Buying Guide for Kids Ski Pants
By Steve Kopitz
All kids ski pants are snow pants but not all kids snow pants are ski pants; as you will learn in this guide. There are many big differences between a regular pair of snow pants you might find at a department store and the kids ski pants you will find on our site. Here we will go over the different types of kids ski pants, what to look for with ski pants, explain the different features available and hopefully make you an expert so shopping can be stress free.
Types of Kids Ski Pants
It may seem there would only be one style but there are actually different styles of kids ski pants. These styles work great for kids with specific needs and preferences when it comes to skiing pants.
Insulated- This is going to be the most common style of kids ski pants. This style offers a waterproof shell with an inner liner for added warmth. It’s still advisable to wear a set of base layers or long underwear underneath but these are insulated to provide added warmth.
Shell- Shell ski pants as the name implies offer simply a shell. These are very thin waterproof shells that are made to fit over base and mid layers. More common with adult ski pants the shell style is harder to find in kids ski pants.
Bib- Bib ski pants for kids offer more protection and warmth as they come up farther than standard ski pants. These bibs fit like classic overalls which means not only do they offer more coverage but they also help keep the pants riding in the proper place.
What to Look for in Kids Ski Pants
When shopping for kids ski pants it can be a bit overwhelming especially with all the different numbers and ratings these pants are given. Here we will go into detail of exactly what all these ratings mean and what to look for while shopping for kids ski pants.
Breathability Rating- The breathability rating refers to the pants being waterproof yet able to breath. Basically you want to stay dry but you still want any moisture inside (sweat) to escape. This will be measured in grams (g) using the moisture vapor transmission rate or MVTR for short. The MVTR refers to the amount of moisture or sweat that can escape per 1 square meter of material in a 24 hour period. Kids ski pants can vary on this scale from 2,000g to 25,000g with the larger numbers meaning the pants are more breathable.
Waterproof Rating- A waterproof rating on a pair of kids ski pants is one of the most important factors. This rating is going to decipher just how waterproof a certain set of pants are. Measured in millimeters this rating tells exactly what amount of water the material can handle before it’s no longer waterproof. These ratings can be between 1,000mm to 20,000mm with the larger numbers granting the best waterproofing ability.
Taped Seams- A seam is where two or more pieces of fabric are joined or held together with stitches. Although seams are pretty cut and dry in most clothing, in ski pants there are a few variances found in what is called taped seams. Taped seams offer a waterproof tape over the seam to make the seams 100% waterproof. Taped seams are found in 2 popular methods, either critically taped or fully taped.
- Critically Taped Seams- Critically taped seams refers to only the seams that will be the most likely to come in contact with wetness are taped. In kids ski pants this is an often used method as it keeps the costs down.
- Fully Taped Seams- Fully taped seams is exactly what it sounds like, all the seams are fully taped. This gives the pants the best waterproofing available. Not found in many kids ski pants but can be found in higher end pants and race specialty pants.
Fabric Durability- As ski pants typically get abused and are put through more stresses than everyday snow pants the materials used to make kids ski pants are more durable and made to last longer. Under product specifications you will see an “exterior material” area where you can look into deeper the actual material each pant is made out of.
Boot Gaiters- Boot gaiters are simply an elastic inner lining of the pants that goes over the ski boots. This lining fits securely over the boots to make a seal meaning no snow or moisture is going to get up into the pants and will also help trap any heat inside the pants. All kids ski pants will have a boot gaiter but most snow pants from department stores will not offer this feature.
Scuff Guards- For pants that may be too large or for kids that may not wear them at the “right” level there are scuff guards. Scuff guards are located on the rear bottom of the pants where the pants may surpass the bottom of the boots and drag on the ground. This is not an ideal fit of the pants but this dragging does occur from time to time so companies have reinforced this area and dubbed it the scuff guard. Whether or not a pair of pants offers scuff guards will be located in the “Product Features” area on the products page.
Articulated Knees- This feature a natural feeling bend by adding a seam sewn into the knee of the ski pants to allow flex. With this feature the pants have a lighter feel and the natural bend is great for the many positions of skiing.
Additional Kids Ski Pants Features
Suspenders- For those looking for a bit more security and lift some kids ski pants are outfitted with suspenders. This feature is a great alternative to wearing a belt and can help keep the ski pants up to stop any snow from getting in between the pants and jacket. Although not all kids ski pants come with suspenders most come with suspender loops for them to be added.
Thigh Zip Vents- When things get a little hot on the slopes having leg vents are a great feature. Kids can easily unzip the vents to get a little fresh air and cool down on the slopes. When chilly just zip the vents back up! Venting information can be found on the product specifications portion of our pages.
Jacket to Pant Link- Typically found when purchasing a jacket and pant from the same brand this feature offers a direct connection of the pants and jacket. Typically a zipper system this offers the ease of a two piece outfit with the benefits of a one piece.
Side Zips- Found on the bottom cuff of the kids ski pants this feature offers the ability to get some extra room when putting on or removing ski boots. Simply unzip to get a bell bottom style feel and zip back up to get that standard fit.
Pockets- Pockets can be a very important part of a set of ski pants. A standard set up typically offers the same amount of pockets as a standard set of pants while cargo pocket ski pants offer two additional pockets on each side of the leg to stow additional gear. When purchasing kids ski pants think of what they will need while skiing and how many pockets that will take. Another great feature on most ski pants are glove holders which can be found as either pockets or simply a loop to hang the gloves from. If your kid looses gloves easily this may be a feature worth finding.
You’re a Kids Ski Pants Expert!
Now that you are well versed in all things associated with buying kids ski pants I bet you feel like an expert! Well, great job! With this knowledge you can now confidently shop and buy a set of ski pants and be sure you are getting exactly what you need.