Looking for snowboard pants can be slightly confusing. With so many different models, styles, and colors, it can be overwhelming. While the “cute factor” is always a consideration for us women, we must look past looking good to be sure we purchase a product that provides everything we require. Some features to consider before you purchase are construction, waterproofing, breathability, insulation, lining, and extra features.
The construction of the pant is always important. Most snowboard pants are a sizable investment for one pair of pants! The textiles used to construct the pant are generally some type of nylon, and usually when you physically touch the pant you can tell if the material is fragile. You may have to sacrifice a little flexibility for a burly, durable fabric. While trying on the pant, check out the seams; squat in them and mimic movements that you would make while snowboarding. This is the only way to acquire an accurate idea of how they will feel when you are riding. They may look and feel great while standing, but always remember the positions you are in while on the hill. Inspect the construction, and don’t be sold solely by the added features or stylish appearance.
Like gloves, waterproofing in pants is measured in Ms. The higher the M rating, the more waterproof. Also, look for taped seams. This will provide added protection from water. If you are a person who will ride in any conditions or a beginner who may be spending more time on the ground, this may be an area to focus on when purchasing a pant. No one likes to walk around in wet pants.
Breathability, measured in Gs, is slightly sacrificial in pants, especially if the pants have zipper vents that can be opened and closed to prevent overheating.
Pants can be classified into basically three types: shells, insulated, and those with removable liners. Shells are your basic pant. Constructed thin as a barrier between you and the snow, they are designed for you to layer as much or as little as you desire underneath them. Shells are always great for spring and warmer days. But if you choose a shell for all conditions, consider upsizing in order to allow room for extra layers on the very cold days. Insulated pants are made a little thicker with insulation built into the pan. These are great for those who desire a little extra warmth at all times. The third type is pants with a removable liner. These are constructed usually with a zip in/out liner, which can be removed depending on your needs. I have found that removable liner pants can be the most versatile of the three because you can use them in virtually any temperature. They are like having two pants in one.
While you shouldn’t buy a pant only for the extras, there are some added features that are really helpful. Pockets, adjustable waistbands, interfacing systems, and powder cuffs are just some of the bonuses that can be found on snowboard pants. Pockets can be a girl’s best friend these days when you have to carry your phone, iPod, license, debit card, money, energy bar, and maybe even a little lip gloss. I find that cargo pockets carry the most and are usually located in places that don’t interfere with your riding. Adjustable waistbands allow you to fine tune the fit in the waist of the pant. Interfacing systems are small snaps or hooks on the side and back of the pants that allow you to connect them to a jacket that uses the same system. This feature is awesome to keep out snow and cold. Powder cuffs are elastic cuffs inside the bottom of the pant legs. These go around your boot, and keep your pant legs down and the snow out of your boot.
A Note about Sizing:
Most manufacturers have different sizing, so always try on the pants. Because most snowboard pants are made to fit baggy (especially in comparison to ski pants) you will find that you may have to spend some time trying on sizes different than your normal pant size. Forget about the number or letter size. Use it as a guideline and go for fit. Each of us has our idea of the perfect fit. For some it’s tighter, for some it’s baggy. Most importantly, buy the pants that FEEL good. While I will admit that looks are definitely important, we want to feel good while riding!
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