Ski pants are one of the most critical pieces of equipment you wear while skiing. We’ve created this curated list of the best ski pants and bibs to fit every style and budget. If you’re a resort-goer, you’ll probably want snow pants with insulation for chair lifts and a hard outer shell. If you’re a backcountry skier, pants with a softshell that provides mobility and breathability will be the winner. However, the best ski pants or bib are fit for both the backcountry and resort.
We found the best ski pants overall to be the Black Diamond Boundary Line Insulated Pant; the best bib all-around is the North Face Freedom Bibs. On this list, we’ve included snow pants that allow you to stay dry with waterproof technology, keep you toasty and warm with insulation, and protect you against the elements. Below are our best ski pants and bibs for 2021, along with an expert buying guide for ski pants.
The Best Ski Pants Reviewed
Best All-Around Ski Pants
With 20,000m waterproofing and 20,000g/m² breathability, the Black Diamond Boundary Line Insulated Pant is built for intensity. We rated it as the top ski pant on the list for all its technical, assistive features. The side-seam zip vents allow you to perspire heavily and stay cool on spring days or backcountry boot packing.
For women, the Black Diamond Boundary Line Insulated Pant is similarly outfitted with synthetic insulated and a DWR waterproof coating. There are also zippered side and thigh pockets for stashing snacks, chapstick, and any other essentials. These are the dream ski pants for resort uses or more rugged backcountry skiing.
- Side-seam venting for cooling off
- 20k/20k waterproof and breathable fabric
- High-performance synthetic insulation
- Run slightly big
Best All-Around Bib
If you’re looking for an extremely well-made bib that allows a full range of movement, consider The North Face Freedom Bibs. It’s a no-frills, reliable bib with a spacious chest pocket, adjustable suspenders, and zippered hand pockets. The 2L nylon fabric is wind- and waterproof, and the inner-thigh vents allow for thermoregulation.
The women’s version of the North Face Freedom Bibs will keep you comfortable during long days on the slopes. Though there isn’t much in the way of insulation, the pants are loose-fitting enough to add layers underneath. The features match the men’s pants in terms of waterproofing, breathability, and high durability.
- Well-insulated and waterproof
- Comfortable fabric and cut
- Plenty of pockets and zips
- Shoulder straps not removable
Best Budget Ski Pants
If you’re looking for an affordable, high-value ski pant, look no further than the Columbia Bugaboo IV Pant. Customers love the velcro waist adjustment and loose but comfy fit. Whether you’re outdoor hiking or skiing, the OmniHeat lining in these pants will keep you warm.
The women’s version of the Columbia Bugaboo IV Pant comes in a variety of beautiful colours. Omni technology reflects body heat to keep you warm in snowy conditions. At a budget-friendly price, they have all the essential features: zippered hand pockets, seam sealing, and an adjustable waist.
- Very affordable
- Lightweight and high-quality
- Comes in a variety of colours
- Wide, baggy cut
Best Resort Ski Pants
Made with typical Arc’teryx quality, the Macai Pants allow you to summit the mountain confidently. The GORE-TEX 3L waterproofing and taped seams will keep water out; the Coreloft synthetic insulation keeps heat in while you ski. PowderGuard mesh vents allow you to open the pants to the environment without snow entering.
For women, the Arc’teryx Andessa Pant has similar cold-blocking features as the Macai pants. Air-permeable Coreloft insulation is both breathable and warm, and 3L GORE-TEX will keep you dry all day long. The main difference is that the women’s version has an adjustable waist instead of a built-in belt.
- Built-in cinch belt (men’s)
- 3L GORE-TEX waterproofing
- Slim fit contours to body shape
Best Entry Level Ski Pants
Made with two-way stretch fabric and reinforcement at the bottom of the leg, the Peak Performance Maroon Pants are perfect for beginner skiers. Even when you’re climbing out of the snow or recovering from a fall, the HipeCore material will keep you dry. There are also convenient features like front and zippered back pockets and a snap-in system.
For female beginners, the Patagonia Insulated Snowbelle Pants are an excellent piece of starter gear. Unlike the men’s version, there’s a layer of Thermogreen insulation for added warmth. The reinforcement offers extra leg protection, and the RECCO reflector provides additional safety in case of avalanches or remote accidents.
- Design allows for freedom of movement
- Waterproof, windproof, and breathable material
- Durable reinforcements
- Thinly insulated
Best Backcountry Ski Bib
In the free ride gear realm, the Norrona Tamok Gore-Tex Pro Bib is top of its class. With expert strap placement and breathable material, it’s highly comfortable. The extremely durable GORE-TEX Pro material also offers superior weather protection.
Women will appreciate the sleek style and innovative features of the Norrona Tamok Gore-Tex Pro Bib. The side zipper goes all the way down, so it’ll be easy to take the bib off when nature calls. There are also spacious thigh pockets and a stretch panel in the back for easy movement.
- Highly durable GORE-TEX Pro fabric
- Zips on and off for convenience
- Crisp, clean design
- A bit of an investment
With an H2No shell made of 3-layer ripstop nylon, Patagonia Snowdrifter Bibs are made for the most rugged conditions. Though it’s not GORE-TEX, the H2No fabric coated with DWR is exceptionally waterproof and flexible. There’s also a host of other features like boot gaiters and scuff guards at the hem to keep out snow.
Snowdrifter Bibs for her are equally weather-resistant and comfortable. The suspenders are detachable, which makes it simple to get in and out of the bib. There’s also articulated patterning and four-way stretch to allow for dynamic movement.
In classic BlackYak fashion, the Amrit Pants are innovative and different. They feature a unique Rail Suspension system that positions the suspenders more ergonomically on the side. You can be sure they’ll keep you dry with the GORE-TEX Pro fabric.
The women’s BlackYak Amrit Pants are great at protecting from the elements while keeping you comfortable. Like the men’s version, they also have KEVLAR ankle reinforcement and Cordura fibres for added durability.
Enjoy wholly waterproof and windproof snow trousers with the Arc’teryx Sabre AR Pant. They’re great for freeriding, boosted by an ultra-durable N80p-X 3L GORE-TEX fabric. Waterproof zippers and a removable waist belt provide the ultimate comfort.
For women, the Arc’teryx Sentinel AR Pant has all the handy features you need for competitive ski performance. The softshell GORE-TEX fabric is waterproof while still being supple. There’s also a brushed inner lining to provide extra coziness while skiing.
What To Look For In Ski Pants
Whether you’re a first-time skier or seasoned expert, finding the best ski pants or bib is an essential part of the sport. While a jacket, gloves, and goggles are crucial, don’t underestimate the importance of snow pants. The best ski pants keep you warm and dry on the mountain and have innovative features like pockets and vent zips.
Pants or Bibs?
Choosing snow pants or bibs comes down to personal preference. Snow pants have an elastic waistband or a zip fly like everyday pants. On the other hand, bibs are more like overalls that help keep snow out if you fall.
The amount of insulation someone needs depends on how cold their legs get while skiing.
Insulated ski pants have synthetic insulation that stays warm even when wet. Some uninsulated pants have a liner that provides some additional warmth. Finally, some unlined pants have no insulation and are made for layering.
Shells Layers: 2L vs 3L
A 2L shell has two bonded layers: the outer one usually has waterproof material or coating; the inner one is made of softer mesh or nylon.
The 3L shell has an outer waterproof layer, then a waterproof and breathable membrane in the middle, and a PU film or lining covers the second layer. This allows it to have the highest weather-resistance and performance.
Waterproofing on ski pants is essential for keeping your legs dry throughout snowy days. Many ski pants will have a waterproof rating from 5,000 to 20,000, with the higher rating being more weather-resistant.
Fully taped seams have waterproof material like GORE-TEX or H2No over the edges of the seams. Critically taped seams only have waterproof material or coating, such as DWR, over the areas typically exposed to moisture.
Some inner thigh inseams will feature zippered seams. These allow the pants to open so the wearer can cool off. Some of these vents also have mesh material to block out snow but allow air to circulate.
If you like to carry things like a ski pass or hand warmers, look for ski pants and bibs with large pockets. Some common areas for pockets are the front, back, and thighs of the pants. Bibs will also often have a central front chest pocket.
It’s essential to find the right size ski pants that aren’t too baggy or tight. Too-tight snow pants will make it harder to move freely. Alternatively, too-loose pants can cause trips and falls.
FAQs for Best Ski Pants
Why are ski pants so long?
Ski pants should be longer than regular trousers to cover your ski boots.
Are ski pants supposed to be baggy?
Some ski pants have a slightly baggier cut to allow for a broader range of movements. The best ski pants are tighter around the thighs and looser on the ankles to fit the ski boots.
Are ski pants the same as snow pants?
Yes, the terms ski pants and snow pants can be used interchangeably. They’re both waterproof and warmer than regular pants.
Should ski pants be tight or loose?
Though everyone has their preferences for fit, a happy medium is best. They shouldn’t be so tight that you can’t move easily, nor should they be so baggy they’re in the way.
We understand that finding the best ski pants can sometimes feel like an uphill battle. That’s why we created this list of the best ski pants and bibs for the winter 2021 season. We hope you find a pair of pants or bib that fits your style, budget, and preferences.