Finding the right snow pants is mostly about waterproofing, breathability & warmth.
This is something that I don’t compromise on in snowboarding pants. Regardless of ability, style or who you are riding with, it is most likely that you will be spending some time sitting in the snow – or crashing through it!
And there’s nothing worse than having a wet butt all day. And that’s even if it’s not raining. When it’s raining but you want to continue riding, then waterproof pants are even more important.
There are two main ways that snowboarding pants will be waterproofed. The first one is whether they are critically taped or fully seam sealed and the second is by the waterproofing rating.
Critically taped or Fully seam sealed
Critically taped (a.k.a. critical seams taped, critical seams sealed) means that only the critical seams are taped – not all of them. The problem with this is that water has a way of finding those non-critical seams and getting in!
This is particularly true on a wet day. Not as big a problem in the snow though – but if you want the option of riding when it’s wet then critically taped may not be quite enough.
Fully seam sealed (a.k.a. fully taped, fully sealed) means how it sounds. It is fully sealed meaning nothing gets in. Ideally this is the way you want to go. The first day I used my fully seam sealed pants was awesome (and happened to be a wet day). I was bone dry underneath. Compared to what I was used to that was amazing.
The other factor to look out for in waterproofing is the waterproofing rating.
Some, but not all snow pants and jackets will come with a waterproof rating. This will range from 5,000mm to 20,000mm generally. It basically means the number of millimetres of water stacked on top of the pants it would take for water to make it through the material.
A lot of the cheaper pants will come with 5,000mm – stay away from this. It’s definitely worth paying that little bit more to get something that will actually be waterproof.
10,000mm is definitely enough though. Mine are 10,000mm and have always kept me bone dry. 20,000mm is probably overkill and not worth paying the extra for – in my opinion. If you want to go really safe go with 15,000mm.
Another thing you might see is something called Gore-Tex. If you’re not familiar with it, this technology is also awesomely waterproof. I have a great gore-tex rain jacket and that thing never lets water in.
So gore-tex is also a great option and it also has really great breathability – it’s just a bit pricier. If price isn’t a concern then this is a great option.
You won’t see a waterproof and breathability rating in terms of millimetres and grams, just know that it is really waterproof and breathable. They may still say whether they are fully or critically seam sealed.
Related: Top 20 Men’s Snowboarding Pants
Related: Top 10 Women’s Snowboarding Pants
The second, slightly less important, thing to look out for is the breathability of the pants.
Breathability is measured in grams and essentially measures how much air can get through.
I’ve spent more days on the mountain sweating than I have freezing so it is important to have some breathability.
The most common measurements in breathability will be between 5,000 and 20,000g. I like to go with 10,000 but would settle for 5,000. I’m not as fussy on this as I am with waterproofing.
And finally we come to warmth.
For me warmth comes with dryness so as long I stay dry I stay warm. That being said I do know of others who might get colder in the legs. I personally wear just my snowboarding pants on the mountain and that is usually enough for me but you might need more warmth.
Really the best thing to do for this is to wear long thermal underwear. That way you can choose to have the two layers or one depending on how cold it is on the mountain.
You can also get insulated snow pants which will be warmer.
And there are pants you can get that have two layers – so they come with an inner liner and an outer shell. And they can be worn together or separately.
Where to Buy?
Click on the pants you like and then scroll down to see the specs on the left hand side. Pay attention to the following categories –
- Fabric Waterproof: (ideally 10,000+ or gore-tex)
- Fabric Breathability: (ideally 10,000+ or gore-tex)
- Seams Taped: (ideally Fully)
Plus anything else that is a personal preference such as insulated or non-insulated.
Most of the pants at the link below/above should be 10,000mm as the waterproof category is already chosen, but you might need check to see if they are critically or fully taped. You can further narrow down your search by size, color and price.
I hope this article has been helpful so that you can choose the best possible pants for all your snowboarding adventures!
- >>Over 500 different men’s snowboarding pants to choose from
- >>Over 300 different women’s snowboarding pants to choose from