New ski Pants recommendations

Discussion in 'Softgoods: Clothing, Helmets, Goggles, and More' started by musicmatters, Jul 8, 2019.

  1. musicmatters

    musicmatters Booting up Skier

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    I’m in the market for some new pants and looking for some recommendations. I’m looking for something to cover the colder end of the spectrum, as I already have a lighter shell for the warmer days. I tend to ski in all types of weather, so looking for something that will keep the moisture away, is durable and will keep me warm. I don’t think I need the “warmest” of pants but something closer to that side of things.

    I’d like to have some style to them also, (not too baggy) maybe something of the 4-way stretch variety is what I need?

    I don’t mind spending the money for something higher end that is really a great pant if it will last multiple seasons.

    What are some features I should be looking for?

    What brand/model recommendations?
     
    Analisa likes this.
  2. Alexzn

    Alexzn Ski Squaw Skier

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    Anything that is 3-layer GoreTex Pro and is on sale :)
     
    NZRob likes this.
  3. François Pugh

    François Pugh Making fresh tracks Skier

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    I have a pair of these Arcteryx Bib pants. https://arcteryx.com/ca/en/shop/mens/alpha-sv-bib
    They are great and I do recommend them, but as far as protection from the cold, that does not come with these. You need a good base layer and a warm mid-layer if you are going out in the cold. They are just a shell.
     
  4. BC.

    BC. NEPA ShopRat/Skier Skier

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    In jest, and yes this post will be of no help, but.....

    Just wait a few months.....with all the people on Weight Watchers on this site.....there should be a lot of ski pants for sale on here come fall......lol
     
  5. Analisa

    Analisa Out on the slopes Skier

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    For colder days, there's no reason to splurge for 3 layer Gore or Gore Pro. 2 layer and 3 layer use the same membrane, but the protective layer on the inside portion of the garment is different (2 layer uses a separate sewn in liner, 3 layer laminates the protective layer to the membrane and outer layer. Lamination is expensive, so if you're sewing in a liner regardless with an insulated pant, the bonded interior layer in redundant. Likewise, Pro's main benefit over the standard "Goretex Performance" is breathability, which is less important for a cold temp pant).

    So looking at the options for 2 layer, insulated pants, you'll want to decide:

    -How much waterproofing do you want? Some of the cheaper pants go with a generic PU membrane, which is either thick, waterproof, and less breathable, or thin, approaches the breathe of Goretex or eVent, but only repels water to 10k mm hydrostatic pressure. (Evo requires gear to be waterproof to 5k to be called waterproof. I'd say 10k = basic, 15k = good, 20k = better, 25k and up = best in class). 15k would be my bare min recommendation for the PNW, but you can get away with less if you're skiing primarily in places less... soupy.

    -How durable do you want the face fabric to be? Nylon is more durable than polyester, and different manufacturers will increase the denier (think thread count, more is thicker & more durable), or will use a more durable weave pattern (like twill or a double weave) that might increase the costs a bit.

    Patagonia Powder Bowl would be pretty high on my list. They use more polyester for environmental reasons (lower impact to produce, a lot easier to recycle), but then they just jack up the denier, so it's just as durable as the 40D nylon on the market. They also have vents if you end up getting toasty throughout the day. (Armada Bleekers have a really similar construction). The Arcteryx Sabre pants are a super lightly insulated option. It's a 3 layer pant, but the lining that's bonded on the inside is brushed & fleecy. Norrona Lofoten Gore Insulated Pants are a rare unicorn with a 2-layer, Gore Pro construction.

    Those are probably on the "best" side of the spectrum in terms of weatherproofing (>20k waterproofing) & durability, but if you've got room to scale back on either of those, you could save a little cash in the meantime.
     
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  6. David Chaus

    David Chaus If I am skiing the world is a perfect place. Skier

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    I’ve had good luck with Patagonia Powder Bowl insulated pants, and like @Analisa I’m in the PNW.

    I have to say, I’m impressed with her depth of knowledge. :hail:
     
    markojp likes this.
  7. Gerard

    Gerard At the base lodge Skier

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  8. NZRob

    NZRob Skiing the Rock Skier

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    Have you given thought to a heavier grade shell that you can layer with depending on how cold it is? That's been my philosophy for a long time as I tend to overheat in insulated pants. I purchased some Norrona Goretex Pro shell pants this year, they are beautifully made, look great and have a really nice cut that I would (using the clothing industry's term) refer to as 'slim fit', without being tight anywhere. They are pricey though so look around for sales...I got mine through REI.
     
    François Pugh likes this.
  9. Analisa

    Analisa Out on the slopes Skier

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    Thanks! I work in everyday apparel for my 9-5 and have a little gear blogging side hustle. It's insane to me how the outdoor industry is like "here's 10 pairs of ski pants. Either you can get half a textiles degree trying to differentiate them or you can totally guess. Good luck!"
     
    skix, NZRob, NESkier_26 and 2 others like this.
  10. Cheizz

    Cheizz Craving camber Skier

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    Important, and already mentioned: 3L means no insulation (the 3rd layer is a very thing protective layer on the inside of the membrane). So, look out for 2L products. In those, the layer that protects the membrane on the inside is the insulation.

    If I needed new ski pants, I would be buying right now. Maybe not all models, colours and sizes are available. But on the other hand, many high end products are on sale and make for very good deals. You won't need an extra mortgage but you'll be able to buy top products that last years.

    Unfortunately, I can only name European shops and outlets. No help for you on the other side of the pond, I'm affraid. But brands I would be looking at: Marmot, The North Face, Millet, Mammut, Norrona, Bergans of Norway, Helly Hansen, Haglöfs, Salewa, Arc'Teryx, Patagonia, Kappa, Vaude, Picture, Peak Performance, Berghaus, Mountain Equipment, Mountain Hardware, Scott...
     
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  11. Ken_R

    Ken_R Living the Dream Skier

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    I mostly ski in Colorado so I basically only use softshell ski pants. If I need insulation on really cold days I use patagonia R1 pants under. Most days I use Patagonia Capilene Midweight long undies under. In the spring just boxer briefs.

    Needless to say I think shell pants are much more versatile and usable pretty much year round than insulated pants.

    I would avoid full on 3L Gore-Tex pants unless you ski in wet climates or are going to be out in extreme weather and or need the utmost durability.
     
    NZRob likes this.
  12. AmyPJ

    AmyPJ No longer on the single track. Pugski Ski Tester

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    Another vote for Patagonia Powder Bowl. I own two pair of the Snowbelle, which are a step below the Powder Bowl, and have been really happy with them.
     
  13. Alexzn

    Alexzn Ski Squaw Skier

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    I really dislike 2L goretex anything, especially in pants. It develops holes and abrasions much earlier than any 3L pant and price difference does not compensate for that. And it make the garment bulkier and heavier. It's a cost saving measure and it feels like it.
     
  14. Analisa

    Analisa Out on the slopes Skier

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    2L and 3L is just the construction method (whether the interior liner is sewn in or bonded/laminated). It doesn’t have any implications on the face & lining fabric’s fiber content or weave/knit structure. A fair number of manufacturers who produce 2L garments will use a low denier polyester single weave to build a budget pant that probably works for a lot of people given how most skiers don’t clock in a ton of days per year, and many 3L jackets will go for more premium materials because the bonding process is already so expensive that the garment would never sell to a budget customer. But it’s far from a hard & fast rule, especially with brands like Patagonia in the mix, who believe every item, regardless of entry level or sophisticated, needs to be best in class for durability for environmental reason.
     
  15. NZRob

    NZRob Skiing the Rock Skier

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    I'm enjoying the Mythbuster info you are providing :)
     
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  16. François Pugh

    François Pugh Making fresh tracks Skier

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    Why settle for best in class when you can have best?
     
  17. Alexzn

    Alexzn Ski Squaw Skier

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    True, but that is still kind of a big deal as far as durability, weight, and fabric feel goes. Most of the time GoreTex garments fail because the membrane gets damaged. It not the face fabric of the lining. 3-layer construction is way more durable and significantly lighter to boot. The downside is a bit of a crinkle feel, but that's a small price to pay.

    More to the point, a 2-layer construction is only possible for inferior membranes such as coated polyurethane (PU, poor breathability but good stretch characteristics) and GoreTex because the PTFE membrane in GoreTex is protected by either a thin PU layer or a sacrificial PTFE layer (that last one is anecdotal evidence, I do not know for sure). Better performing (more breathable) membranes, such as eVent or NeoShell are unprotected and need to be used in a 3-layer configuration. NeoShell in particular is stretchy and very breathable, so it is great for jackets, not so good for the pants, where it tends to feel a bit too cold.

    P.S. On the subject of Patagonia.They do make very high quality gear and some of their 3-layer pieces (i.e. the PowSlayer line) are one of the best if not the best on the marker. Weirdly they abandoned their 3L "durable" resort line (which was known as Primo), in favor of the inferior 2-layer fabric based garments such as Powder Bowl. As you said, the thinking is that an enthusiast will gravitate towards the lighter "techier" high end line anyway, and an average resort skier would rather save a few bucks and get a cheaper 2L clothing. This is why Arcteryx SV line and high-end FlyLow sell so well. They get that sometimes people want top of the line materials and features in a heavier bomber fabric that can take 200 ski days and not blink. I am actually very mixed on the durability of Patagonia gear.

    P.P.S. A lot of the pricing does not reflect the fabric quality, but rather the fact that the garment carries fairly generous lifetime warranty with those costs factored in.
     
  18. Analisa

    Analisa Out on the slopes Skier

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    When you're talking about a rain jacket, sure. Especially with a few models that just use an open mesh. Dirt, oils, & sunscreen will get through to the membrane much easier in a 2L vs. a 3L. I keep my climbing kit 3L on bottom and 3L Pro on top and fangirl the Dead Bird brand pretty hard. But similar to how the OP is looking for something warm, I ski in insulated gear top & bottom (Arc Morra pants - RIP, one of the most bomber 2L pants on the market - & the MHW Barnsie). You have to be pretty dirty for skin oils to get through your base layer, a polyester taffeta lining, and a few grams of insulation for lining to get shot.

    I disagree that outer fabrics don't matter. I remember talking to a guy on here about a year and a half ago who had a Mountain Hardwear stretch jacket of some sort where he was upset with how fast it started pilling. There wasn't any spandex in the fabric content, so all of it came from mechanical stretch - looser knits or stretch wovens that are woven loosely & shrunken down. Both leave a lot more of the fiber exposed and can pill in the wash or rubbing against pack straps. Most non-stretch wovens will come out of the pill tests with scores in the top range, but I've definitely reviewed swatches that don't, especially in the lower denier fabrics.

    As for the Primo, it was a 2L. I'm not really surprised it got dropped. Insulation was an 800+ down, which was an odd choice since it's compromised when wet, and most people sweat a bit over the course of a ski day. Also odd to chase a high fill power since most customers aren't obsessed with optimizing packability or cutting a few ounces out of their ski kit compared to the hiking/climbing community.
     
  19. Alexzn

    Alexzn Ski Squaw Skier

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    @Analisa We may be talking about different Patagonia Primo lines. Im looking at mine right now and both jacket and pants are definitely 3L. I still keep them around as a memento and a spare kit.

    I'd agree that for insulated pants 2L is just as good, maybe better (less barrier more breathability). I just don't like insulated pants period, much better to wear a shell pants over a warm baselayer.

    Gore and eVent membranes do not stretch, so anything they are laminated to has to be dense enough to prevent movement (and resulting membrane tear). That probably places a limit on how bad those outer fabrics could be. I'm sure cheaper stretchable PU coatings can be bonded to junk and often are. Mountain Hardwear does not usually use junk but a couple years ago I heard that they had supplier issues, so may have been that.

    PS. Im curious to know how Atcteryx achieved stretch in the current Ravenna line (and whatever the men's equivalent is) and still calls it GoreTex. It has to be something else other than ePTFE.
     
  20. Analisa

    Analisa Out on the slopes Skier

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    @Alexzn - it's newer. OR also carries it in some of their tactical products & their Hemisphere collection. It's definitely a standard gore membrane with epfte/pu, but it's the rare case where they specifically call it Goretex Fabric and that it's a low force vs. stretch fabrication (not sure how that's done with milling techniques).
     

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