The Best Backcountry Ski Pants

Backcountry skiing is a truly unique experience. Though you have to put yourself at the mercy of the elements, the reward for such a challenging endeavor is more than worth it. The backcountry provides many opportunities for amazing skiing alongside its many challenges, including trips through deep powder and untouched terrain.

In order to make the most of any backcountry skiing adventure, you need to be prepared. Safety should always be your first priority, but you also need to have the right gear so that you’re always ready for whatever mother nature throws your way. This article will take a look at some of the best backcountry ski pants around to help you stay warm and dry while in the backcountry.

Quick Summary

  • The North Face Freedom ski pants are perfect for backcountry skiing situations. They are well insulated for the harshest of winter conditions, while also being flexible and breathable to allow you to handle the rigors of hiking that come with backcountry use. They have a nice fit that allows for freedom of movement and a well-ventilated, water-proof construction.
  • Another great option for backcountry ski pants is the Arc’Teryx Theta SV. These have a bid design, which means their suspender style straps will give you a little more coverage than standard pants in really deep snow conditions. They also have extra material built into the knees, as well as a gusseted crotch to protect you in brutal, backcountry conditions.
  • The Colombia Snow Gun ski pants are a great budget option for those looking to get their backcountry gear in order. In addition to their appealing price point, the pants are well-insulated, comfortable, and come equipped with two large cargo pockets for any extra gear or accessories you might want to bring with you on your adventure.

Who Should Get This

If you are even considering backcountry skiing, you need pants that can handle the task. If you ski in the backcountry often, you will definitely want to get models designed with the rigors and demands of this style in mind. Resort skiers will also do well with this type of ski pant, especially those that really like to tackle a wide variety of terrain.

If you are a casual skier or just starting out, you probably won’t need backcountry specific ski pants. While it won’t affect your skiing experience at all, you might find a different type of ski pant to more suit your casual needs.

Best Backcountry Ski Pants: What to Consider

Construction

Backcountry skiing comes with entirely different demands than any other type of skiing. You need pants that are going to perform well, but also want ones that are going to be able to handle a lot of abuse and extreme weather. Backcountry specific ski pants are often constructed with extra materials in the knees, as well as other sturdy features that make them more durable in the long run.

Design

While you might think ski pants only have one design, there are a variety of different design elements made to assist with backcountry skiing. Bib-type ski pants are one such design that excels off the beaten path, thanks to their added length and shoulder straps. Pockets, zippers, and flexibility are other design features to look for in backcountry options.

Warmth

If you intend to ski in the backcountry, you need to be prepared for extreme conditions. That means your gear, including your pants, must be warm. Ample insulation is needed for warmth, and you need to make sure the pants you buy will keep out the cold when the snowflakes start flying. Most backcountry specific pants have great insulation, but be sure to double-check before buying.

Best Backcountry Ski Pants: Our Picks

1. North Face Freedom Ski Pants


North Face has spent years making high-quality winter clothing, and their Freedom pants have the features needed for extreme conditions. That makes them an excellent choice for backcountry trips. The DryVent shell material keeps water and wind out, while also allowing moisture to evaporate. The pants feature excellent construction as well.

What we like:

  • Excellent fit
  • Hardy zippers and an extra pocket
  • Well insulated but flexible and comfortable
  • Reinforced kick patches
  • Comes with elastic gators

What we don’t like:

  • Does not have reinforced knees
  • Only one cargo pocket

>> Check Price on Amazon <<

2. Arc’teryx Theta SV


The Arc’tery Theta SV bib style ski pants are an awesome choice for backcountry skiing. The bib design keeps out snow in deep powder while also adding extra warmth and stability for any adverse condition. The pants also feature reinforced material in the knees and seat for extra durability. They are also water and windproof, and come with a breathable fit.

What we like:

  • Bib style design is excellent in the backcountry
  • Reinforced knees and seat
  • Adjustable suspenders
  • Large pant cuff for any size boot
  • Durable

What we don’t like:

  • Could use an extra pocket
  • Expensive

>> Check Price on Amazon <<

3. Columbia Snow Gun Pants


These solid ski pants work well in the backcountry. The Snow Gun model is not anything fancy, but they feature all of the basic requirements you need off the beaten path, and their affordable price makes them a great entry-level option. They feature an Omni-Heat design that reflects your own body heat for added warmth and have 60g of synthetic insulation to keep you warm no matter how low the temperature drops.

What we like:

  • Affordable
  • Well-insulated
  • Comfortable
  • Comes in a variety of colors

What we don’t like:

  • Basic style
  • Not as durable as more expensive options
  • Can run a little short

>> Check Price on Amazon <<

Useful Tips and Resources

A good set of ski pants should last at least a few seasons of steady use if you know how to take care of them. Even under backcountry use, following these easy steps will help your clothes last longer. Backcountry ski pants are built to last. However, as they cost a lot, it’s always a good idea to protect your investment.

If you do happen to tear or rip your ski pants, don’t panic. There are some good materials available to help you repair water-proof materials. You can find more about that here.

Final Thoughts

A ski trip into the backcountry is a great journey. It is a truly unique way to experience the winter season, and it gives avid skiers the opportunity to find lines that no other skier has found before.

Just remember always to stay safe and never venture out into the backcountry alone. For all of its rewards, it certainly comes with a fair amount of risk.

Do you have a favorite type of ski pants? Are there any you bring out to the backcountry? Let us know in the comments below.

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