offer versatility and are ideal for layering in varying conditions.  

Fit and Style

Look for pants that allow you to move comfortably that fit your style.

Snowboard pants come in various styles, including regular, slim, and baggy. The fit you choose should provide comfort and freedom of movement. Ensure that the pants have articulated knees for better mobility.

The main contrast between snowboard pants and ski pants is in how they fit. Snowboard pants are typically looser to accommodate freestyle crouching and flexible leg movements at the hips. In contrast, skiing involves more controlled lateral motions, so ski pants have a sleeker fit for improved aerodynamics. This snug fit also helps retain heat by keeping warm air close to the body.

Here is one additional note on wearing baggy snowboard pants. 

Sure, it’s stylish to mimic 90s skate culture by having baggy snowboard pants while you’re riding in the park. However, you don’t want your pants so baggy that you’re freezing inside, though. Baggy snowboarding clothes can make you colder because they allow cold air to circulate more freely between your skin and the fabric. This is because the loose fit does not trap your body heat as effectively, and it is easier for cold air to come into contact with your skin.

Additionally, the extra material from your pants can get in the way of your bindings as you are strapping in. Try to find pants that meet the balance of your style with the functionality of riding how you like to. 

Durability

It’s important to find snowboard pants that are durable enough to last you. Try to find pants made from high-quality materials like waterproof nylon or polyester. Additionally, look for reinforced areas at the knees and butt to add extra durability, ensuring your pants last multiple seasons.

If you’re new to snowboarding or riding park, you will often be sliding out. Snow can often act like shards of glass to your outerwear, so if your pants aren’t durable enough, they will tear easily. 

Ventilation

Look for pants that have vents you can open to help prevent sweating. Once you reach the top of the slope and start riding downhill, you can zip up the vents to keep your body heat in.

Ventilation is important to look for in snowboard pants because it allows you to regulate your body temperature. Regulating your temperature is crucial during strenuous activities on the slopes, such as hiking up to a jump or rail. When you’re hiking, your body heat rises, and you can start to sweat. If you don’t have ventilation in your pants, the sweat will trap heat and make you feel even hotter. Alternatively, when you cool down, your sweat will freeze, which will make you feel even colder, forcing you to end your session early. 

Seams and Zippers

Look for pants that have reinforced seams and zippers to keep your pockets closed.

Reinforced seams and waterproof zippers prevent moisture from seeping in through the stitching and closures. When you’re riding in deep powder, you need to ensure your pants don’t allow any snow or moisture through.  

Pockets and Features

Consider the number and placement of pockets depending on what you will carry with you as you ride. Cargo pockets are convenient for storing small items like your phone, your keys, a beacon, your gloves, or a trail map. Look for pockets that zip or have extremely strong Velcro. The last thing you want is to lose your car keys in extremely deep snow.

< id="price">Price Range

Set a budget that aligns with your needs and preferences. While premium pants offer advanced features that can keep you dry and comfortable, there are budget-friendly options that can still provide decent performance at a fraction of the price. 

Brand and Reputation

Reputable snowboard brands often produce high-quality gear. It’s important to do some research by reading reviews to best gauge if a particular outerwear brand can work for your needs.  

I’ve used snowboard pants that I’ve purchased from Target and really high-end Burton pants. Both options worked, while the more expensive option was more comfortable and lasted longer. To get started learning to snowboard, pants from Target are fine. You don’t need the nicest gear on your first day. You can always upgrade your gear later. 

Sizing and Comfort

Ensure the pants fit comfortably over your base layers and offer ease of movement. Opt for adjustable waistbands or suspenders for a secure fit.

Layering

Consider the layering system you plan to use. Are you going to wear a thermal layer underneath? If so, make sure your snowboard pants can accommodate additional layers on colder days without feeling too tight.

Maintenance

It is important to consider the care instructions for your snowboard pants. Some pants require extra maintenance, like washing and reapplying waterproofing treatments. By following the care instructions on your snowboard pants, you can extend how long they will last you.

Consider Eco-Friendly Options

One last point is to look for brands that prioritize sustainability by using eco-friendly materials and ethical manufacturing processes.

Choosing the right snowboard pants is essential for a comfortable and enjoyable session on the slopes. By considering factors such as waterproofing, insulation, fit, and durability, you can make an informed decision and find the perfect pair of snowboard pants for you.  

FAQs

Are snow pants and snowboard pants the same?

No. However, they can be used interchangeably.

Snow pants are a more generalized category term that simply means “pants that can be used in the snow,” while snowboard pants are a type of snow pants that are specifically intended to snowboard in. Yes, you can use a generic snow pant to go snowboarding. However, snowboard pants are specifically made to be a little looser fitting and reinforced in the areas that take damage while you snowboard, like the hips, butt, and inseam of the pants.

How often should I wash my snowboard pants?

It’s best to follow the manufacturer’s care instructions, but generally, washing them once every season or after several uses is sufficient.

Are shell pants better than insulated pants?

Shell pants are versatile and allow for layering, making them suitable for various weather conditions. However, insulated pants provide more warmth in extremely cold conditions without requiring you to wear additional layers underneath them.

What’s the difference between waterproof and water-resistant?

Waterproof means the material doesn’t allow water to penetrate, while water-resistant means it can repel water to some extent but may eventually soak through.

Can I wear regular pants for snowboarding?

Yes, you can. However, you won’t want to. When you are learning to snowboard, you will fall often, causing your non-water-treated pants to get wet quickly, which causes you to get cold and uncomfortable. When you are uncomfortable from your pants being too wet, you will go inside faster. For this reason, regular pants are not recommended for snowboarding, as they lack the necessary insulation, waterproofing, and durability required for the sport.

With that said, you can usually find cheap snowboard pants at a local thrift store or buy them from a local Target or Walmart. Having cheap pants that will keep you dry is always going to be a better option than wearing regular pants.

Are eco-friendly snowboard pants more expensive?

Yes, eco-friendly snowboard pants are more expensive. However, their sustainable materials and additional manufacturing processes often justify the price difference.




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