Top 7 Best Budget Ski Pants In 2023

Today’s ski pants boast advanced technology and are designed with incredible features that make them water resistant, improve breathability, and offer thermal protection to protect you against the cold. They are also made from stretchy materials that help improve your flexibility when skiing.

Your choice of ski pants should be able to match the weather conditions of your ski destination. There is a pair of ski pants to fit every budget. It can be easy to ignore your legs when preparing for your ski run, but ski runs are quite expensive.

Related: Best Base Layers For Skiing

Have you been searching for a good pair of ski pants but are yet to get your hands on a quality and affordable set?  Worry not; this review will provide you with the best ski pants you can find in the market today.

What Are Ski Pants?

Ski pants provide security, safety, and comfort while skiing. These are pants designed to insulate and protect your legs against the cold snow. 

They are thicker than regular pants and help keep the wetness away from your legs when skiing. This piece is essential for every skier, whether you are a beginner or an expert in the sport.

How Many Types Of Ski Pant Models Can Be Found In The Market?

Ski pants can be divided into three different categories. Among them are:

Insulation 

You can find both insulated and non-insulated pants in the market. They both have their benefits and limitations. Your choice of ski pants is greatly determined by the kind of skier you are. 

Non-insulated ski pants offer more flexibility compared to insulated ski pants. Insulated pants provide more warmth and are thicker in terms of feel.

Material 

Ski pants can be made from both hard shell and soft shell material. While hard shell pants form a barrier to protect you against getting wet and harsh windy conditions, soft shells are usually not waterproof.

Design

Here you have to choose between a bib style or a pant design. Pants take on the regular look and cover the lower body, while the bib covers the lower and even part of your upper body. It also comes with suspenders.

3 in 1 ski pants 

The outer shell of these pants has both waterproof and weatherproof material. It also comes with an insulated layer that can be attached to the outer shell using a zipper. You can wear these layers together to fight the cold or wear the outer shell alone in warmer temperatures.

Are Ski Pants Worth It?

Yes, ski pants are a worthy investment. Though similar to bibs, you can attach braces to ski pants; they offer more freedom and wiggle room compared to bibs. They do not have extra material going up from the waist hence improving flexibility.

Most ski pants come fitted with a zipper, which makes them simple and convenient to use when you need to ease yourself. Some also come with better lining insulation ideal for your ski run on piste, while others are designed with improved breathability and stretchability. These are best suited for backcountry skiing.

In order not to shortchange yourself, you must ensure that the ski pants you purchase fit correctly and are comfortably tight on you to prevent any entry of ice, which will make you cold.

Here are our top picks!

Budget Ski Pants Preview Price
The North Face Freedom Ski Pant The North Face Freedom Ski Pant Check Price
Helly-Hansen Men’s Legendary Insulated Pant Helly-Hansen Men's Legendary Insulated Pant Check Price
Columbia Bugaboo IV Ski Pant Columbia Bugaboo IV Ski Pant Check Price
Obermeyer Force Ski Pant Obermeyer Force Ski Pant Check Price
Helly Hansen Switch Cargo Pants Helly Hansen Switch Cargo Pants Check Price
Outdoor Research Trailbreaker II Ski Pants Outdoor Research Trailbreaker II Ski Pants Check Price
Black Diamond Dawn Patrol Ski Pants Black Diamond Dawn Patrol Ski Pants Check Price

1 . The North Face Freedom Ski Pant – Best Overall

Pros
  • Very warm
  • Affordable pricing
  • Great performance
  • Comes fitted with vents
  • Designed with a water-repellent coating
  • Durable
  • Adjustable Velcro to improve fit
Cons
  • Zippers allow in ice and snow
  • Limited breathability
  • Quite baggy on the lower body

These ski pants are best suited for resort skiers. It is designed with a hard outer shell which makes it ideal for tough resort terrain. If you are on a budget and do not have money to splurge on ski pants, then the North face freedom is your best bet.

Coming in at just $149, the ski pants do not compromise on quality. It is designed with a 2 layer construction built to last and ensure that the wind does not bother you in the slightest. This ski pant is fitted with a durable water-repellent coating, which helps you keep warm.

This ski pants design is quite impressive considering its features. It has a great venting system, making it suitable for backcountry skiing. The North face freedom ski pant is also fitted with Velcro adjusters to ensure that it provides you with a great and comfortable fit.

It has a wide size range providing different options for a wide range of body sizes. The ski pants are not stretchy and may be overly baggy around the legs, which is not ideal for some skiers. However, this ski pant provides value at a reasonable cost compared to many of its counterparts.

Why Is The North Face Freedom Ski Pant The Best Budget Ski Pant For 2023?

What I love most about these ski pants is their ability to provide protection against the cold at such an affordable price. The inner layer of these ski pants is surprisingly soft, providing comfort that only ski pants selling for $200 boast of.

It is made of durable material that helps you enjoy the cost per wear for the item and obtain value for your money. It is a versatile piece of clothing designed to handle all types of terrain. 

The brand is fixated on providing value, and it was a pleasant surprise that the pants have additional features to maximize comfort despite the low prices. The North face freedom ski pants come with gaiters with gripper elastic that help to ensure that snow does not get onto your legs and feet.

The ski pants pockets come with a fleece lining for added warmth and strong Velcro closure to keep your ski gear or accessories well secured. North face freedom ski pants speak value and we all appreciate value. Right? Purchase these ski pants today!

2 . Helly-Hansen Men’s Legendary Insulated Pant – Runner Up

Pros
  • Excellent fit for resort skiing
  • Comfortable
  • Minimalistic and simple design
  • Well priced
  • Stretchy
Cons
  • Not very suitable for warm conditions
  • Thin material prone to wear and tear

This ski pant is manufactured by a reputable Norwegian brand, and you can purchase this pant for $200 currently. They feature a classic and minimalistic design that is ideal for skiers who do not want to call a lot of attention to themselves.

 It is a hard-shell ski pant but has been designed to offer some stretch. The shell is waterproof and is fitted with a 2-layer construction. This feature works best for people who do not easily break a sweat. The ski pant usually has additional room for you to layer additional clothing.

The Helly Hansen ski pants come with PrimaLoft black insulation on the butt and knees to help protect you from the cold. The ski pants come in various color options that would easily match your style.

The stretchy material used in this model makes it versatile, and it can be used for both uphill and downhill ski runs. It, however, runs very thin and is prone to wear and tear. These ski pants are best suited for casual skiers who are on a budget but still want to enjoy high-quality ski pants.

3 . Columbia Bugaboo IV Ski Pant – Most Durable

Pros
  • Waterproof
  • Great quality
  • Durable
  • Affordable
  • Adjustable waist
  • Thermal reflection
  • Breathable fabric
  • Very warm
  • Comes with zippered hand pockets
Cons
  • Prone to easy wear and tear if used frequently
  • Could with more waist adjustment

These ski pants feature incredible technology and design at a pleasantly affordable price. It retails at $90. The Columbia Bugaboo Pant comes in a variety of color options to suit your style. 

The ski pants are designed to retain heat and protect you from the cold. It is also made of breathable fabric to provide comfort as you ski.

The Omni-tech technology keeps you dry by ensuring enough airflow around your legs while ensuring that the ski pants remain waterproof. They also come fitted with adjustable waist attachments that help provide a comfortable and snug fit that is ideal for skiing.

4 . Obermeyer Force Ski Pant

Pros
  • Waterproof
  • Great insulation
  • Breathable material
  • Water resistant powder cuffs
  • Quite affordable
  • Zippered pockets
Cons
  • Low price reflects on quality
  • The ski pants lack vents resulting in overheating

There are a variety of ski pants within the $200 range. The Obermeyer force ski pant, however, makes a solid case for themselves with its admirable features. This ski pant is constructed using the HydroBlock Pro 2-way stretch fabric, providing flexibility during your instructions while ensuring that you stay warm.

The pants are water resistant and come with powder cuffs with a water resistance build to keep away the cold and snow. These pants is perfect for entry-level skiers because it comes with full motion articulation technology for your knees and seat.

 This helps provide a flexible feel and ensures you do not have to worry about spills. These pants also feature an adjustable waist. All its pockets come fitted with zippers.

5 . Helly Hansen Switch Cargo Pants

Pros
  • Great design
  • Waterproof
  • Well insulated
  • Comes with gaiter to block snow
  • Durable water repellent finish
Cons
  • Not suitable for backcountry skiing

These ski pants are ideal for resort skiing. These pants are insulated and utilize Helly tech performance. This technology gives the ski pants an extremely high waterproof ability and makes it more breathable to support different sporting activities.

The Helly Switch pants are extremely versatile pants that can be used for most winter sports. They are lightweight and designed to enhance performance. They also feature a 2-layer DRW coating to help keep you warm and repel moisture.

The pants are fitted with thigh vents to avoid overheating. The pants waist is also adjustable to maximize comfort. This is a reputable brand I recommend if you are hunting for a budget ski pant model. It currently retails at $225.

6 . Outdoor Research Trailbreaker II Ski Pants

Pros
  • Flexible design offers maximum protection
  • Breathable material
  • Great for uphill performance.
  • Thigh vents to reduce chances of overheating
  • Decent storage capacity
  • Affordable pricing
Cons
  • Lacks insulation
  • Insulation does not adequately hold up during harsh weather conditions

These ski pants are suitable for backcountry skiing. This model integrates both the soft and hard shell in its design. It, however, does not come with any insulation, which reflects in its price. The OR ski pants are a great fit for uphill performance.

It features a burly 3-layer Pertex shield for your leg area to keep off the cold. The waist and thighs are fitted with soft shell material, providing the flexibility needed while skiing. It provides decent storage capacity to its users by attaching a beacon to the ski pants.

The model has vents fitted on its thighs for adequate airflow and to prevent overheating. Its excellently designed features help the OR ski pants stand out from the crowd for an amazing price.

However, something has to give with the low pricing. The lack of full waterproof coverage makes the ski pants not suitable for deep powder, as it is sure to let in some snow. It is a largely preferred model for skiers who love the soft-shell ski pants model.

7 . Black Diamond Dawn Patrol Ski Pants

Pros
  • Blue sign approved
  • Affordable price
  • Breathable
  • Fitted with vents to avoid overheating
  • Durable water-repellent material
Cons
  • Limited ventilation due to mesh lining may result in overheating

These ski pants feature and are made of breathable fabric which prevents overheating and are perfect for backcountry skiing. Black diamond made these pants with only one thing in mind, comfort for backcountry skiers. For this reason, these pants promise durability and mobility.

These pants are designed with a soft shell outer layer and are only partially water-resistant. It, however, has a durable water-repellent coating. This is a great addition that helps keep moisture away. The fabric offers a moisture-wicking effect which helps keep you dry and comfortable.

It is one of the best budget ski pants for 2023. 

What I love most about this model is the additional ski suspenders that it comes with to provide you with a great fit and ensure that your ski pants do not sag. The Dawn Patrol comes with zippered pockets, side vents, and powder cuffs for ultimate protection and comfort. You will surely enjoy these ski pants at a great price of $215.

Ski Pant Buying Guide

Ski pants come in a variety of styles. The options I have listed in this review are the best budget ski pants for 2023. I have carefully explained and differentiated the different factors that may impact the ski pants you choose to purchase. 

However, each piece is guaranteed to provide value and performance. I hope that this guide will help you settle on the best ski pant model for you.

Type of Ski Pant 

There are two main ski pant categories. They include the hard shell and soft shell. The choice of which pants to choose is solely a matter of preference. Hard-shell ski pants are usually characterized by a waterproof finish.

Unlike the hard shell, the soft shell ski pants offer more mobility. They are usually critically seam sealed, which is not ideal for powder snow skiing. The hard shell is usually taped and sealed for improved warmth and comfort.

Construction

Is your ski pants built using a 2 -layer or 3-layer construction? Most of the ski pants on the market are constructed using a 2 layer design. A 3- layered ski pant performs extremely well in deep powder conditions. They are best suited for resort skiing.

The first layer is usually a breathable layer, followed by a  waterproof layer, followed by a soft fleece-like layer that helps keep you warm.3 layered pants are generally more expensive than 2 layer constructions as they involve more work. They have also adopted more quality features on their build.

Most 2-layer constructions lack breathable material in their construction but still help block the cold and ice. They tend to be cheaper generally and are perfect for beginner or casual skiers.

Pockets

If you do not carry a backpack with you when skiing, then your choice of skiing pants should have adequate pockets. Zipped and waterproof pockets help keep your items safe and secured even in case of a fall.

It is also important that you check the number and size of the pockets to ensure they can adequately meet your needs. Consider what type of gear is critical to have by your side when skiing, and let that help you determine whether the pocket designs can match your needs and preferences.

Use

Ski pants are designed to be used on resorts or the backcountry, while some are a mix of both. Resort skiing does not involve uphill skiing, while backcountry skiing requires you to have stretchy material for added mobility.

Backcountry ski pants also tend to be snugger and offer a great fit. They are less waterproof than ski pants made for resort skiing use. The weather conditions of your ski destination should be the determining factor for your choice of ski pants.

Durability

Skiing is a rough sport and requires that the ski pant material is made to be tough to last long. The fabric denier value is the best way to tell the durability of a ski pant. It calculates the thickness of the thread used in making the shell.

The higher the fabric denier value, the better the durability of the ski pants. The North face freedom is the most durable ski pant model in this review, with a fabric denier of over 135D.Hard-shell pants are also generally long-lasting compared to soft-shell ski pants.

Waterproof

The ability of your pants to resist water will help determine how long you can stay outside on the snow. It will also allude to how much you will enjoy your ski run. Gore-Tex is usually rated as the best waterproof technology for your ski pants.

Ski pants are made of hard shell, are fully seal taped, and come with a durable water repellent treatment to help keep you warm. Resort skiers place more priority on this compared to backcountry skiers. Backcountry skiers are okay with partially waterproof ski pants as they are more fixated on breathability and mobility.

Fit 

A great choice of ski pants should have a snug fit and be comfortable on your body. Because this is very subjective, I recommend visiting a physical store and try fitting on the pieces before purchase to avoid purchasing the wrong ski pant size.

Tight skin-hugging pants are ideal for backcountry skiers as they are perfect for uphill skiing. The material should, however, be stretchy for added mobility. Resort skiing, on the other hand, does not necessarily need you to have a tight fit as they provide you with adequate layering options depending on the weather conditions.

Breathability 

Skiing is a sport, and you are guaranteed to break a sweat as you work out. You are likely to sweat more if you prefer backcountry skiing. This means that breathability should be one of your key concerns.

Soft-shell ski pants normally offer better breathability compared to hard-shell ones. They are, however, more expensive. This is, however, largely a matter of preference.

Insulation

Resort skiers tend to need more insulation compared to backcountry skiers. Models filled with insulated thick material are, therefore, a great option. Most insulated ski pants prefer the synthetic option because it is less costly and can still provide warmth even when wet.

Most models utilize about 45 to 90 grams of synthetic fill for insulation purposes. The amount of insulation you require will be determined by the weather conditions of your ski location, your skiing style, and whether you tend to get warm fast.

Layering

The type of clothing you wear under your ski pants is essential in helping you stay warm. Apart from helping keep the cold away, the layers help wick the moisture that may have been created by sweat build, ensuring that you stay comfortable.

A snug and soft fit will help you maximize warmth. Also, ensure that you wear only synthetic or wool material because cotton cannot provide insulation while wet, which will beat the purpose of layering your ski pants.

Sustainability

The global markets have had to take a closer look at their contribution to global warming and try to find ways to mitigate it and reduce their carbon footprint. Reputable brands like REI Co-op have used recyclable materials in making the shell and constructing the inner ski pant layers for added warmth.

Several models in this review are fair trade certified, while some utilize the blue sign system for responsible sourcing of materials. I love to support sustainable brands because then we can ensure that we still enjoy cold, snowy areas for skiing instead of them melting away due to rising temperatures.

Seams 

Seams are a critical feature of ski pants. Seam taping is essential to keeping you warm and preventing moisture from entering your ski pants. You have a choice between fully taped ski pants and critically sealed seams.

Critically taped seams mean that only the areas normally exposed to moisture are sealed. This means that there is a chance that moisture and cold wind may find a way through your ski pants, leaving you cold.

Most ski pants models that are critically taped tend to be more affordable compared to fully taped ones. Fully taped seams are the ideal choice for maximum waterproof protection. They can handle harsh weather conditions while ensuring that you stay warm.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Should Your Ski Pants Be?

Generally, you should ensure that your ski pants are longer than your regular pants’ height by at least 12 cm. This will help leave space for your ski boots which should mesh well with your ski pants to maximize warmth.

What Is The Most Recommended Ski Pant Model For Beginners?

Entry-level skiers should opt for soft-shell models or hard-shell ski pants that are stretchy. This helps improve mobility. This will help alleviate the added stress of poorly fitting ski pants when trying to learn a new skill.

Which Is The Best Ski Pant Brand In The Market Today?

Several ski pant models in the market today feature quality construction and are durable. All brands listed in this review promise you value for your money.

I recommend the North face freedom ski pants since they are my favorite. This question, however depends on where you plan to use your ski pants and the functionality.

Final Thoughts

Skiing is a very versatile sport. Skiers face different challenges and have different relationships with the sport. This makes your choice of ski pants quite overwhelming. Our needs and requirements vary, so one’s preference for a specific model does not necessarily mean it will suit your needs.

This review is for anyone who is on a budget but is looking to purchase ski pants. There are many quality ski pants models in the market that you can get without splurging. All the models in this review are budget pieces that will serve you well.

I hope that this article will provide you with the necessary information you might need on ski pants and help answer any questions that you might have had if you are on the hunt for new ski pants. 

Mitchelle Lynn

Enthusiast, adventurer, risk-taker, explorer, and trainer is what I am. Well, I go by Mitchelle Lynn, and I have been skiing all my life. My years of skiing have taught me how skiing is done and what are the critical aspects one has to keep in check. I have extensive knowledge about skis, ski rides, equipment, techniques, tricks, guides, and many other things, and that is what I am here to offer! Click Here To Learn More About Me