Over the years, mens snowboard pants have changed in technology and fashion. As someone who’s worked at a snowboard shop for many years, I’ll cover everything you need to know. We’ll discuss the different types of fit, materials and how they affect waterproofing, breathability, insulation as well as additional features. After reading this article you’ll be confident and prepared to buy the best mens snowboarding pants for yourself.
The Ultimate Mens Snowboard Pants Guide
The Different Types of Pants
Much like mens snowboard jackets, there are several different types of pants available for purchase. They each offer different sets of versatility.
But to make things simple, we’re going to focus on 2 main types of pants: shell pants and insulated pants.
These are the most common type of snowboarding pants. If you go out snowboarding you’ll notice most people are wearing shell pants.
Shell pants are windproof and waterproof, yet highly breathable. However, they don’t include internal insulation. Because they are not insulated they’re lighter and allow for added mobility.
Shell pants are also useful since they allow for layering. You can combine a thermal base layer with a mid layer sweat pants before putting on your snowboarding pants. If you think your legs might get to sweaty you can remove the mid layer sweat pants.
If you need the boost in warmth then insulated pants are the way to go.
Insulated pants include an outer layer that is waterproof and windproof, along with an insulated layer that is built directly into the pant.
The insulating inner layer is usually made of fleece, down, or a synthetic fill such as Primaloft or Thinsulate.
Insulation is usually measured in grams. The higher the insulation in grams, the warmer the snowboard pants will be. Insulation can range from 30 grams to 800 grams.
Finding the Right Fit
Mens snowboard pants come in the typical sizing that you would expect (small, medium, large, extra large). However, snowboarding outwear can come in different fits. Most brands provide three general fits: slim, regular and relaxed.
- Outerwear provides a good range of motion.
- Pants fit much closer to the body and are tailored with a more fitted profile.
- Slim fit pants may reduce the amount of layering you can wear. So that’s something to keep in mind.
- Outerwear will have good room for layering.
- Pants will have a standard length.
- Outerwear will have extra room, allowing for plenty of layering and full range of motion.
- Pants will have more room throughout the leg making it longer.
Mens Snowboard Pants Size Chart
|Waist in inches
The main function of mens snowboard pants is to keep you dry. Therefore, waterproofing is the first feature you should be considering. If your pants get even a little bit damp from either rain or snow, you’ll be uncomfortable and you’ll get cold.
So, how do you know how waterproof pants will be?
If you’re purchasing in-store at a snowboard shop, most snowboard outerwear will have tags or labels on the garments. They list the specs and features of the outwear. If you’re purchasing online, you’ll want to look for a list of specs or features on the product page.
There are three things you need to look for: how the seams are sealed, what’s the waterproof rating and do the pants have Gore-tex?
How the Seams are Sealed
Brands manufacture outerwear with seams that are considered fully seamed (sometimes called fully taped) or critically taped seams.
Fully taped seams means that all the seams in the garment are sealed. This will prevent any moisture or water from entering the outwear through the seams.
Critically taped seams means that only the major seams, usually the inside and outside of the legs. This means that there are still some minor seams around the waist and pockets where moisture can seep in. But usually your jacket is long enough to cover down past your waist.
Mens snowboard pants with fully taped seams will generally be more expensive than critically taped seams.
I recommend going with the “fully” option instead of the “critical” option wherever possible.
How many millimetres of water per square inch that can be repelled determines how waterproof your mens snowboard pants will be.
There is a waterproof rating that ranges from 5,000mm to 20,000mm. The higher the rating the more expensive the pants, usually.
You also need to keep in mind how heavy rainfall or snowfall can be.
Even though you won’t experience 5,000mm of rain in a day, a 5,000mm waterproof pants can still let in water after a few hours outside.
The amount of force rain drops or snow hit your pants will affect how wet you’ll get. For example, heavier rain or snow might penetrate a 5,000mm pair of pants but not a 20,000mm pair.
I personally prefer at least 10,000mm in waterproofing (with fully taped seams). This will keep you protected from getting wet while snowboarding.
If you wear 10,000mm waterproof shell snowboarding pants with base layer leggings, you’ll be plenty good for the season.
Gore-Tex is a membrane that is laminated to the face fabric (the outside layer) of mens snowboard pants. Gore-Tex is an incredible innovation and makes one of the most waterproof and breathable fabric membranes available.
It’s also one of the most expensive options for waterproofing and breathability.
Although many different types of pants are waterproof, pants with GORE-TEX are capable of maintaining an extremely high level of waterproofness while also staying very breathable because it has billions of microscopic pores that let water vapour out but prevent liquid water from entering.
This is a great video that explains how the technology works.
Any mens snowboard pants with Gore-Tex will always be fully seam sealed.
Snowboarding is a full body cardiovascular sport, which means you are going to sweat.
Since you’ll be sweating, it’s important that mens snowboard pants can “breath”. This means that the pants’ fabric has the ability to release sweat and air vapour.
If vapours from sweat get trapped inside your pants you won’t be dry and that sweat can cool which will cause you to get cold.
You’re actually more likely to get cold from sweating inside your pants than compared to the cold air outside your pants.
Your pants’ breathability will be measured in grams and can range from 3,000g to 20,000g. Generally, the higher the rating the more expensive the pants will be.
I recommend a pair of mens snowboard pants around 8,000g–10,000g of breathability as a safe bet.
Extra Features of Mens Snowboard Pants
There are plenty of additional features that you’ll want to be aware of when looking to buy mens snowboard pants. Personal preferences will play a big part here, as some people will prefer some options over others.
Gaiters are found sewn into the bottom cuff of your pants and are designed to keep snow from getting up your pant leg. They usually have an elastic band at the end that keeps them snug against your boots. Some gaiters have hooks that can clip onto your boot’s laces.
This is a feature I would recommend looking for when shopping mens snowboard pants.
Vents are zippers on either the inside or outside of the pant legs. When opened, they have a mesh lining that will release body heat from the pants. It’s a great way to regulate your temperature while snowboarding.
If you’re feeling to hot, you can open your vents for a few runs. Once you feel like you’re starting to cool down again you can close them.
Although pockets are common, it is something you’ll want to take into mind. Think about how much gear you want to carry in your snowboard pants. Make note of the various pocket layouts and which ones suit you.
Zippered pockets are more secure than button or velcro pockets.
You’ll need somewhere to stash your wallet, phone, video recorder, tool etc.
It’s good to have a plan for how you’ll use your pockets.
Where to Buy Mens Snowboard Pants
Hands down the best way to buy a men’s snowboard jacket is to go into your local snowboard shop. It will allow you to try on different pairs of pants to find one with a fit and length that suits your needs.
Obviously, you can purchase snowboard pants online and this is a fine alternative. But I personally prefer the in-store experience of finding the right pants for myself.
One of my favourite snowboard shops in the Greater Toronto Area is Corbett’s in Oakville. The selection of outwear there is plentiful.
- The Ultimate Mens Snowboards Guide
- The Ultimate Mens Snowboard Boots Guide
- The Ultimate Mens Snowboard Bindings Guide
- The Ultimate Mens Snowboard Goggles Guide
- The Ultimate Mens Snowboard Helmet Guide
- The Ultimate Mens Snowboard Jacket Guide
- The Ultimate Mens Snowboard Gloves Guide
- The Ultimate Mens Snowboard Base Layer Guide