Sizing Guide for Ski Jackets and Pants

 

By Steve Kopitz

 

Few things can ruin a day of skiing like having the wrong ski jacket or pair of ski pants. Whether it's the wind penetrating through your outerwear, the wet snow bogging you down and freezing to your body, or just simply having a jacket or a pair of pants that are too big, an incorrectly sized jacket or pair of pants can easily be avoided if you know what to do. This guide will illustrate key measurements for jackets and pants, as well as explain how to properly make the measurements so you can focus on skiing, and not frostbite.

ski jackets and pants

 

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Ski Jackets

 

Proper Fit

 

This can probably go without saying, but we'll address it anyway just so there isn't any confusion moving forward. Ski jackets are different than your everyday street jacket. Yes, you can wear your ski jacket as your everyday jacket, but if you haven't purchased a jacket specifically for skiing, you're best not to wear the everyday winter jacket that you bought at the department store to the slopes. The reasons for this are many, but the two most prevalent reasons are because of the construction characteristics and the fit.

 

With that being said, it is very important to understand what to look for when investing in a jacket. Note that we said "invest" and not buy. A ski jacket is most certainly an investment because they tend to cost a fair amount of money (more than what you would pay at the department store), and they also will have many features and luxuries that you won't get with a typical winter jacket. We'll leave the explanations of the features and construction materials to our buying guide, but just know that there are many reasons why your ski jacket will cost what it does.

 

Your ski jacket will likely be constructed of several materials, all of which are designed to last for many years. As you will most likely not have to worry about the durability, the fit of your jacket will be very important. You will want your jacket to fit snug, but with enough space for movement of your arms and at your waist with your base layer pieces on. A common mistake that is made is trying to size for a jacket without a base layer. When this is done, a compensation is not made for the thickness of the extra layer, this causes mobility restrictions and other fit issues.

 

womens ski jackets and pants

 



Video Tutorial: Fleeces and Soft Shells

 

 

To avoid this problem, it is important that you know how to size correctly for your ski jacket. The following sections will outline how to correctly measure for a ski jacket. These measurements can be used in accordance with our sizing charts so you can accurately choose your ski jacket size.

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Measurements

 

The following sections will outline the most common measurements you will find when shopping for ski jackets. Properly measuring each item will allow you to find the most appropriate size for you.

 

mens ski jacket and pants

 

 

Neck Measurement

 

To make a proper measurement of the neck, measure the neck circumference where a standard button type collar might be fastened. This is located in position 1 on the diagram below.

 

Chest Measurement

 

For women, this may be noted as "Bust Measurement" but performing the measurement is the same. To make a proper measurement of the chest, measure the chest circumference at the fullest point keeping the tape horizontal around the body. This is illustrated in position 2 on the diagram below.

 

Sleeve/Arm Length

 

Depending on the brand, you will measure for sleeve length in 1 of 2 ways. The first way is by measuring from the center of the back of the neck, across the shoulder, over the bent elbow, to the center of the wrist bone. This is illustrated on the diagram below in position 3A.

 

The second way you can measure for sleeve length is by measuring from the side of the neck, over the bent elbow, to the center of the wrist bone. This is illustrated on the diagram below in position 3B. This measurement is less common than the method listed above.

 

Waist Measurement

 

Properly measuring for the waist is done by measuring at the smallest part of the waist. This is often at or above the belly button. Keep the tape horizontal around the body as illustrated in position 4 on the diagram below.

 

Hip Measurement

 

Properly measuring for the hip is done by measuring at the fullest part of the seat. As with the waist measurement you will want to keep the tape horizontal around the body. This is illustrated in position 5 on the diagram below.

 

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Ski Pants

 

Proper Fit

 

If you haven't decided already, you will want to decide on what style of pants you want. This is important because if you select a pair of ski pants with suspenders, for example, you will need to make a compensation for this under your jacket. Also, some pants are bulkier than others because of their inner liner, or will become bulky due to your base layer. This will cause measuring issues at the waist and/or hip and you certainly don't want to deal with that. Like jackets, we'll leave the features and construction materials for pants to our buying guide and concentrate on fit.

 

It is important that your pants have enough room for your base layer and also enough room that you are comfortable bending, twisting, squatting, or sitting. Like jackets, many people will not measure with their base layer clothing on and thus will have inaccurate measurements. For more information on base layers and long underwear, please review the following video.

 

 

womens ski pants




Video Tutorial: Base Layers and Long Underwear

 


 

To avoid inaccurate measurements, it is important that you know how to size correctly for your ski pants. The following sections will outline how to correctly measure for ski pants. These measurements can be used in accordance with our sizing charts so you can accurately choose your ski pant size.

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Measurements

 

Waist Measurement

 

 

Properly measuring for the waist is done by measuring at the smallest part of the waist. This is often at or above the belly button. Keep the tape horizontal around the body as illustrated in position 4 on the diagram below.

 

Hip Measurement

 

Properly measuring for the hip is done by measuring at the fullest part of the seat. As with the waist measurement you will want to keep the tape horizontal around the body. This is illustrated in position 5 on the diagram below.

 

Inseam Measurement

 

Inseam measurement is a simple process and could probably be skipped, but again, we'll cover all of the bases here. To measure the inseam properly, you will measure the distance from the crotch point to the floor. This is illustrated in position 6 on the diagram below. This measurement is doubly important as manufacturers will make different length variations, typically Short, Regular, and Long, and your inseam measurement will be used in conjunction with your height to determine which of these lengths is appropriate for you.

 

body measurements

 

 

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General Guidelines

 

- Length is important. Most ski pants, once you try them on are much longer than when you try on a regular pant (e.g. your jeans). You want your ski pants pant to hit just below your ankle bone. The pants are made to have extra length to cover up your boots. Brands like the The North Face, Spyder, and Obermeyer will offer shorter and longer lengths for people of shorter or taller than normal stature.

 

- The waist should fit comfortably while you move but have not have any gaps. Many pants will have Velcro, cinches, or snaps to adjust to your waist to the best fit for your waist. You may also find pants that have belt loops for a belt. The essential item here is that wind and/or snow is not able to sneak in. Among the types of pants you're likely to come across in addition to your standard pants are low ride waist pants and bib pants.

 

- Once you receive your pants, try it on with the jacket you will be wearing when on the mountain. This will allow you to properly guage whether the jacket and pants will fit together (and if they look together too). Your jacket should rest comfortably over the pants between the waist and hip.

 

- Check the designated fit of the pant before you purchase it because in addition to short, regular and long pants, you will find designated fits of Slim, Regular, Full, and Baggie. Choose whichever your preference is, just make sure you know before you get surprised.

 

- Stretch Pants are ski pants that are just that, stretch material. This causes the pants to be very sleek and very fitted. If you're going with a stretch pant, like those manufactured by Nils, you want them to be tight but not so tight that you are unable to squat or sit down comfortably on a bench or chair.

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Childrens' Ski Wear

 

One of the greatest frustrations for a parent is determining how much money to spend when their child is still growing and will probably not wear a jacket or pair of pants for more than a season or two. This frustration leads to a common problem of purchasing a jacket or pair of pants that is too large just so it will last longer. Doing this will leave your child miserable on the slopes because there will be too much room in the piece of apparel that they are wearing. This means that the heat will not be retained in the clothing item and snow is most certainly to get inside. Here are few points on sizing for your child's ski wear.

 

Boys Ski Wear

 

We'll begin by looking at the steps necessary for properly fitting both jackets and pants and then lead you through a few pointers there before moving on to pants. First, please do not assume your child is the next size up. Jackets are constructed with added room for active time on the slopes. This means that by going to the next size up you've likely over-sized your child by nearly 1 1/2 sizes. The steps you should take are as follows:

 

Steps for Proper Fit

 

Step 1 for proper fit is to conduct the proper measuring of all of the key measurement areas. When making each measurement try to have your child wearing any base layer or long underwear that they will be wearing under their jacket or pants. Once you've done this, each of the measurements can be applied to our sizing guides so you can find the correct size.

 

Neck Measurement

 

To make a proper measurement of the neck, measure the neck circumference where a standard button type collar might be fastened. This is located in position 1 on the diagram below.

 

Chest Measurement

 

To make a proper measurement of the chest, measure the chest circumference at the fullest point keeping the tape horizontal around the body. This is illustrated in position 2 on diagram below.

 

Sleeve/Arm Length

 

Depending on the brand, you will measure for sleeve length in 1 of 2 ways. The first way is by measuring from the center of the back of the neck, across the shoulder, over the bent elbow, to the center of the wrist bone. This is illustrated on the diagram below in position 3A.

 

The second way you can measure for sleeve length is by measuring from the side of the neck, over the bent elbow, to the center of the wrist bone. This is illustrated on the diagram below in position 3B. This measurement is less common than the method listed above.

 

 

girls ski pants

 

Waist Measurement

 

Properly measuring for the waist is done by measuring at the smallest part of the waist. This is often at or above the belly button. Keep the tape horizontal around the body as illustrated in position 4 on the diagram below.

 

Hip Measurement

 

Properly measuring for the hip is done by measuring at the fullest part of the seat. As with the waist measurement you will want to keep the tape horizontal around the body. This is illustrated in position 5 on the diagram below.

 

Inseam Measurement

 

Inseam measurement is a simple process and could probably be skipped, but again, we'll cover all of the bases here. To measure the inseam properly, you will measure the distance from the crotch point to the floor. This is illustrated in position 6 on the diagram below.

 

 

childrens body measurements

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General Guidelines

 

- Once you receive your child's jacket or pants, have him or her try it on to make sure there is enough room in the arms and body to twist and turn when on the slopes, running, or playing. Also check to make sure there there is enough room with the base layer clothing on. You want to be sure that there isn't too much room otherwise the insulation will be too far away from the body, leaving it cold.

 

- Check the length of the jacket or pants to make sure it is long enough. For a jacket the length is usually hitting below the waist at the hip. For pants, the cuff should be positioned around the ankle bone.

 

- Try on all pieces of apparel at once to make sure it fits well together.

 

- If the sleeve length hits near the middle of the hand, this doesn't need to be considered too big. Check for adjustments near the wrist of the sleeve. Once adjustments are made there will likely be extra fabric at the elbow, which will not prohibit motion.




Adjustability Features

 

If you're looking to get several seasons out of your child's jacket and pants, keep an eye out for products that feature adjustability systems. Obermeyer and Spyder make systems such as this and they can add up to 2 extra inches in the sleeve for jackets and pant leg and waist for pants.

 

Aside from growing systems, jackets and pants for children will have adjustments in the cuffs and waist for both. This will give you the luxury of adjusting a larger jacket or pair of pants down and extending them as necessary.

 

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