Guide to Choosing the Best Snowboarding Pants
There are many things to think about when choosing the best snow pants for your needs. Everything from durability to waterproofness and insulation should factor into choosing the right pair. Below we will share some insight into evaluating snowboard pants for quality and longevity.
If you want to look for a single material that has high durability with snowboard pants, nylon is going to be the best option. While there are several other synthetic fibers that are even more durable, they tend to be quite expensive and hard to find. Nylon is one of the most common materials you will find on the market. It also happens to make for an affordable option that will go the distance with you.
Many people will also want to choose a pair of snowboard pants that had patches of heavy denier nylon or Cordura at the cuffs, knees, and sometimes in the hip area. The addition of patches added durability to areas of the pants that might experience more abrasion or wear. An extra layer of nylon on the cuffs is especially important to prevent raveling and fraying as years go so.
Insulation and Warmth
Many snowboarders will want at least two pairs of snowboarding snow pants. One pair is often used for when the weather isn’t too bad, while the other pair is created for when the weather is at its worst. Insulated pants are best for days where the temperatures are quite low or you won’t be pushing yourself.
You will see that snowboard pants insulation is typically measured in a gram weight value with a number like 100gm. That means how much weight in grams is in a square meter of the material. Higher numbers are going to be attached to warmer pants with more insulation.
When it comes to the waterproof level of pants, this is going to be measured in millimeters. The number relates to how many millimeters of water can press against the material before it starts to soak through.
A typical average pair of pants may have 5,000 mm of water-resistant, while others may have 10,000 and the best out there could have values much higher than that.
Those who are going out and working hard shredding the slopes may not want the highest insulation level. Even when the temperatures drop, it can be easier than you expect to overhead when you are too insulated.
Vents and Zippers
One of the modern features you can find on snowboard pants is vents. These are useful for two reasons. Vents can help to keep you cool when the weather is warm, but they can also help keep you nice and warm when it’s cold outside.
There are several vent choices but one of the most common is a zipper leg vent. This is a mesh zippered hole built into the pants between the legs. This helps remove extra heat form the pants when it’s hot outside.
Need for Waterproof
You might be wondering whether you need to choose a pair of waterproof snow pants and the answer is more complicated than you might expect. In some areas of the country, there’s rarely rainy weather so waterproof pants aren’t needed. In areas where wet snow is more common, waterproof pants are a must.
Worrying about waterproof pants if you are somewhere that has great weather isn’t needed. However, most top snowboard pants are waterproof anyway. This simply means you don’t always need to make that a huge priority.
Boot gaiters are considered a must and are likely to be included on every pair of snowboard pants you run into. These are elastic cuffs on the bottom of the leg that go over your boots so that snow can’t get inside. Since you likely don’t want to deal with melting snow on your feet, gaiters are a must for almost everyone.
Types of Snowboard Pants
Another thing to be aware of is that there are several different types of snowboard pants on the market. Knowing the difference between them can help you choose a pair that best fits your needs.
Most of the time, you will hear uninsulated pants referred to as shells. These are often windproof and waterproof and designed to be used as one layer in a layering system. These shell pants are typically made of a thick piece of nylon which is abrasion-resistant, tough, and durable.
There are two types of uninsulated pants, ones with two layers and ones with three layers. A two-layer option is going to have a breathable liner inside and a water-resistant shell on the outside. A three-layer snowboard pant is going to have those two layers as well as a middle membrane that is breathable and resistant to water.
Most people will do just fine with a two-layer pan. However, you should look for nylon patches for extra durability. Also, keep in mind that some uninsulated pants for snowboarding will have a small layer of polyester or fleece insulation for a bit of extra warmth.
You might think as a beginner to snowboarding that insulated pants are the best option, but that may not always be true. Insulated pants are the last versatile option and may not be right for anyone who isn’t constantly snowboarding in cold weather or for short periods of time.
Those who do want insulated pants will find that they come in a large variety of warmth ratings and thicknesses. Some have a tiny bit of insulation while others have tons of it. The issue is that manage warmth level based on how active you are can be hard with these pants.
As with shell pants, you want to ensure your insulated pants have ventilation so you can better regulate temperature. When wearing these pants, you also need to consider your activity level. Those who only do a few runs and take it slowly may do better with heavy insulation than someone who is out there all day long.
If you are familiar with softshell jackets, softshell snowboard pants are a similar piece of clothing. The main difference is that with a soft shell pair of pants, instead of a nylon outer shell, it will instead be made of flexible and light materials. These pants are best used in warm environments where protection from the wind is not a must.
These pants are often more breathable and comfortable than those with a hard shell. However, they aren’t the best choice for a snowboarding beginner. They do not offer a lot of water resistance and those who are falling a lot can expect to get wet.
Suspenders or Bibs
While some people aren’t interested in the aesthetic of bib pants, others love this style of pants which often comes with optional suspenders. This helps keep your outfit in place during a long day on the slopes. When wearing several layers of clothes, that isn’t always an easy endeavor.
Bibs have two different benefits associated with them. The first is that there isn’t a waistline so snow can’t get in that way. The second is that they stay securely in place. However, getting the perfect size of bib pants is crucial. If the straps aren’t in the right place, it can lead to an uncomfortable time snowboarding.
While we have offered a list of the best snowboarding pants out there, the truth is that the only person who can decide which is right for you is yourself. Now that you know what features are the most important, you can move forward with choosing pants that meet your needs. Remember to consider typical snow conditions, location, and time of year when you will be on the snow.
Once you have an idea of what you are looking for, you can make a decision and get yourself ready to hit the snow. Wait on that package and then get out into the snow. Have a great time out there!