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Are Snow Pants Waterproof?

Imagine that you’re out skiing or exploring a winter wonderland, and you’re wearing clothes to stay warm. But then you fall into the snow, and you get all wet. So, you start to wonder if snow pants are waterproof and if they would have kept you dry.

Many pairs of snow pants are waterproof, but some are more water-resistant than others. The level of water resistance depends on the material used to make the pants, their seams, and other factors. It’s also important to consider the type of snow nearby, and how wet or dry it is.

If you need a pair of waterproof snow pants, you can find some for you. You should consider how cold the area is and how much melting you can expect. Then, you can look for snow pants with enough water resistance.

Are Snow Pants Waterproof

How to Choose Waterproof Snow Pants

While most snow pants are waterproof to some degree, you need to determine how much water resistance you need. Knowing that will help you choose the right waterproof snow pants to stay comfortable and dry. And to do that, you need to consider a few things.

Now, if you like to wear snow pants at different times of the year or in different locations, you may need a few different pairs. Then, you can have a pair that works for each situation. You should also consider how much you can spend on the best waterproof snow pants.Are Snow Pants Waterproof?

Combine all of those factors to find the right waterproof snow pants this morning. Whether you want to go skiing or hike after a snowstorm, you need the right snow pants.

Determine Your Location

The first thing you should do when selecting waterproof snow pants is to figure out your location. Knowing your location will help you decide how water resistant your snow pants need to be. Water-resistance needs vary because the climate and temperature can vary as well.

States like Colorado tend to be drier and colder, so you can get away with snow pants that aren’t as water-resistant. But if you live to travel to a state like Oregon, it won’t get as cold, so the snow can get wetter more easily. So in Oregon, you may need snow pants that have a higher level of water resistance.

Water-resistance occurs on a scale from less than 5,000 to over 20,000 mm, and higher numbers mean a fabric will be more waterproof. Because of this, you may need more or less water resistance in certain areas or at different times of the year.

So before you buy a pair of waterproof snow pants, think about how the snow typically feels and if it melts easily. Then, you can use that to decide how waterproof your snow pants need to be. After all, practicality is essential whether you plan to hike or ride a snowboard.

Figure Out What’s Comfortable

Depending on where and when you’ll be wearing snow pants, you may need more or less protection. But you should also figure out what you’re comfortable with. If you will only wear your snow pants for an hour or two, you may not need them to be as waterproof as if you were to wear them all day.

You can also think about what you’ll do while wearing snow pants. If you’ll be skiing or snowboarding, odds are you might fall into the snow. But if you just need the snow pants when going on a hike, water resistance may not be as important.

Also, snow pants with more water resistances tend to have harder shells, so they may not be very comfortable. On the other hand, softer-shelled snow pants are typically more flexible and comfortable. But they won’t be as waterproof as other options.

Are Snow Pants Waterproof?

Still, if you don’t feel comfortable in hard-shelled snow pants, the extra protection may not be worth it. So you’ll have to decide if your initial comfort is more important or if you need more protection in case you fall and land in wet snow. Consider those factors, and try on a few pairs of snow pants to find one that works for you.

Consider Breathability

Another thing to consider when choosing waterproof snow pants is how breathable they are. Some snow pants have a tighter or looser fit, which could affect how your blood flows in your legs. While it can be nice to have your pants form to your legs to keep warm, looser pants won’t restrict your legs as much.

And then if you do get wet, looser pants also won’t cling to your skin as much as tighter snow pants. Your legs will have room to breathe, and the cold temperatures won’t get to your legs as easily. It will be easier to move your legs in wet, loose snow pants compared to if the pants are tight.

Then, when you’re able to take off the wet snow pants, a looser fit can help as well. You won’t have to worry about struggling to remove the wet pants. However, you have to balance breathability with comfort.

If you typically prefer tighter fitting pants, you may not like the extra space in looser snow pants. So you can search for a slimmer pair with a more breathable, yet warm material. Then, you can stay comfortable while you wear snow pants.

Understand Waterproof Ratings

When shopping for waterproof snow pants, you will probably come across at least one pair with a waterproof rating. The waterproof rating uses millimeters, and to get the rating, a company will test how much water it takes to leak through the fabric of the pants. For each millimeter of water that can sit on the pants, the rating will increase by that amount.

Are Snow Pants Waterproof?

  • Snow pants with a rating of 0 to 5,000 mm are the least waterproof, and they’re only water-resistant in light rain or dry snow with no pressure.
  • From 6,000 to 10,000 mm, you’ll find snow pants that are good for average snow with a light amount of pressure.
  • Pants with a rating between 11,000 and 15,000 mm are suitable for most situations except those with high pressure.
  • If you’re in the Pacific Northwest, you need snow pants with a rating of 16,000 to 20,000 mm since such pants are waterproof even with high pressure.
  • Above that, you’ll find snow pants that are waterproof under almost any condition, so you can’t go wrong here.

If you know the conditions where you’ll need to wear waterproof snow pants, you can look for pants with the proper rating. You don’t have to worry about whether your pants will keep you dry or not. So make sure to check the waterproof rating before you buy even the most comfortable pair of snow pants.

Value vs. Cost

If you find multiple suitable snow pants, you should also consider the value and cost of each one. Especially if you’re on a budget, you may not want to get multiple pairs. So you can narrow down your options by deciding which is the best one for you.

To determine the value of a pair of snow pants, you should consider how many times you’ll wear it. If you only need a pair of pants for a short ski trip, you may be able to find a cheaper pair. But if you plan on wearing the snow pants every week, you’ll get more value out of a more expensive option.


A lot of snow pants are waterproof, but some are more water-resistant than others. So before you choose the first pair you see, figure out how much water resistance you need. Then, you can look for pants with the proper waterproof rating.


  • Nicole Sutton

    Nicole Sutton is an enthusiastic writer and knowledgeable contributor to She offers a plethora of knowledge to the platform, with a background in environmental science and a profound curiosity with all things connected to temperature regulation. Nicole's interesting and informative writings assist readers in making informed decisions about home heating, cooling, and climate control.

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