Patagonia Powder Bowl Pants Review

The Patagonia Powder Bowl pants are a top-option for all types of skiers. These ski pants offer versatile and effective performance across the board and stand out when it comes to performance, comfort, and durability. They also are backed by a well-known brand and make for a durable and reliable option. These pants come highly recommended, as they are some of the best you can find.

Quick Summary

Why Trust Me

Born and raised in the mountains of Colorado, I’ve been skiing almost as long as I’ve been able to walk. I skied all over the world and have decades of experience skiing on, testing, and reviewing different skis and skiing equipment. I used the Patagonia Powder Bowl pants for a few ski seasons and have experience testing them in a variety of conditions. Below is my detailed review.

Detailed Review

The Patagonia Powder Bowl pants are great for any skier at any level. They provide high-end performance and are comfortable without being too flimsy. These pants fit great and come from one of the biggest names in the snow apparel business. They will keep you warm, dry, and allow you to ski as hard or as long as you want to.

On-Snow Performance

The Powder Bowl pants are built to spend their life outside in the snow. I didn’t come across a single situation where these pants fell short, and I was impressed with how they functioned in all types of weather. On severely cold days they kept me dry. When things heated up, I opened the vents and kept cool. Their versatility is unmatched. That’s what you want in a pair of ski pants.

These pants also do well when it comes to durability. I like to ski heavy and hard, which means I beat up my ski gear. The Powder Bowl Pants were able to take a beating and keep on ticking. I took a few branches to my thighs on tree runs that I thought may have ripped them, but they held up fine. I took a pretty hard spill on hardpack and expected to see at least a scuff on my knees or seat. However, I didn’t.

If there’s one on-snow situation where I wouldn’t recommend these pants it’s backcountry touring. I don’t think they are quite breathable enough for that situation. If you run cold and don’t overheat, that may not be a problem. However, even when I went on modest hikes in cold weather, I found these pants to be on the warmer side and a little stiff. It’s slight, but it’s there.

Warmth and Weather-Resistance

Patagonia makes some great garments, and most of them have warmth or weather resistance in mind. These pants are no exception. They live up to and exceed the standard that the brand has built over the years and will keep you warm and dry no matter what conditions you experience when you’re out skiing. I work up a sweat when I ski hard, so I’d even venture to say they might be a little too warm.

The Powder Bowl pants are made out of 150-denier recycled polyester with a DWR finish alongside a GORE-TEX 2-layer membrane. That makes the pants extremely water and windproof. They offer reliable protection from the elements that you can count on for years of steady use. Even in extremely wet conditions, the pants will keep you comfortable thanks to their impressive 28,000mm waterproof rating.

The pants aren’t insulated, but I still find them to be extremely warm. I don’t tend to wear a base layer bottom either. The layered construction and effective weather protection give them the ability to keep your lower half insulated without extra material. You’ll want to layer up if you run cold, but most skiers will find that these pants offer plenty of warmth, even without providing extra insulation.

Fit and Function

These pants are comfortable and move with you every turn, carve, and snow-filled step. They aren’t restrictive and allow for a wide freedom of movement. They have a somewhat tailored fit that looks great, and they managed to hit the sweet spot of not being too tight or too baggy.

The bottoms are a little tight around the boots, so if you have a thicker power strap or comfort-focused boots, you’ll want to make sure the pants are firmly pulled down to make sure they don’t ride up and let snow in. These pants also come with ventilation zippers on each leg to give you a little extra airflow on warmer days or if you’re hiking.

The pants have four main pockets that give you enough room to stash a few extras, whether that’s some equipment or general snacks. The handwarmer pockets are fleece-lined and the two thigh cargo pockets are zippered to keep things dry and secure. The pants also have elastic waist tabs to help encourage a precise fit as well as a loop in the rear that can attach to a Patagonia jacket if you want a little extra snow protection.

Other notable features here are the gaiters that help keep the snow at bay on a powder day, a RECCO avalanche reflector for a bit of added safety, and scuff guards on the inside of the leg to give a boost to the construction. They are well designed and fit like a dream.

Price and Value

These pants are more affordable than some other high-end options out there, and when you consider their high-levels of performance and comfort, that gives them excellent value. They aren’t a budget option, but they aren’t going to cost you as much as your skis and boots like other top-shelf ski pants often do. The lasting durability and trusted brand name ups their overall value as well.

What I Like

There’s a whole lot to like about the Powder Bowl Pants. The different performance features are high-end and you can expect excellent warmth and weather protection no matter where or how you like to ski. They truly are able to do it all, and should be the only pair of ski pants you ever need. On really cold days, just remember to layer up. Other than that, you can throw the Powder Bowls on and be ready for anything.

The pants are also extremely comfortable. There’s no noticeable movement restriction or hangups and they fit just right. If you like baggy or tight pants, these are more in between. However, for most skiers that’s the ideal fit. The adjustable waistbands are also a nice feature that helps you get a precise fit with both comfort and function in mind.

I also like the Powder Bowl’s durability. You won’t have to worry about ripping or tearing them. Even in the unlikely chance that you do notice a hole, Patagonia has a great system for making repairs that’s easy and will get your pants fixed up so you can quickly venture out again.

What I Don’t Like

There isn’t much to dislike here, but I wouldn’t recommend them as a backcountry option. While they have vents built into the legs, they aren’t extremely breathable. In fact, I found them to get a little steamy when I was working hard on uphill ascents. They can definitely work in such situations if you aren’t prone to overheating, but I like something that’s a little more breathable when out in the backcountry.

The bottom of the legs are the only other real negative. They are a little narrow, which means they might ride up over your boots if you don’t have them pulled all the way over. If that happens, it limits the effectiveness of the built-in gators. It can also cause a little extra friction and rubbing, but there’s reinforced fabric on the bottom to help prevent that from happening.

The Alternatives

If you’re looking for a different option than the Patagonia Powder Bowl pants, check out these other high-quality alternatives.

  • Patagonia Snowshot Pants – These are a more affordable option from Patagonia that still provide you with plenty of warmth and weather resistance. They are a little less durable, but are still backed by Patagonia’s repair policy to give you peace of mind. They have a somewhat slimmer fit than the Powder Bowl, but are pretty similar in form and function.
  • Arc’teryx Sabre AR Pants – These are a high-end set of ski pants that will meet the needs of any serious skier. Built to last and extremely waterproof, the Sabre are some of the best ski pants on the market. They are extremely expensive, however, and you’ll pay a steep price for ultimate performance. They are just as durable, effective, and comfortable as the PowSlayer, and they look a little cooler as well.
  • North Face Freedom Insulated Snow Pants – These are a more budget-friendly option that will still provide you with quality performance and comfort. They are also insulated, which means they can be a little warmer, but they aren’t built with as many high-end weatherproofing materials as the other options here. They are a good choice for beginner skiers who want to stay warm and comfortable.

FAQs

Are these pants good for skiers of any ability?

Ski pants do not discriminate or care about your ability. That makes the Powder Bowl a great option for a skier at any skill level. The performance and comfort translates to any type of skier.

How does Patagonia’s repair policy work?

You can check out the details of their repair policy on their website. Basically, they will repair your pants for free if you happen to tear them and will replace them if they can’t be repaired and it’s a manufacturer’s defect.

Are the Powder Bowl pants insulated?

No, they are not. Even so, they still offer plenty of warmth thanks to their two-layer GORE-TEX construction.

Final Verdict

The Patagonia Powder Bowl pants are some of the best ski pants you can find. They will provide you with serious protection for the wind and snow, and the excellent construction means they will last for many seasons of steady skiing. It also means the pants are durable and able to take a beating as well. They are a little expensive, but if you can afford a pair, you’re sure to be pleased with their blend of performance and comfort.

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