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Winter Gear Guide

The Best Snow Pants for Hikers of 2022

Whether you're snowshoeing, skiing, or postholing, these four pairs of winter pants are up to the task.

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best snowpants of 2022 - columbia kick turn
Columbia’s Kick Turn II snowpants will keep you warm on the chilliest days. Photo: Courtesy

Warmest Snow Pants: Columbia Kick Turn II

  • Price: $160
  • Weight: 1 lb. 4 oz. (m’s L)
  • Sizes: m’s S-XXL 
  • Best for: Frigid days
  • Buy Now

For the coldest tours, grab the Kick Turn II. This pant’s 60-gram synthetic insulation, combined with a reflective Omni-Heat Infinity lining made of gold metallic dots, turns up the heat: “I snowshoed in -30°F temps and high winds on Lake Superior’s south shore all day and was never bothered by the cold,” one Wisconsin tester says. Columbia’s proprietary waterproof/breathable Omni-Tech fabric keeps out precip and wind, and zippered inner-thigh vents make it easy to unload excess heat or invite cooling outside air. The Kick Turn II is packed with features as well, such as internal leg gaiters that kept snow out of boots and hard-as-nails cuff guards. Utility loops below the waist make it a breeze to access extra gear; we lashed a GPS unit, glove liners, and a camera to the loops on a three-day excursion into Colorado’s Rawah Wilderness. Bonus: The Kick Turn II packs down to cantaloupe-size. 

Best Snow Pants of 2022 — Helly Hansen Odin Mountain Infinity 3L Bib
There’s very little the Helly Hansen Odin Mountain Infinity 3L Bib can’t handle.
(Photo: Courtesy)

Best All-Around Snow Pants: Helly Hansen Odin Mountain Infinity 3L Bib

  • Price: $500
  • Weight: 1 lb. 1 oz. (m’s L)
  • Sizes: m’s S-XXL, w’s XS-XL
  • Best for: Almost anything
  • Buy Now

After three months of winter revelry—and 20 pairs of pants tested—the Odin Mountain Infinity proved to be our go-to pant for every adventure. On long-haul skinning days and mountaineering in Colorado’s San Juan Mountains, this trouser felt airy inside and gridiron tough outside. Thank the Lifa Infinity Pro fabric—a DWR-free, highly breathable material that you’ll never have to re-waterproof—that grants suit-of-armor durability and sweatpants comfort. One Minnesota tester notched a three-day traverse on the Superior Hiking Trail, scrambling through skinny ravines lined with snaggy branches and boulders with surfaces like 60-grit sandpaper, but the Odin’s 50-by-70 denier polypropylene outer emerged without a blemish. A solid array of features round out the package: The stretchy softshell upper portion offers comfy, bulk-free coverage, and two zippered pockets stow a phone, GPS, or quick snack. An integrated three-quarter zip makes these pants easy to don, and back thigh vents shed heat. Snow gaiters accompany adjustable suspenders, and articulated knees help on steep climbing days. The women’s version also sports a drop seat.

Best Snow Pants of 2022 — Ortovox 3L Deep Shell Bib
The Ortovox 3L Deep Shell Bib survived a season of hard testing with barely a scratch.
(Photo: Courtesy)

Most Durable Snow Pants: Ortovox 3L Deep Shell Bib

  • Price: $600
  • Weight: 1 lb. 8 oz. (m’s M)
  • Sizes: m’s S-XXL, w’s XS-XL
  • Best for: Hard use
  • Buy Now

Want to put a pair of pants through its paces? More than 300 ski runs in western Montana will do the trick. “This bib survived the season without a single rip or scuff, even after bouncing over rock and ice after snowboarding biffs,” one tester says. The key to the Deep Shell Bib’s longevity are its 120-denier nylon shell material. Cordura cuffs stand up to rocks and errant crampon spikes, and integrated gaiters seal out deep snow. A Dermizax EV membrane nails gold medal performance for comfort, breathability, and sealing out unfavorable weather during high-octane aerobic days or afternoon igloo-building. Elsewhere, a vertical-zip chest pocket offers easy stowage for a phone or snack, along with an ample hip pocket and a pair of thigh pockets, one with internal mesh and the other with a clip lanyard for a GPS or other oft-needed gear. Major tradeoff: This is by far the most expensive pair of pants in the test.

Best Snow Pants of 2022 — Patagonia Upstride
The Patagonia Upstride performs admirably for high-tempo ski days. (Photo: Courtesy)

Most Breathable Snow Pants: Patagonia Upstride

  • Price: $279
  • Weight: 15.7 oz. (m’s L)
  • Sizes: m’s XS-XL, w’s XS-XL
  • Best for: Active pursuits
  • Buy Now

Backcountry skiing works up steamy heat, and managing your inner thermometer is key to staying comfortable on a tour. The softshell Upstride does just that: “I usually get supersweaty going uphill on 30°F days, but that wasn’t an issue in this pant,” one tester said after an outing in Montana’s Bridger Range. The 100 percent recycled, knit polyester material helped him stay cool, as did a trio of mesh-backed pockets on the thighs that double as air vents (we would have preferred at least one designated pocket to stow small items, though). The Upstride’s DWR demonstrated dogged performance holding off a soggy, 2-inches-per-hour blizzard. Snap adjustments at the ankle and internal gaiters keep snow out, and scuff guards protect against close encounters with rocks. Downside: The pants can slide down if you’re wearing a pack, but not a belt, due to a relatively unstructured waistband. 

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