The Insider Picks team writes about stuff we think you’ll like. Business Insider has affiliate partnerships, so we get a share of the revenue from your purchase.
Make the most of that winter wonderland this year by keeping yourself warm and dry with well-made snow pants when you’re skiing, sledding, or generally romping about in the snow.
The Arctix Insulated Snow Pants are our top pick because they’re rated for use in temperatures down to 20 below zero, yet they are also the most affordable pair we reviewed.
You know what’s a lot of fun? Sledding, skiing, snowball fights, and winter hikes. But you know what’s not much fun? Legs that are freezing cold and soaking wet and at dire risk of frostbite all because of those inferior snow pants you pulled on before heading out into the cold.
Even in less perilous situations, poor snow pants or no snow pants make everything from shoveling the driveway to trudging your way to work needlessly unpleasant.
We looked at snow pants for men, women, and kids, and we’ve further organised our picks by activity. So whether you’re hitting the slopes or just clearing snow off the top of your car, or whether you’re headed out for a winter jog or making your way across town for a meeting, we’ve got you covered even in the worst weather.
When considering which are the best snow pants for your legs, think about where you’ll wear them and what you’ll be doing. One common mistake in choosing winter gear over buying. Don’t get pants designed for winter mountain skiing if you will primarily use them while walking your dog, for example. There’s no need to spend the money, and further if you get snow pants that are too heavily insulated for your needs, you’ll end up uncomfortably warm instead of uncomfortably cold.
On the other hand, do invest in a great pair of active wear snow pants if you’re a skier, hiker, or runner, because many lower cost pairs can inhibit motion, which can be a downer, and might not provide enough warmth, and remember the whole frostbite thing we talked about earlier.
Now, let’s get you geared up with some snow pants!
Here are the best snow pants you can buy:
- Best snow pants overall:Arctix Insulated Snow Pant for men and women
- Best snow pants for women: Patagonia Snowbelle Stretch Pants
- Best snow pants for kids: REI Co-Op Timber Mountain Pants
- Best snow pants for active wear: Columbia Ridge to Run II Pant
- Best snow pants for skiing: Trailside Supply Co. Insulated Ski/Snowboard Pant
Read on in the slides below to check out our top picks.
The best snow pants overall
Why you’ll love them: Arctix’s Snow Pants for men and women are of fine quality and they’re not super expensive, either.
Usually in life, you get what you pay for. Want to drive a supercar? Spend a few hundred grand and you can. Want to taste the finest foods? Book yourself a meal at Masa and order some sushi, then spend about $US600. But proving that every rule has an exception, with Arctix Snow Pants, you don’t get what you pay for, you get way more.
For example, you get boot zippers and gaiters that make it easy to keep snow out of your footwear and off your legs. You get an adjustable waistband for comfort and proper fit. You get an O-ring for clipping on keys, a lift ticket, or an item of gear.
And of course you get plenty of warmth, too. Arctix Snow Pants are rated for use in temperatures as cold as -20º Fahrenheit. Yet for all that, most pairs cost only around 30 bucks.
Arctix makes snow pants for men and women and in a variety of different styles, including a cargo snow pant with multiple pockets and slimmer, low bulk pants perfect for sports or trekking. The various styles come in myriad colours and patterns, so you can stay warm and dry and in style, too.
The Men’s Arctix Cargo Snow Pants have more than a thousand five-star ratings on Amazon, with one gentleman calling them “warm [and] great pants for the price” and noting their accurate sizing.
The women’s Arctix Insulated Snow Pants also have hundreds of great reviews, with one customer calling them “great quality.” Do note that a number of women reported sizing issues, though, so an exchange might be part of the buying process.
Pros: Great prices, superlative wind-proofing, available in multiple colours and patterns
Cons: Sizing issues with women’s snow pants
Buy a pair of Women’s Arctix Insulated Snow Pants from Amazon for around $US30 (prices vary by size)
The best snow pants for women
Why you’ll love them: The Patagonia Snowbelle Stretch Pants are warm, soft, flexible, and designed exclusively for the shape of a woman’s lower half.
There’s a lot to cover when discussing the Patagonia Snowbelle Stretch Pants, so let’s start with how they actually keep your legs covered. The exterior is made from a two-layer micro-twill polyester weave that’s completely waterproof yet breathable, releasing excess heat built up within. And that polyester? It’s made from 70% recycled material, which is nice, no?
Inside, a soft, warm polyester taffeta keeps you nice and toasty even when you’re out on frigid slopes or facing winds howling through city streets. But not too toasty, because of the aforementioned breathability of the pants and some built-in venting, and also not too sweaty, as the lining wicks moisture.
As the name suggests, the Snowbelle Stretch Pants have plenty of stretch and give and a slim profile that neither looks nor feels bulky. They also have articulated knees for freedom of motion. The zip-shut hand warmer pockets will be welcome on the coldest days, while the built in gaiters will be welcome on the snowiest.
A writer from ABetterSki said the Snowbelle pants “offer plenty of protection for most days on the mountain” and “plenty warm… with just a light base layer.” She also noted the “decent ventilation” and “comfortable fit.”
Pros: Articulation and stretch for great freedom of motion, warm and breathable, durable exterior resists tears and punctures
Cons: Quite pricey
The best snow pants for kids
Why you’ll love them: The REI Co-Op Timber Mountain Pants are kid sized, but made to the same exacting standards of gear an adult would expect from this decades-old legacy brand.
If you took a pair of high-quality adult snow pants that are suitable for use skiing, boarding, or doing some honest to goodness mountaineering and then hit them with some sort of shrink ray device, you would be left with the REI Co-Op Timber Mountain Pass Pants. Because while sized for kids, these snow pants are ready for any level of outdoor adventure. Also, can I see that shrink ray thing? It sounds amazing. Anyway.
The Timber Mountain snow pants are rated as windproof up to 60 MPH gust speeds, they have a waterproof nylon shell, and a warm microfleece lining that wicks moisture and releases excess heat. Ankle zips make putting on, taking off, and tightening boots easy, and internal gaiters keep the snow, ice, and rain outside where it belongs.
In fact, there is really only one feature, aside from the smaller size, that sets these snow pants apart from technical apparel designed for an adult. The REI Timber Mountain Pants have a “grow-cuff” feature that allows you to lengthen the pants by up to two inches, helping your young outdoorsman or outdoorswoman squeeze an extra winter season out of the pants. Or rather to squeeze themselves into a pair.
REI customers have given these snow pants an overall four-star rating, with a buyer named Ingrid calling them “nice quality pants,” while a mum named Megan said she’d “recommend the product, but with caveats,” calling attention to some fit issues. The waistband is readily adjustable, but the legs run short for taller kids, even with the grow-cuff adjustment.
Pros: Excellent water and wind proofing, grow-cuff extends length, articulated and flexible design
Cons: Length too short for some kids, rather expensive
The best snow pants for active wear
Why you’ll love them: If you snowshoe, hike, run, or do just about any other winter sport save for actual downhill skiing, the Columbia Ridge to Run II Pants are your best bet.
OK, let me be very clear at the start here: I’m not recommending these snow pants for skiing, and for one specific reason: They are not waterproof. Water resistant? Sure. But if you want true waterproofing, look for Columbia’s OutDry products or turn to other options on our list. And for downhill skiers and snowboarders, waterproofing is a must, because even the best on the slopes fall over sometimes, and getting wet means getting very cold indeed.
Now, for just about every other wintertime outdoor activity, the Ridge to Run II Pants are superlative. They are amazing flexible and feature excellent articulation at the knees, and their slim profile allows for comfortable running, climbing, and more.
While lacking in full waterproofing, the Columbia Ridge to Run Pant will keep you plenty warm thanks to the metallic dot Omni-Heat thermal reflective lining that bounces heat your body radiates right back at you. As you’d expect from a garment designed for cold weather aerobic exercise, the pants are breathable, releasing excess heat. Also there are zippered vents for when even more cooling is called for.
Around 94% of customers who have bought a pair of Columbia Ridge to Run II Pants report that they would recommend them to others. One hard-charging outdoorsman raved that “it’s pretty unbelievable how effectively these pants wick away and vent off moisture,” while another reported that they “definitely keep you warm in cold conditions.”
Other buyers did note the lack of waterproofing, such as a gentleman from Alaska who reportedly ended up “soaked through to the skin” after too much exposure to wet snow.
Pros: Superlative flexibility, great heat regulation, reinforced cuff guard
Cons: Not waterproof
The best snow pants for skiing
Why you’ll love them: The Trailside Supply Co. Insulated Ski/Snowboard Pant sit right at the cross section of good quality and good value.
Trailside Supply Co. is yet another Amazon brand, and as with its labels like Mama Bear baby products and of course good old Amazon Basics, the gear this side label produces is of good quality. It’s not the best of the best, and we’ll cover a few small flaws later, but the Insulated Ski/Snowboard Pant is a perfectly viable piece of mountain apparel at a price most skiers, boarders, sledders, or snowshoers can afford.
First, here’s the good stuff. These Trailside Supply Co. snow pants are waterproof and windproof, and they have a soft, warm polyester lining. The waistband features adjustable elastic bands and wide belt loops for a fit that’s comfortable and secure, while the cuffs feature side zippers and internal gaiters.
Unlike many snow pants that are lacking in pockets, these have six of them. And don’t worry if you’re a big and tall guy, they come in sizes large enough for a 44-inch waist.
Now for the issues. Many owners report the pants running so small they needed to go up a size just to fit in the pants. And a few people reported the pants ripping open, which renders them basically useless in cold, wet weather until repaired or simply replaced.
A writer from TopTenReviewPro was overall impressed with the Trailside Supply Co. Insulated Ski/Snowboard Pant, saying the “side-adjustable elastic waistband… gives you a perfect fit” and assuring readers that they will “keep you warm all the time.”
Pros: Multiple pockets, adjustable elastic waistband, decent price point
Cons: Sizes run too small, exterior shell not durable enough
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.