How To Choose Snowboard Pants

Gareth Simpson

by Gareth Simpson

April 27, 2021

Snowboard Pants Buying Guide

Types of Pants

There are two main types of snowboard pants. They vary in the construction and they are designed for different purposes. Below we will explain both models so you can understand which type is more suitable for you and why. Keep in mind that the same classification might be available for snowboard jackets, gloves, and other equipment.
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Shell Pants

Shell pants are completely different than the insulated models. They don’t have insulation which makes them very lightweight and appealing to wear when you want movement rather than anything else. As you would expect they are not made for extremely cold weather and they are made to be paired with several other layers of the clothing. You will need a pair of this kind if you like feeling ‘’light’’ while snowboarding.


Snowboards are basically thick, a special type of pants that can be worn when the temperature is extremely low. As such we can see that some models are made to fit you differently. There are a lot of variations here and we won’t be able to include all of them, but at a glance, we can see two main categories.


Regular snowboard pants will be relatively loose compared to conventional pants and they will be able to keep you warm but they will add weight to your legs. Most of you have seen countless examples of pants like this and they all are known as regular fit models. Keep in mind that they are not loose. They are simply larger than the second type here and they are more focused on keeping you warm than on helping you look cool.


Slim models are the opposite. They are lighter and they come with the ability to adjust and stay as close to your legs as possible. You will choose this type if you prefer looking cool rather than anything else. Of course, be free to make any choice you prefer. These are not rules you must obey but rather recommendations we want to give to you.

Waterproof Rating

One of the most important factors to consider when looking at any piece of clothing for snowboarding is the waterproof rating. As you would expect there are a lot of different options.

This rating is expressed in mm or millimeters. A testing party will place a tube filled with water over one small part of the fabric. When the fabric starts to allow for the water to penetrate we have a waterproof rating. Below are some of the most common options you can find these days and something you can learn to measure the rating all by yourself. Keep in mind that the rating starts at 1000mm but those models are not suitable for snowboarders, therefore, we won’t include them on the list.


This is the lower end of the average rating. What this means is that the pants will still be more than just capable of keeping you dry at all times. However, you may need added protection at some point. If you are on a tight budget, you are likely to get a model with this rating. It is also very popular among beginners and those who don’t know how to understand waterproofness rating. You are not one of them anymore.


Pants with this rating are another part of the average scale. What this means is that pants are suitable for more demanding users and they will keep the water of all the time. Many, budget friendly models have this rating and we should add that it is one of the most common these days.


Now we are moving to the maximum rating. This one is above average and suitable for people who want to stay comfortable but at the same time want to make sure water doesn’t penetrate their pants and reach their skin. Some of the best models on the market have this rating and countless satisfied owners.


This is the best waterproof rating you can possibly find today. Pants with it are super tough and extremely durable. They can resist any situations and your skin will remain completely dry. Snowboarders who are interested in heavy-duty pants and hate to get wet will consider pants with 20.000 mm rating as the only choice. Yes, they are pricey but they are the safest portion of them all.

Breathability Rating

Breathability is a rating completely opposite than waterproofness. Here the fabric is measured to see how much sweat or more precisely molecules of sweat can escape through 1 square meter in 24 hours. This is known as Moisture Vapor Transmission Rate and the findings are presented in grams.

Entry-level models have between 1000 and 3000 grams of breathability. As you would expect this is a decent result but not great. The mid-range is around 10000 grams. Many, affordable yet professional pants have a rating of this value and we can see that they are extremely popular at the moment. The main reason is the ability to allow your skin to breathe but at the same time to keep the user warm.

The top end of the scale reaches 20.000 grams and you know what this means. Only the best pants with the best performance and the most advanced features have this rating and they are suitable for those who need ultimate protection yet want their skin to breathe. As usual, the breathability rating is linked to the price of a model.

Fabric Durability

One of the main differences between conventional pants and snowboard pants is durability. Ordinary pants aim to comfort and practicality while snowboard models target protection and strength. Here we can see one additional, also an important difference. Snowboard pants are made from woven nylon and polyester fibers. These materials are extremely strong and durable. They can withstand anything and they can provide superb protection from cold and water.


Different models come with different features, but most of them should have several features. They can make a massive difference and they can be more than just helpful. Below you can see the main features and the ones you will need on your snowboard pants.

Boot Gaiters

Boot gaiters are basically elastic bands that will link the pants to the boots. Their mission is to make sure snow can’t penetrate the interior and keep your feet and legs dry and warm.

Articulated Knees

The pre-shaped part of the pants that goes around your knees is known as articulated knees. They make pants more comfortable and follow the natural curve of the legs while snowboarding.

Scuff Guards

It refers to the fabric that goes around your ankles and should decrease friction. The main purpose is to protect the pants and eliminate possible damages and wear.


Suspenders don’t need to be explained. They are precisely as you think. The only difference compared to other suspenders is in the fact these ones are sewn into the pants.

Side Zips

They should ensure that the pants will go over the boots for a better fit. You can zip or unzip them and enjoy snowboarding in harsh situations.

Inner Leg Vents

They are paired with zippers and mesh material. The goal is to provide airflow inside the pants and decrease the temperature when needed.

Leg Lifts

Only snowboard pants have this important feature. The main purpose is to lift the pants and secure them in place above the boots. You will use this feature when walking across the area where melted snow is present.

Jacket-to-Pant Interface

It comes in a snap or zipper design and it allows you to connect the pants to your jacket. By doing so you get better protection and your body won’t lose heat as without this feature.


Seams are used to explain the process manufacturer implemented while connecting all the parts if the pants. There are two main options.

Fully Taped

Fully taped seams refer to the seams that are completely waterproof. They won’t let water get in and they are processed on both sides. Also, this method explains that all the seams on the pants are waterproof.

Critically Taped

Critically taped seams are different. It means that the manufacturer made only critical or the most important seams waterproof. All the rest won’t be waterproof which may be an issue for some of you. This type is common in low-end and more affordable models.



There are a lot of technologies used in making snowboard pants. However, one of them which is the best and the most desirable for all of us is Gore-Tex. To get the most important insights you will need to continue reading.


The technology in question is simply known as Gore-Tex. It is one of the best systems at the moment and here’s why. First of all the technology makes any piece of cloths completely waterproof. You don’t have to worry about this issue and you can expose the pants to literally any weather or situation. But, at the same time, the technology allows the skin to breathe and you can see the effect as soon as you try the pants with Gore-Tex. The system uses a membrane that is specifically developed for this purpose. It makes any pants or a jacket superior compared to other units and should be reserved for those who need the ultimate protection. Yes, this technology is still a bit expensive due to the complicated manufacturing process but worth your every penny.

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