- 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 among the most affordable pairs we reviewed.
Sledding, skiing, snowball fights, and winter hikes are essential winter activities, but overexposure to the elements could leave you with legs that are freezing cold and soaking wet and, in extreme situations, at 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 organized our picks by activity. So whether you’re hitting the slopes, clearing snow off the top of your car, heading 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 is 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 activewear 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.
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
Updated on 12/19/2019 by Jen Gushue: Updated pricing, links, and formatting.
The best snow pants overall
Usually in life, you get what you pay for. 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 thirty bucks, though prices do vary based on size and color.
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 colors 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.
Though the Men’s Arctix Cargo Snow Pants are accurately sized, many women have reported that they’ve had sizing issues with the Women’s Arctix Insulated Snow Pants, so an exchange might be part of the buying process.
Pros: Great prices, superlative wind-proofing, available in multiple colors and patterns
Cons: Sizing issues with women’s snow pants
The best snow pants for women
The Patagonia Snowbelle Stretch Pants are warm, soft, flexible, and designed specifically for women’s bodies.
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 the polyester is made from 70% recycled material, which is a nice environmentally friendly bonus.
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, thanks to the 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 handwarmer 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
The Columbia Snowslope II Insulated Bib 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 skiing, boarding, or mountaineering and then hit them with some sort of shrink ray device, you would be left with the Columbia Snowslope II Insulated Bib Pants. While sized for kids, these snow pants are ready for any level of outdoor adventure. I wish I could use that shrink ray, so I could wear these myself.
The Columbia Snowslope II Insulated Bib Pants have a warm nylon lining that wicks moisture and releases excess heat. Plus, the pants include polyester insulation, adjustable suspenders, and a zippered front.
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 Columbia Snowslope II Insulated Bib Pants have an “outgrown” feature that allows you to lengthen the pants by up to one and a half inches, helping your young outdoorsman or outdoorswoman squeeze an extra winter season out of the pants.
REI customers have given these snow pants an overall five-star rating.
Pros: Excellent water and windproofing, “outgrown” feature extends length, articulated and flexible design
Cons: Length too short for some kids
The best snow pants for active wear
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: yes. But if you want true waterproofing, 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 amazingly 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.
Pros: Superlative flexibility, great heat regulation, reinforced cuff guard
Cons: Not waterproof
The best snow pants for skiing
- Trailside Supply
The Trailside Supply Co. Insulated Ski/Snowboard Pant sits right at the cross-section of good quality and good value.
Trailside Supply Co. is an Amazon brand, and as with its labels like Mama Bear baby products and Amazon Basics, the gear this side-label produces is good quality.
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
Check out more of the best winter gear on Insider Picks
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