Pant Buyers Guide
It's obvious that skiing/riding demands lots of movement & flexibility in your legs. Your pants should be comfortable, allow for free range of motion,and of course keep you warm & dry. As with a jacket, your pants should be chosen according to your level of activity, personal body temperature and outdoor conditions.
Pants are rarely as heavily insulated as jackets, but the type of lining used influences their level of warmth. Most shells or lightweight pants will use mesh, while styles designed for colder temperatures tend to be lined with brushed fleece.
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Choosing Ski/Snowboard Pants
- for colder days, staying dry with a shell won't be enough to stay warm. Insulated outerwear has a synthetic or down fill to create added warmth & provide extra protection against moisture and low temperatures.
- a lighter-weight pant designed to repel wind & water, usually made from a nylon- or polyester- blend fabric that's been treated with DWR. Best for spring conditions or spot-scouting when your body's generating enough heat.
3 in 1
- not as commonly found in pants as in jackets, but made by some brands like 686. They offer versatility by combining a waterproof outer shell with an inner, detachable liner. In addition to letting you adjust your pant's insulation, a 3-in-1's inner layer is often a casual fleece pant that can be worn on its on when you're back home lounging.
Fit find your perfect pair by paying attention to a few key areas;
- the length of your inner pant leg, measured from lower crotch to lower ankle. Can also be measured by taking a tape measurer to your best-fitting jeans.
- pants should be flexible, especially in the knee area allowing you to easily strap in, jump, sit on the chair, or get up from a fall. Also look for reinforced seams or padding, which will help minimize effects of repeated wear.
- when wearing your boots, your pant's bottom hem should just barely skim the ground. Styles that are too long can get caught up in your bindings or cause tripping and will end up ragged & dirty from lift lines and the parking lot.In addition to Regular fit, certain brands also offer Long, Short, or Petite styles.
- the outer length of the pant leg, running from natural waistline to lower ankle. Not all pants give this measurement, but if featured, can be useful in deciphering the designer's intended fit. For instance a men's pant meant to have a lower, baggier OG fit might have a smaller inseam than you're used to (since the crotch would be sewn lower) - the outseam measurement would indicate that it's still your size.
- allows the wearer to modify the fit of the pant in addition to the standard fly/button closure. Usually consisting of elasticized tabs pulled through a loop and secured with Velcro. A nice feature if you prefer not to pack a belt, but still want the same fit regardless of how many layers you're wearing.
- in certain styles, the knee will be constructed pre-bent so it's easier for the wearer to bend their knees.
Critically (or Strategically) Taped Seams
- indicates that only certain seams on the garment are fully sealed for waterproofing. The seams that are deemed "critical" are at each manufacturer's discretion and therefore vary between brands. You can generally expect to have the most susceptible areas taped like zippers, knees and the seat of your pants. If you don't fall too
much and usually ride in milder conditions, critically taped outerwear is a great option (usually with a lower price tag too).
- used to describe how well your clothing maintains its original state after repeated wear. Pieces should resist abrasion, pilling and deterioration during laundering.
- stands for "Durable Water Repellent". DWR is a chemical coating and is often applied in addition to waterproof fabrics, but can also be purchased as a spray. Look for "DWR-coated/ DWR-treated" in any outerwear or technical shells that claims to be waterproof, but also know that it will wear off overtime and may need to be re-treated.
Fully Taped Seams
- every seam in the garment is reinforced (as opposed to only "critical" areas). A layer of waterproof material is placed between the overlapping fabrics and then double stitched to ensure extra protection from any wind or water that might find its way through.
- the most well known name in waterproof & breathable fabric. It's guaranteed performance is based on a patented process that combines 3 layers. The surrounding layers vary depending on garment, (commonly a nylon outer layer & fleece inside) but the common component is the Gore-Tex "membrane" or middle layer. This layer is a treated, microfiber fabric with densely packed pores that are too small to let water droplets in, but allow smaller, water vapors to pass through.
- a zipper or set of snaps on the inside of your outerwear that bind the jacket and pant together. Ideal for blustery weather or deep powder days.
- some areas on your ski/snowboard pants are subject to more wear & tear than others. Heavier fabrics, extra layers and/or more stitching in a reinforced seat or knee protect against ripping or other potential damage.
Storm Flap/Zipper Shield
- an extended fabric tab that covers your zipper or side seams, designed for keeping wind and water from seeping through.
- to easily regulate body temperature look for outerwear that features zippered vents. Usually located in the inner/outer thighs in pants and either open directly to the layer underneath or have a mesh backing. Great for working hard on-hill, while still keeping that chairlift chill at bay.
- an overall style with either fixed or removable suspenders to keep them secured. Many find them to be warmer and they eliminate the risk of snow coming in through gaps between your jacket & pants.
- a durable and functional jacket or pant with several patch pockets & military styling. Jackets usually have interior waist drawstrings & a combination of zipper and button closures. If you insist on riding with lip balm, tissues, gum, snacks, cell phone, etc., cargo outerwear is right up your alley. With all the seams, just be sure to check how they're taped if you're expecting any wind or precipitation.
- can refer to a garment's materials and/or production method. Suggests the fiber is natural, renewable, or sustainable and/or the dyes/treatments are made of little to no chemicals. It could also indicate patterns/production methods that create less waste. There is no textile industry standard for the term though, so what's considered to 'have less of an impact on the environment' is at the manufacturer's own discretion.
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