How to choose snowboard trousers?

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Written By Dominic Howard

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Snowboarding is an exhilarating winter sport that involves sliding down snow-covered slopes on a snowboard attached to your feet. Having the right snowboard gear, especially snowboard trousers, is essential for enjoying the sport comfortably and safely. Snowboard trousers protect your lower body from the cold, wind, snow, and impacts while sliding and falling. With so many types, styles, features, and technologies available today, choosing the right snowboard pants can be confusing for beginners and enthusiasts alike.

This comprehensive guide will walk you through everything you need to know about how to pick the best snowboard trousers for your needs.

Best Snowboard Trousers

Snowboard trousers are a vital piece of gear for staying warm and dry while riding. With proper snow pants, you’ll be prepared to carve down the slopes in any conditions. Follow this guide to find the perfect pair of snowboard pants for your needs.

Focus on Fit

Fit is the most important factor for comfort and performance. Snowboard pants should allow free movement while having a secure fit that won’t slip or shift around. Size is based on your waist, hips, thighs, and inseam length. Try them on with your boots to ensure the leg length and cuffs work with your binding setup. Adjustable features like waist tabs, belt loops, and suspender buttons allow customizing the fit.

Choose Insulation Level

The warmth provided by snowboard pants depends on the insulation type and weight built in. Lightweight insulation like PrimaLoft is ideal for fluctuating temperatures. Heavy down insulation excels in the coldest sub-zero conditions but can get too warm. An uninsulated pant layers well under a shell on warm days. Match the insulation to the typical temperature range you ride in.

Focus on Waterproofing

Quality waterproofing is crucial for keeping you dry through snow and wipeouts. Top snowboard pants use fabrics like GORE-TEX or HyVent to block moisture while allowing vapor to escape. Fully taped seams prevent leaks where stitching penetrates the fabric. A durable water-repellent (DWR) finish causes moisture to bead up and roll off.

Enhance Breathability

While waterproof fabrics keep snow and moisture out, they can trap sweat and condensation inside. Features like zippered vents, breathable insulating material, and moisture-wicking lining enhance airflow and ventilation. This reduces humidity inside the pants so you stay drier.

Get the Right Features

Handy features to look for include cargo pockets, thigh vents, reinforced scuff guards, adjustable snaps/cuffs, and a relaxed fit allowing freedom of movement. Zippered pockets keep valuables secure and accessible on the mountain. Suspender buttons add another layer of stability.

Find Your Style

Snowboard pants today fuse technical features with stylish designs. Choose from relaxed, loose fits or slimmer tapered pants. Bright colors and patterns complement your personality. Matching jacket and pant sets create a sharp coordinated look.

Shop Trusted Brands

Stick with reputable snow-specific brands like Burton, Volcom, 686, The North Face, and Patagonia. They use high-performance fabrics tested in real winter conditions. Buy last season’s models on sale to get quality gear at a discount.

Insulation Types

The three main types of insulation used in snowboard pants are:

  • Synthetic insulation like PrimaLoft is lightweight, breathable, and dries quickly. It provides warmth even when wet. Mid-level synthetic insulation keeps you warm in temperatures from 15°F to 40°F (-9°C to 4°C).
  • Down insulation is ultralight, compressible, and offers superior warmth. But it loses its insulating ability when wet. ULTRA-level down insulation excels in frigid conditions below 15°F (-9°C).
  • Fleece, usually made from polyester, provides affordable basic insulation. But it’s bulkier and not as efficient in wet weather. Light fleece insulation works in temperatures down to 25°F (-4°C).

Insulated Vs. Layering Shell & Base Layers

Buying heavily insulated snowboard pants rated to very cold temperatures will keep you warm by itself. But the thick insulation can also cause overheating when riding hard or on warmer spring days. Another strategy is choosing lightly insulated pants or an uninsulated shell, then adding removable synthetic or merino wool base layers for customizable warmth. The layered approach offers greater flexibility across changing conditions.

Waterproof and breathable Fabrics

Quality waterproof yet breathable fabrics are vital for snowboard pant performance. Look for pants made using fabric technologies like the following:

  • GORE-TEX offers top-tier waterproof breathability and windproofing. GORE-TEX Pro is extremely rugged and durable.
  • eVent membranes provide air-permeable, waterproof protection with excellent breathability.
  • HyVent uses layered fabrics for optimal waterproofing, breathability, and comfort.
  • PowderBound inserts a waterproof, breathable membrane between fabric layers.
  • Ballistic nylon overlays enhance water resistance and duration in high-abrasion zones.

Fully taped seams are also key for preventing moisture intrusion when seams are stitched through waterproof fabric layers.

Venting & Breathability Features

Features like zippered thigh vents, mesh-lined zippered pockets and cuffs allow the release of built-up body heat and moisture vapor. Strategically placed vents offer ventilation without sacrificing weather protection. For warm conditions, zip-off pant legs convert pants to shorts.


Deep, zippered hand pockets keep essentials like lift tickets, keys, and gloves secure while riding. Look for pants with thigh cargo pockets for easily accessing gear on the mountain. Back pockets hold small items. Inner waist stash pockets safely hold wallets and phones.

Reinforced Fabric

Heavy scuff guards, ballistic overlays, and waterproof reinforced fabric on the knees, hems, and cuffs enhance durability in high-wear zones. This protects the pants from tears, abrasions, and extended wear.

Style Features

Today’s snowboard pants combine technical features with style. Handy features to look for include:

  • Belt loops, adjustable waist tabs, and suspender buttons provide a secure fit.
  • Articulated knees allow flexibility and mobility.
  • Internal waist adjustment prevents slipping and keeps out snow.
  • Snow gaiters or boot gaskets integrate with boots to seal out moisture.
  • Zippered hems accommodate boot adjustments.
  • Bright colors, contrasting zippers, and stylish patterns complement your personal taste.
  • Matching jackets and pants allows for creating a coordinated look.

Pick the pants with the right combination of performance features and style that best match your snowboarding needs and preferences.


Many outdoor apparel and snowsports brands now offer high-quality snowboard pants. When comparing different brands, look into factors like their technology, reputation for durability, weather protection, and style. Some top snowboard pants brands to look for include:

  • Burton – the leading snowboard brand, known for quality and innovation.
  • 686 – technologically advanced pants with a streetwear vibe.
  • Volcom – emphasizing durability, safety, and style.
  • Dakine – is known for great value along with function and quality.
  • Helly Hansen – trusted for high-performance weather protection.
  • The North Face – outdoor gear with excellent quality and technical fabrics.
  • Patagonia – an environmentally conscious brand with quality products.
  • Arc’teryx – premium outdoor gear focusing on durability and performance.

Consider your budget, needs, and brand preferences when deciding on a brand for your snowboard pants. It’s wise to stick with established snowsports brands offering the latest technical features.

Price Range

In terms of price, snowboard pants generally range from around $100 to $300 or more. Factors affecting the price include the brand, materials used, technical features, and design. High-end snowboard pants from top brands utilizing proprietary fabrics and technology can cost over $300. Pants in the mid-range around $150-$250 offer excellent performance at a more affordable cost. Budget around $100 for solid-quality entry-level pants with good waterproofing and breathability. Match your price range to the features and quality level that suit your budget and needs. Keep in mind that proper winter sports apparel is worth investing in for safety, comfort, and performance on the slopes.

Frequently Asked Question

1. What are snowboard trousers, and why are they important for snowboarding?

Snowboard trousers are specialized pants designed for snowboarding. They are crucial for keeping you warm, dry, and comfortable while riding in cold and snowy conditions. They also provide protection from the elements.

2. What should I consider when choosing snowboard trousers?

You should consider factors like waterproofing, insulation, fit, breathability, and additional features like pockets, venting, and style.

3. How important is waterproofing in snowboard trousers?

Waterproofing is vital to keep you dry in wet snow and rainy conditions. Look for trousers with a high waterproof rating, typically measured in millimeters (mm), for better protection.

4. What is breathability, and why is it important in snowboard trousers?

Breathability allows moisture (sweat) to escape from inside the trousers, preventing you from getting wet and cold from the inside. It’s essential for overall comfort during physical activity.

5. Should I choose insulated or non-insulated snowboard trousers?

The choice between insulated and non-insulated trousers depends on the temperature and personal preference. Insulated trousers provide warmth and are suitable for cold conditions, while non-insulated ones offer versatility and are better for warmer days.

6. How should snowboard trousers fit?

Snowboard trousers should have a comfortable, relaxed fit to allow for a full range of motion. Make sure they are not too tight or too baggy, and consider whether you need room for layering.

7. What additional features should I look for in snowboard trousers?

Consider features like reinforced knees and seat for durability, zippered vents for temperature control, adjustable waistbands for a customized fit, and multiple pockets for convenience.

8. Do snowboard trousers come in different styles and colors?

Yes, snowboard trousers come in a variety of styles, colors, and patterns to suit your personal taste. You can choose from classic, slim, or baggy styles to match your preferred look.

9. Are there any specific care instructions for snowboard trousers?

Always follow the care instructions provided by the manufacturer. Generally, you should avoid using fabric softeners, wash with a technical detergent, and ensure the trousers are completely dry before storing them.

10. Can I use regular winter pants or ski pants for snowboarding?

While regular winter pants or ski pants may work in a pinch, it’s recommended to use dedicated snowboard trousers for the best performance and comfort. They are designed with snowboarding-specific features and durability in mind.


Picking the perfect snowboard pants involves evaluating the critical factors of fit, insulation, weather protection, breathability, features, and style. Carefully consider your personal needs and preferences when it comes to warmth, weather conditions, riding style, and budget. Trying on pants with your snowboard boots is the best way to find an optimal fit. Seek out high-quality fabrics and technical features suited to your local climate and typical riding temperatures. With the wide variety of snowboard pants available today in different fits, insulation levels, and styles, there is a pair ideal for every snowboarder. Use this guide’s tips to choose high-performing snowboard trousers that allow you to shred the slopes in warmth and comfort.

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