Best Men’s Snow Pants of 2022 — Men’s Snowboard and Ski Pants

Popular mechanics; Courtesy Outdoor Research

Today’s snow pants are designed for specific purposes, and although a good pair will suit most endeavors. But if you know you’re going to be doing more of one activity than another, like hitting the slopes or snowshoeing or splitting wood and working outdoors, you’re going to want snow pants designed for that type of activity. ‘activity. Depending on what you’re doing, you’ll need to choose features like insulation, waterproofing, stretch, durability, and more.

The best snow pants for men

What to consider

People buy things like winter coats and gloves first when they’re getting ready for winter, but it’s just as important to keep your legs and feet warm without sweating too much. Whatever your budget, here’s what to consider before making your purchase.


There are many reasons to want a good pair (or more pairs) of snow pants for the outdoor activities you participate in most often in the winter. If you ski, snowboard or snowmobile, you will need insulated, waterproof pants. If you do active backcountry activities like hiking, snowshoeing, backcountry skinning, and skiing or snowboarding, you’ll need waterproof, breathable, and flexible pants with minimal insulation or zero.

Waterproofing and breathability

The best snow pants for winter activities offer a seamless blend of waterproofing and breathability. Pants can be both waterproof and breathable, helping you stay warm without breaking a sweat during most activities. The more active you are, the more breathable pants you will want. If you know you’ll be going out in wet and cold weather and won’t be riding, you may want to consider less breathable pants with higher levels of waterproofing. There are also many winter pants that have side slits on the thighs and/or calves to limit overheating.


If you plan on doing a lot of ski lifts, snowmobiling, or spending a lot of time outdoors without moving much, you’ll need pants with more insulation, likewise if you live in climates very cold. If you do more active activities, like hiking or skiing uphill, you’ll want pants that have little or no insulation. If you wear pants with little insulation, you will need a sweat-wicking base layer to reduce sweating during high-energy activities.


Of course, you want a durable pair of snow pants, especially if you’re paying a significant amount for them. Some snow pants, like ski pants or mountaineering pants, have reinforcements in specific areas, like the knees and the inside of the ankles, which protects the pants where they are most likely to come into contact with ski edges, crampons or objects you bump into.

Type of fabric and flexibility

Snow pants generally fall into one of three categories for their primary fabric: hardshell, softshell, or hybrid, which uses both hardshell and softshell fabrics. Hardshell pants tend to have less flexibility and mechanical elasticity. Softshell pants and hybrid pants are designed with more flexibility in mind for activities where you will need a greater range of motion. Likewise, hardshell pants are generally less breathable than their softshell cousins.

Pants or bib

It depends on the rider. Snow pants are easier to put on and take off, but can be harder to keep on the hip, especially when wearing multiple layers. Bibs are warmer and may have additional pockets. However, it is more difficult to go to the bathroom with them and some may find that the suspenders put too much downward pressure on their shoulders throughout the day.


Look for pants with zippered pockets to the top. They are less likely to open if they snag on something, like a branch, ski poles, or gloves.


Gaiters are a nice feature on snow pants. They help prevent snow from creeping into shoes and boots. Unlike external gaiters, which have stirrups to ensure they don’t ride up, most built-in gaiters fasten around the ankle of the boot and sometimes feature an inner sleeve that slides into the boot.


We’re not talking the internet here, but some pants are designed to be zipped, buttoned, or snapped into a jacket to keep snow from sneaking into clothing underneath your jacket and pants.


The fit depends on the wearer and their appearance. Snowboard pants and some ski pants are looser than others to allow for better insulation underneath. Backcountry pants can be a little baggy, but are designed to be flexible, which means they are often thinner and tighter than complex style pants.

How we selected

We have worn and tested ski, mountaineering, hiking and snow pants for years. Over time we’ve learned a lot about what makes great snow pants, but we haven’t tested every pair on the market. In this case, we’ve based our selections on both our personal knowledge of the products, as well as choices based on the styles preferred by customers and professional reviewers.

For more winter gear, check out our picks for the best snow boots, duck boots and snow pants for women.

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