Three Things Consider Before You Buy Snow Pants for Your Kids

Quality counts when it comes to choosing snow pants for your children. Waterproofness, insulation and breathability are three key features to compare before you buy.

kids sledding in snow
Keep your kids warm and dry outside in the winter (and not underfoot) by buying them the right snow gear.Jesse Orrico/Unsplashed

Bibs or pants?

Columbia Boys' Ice Slope II Pant
Pants are easier to get on and off than bibs. This pair features waterproof fabric and a “grow” system that allows you to extend the pant length as your child grows.Amazon

Both bibs and pants have their virtues. Snow pants are a lot easier to get on and off. And pants allow you to more easily add or take off upper body layers. When it comes to warmth, however, bibs win hands down because the added fabric that comes up your back adds another layer of insulation around your core and upper body. The higher waist and extra fabric on bibs also provide an extra barrier to keep snow from getting inside of jackets when kids fall in the snow. Make sure you bring your kids’ base layers with you when trying on pants or bibs to ensure they’re roomy enough for layers underneath. While we all want them to last a couple of seasons, don’t buy either style too big or you’ll create too much dead air space between your child’s base and outer layers, and they’ll get cold faster.

Waterproofness, Breathability and Warmth

Arctix Overalls Snow Bib
The coverall design of bibs puts more insulated fabric up around your core for added warmth. These bibs feature 85 grams of ThermaTech insulation for warmth down to -20F.Amazon

Price is always a driver for young families, but don’t just go for cheap snow pants. Look for designs that are both waterproof and insulated, but be warned. Ratings vary widely depending on the manufacturer and style. For waterproofing, ratings are measured in millimeters, which tell you exactly how much water the material will handle before it is no longer waterproof. Ratings generally run from 1,000mm to 20,000mm; the larger the number, the more waterproof the garment will be. Breathability, which prevents heat build-up and sweating, is measured in grams and can range from 2000 grams to 20,000 grams. Again, the higher the number, the more breathable the fabric will be. The same goes for insulation, which is also measured in grams.

Durability

Arctix Chest High Snow Bib Overalls
These value-priced bibs have some great features including 120 grams of ThermaTech insulation for warmth, boot gaiters, and reinforced ankle and hem guards.Amazon

Kids are naturally rough-and-tumble in the snow, so look for snow pants that are reinforced at key points—seat, knees and ankles—and products that feature reinforced hems. Built-in gaiters are a must for keeping snow out of boots. And some manufacturers offer kids snow pants that allow you to extend the length of the legs as your child grows. If you have an older brother or sister that’s handing gear down to their sibling, keep to unisex colors that will work for a younger sibling of either sex. Pockets that zip are a must for keeping snow out and valuables in.