Skiers on chairlift at Sun Valley
(Photo: Ray J Gadd)
2023 Winter Gear Guide

The Best Men’s Ski Pants and Bibs of 2023

From insulated pants to no-nonsense bibs, we have the rugged bottoms you’re looking for right here

Skiers on chairlift at Sun Valley
Image

from Ski

Outside's long reads email newsletter features our strongest writing, most ambitious reporting, and award-winning storytelling about the outdoors. Sign up today.

If you’re looking for a new set of ski pants or bibs to complete your ski kit, start here. Whether you’re an insulated pants guy or a dedicated bib-wearer, you’re sure to find something that fits the bill on this list of top-rated men’s ski pants designed specifically for resort shredding. What defines the best ski pants is more insulation options, durable face fabric and scuff guards, plenty of smartly placed pockets and venting, and bomber weather-proofing. Lots of research and design went into these pants to keep you comfortable, warm, and dry even on the coldest and gnarliest days, and you’ll see that reflected in some of the price tags. Just remember—there’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad ski pants.

Also read: The best men’s ski jackets of the year

How We Test

Number of pants/bibs tested: 21
Number of testers: 10
Number of testing days per pant: 3-5
Average age, height, weight of testers: 32, 6”, 175 lbs

Jackets get all the attention, but we think a wicked pair of ski pants is much harder to find. Pants get more intimate with the snow and cold, whether it’s kneeling, sitting or skiing, so we pay close attention to insulation and waterproofing. Ski pants end up closer to sharp and pointy things, like ski edges and boot buckles, so we beat them up to test durability. And because fit is particularly tricky and crucial when it comes to ski pants, we cultivated a team of gear testers of various shapes and sizes to weigh in on fit and comfort.

All testers were asked to wear their test pants for multiple days of resort skiing at their local ski resort—places like Whistler Blackcomb, Sun Valley, resorts around Tahoe, and in Vermont—and provide written feedback on each pair of pants. They rated the pants’ weatherproofing, breathability, durability, fit, function, style, and comfort. The ski pants and bibs that made this list are the creme of the crop.

Reviews: The Best Men’s Ski Jackets of 2023

The North Face Summit Tsirku Futurelight Bibs ($650)

The North Face Summit Tsirku Futurelight Bibs
(Photo: Courtesy The North Face)

Sizes: XS to XXL
Weight: 1.8 lbs
Insulation: No
Pros: Great adjustment system; nice pocket layout
Cons: Narrow fit; crinkly fabric

Buy Now

“I loved these bibs before I even hit the snow,” crooned tester Ryan Stuart. It started with the suspenders. Pulling only one strap on the front of these uninsulated bibs cinched up both sides evenly. “I never had to readjust or fiddle, and it’s super comfortable,” he said. “It’s the best adjustment system I’ve used in a decade of testing ski gear.” Things just got better from there. Articulation at the knees and hips keep the bibs riding comfortably whether sitting on a chairlift or gliding up a skintrack, though the fit is on the narrower side. And despite skiing everywhere from Heavenly, Calif., in a T-shirt to Whistler, B.C., on windy, 20-degree-Fahrenheit days, testers never felt the need to adjust layering. The waterproof, air-permeable 3-layer Futurelight shell blocks the weather and breaths better than most fabrics. Our conclusion: The same design points that make these bibs worthy of shredding their namesake—a particularly gnarly part of Alaska’s Saint Elias Mountains—guarantees their effectiveness while lapping the resort.


Jones Shralpinist Stretch 3L Bibs ($600)

Jones Shralpinist Stretch 3L Bibs
(Photo: Courtesy )

Sizes: XS to XL
Weight: 1.5 lbs
Insulation: No
Pros: Soft to the touch; good pocket layout
Cons: Is it possible to be too stretchy?

Buy Now

Testers loved these bibs as much as the TNF Tsirku, but instead of the suspenders that sealed the deal on the Tsirku, the Shralpinist is all about the stretch. “I know it says ‘stretch’ in the name, but holy hell, they weren’t kidding,” said tester Adam Jaber. “Even the chest pocket is stretchy. They’re slim in all the right places, roomy where you need them to be, and stretchy throughout. Can I say ‘stretch’ any more?” The S-word is often synonymous with “leaky,” but Jones used a proprietary recycled three-layer construction that boasts a 30,000-millimeter waterproof rating, which is about as good as it gets. The bibs didn’t wet out while skiing in New England liquid sunshine. Breathability is equally highly rated, as is ventilation, as Jaber noticed on a ski tour near Stratton, Vt., scoring the Shralpinist five out of five on both. With just the right number of pockets and a low-profile, easy-to-use suspenders system, the Shralpinist made Jaber a big fan. “Rad as hell,” he concluded.


Patagonia Mountain Utility Pants ($399)

Patagonia Mountain Utility Pants
(Photo: Courtesy Patagonia)

Sizes: XXS to XXL
Weight: 2.1 lbs
Insulation: No
Pros: Durable design; great fit
Cons: Only available in black; bulky

Buy Now

The Mountain Utility Pants are the result of 10 years of working with ski patrollers, mountain-operations pros, and Patagonia’s in-house repair facility to design what the brand is calling “the burliest mountain work pants available.” They settled on a 70-denier recycled and woven fabric, Patagonia’s proprietary waterproof membrane, reinforced crotch gusseting, articulated knees with removable kneepads, and scuff guards along the boot hem. Sewn in a Fair Trade Certified facility, the pants feel like Carhartts: tough, bulky, and a little stiff. But what stood out for testers was comfort. The fleece-lined waist adjusts with Velcro tabs, but, unlike most pants, the tabs are on the inside instead of the outside. This small difference eliminates wrinkles for a smooth, next-to-skin fit, even when adjusted to the max. The slightly baggy cut offers up a nice, casual drape. “They nailed the design brief,” said Ryan Stuart. “A wicked ski pant, whether you work in them or not.”


Outdoor Research Snowcrew Bibs ($279)

Outdoor Research Snowcrew Bibs
(Photo: Courtesy Outdoor Research)

Sizes: S to XXXL
Weight: 1.7 lbs
Insulation: Yes
Pros: Good value; targeted insulation
Cons: Color and print not for everyone; limited adjustment in suspenders

Buy Now

Most of SKI’s male testers prefer the adjustability of layering a shell to the warmth of insulated pants—that is, until they stepped into the hybrid Snowcrew. Outdoor Research designers placed the recycled synthetic insulation only in the seat and thighs, leaving the rest of the pants as a two-layer construction. The 45 grams of fill is just enough warmth to take the bite out of cold and wet chairlift rides. Because the insulation breathes and there are mesh-backed thigh vents, testers were pleased to find that they didn’t sweat even when temperatures climbed. “It was like having a thermostat onboard,” noted Alex MacKay. He wished for hand pockets in addition to the thigh pockets and bib pouch, and a little more adjustability in the suspenders. Otherwise, he said, the proprietary 2-layer waterproof fabric is bomber and has just enough stretch, adding, “I was surprised how versatile insulated pants could be.”


Flylow Magnum Pants ($375)

Flylow Magnum Pants
(Photo: Courtesy Flylow)

Sizes: S to XXL
Weight: 1.5 lbs
Insulation: No
Pros: Amazing fit; lightweight
Cons: Vent zips can leak air; bunching at the waist

Buy Now

Fit is always important, but we think it’s especially key in this category, and few pants fit as well as the Magnum. “They felt like my favorite pair of jeans,” noted Chris Baikie after a couple of weeks skiing in them. Other testers, with wildly different lower-body shapes, backed him up. Two tabs on the waist help refine the sizing—and ease the discomfort after a big lunch—while articulation in the knee is perfectly positioned. “It was like they were custom tailored for me,” reported Ryan Stuart. What elevates these pants is that Flylow hit the little notes, too. The pockets are well placed for accessing essentials without stuff moving around. Nearly full-length side zips make parking-lot changes easy. Inside-thigh vents dump heat without letting in snow. And the fabric combo—stretchy and breathable on the upper leg and seat, burlier on the lower leg—feels tough without bulk. Baikie summed it up, “These pants are awesome!”


Strafe Capitol Pants ($499)

Strafe Capitol Pants
(Photo: Courtesy Strafe)

Sizes: S to XXL
Weight: 1.7 lbs
Insulation: No
Pros: Great pocket placement; nice fit and feel
Cons: Simple design disguises quality; pricey

Buy Now

One of the worst feelings while skiing is a soggy bum from a wet chairlift ride. That’s what tester Paul Marshall was expecting when he loaded a chair at Colorado’s Winter Park Resort on a 30-degree storm day. Instead, “the Capitol Pants just repelled the water and kept me completely dry throughout the day,” he said. That’s the air-permeable waterproof membrane at work. It allows air to circulate, which keeps overheating at bay, without compromising excellent water-resistance. The membrane is sandwiched by a weighty nylon exterior and a polyester jersey backer, with epic amounts of stretch throughout. It feels luxurious. The fit is great too, reported Marshall. Removable suspenders, belt loops, and Velcro waist tabs prevent any cracks in the armor. Marshall didn’t love the conservative look, but otherwise thought these pants are a great shell option for resort and slackcountry skiers.


Eddie Bauer Down-in-One Pants ($429)

Eddie Bauer Down-in-One Pants
(Photo: Courtesy Eddie Bauer)

Sizes: S to XXL
Weight: 3.5 lbs
Insulation: Yes (removable down knicker)
Pros: Versatile; good value
Cons: Nothing connects knickers to pants; knickers need pockets

Buy Now

Clever name and handy combination. Living on the mild British Columbia coast, Ryan Stuart rarely needs insulated ski pants at home, but when he travels inland, he inevitably freezes his butt off. These two-part pants bridge the gap. The outside is a 3-layer, seam-sealed, breathable waterproof shell, while the inside features a removable down knicker. On a minus-15-degree-Fahrenheit morning, Stuart wore them together; when the day warmed up, he used the full-length zips to quickly pull out the down. What separates the Down-in-One from other three-in-one pants is quality. Most are budget options, while Eddie Bauer used its top-of-the-line 3-layer seam-sealed tech fabric, waterproof zippers, and 800-fill responsibly-sourced down. In soggy conditions, the shell stayed dry, and Stuart even liked the warmth factor enough to bring the knickers on a winter camping trip. “It really is three pairs of pants for the price of one,” he said.


Stio Environ Bibs ($465)

Stio Environ Bibs
(Photo: Courtesy Stio)

Sizes: S to XXL (also available in short/regular/long lengths in select colors and styles)
Weight: 1.8 lbs
Insulation: No
Pros: Hybrid bibs-pants design; full-length side zips
Cons: Side zips tough to reach; needs another thigh pocket

Buy Now

Bib-haters should check out these pants—a mainstay in Stio’s line featuring some solid upgrades for this season. The upper section of the Environ is a soft, stretch-woven fabric that rises a little higher than your girlfriend’s high-waisted jeans. The mid-bib cut and breathable material combat overheating and provide enough coverage to prevent errant snowflakes from finding skin, and, with double, full-length side zips and suspenders, the drop seat makes bathroom breaks simple. From the waist down, the Environ uses a three-layer, fully recycled polyester face fabric that has a bit of stretch and is very protective. “A full day of melt-on-impact snow and I was still dry inside,” noted Mike Anderson, who tested these bibs on Vancouver Island and in Canada’s Coast Range. Our only complaint: The side zips, which double as vents, are hard to access with a pack on.


Columbia Platinum Peak Pants ($200)

Columbia Platinum Peak Pants
(Photo: Courtesy Columbia)

Sizes: Men’s S to XXL
Weight: 1.2 lbs
Insulation: No
Pros: Good value; flexible
Cons: Runs large; no mesh on vents

Buy Now

The Coffin, one of the hardest lines on B.C.’s Whistler Mountain, is a ski-width funnel leading into a straight-line exit right under the Peak Chair. Something about these pants gave tester Liam Sjogren the confidence to stomp it on his first-ever try. “They’re flexible enough to allow all the necessary movement,” he reported. The pants have all the expected features, like hand pockets and a thigh pocket, boot gaiters, scuff patches, and belt loops. Check the sizing, though, as the medium fits more like a large. What wasn’t questionable was the protection level. In windy 15-degree-Fahrenheit weather on the ski hill and pouring rain at his home in Squamish, B.C., the pants kept him warm and dry—exactly what we expect from Columbia’s proprietary waterproof, breathable Omni-Tech fabric. Of course, they don’t promise Coffin success for everyone, but they do guarantee a lot of pants for $200.


Maloja DumeniM. Pants ($369)

Maloja DumeniM. Pants
(Photo: Courtesy Maloja)

Sizes: Men’s XS to XXL
Weight: 1.5 lbs
Insulation: Yes
Pros: Comfortable; flattering
Cons: Bulky; too warm for spring skiing

Buy Now

A good match to the men’s HallimaschM. jacket, the DumeniM. has a similar mix of a light layer of PrimaLoft Bio (a biodegradable synthetic insulation), a stretchy, recycled-polyester exterior, and a relaxed fit. Derek Stuart found the pants did exactly what he wanted: faded into the background. They kept his keister warm on Lake Louise, Alberta’s slow and wind-exposed Paradise Chair, didn’t restrict movement while skating over to East Bowl, and kept him from getting too hot on the endless sidestep to the top of Boomerang Bowl, thanks to side vents. When he ended up wrestling his kids at the end of the day, the light weatherproofing did its job too. “Despite spending a while in the snow, they kept me dry and showed no signs of abuse,” he said. They didn’t hurt the single dad’s ego, either: “I was told my buns looked good in them.”

 

More 2023 Gear Reviews

The best all-mountain skis of 2023
The best frontside skis of 2023
The best high performance alpine boots of the year

Lead Photo: Ray J Gadd

This post contains affiliate links, primarily provided by our priority partner REI.com. We may earn a commission if you buy through these links. Read more about our policy.

promo logo
sms