Finding the right snowboard pants can take some effort. You want something that will keep you warm and comfortable and also look great. They need to fit correctly and provide you with enough comfort to stay out all day long.
I’ve worn many different pairs of snowboard pants during my on-snow career. I’ve been riding for decades and have worked as a certified snowboarding instructor for ten years. I know what to look for in a solid pair of pants.
The Burton AK Gore-Tex Cyclic is my choice for the best overall snowboard pants for the year. These will provide you with great waterproofing capabilities and are built to last.
I’ll show you several other great pants options here to help you find the best model to meet your needs, no matter how or where you ride.
Pull em up, and let’s get going.
- Quick Summary
- Who Should Get This
- Top Picks of Best Snowboard Pants
- How to Choose Snowboard Pants: Buying Guides
- Snowboard Pants FAQs
- Useful Tips & Resources
- Final Verdict
- Best Overall: Burton AK Gore-Tex Cyclic
- Best Women’s: Roxy Rising High
- Best for Cold Weather: Flylow Snowman
- Best Bibs: Ride Central
- Best Budget Option: 686 Standard
- Best Women’s Budget Option: Volcom Ashton
- Best for Beginners: Burton Covert
- Best for the Backcountry: Helly Hansen SOGN
- Best for Comfort: Volcom L
- Best for Kids: Burton Barnstorm
Who Should Get This
No matter what your ability level is or how often you can ride, every boarder needs pants. Besides the essential equipment that makes it possible to go down the mountain (board, boots, bindings), snowboard pants are the most critical item you can buy.
They go a long way towards keeping snow and wind off of your body when you’re out in the elements, and they can directly help you ride longer and harder.
You can’t rent pants in the same way you do your other equipment. As such, everyone needs to invest in a good pair.
Snowboard brands let you customize your style, and with all of the many options available, you can always find the perfect pair for you.
Top Picks of Best Snowboard Pants
Here are my top picks for the best snowboard pants of the year.
- Best for: Overall
- Key features: Excellent waterproofing, strong, durable, Living lining, zippered back pockets, good ventilation, fully taped seams
- Waterproofing: Gore-Tex 2L
- Fit: Regular Articulated
- Cost: $$$$
If you want the best of the best when it comes to snowboard pants, it’s hard to do better than the Burton AK Gore-Tex Cyclic. These are top-of-the-line, high-performance options that will meet the standards of riders who like to get after them.
A 2-layer Gore-Tex membrane provides excellent waterproofing capabilities. This material is built into the Nylon 70D face fabric to give you an outstanding first line of defense against the snow, wind, and cold.
Another fantastic feature of the Cyclic is the Living lining. This layer of material close to your body works to adapt to the temperatures of your body and the mountain. Breathable pores open up when it’s hot and close when it’s cool for customized comfort.
A regular articulated fit is designed for the rider who likes to charge hard. This design will keep things flexible and free-flowing no matter how or where you want to ride.
The pants also come with five zippered pockets to keep the essential items you want on hand nearby and fully taped seams that up the waterproof factor to another level. The cyclic is built for performance and function all around.
The only real bad news about these pants is their price. They are some of the most expensive snowboard pants out there.
- Best for: Women’s
- Key features: Excellent waterproofing, durable, comfortable, neoprene face panel, jacket-to-pant attachment
- Waterproofing: 15K mm Roxy DryFlight
- Fit: Skinny
- Cost: $$
The Roxy Rising High is my top choice for women’s specific snowboard pants. These have all of the weather protection you want to ride in various conditions and are built to be comfortable and durable.
Roxy’s patented DryFlight technology gives these pants outstanding waterproofing. This material comes with a 15K mm waterproof rating, which is higher than most other options out there.
And even though you won’t get wet when you wear the Rising High, they are still very breathable to help you manage body temperatures and stay cool when you are working hard.
They come with a skinny fit that is form-fitting without being too tight. This leads to a comfortable and firm feel that I prefer over baggier designs. It’s a modern look without being too overdone. A neoprene waist panel helps you get a secure button-up.
A jacket-to-pant attachment feature lets you connect your snowboard jacket to a loop in the pants to keep snow and wind from entering your inner layers. They also come with zipped leg gussets to help you slip them over your snowboarding boots with ease.
The skinny fit might not be for everyone. They aren’t quite tight but are not a loose-fitting option either. The pockets are a little on the small side as well.
- Best for: Cold Weather
- Key features: Insulated, durable, breathable, fully sealed seams, good waterproofing, comfortable
- Waterproofing: OmniBloq DWR 10K mm
- Fit: Standard
- Cost: $$$
If you are looking for a very warm set of snowboard pants, the Flylow Snowman is the way to go. These are the only pair of insulated pants on this list and give you added protection against the cold that will keep you warm and comfortable.
The pants feature 40 grams of Spaceloft synthetic insulation throughout their construction. Most snowboard pants don’t have any insulation at all, so the Snowman goes above and beyond to deliver warmth and protection.
They are also very strong and durable, thanks to an Intuitive 2-layer fabric design. This material is very resistant to rips and tears and will give you reliable performance when riding tough in harsh winter conditions.
The face fabric is also treated with OmniBloq DWR that provides great waterproofing capabilities. The membrane is breathable while giving you a 10K mm waterproof rating.
The Snowman also has inner and outer thigh vents to let in a little extra airflow when you need it and powder gaiters to keep snow out of your boots.
The back pockets can be a little hard to access with gloved hands.
4. Ride Central
- Best for: Bibs
- Key features: Comfortable, good waterproofing, breathable, lots of pockets, good ventilation, critically taped seams
- Waterproofing: Strata HD 10 DWR
- Fit: Loose
- Cost: $$
If you are looking for bib-style snowboard pants, the Ride Central is my recommended choice. These are very comfortable and affordable bibs that will give you plenty of protection against snow and other winter conditions.
The face fabric is treated with a durable water repellent coating for the first line of waterproofing defense. This is enhanced by a Strata HD 10 membrane that also lets moisture inside the bibs evaporate quickly.
They come with a lining material that works to help you keep your core temperatures stable, and this offers both insulating and breathable characteristics.
These bibs also fit great and will give you an unrestricted and free feel on the hill. You’ll have plenty of pockets to stash any gear you want to bring along as well.
They are a little long, so they might bunch up at your boot line, which can also lead to premature wear at the cuffs.
5. 686 Standard
- Best for: Budget Option
- Key features: Affordable, decent waterproofing, comfortable fit, good ventilation, critically taped seams
- Waterproofing: InfiniDry 5K mm
- Fit: Modern
- Cost: $
The 686 Standard is a good set of budget snowboard pants. These will give you decent waterproofing and protection from the elements at a very affordable price.
They have an all-nylon face fabric that is strong and an inner membrane made with InfiDry waterproofing. This gives you a 5K mm waterproof rating, which is enough for the average resort rider.
The standard has a modern fit that any rider can appreciate. They won’t be restrictive at all and give you plenty of room to move when you ride.
Mesh-lined inner thigh vents give you plenty of insulation if you need it and are easy to work with gloved hands on.
Other features included critically taped seams to keep out the wind and snow, boot gaiters to secure around your boots, and a quick pull adjustable hem for a reliable fit.
These aren’t the most waterproof pants around and might not be a great option in heavy snow.
- Best for: Women’s Budget Option
- Key features: Waterproof, comfortable, fully taped seams, breathable lining system, handwarmer pockets
- Waterproofing: Gore-Tex
- Fit: Modern
- Cost: $$
The Volcom Ashton is my recommended option for women’s budget snowboard pants. These are a solid option that will also be friendly to your bank account.
A 2-layer Gore-Tex outer layer will have you dry and comfortable in any conditions you want to ride in. This material is guaranteed to keep you dry and also adds reliable durability.
A V-science breathable lining system works to keep you well ventilated when the temperatures heat up and is further enhanced by meshed-lined zippered vents.
The Ashton comes in a modern fit that is very comfortable without being too loose or too tight. They are easy to wear and ride in.
Fully taped seams add to the weather protection, and a boot gaiter with lace hook ensures no snow will get into your boots.
A pretty solid budget option, but I wish they had larger pockets to store more gear.
- Best for: Beginners
- Key features: Durable, comfortable, good waterproofing, Living lining, lots of pockets, fully taped seams
- Waterproofing: 2 layer DryRide 10K mm
- Fit: Regular
- Cost: $$
Beginner riders will love everything that the Burton Covert has to offer. These are an affordable option that will have you covered in a range of conditions.
I like how solid and durable the face fabric material is on these pants. They can take a licking and ticking, which means you won’t need to worry about scuffing or scratching them up as you take an inevitable beginner’s wipeout or three.
A 2-layer DryRide membrane offers solid waterproofing capabilities. This is another great feature for beginners because getting wet can ruin your day in a hurry.
The Living lining adds warmth and breathability thanks to fabric pores that open up to let heat escape when it’s hot and close up again as the temperature gets cold.
The Covert is also very comfortable, thanks to a regular fit that is a little on the loose end. They are flexible and won’t restrict your movements when riding.
They can be a little loose around the ways, so you’ll want to wear a belt.
- Best for: Backcountry
- Key features: Flexible, comfortable, fully waterproof, insulated seat and knee, good ventilation, fully sealed seams
- Waterproofing: DWR finish
- Fit: Regular
- Cost: $$$
The Helly Hansen SOGN is an excellent option for the backcountry. These pants are flexible enough to move with you easily on the way up the mountain and back down again.
They also come with a bit of extra warmth thanks to added PrimaLoft insulation in the seat and knee. It’s not a lot, but it will do a good job of keeping you warmer in changing conditions.
A regular fit is flexible to promote freedom of movement, and the pants come with articulated knees designed with an eye on performance.
Inner thigh vents let you adjust airflow when working up a sweat in the backcountry and the Helly Tech membrane is remarkably breathable to keep moisture away from your body.
The pants also come with fully sealed seams for additional protection from the elements, a RECCO advanced rescue system with the backcountry in mind, and silicone-gripped boot gaiters.
These are built for performance but are the most stylish option—function over form here, for sure.
9. Volcom L
- Best for: Comfort
- Key features: Very comfortable, excellent waterproofing, V-science lining, cargo pockets, zippered vents
- Waterproofing: Gore-Tex
- Fit: Comfort/Articulated
- Cost: $$$
If you’re looking for a comfortable set of pants, the Volcom L sets the standard. These pants will fit like a dream while still delivering quality construction and winter weather protection.
They come with a guide articulated fit. This makes them a little relaxed in the rear and seat for extra room to move and maneuver. It’s comfort-focused, to say the least.
An adjustable inner-waistband allows you to keep the pants cinched up tight without using a belt, which is another nice feature with comfort in mind.
The L is very waterproof and durable, thanks to a Gore-Tex membrane. The face fabric is made of a stretch Nylon shell that is strong and flexible to increase range of motion.
They also feature large cargo pockets to comfortably store gear and zip vents for added airflow when needed.
If you are skinny, these might fit pretty baggy – but they will still be comfortable.
10. Burton Barnstorm
- Best for: Kids
- Key features: Affordable, insulated, good waterproofing, room-to-grow system
- Waterproofing: 2L DryRide 10K mm
- Fit: Regular
- Cost: $
The Burton Barnstorm is a solid set of snowboard pants for kids. They come with an affordable price tag and a room-to-grow system that adds pant length to accommodate growing kids.
A 2-layer DryRide Durashell membrane offers a lot of waterproofing to keep the little ones dry. Thermocore insulation will keep them warm when the temperatures start to drop.
The Barnstorm is also durable and strong, so it will hold up well under the stress and scuffs that are sure to come with having fun on the slopes.
Fully taped seams add another measure of protection against the elements while increasing the strength of the pants as well.
These are more suited for boys than girls but could work for both.
How to Choose Snowboard Pants: Buying Guides
Before you pick out snowboard pants, read through the following sections and keep this advice in mind to help you make a good choice.
The primary function of snowboard pants is to keep your lower body warm and dry while you ride. That means all pairs need to be fully waterproof and weatherproof. If you’re looking at pants that are not waterproof, you’re not looking at snowboard pants.
If you get cold and wet while riding, it can be bad at best and dangerous at worst. As such, you need models that do a good job of keeping water and weather away.
Strong snowboard pants have strong materials used in their construction. Gore-Tex is one of the most common out there because of how well it keeps moisture out and away from your body.
Most snowboard pants these days come in the form of shell-style designs. This means they don’t have added insulation.
If you tend to run hot or ride in a warmer location, a shell may be all you need. You can always layer up underneath.
If you want to stay warm or plan on riding in a cold location, you want to get pants with a good amount of insulation.
Snowboard pants come in two main styles: regular pants or bibs. Regular pants are just as they sound, two legs with a zipper or button-up crotch that you secure at the waist.
Bibs have extra material going above the waist and secure with straps over your shoulders. Bibs look like overalls if you’re familiar with that item of clothing.
Most riders use regular pants just because they are more common and function well in almost every situation.
Bibs come in handy in the backcountry when you need extra protection against the elements. They also help you carry extra food or equipment.
I like using both styles and switch them up depending on what kind of riding I’m doing. I wear bibs in the backcountry or on big powder days at the resort and regular pants the rest of the time.
Fit is another consideration that comes down to personal preference. Many boarders like baggy pants because they are comfortable and allow for a lot of extra movement and flexibility.
In contrast, some riders like a more slim, modern fit that allows for movement without being super baggy. It all comes down to personal preference.
Pants come in the standard sizing options, but some models are designed to fit looser or tighter. What you choose is up to you.
Just make sure whatever you buy has a good length and overall fit. If your pants are too long, it can cause problems when carving heelside. They can also get tattered and torn when you walk or ride.
Your snowboard pants need good ventilation, and built-in vents or mesh are a great way to go about that. Try to find pants that have a zipper or two on the outside or inner leg region that you can open up to let in or keep out airflow.
If you ride hard, it’s easy to build up your body temperature to the point where you’re too hot. Ventilation zippers allow you to adjust your body temperature.
There is a wide array of additional features that can be built into your pant’s design.
Pockets are an almost universal standard, but the amount of them can vary with each pair of pants. I always like to look for models that offer extra pockets because this can come in handy when you want to bring extra snacks or other gear along on your adventure.
Other features such as a pass holder, loops, buckles, velcro or zippered pockets, ventilation, and gators are also good to keep in mind as you shop for new pants.
You don’t need to have every feature, but you may find that little things such as a cargo pocket or pass holder come in handy as you ride.
Snowboard Pants FAQs
Here are some quick answers to a few common questions relating to snowboard pants.
Are bibs or pants better for snowboarding?
This is a personal preference. I generally like to use bibs because I think they are more comfortable. Bibs also offer a little extra protection from the cold and snow in the backcountry. Put regular pants can work just fine in any type of on-snow situation as well.
Can I snowboard in jeans?
Technically, sure. But I would highly encourage you not to do so for two reasons. First, they won’t keep you warm or dry at all. Cotton is one of the worst materials for insulation and should be avoided. Second, you’re going to look pretty dumb.
What can I wear if I don’t have snow pants for snowboarding?
If you don’t have snow pants, I would wear some sort of insulating pants. Old school wool pants could work, and I’ve done this in the past. You might be able to rent pants. Just don’t wear cotton pants (like jeans) when you ride.
Is there a difference between snowboard and ski pants?
Not really. The only main difference between snowboard and ski pants is how they are branded. But you can easily wear ski pants for snowboarding and snowboarding pants for skiing. As long as they keep you dry and comfortable, they will work.
What are the warmest snowboard pants?
My recommended pick for cold weather is the Flylow Snowman. Most snowboard pants are shells, meaning they don’t have insulation. The Superman is the only pair of pants on the list with added insulation for extra warmth.
Are Burton snowboard pants good?
Yes, they are. Burton is one of the most trusted brands in the snowboarding industry, and they make all sorts of great snowboard pants. The Burton models I recommend in this post are some of my favorite options. But there are many more out there to choose from.
Can you wear sweatpants to snowboard?
You can, but I wouldn’t suggest it. If you absolutely have to wear sweatpants, try to make sure they aren’t made out of cotton. Synthetic material will do a better job of keeping you insulated. But most sweatpants aren’t waterproof, and that can be a problem.
Useful Tips & Resources
A good pair of snowboard pants should last for multiple seasons, even with steady use. The options listed here all come recommended for many reasons, but they mainly make the list due to their inherent durability.
That being said, no pants are indestructible and everyday use can cause them to wear down. If you happen to rip or tear your pants on a tree branch, don’t worry. It’s possible to repair them and continue to use them for a lot longer.
If you get a large tear, try to tape the hole until you can get home and perform the repair. Check out this video to help you learn how to fix a tear or puncture.
Also, pant sizing can vary quite a bit from brand to brand. One company’s medium might be another’s large or vice versa. It’s always a good idea to try on pants before you purchase them when possible. For some tips on how to fit your snowboard pants, take a look at this article.
The best snowboard pants out there are the Burton AK Gore-Tex Cyclic. These will give you fantastic waterproofing to keep you dry and comfortable when you ride. They are also very durable, which adds value and lasting performance.
All of the items on this list make for reliable and functional additions to your snowboarding setup. Every rider needs at least one pair of solid pants, and the options listed here all come recommended for their performance attributes and quality construction.About Lorraine