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How to Choose the Best Ski Touring Pants for Your Needs

How to Choose the Best Ski Touring Pants for Your Needs

When it comes to ski touring, having the right gear can make all the difference in your comfort and performance in the backcountry. One essential piece of gear to consider is your touring pants. These pants need to be durable, waterproof, breathable and provide the necessary mobility for a full day of skiing. With so many options on the market, it can be overwhelming to know what to look for. In this guide, we will discuss the importance of your gear and some key features to consider.

The Importance of Proper Gear

Before diving into the specific features of ski pants, it's important to understand why having the proper gear is crucial. Ski touring often involves long hours of physical activity in varying weather conditions. Having pants that are designed specifically for the conditions and requirements of ski touring will help keep you comfortable and protected throughout your adventure. Proper gear can also enhance your performance by allowing for a full range of motion and ensuring that you stay dry and warm.

What to Look for in Ski Touring Pants

In your search for the right touring pants, there are a few crucial factors to consider. Below, we'll explore the most important features, from waterproofing and fit to stretch panels and vents.

Waterproof and Breathable Materials

One of the most important features to consider in touring pants is the use of waterproof and breathable materials. Ski touring often involves being out in any weather including snow, wind and moisture. Having pants that are waterproof will keep you dry in wet conditions, while breathable materials will allow moisture and sweat to escape, preventing you from becoming clammy and uncomfortable. Both features will keep you dry when you're on the move.


GORE-TEX is a breathable, waterproof fabric membrane that can provide exceptional protection for skiers. When skiing in backcountry terrain, a skier is often exposed to unpredictable weather conditions, such as snowfall, rain or strong winds. GORE-TEX technology ensures that your pants remain completely weather resistant, keeping you and comfortable throughout the day.

Additionally, the breathable membrane in GORE-TEX allows sweat and moisture to escape from inside the pants, preventing you from getting clammy and cold. This crucial feature helps to regulate body temperature, preventing overheating during strenuous uphill climbs and maintaining warmth during downhill descents. With GORE-TEX technology, skiers can focus on their performance and enjoy the adventure without worrying about getting wet or feeling uncomfortable.

Sealed Seams

When you're skiing, sealed seams prevent snow, water and cold air from penetrating the fabric of your pants, ensuring that you stay dry and warm throughout your expedition. Sealed seams also enhance the overall durability and longevity of your pants, as they prevent fraying and tearing that can occur from prolonged and repeated exposure to extreme outdoor conditions. By preserving the integrity of the pants, sealed seams contribute to the comfort and functionality essential for a successful and enjoyable touring experience.

Integrated Gaiters

Integrated gaiters are a useful feature. These gaiters are designed to fit snugly around the boot, preventing snow, moisture and debris from entering the pants and compromising comfort and performance. By effectively sealing the pant leg, integrated gaiters keep the feet and lower legs dry and warm in challenging conditions. They also enhance mobility and reduce the risk of tripping or falling by preventing the pants from getting caught on ski edges or crampons. With their ability to provide added protection and functionality, integrated gaiters are indispensable for ski tourers seeking optimal performance and comfort in extreme environments.

Fit and Mobility

Another important factor to consider is the fit and mobility of the pants. Ski touring requires a lot of movement, so it's crucial to choose pants that allow for a full range of motion without feeling restrictive. You'll want to choose pants that have a looser fit for optimal range of motion and to leave room for layering, but not so loose that they aren't secure or the excess fabric catches against branches. They should be long enough to cover your boots, but not so long that you're stepping all over them. Additionally, look for pants that are designed with articulated knees and stretch panels to ensure maximum mobility.

Articulated Knees

When navigating steep slopes and tricky terrains, the flexion and extension of the knees are crucial for maintaining balance and agility. Articulated knees allow for a greater range of motion, ensuring that skiers can move freely and with precision. The design of articulated knees reduces the risk of restricted movement and potential discomfort, allowing skiers to move with confidence and efficiency. By accommodating the natural shape and movement of your knees, this feature enhances overall performance and comfort in the demanding environment of ski touring. Whether traversing across icy slopes or tackling challenging descents, articulated knees contribute to a safer, more enjoyable and successful skiing experience.

Stretch Panels

Stretch panels placed strategically can also significantly improve your mobility. These panels typically made from a robust and stretchy material and can be found around the waist, crotch and back of the knees, offering more room to move freely.

Adjustable Waistbands

Having an adjustable waistband is essential for a comfortable and secure fit. It also helps you leave room for the layer underneath, such as base layer tights or insulated pants. Look for pants with adjustable waist features like waistband adjustment tabs, belt loops and elastic waistbands that allow you to customize the fit to your liking.

Ventilation and Temperature Regulation

Ski touring can involve varying weather conditions, so having pants with proper ventilation and temperature regulation is important. Look for pants with zippered thigh vents that allow you to release excess heat when needed. Mesh-lined pockets can also aid in temperature regulation by allowing excess heat to escape.

Zippered Thigh Vents

Zippered thigh vents are a great addition for touring pants. When ski touring, the body's temperature can fluctuate significantly depending on the intensity of the activity and the weather conditions. With zippered vents, skiers can easily regulate their body temperature by opening the vents to increase airflow and cool down when necessary. This feature promotes comfort and prevents overheating, enhancing performance and overall enjoyment on the slopes.

Mesh Lined Pockets

In addition to thigh vents, some pants also feature mesh lined pockets that double up as extra vents. They are not the primary means of ventilation, but they surely aid in overall breathability. They also offer a convenient and practical storage solution. Whether it's carrying small items such as keys, a phone or energy snacks, or larger items like gloves or goggles, having mesh lined pockets ensures that these items are easily accessible and secure during your ski tour. The mesh lining allows any moisture or snow to escape, preventing your belongings from getting wet or damp.

Moreover, the mesh material is lightweight and breathable, providing additional comfort while wearing the pants. Overall, mesh lined pockets in touring pants enhance the functionality and performance of the garment, allowing you to focus on your adventure without worrying about losing or damaging your essentials.

Final Thoughts

Choosing the best touring pants for your needs requires careful consideration of the features mentioned above. Stio offers a wide range of ski pants that tick all the boxes when it comes to performance, durability and comfort. Whether you're a beginner or an advanced skier, investing in high-quality touring pants will enhance your overall experience on the mountain.

Why Stio Has the Best Ski Touring Pants

Stio is a trusted outdoor apparel brand known for our commitment to quality, style and performance. Our ski pants are designed with the needs of skiers in mind, utilizing top-of-the-line materials and innovative features to provide the best possible experience on the slopes. We use durable and tear-resistant shell fabric in our ski pants, which means they'll last through numerous ski seasons. This will save you the cost and hassle of having to purchase a new pair each year. With Stio touring pants, you can trust that you're getting a product that is built to last and perform in any condition.

From mountain bibs with a 3-layer GORE-TEX shell and suspender straps to high-performance softshell pants designed for optimal mobility and breathability, touring pants are an essential part of your skiing gear. We have all the ski apparel you need to ensure a safe, comfortable and successful tour.

With the right knowledge of what to look for, finding the perfect touring pants shouldn't be a daunting task. When in doubt, consider Stio, the brand that consistently delivers on quality and design and is loved by touring enthusiasts.

In addition to ski tour gear, we carry outdoor apparel for all types of adventures and weather conditions, from warm days backpacking in the mountains to chilly weather on the slopes. Our products cater to a wide range of sizes, from women's XS and men's XS to women's XL and men's XXL. Check out our women's and men's ski and snowboard collection.

FAQs About Ski Touring Pants

How do I determine the right size for ski touring pants?

When determining the right size for ski touring pants, it is important to consider a few factors. First, take accurate measurements of your waist, hips and inseam. Compare these measurements to the size charts provided by the manufacturer or retailer. Keep in mind that touring pants often have a more relaxed and comfortable fit compared to regular pants, since they are designed to allow for freedom of movement and layering underneath. Remember that it is better to have a slightly looser fit to allow for movement and layering, rather than a tight and restrictive fit.

Are ski touring pants suitable for other winter activities?

Touring pants can certainly be suitable for other winter activities. These pants are designed to be highly functional and versatile, with features such as waterproof and breathable materials, insulation and reinforcement in high-wear areas. This makes them ideal for activities like hiking, snowshoeing and snowboarding. They provide the necessary protection and flexibility to keep you comfortable and dry in various winter conditions. Additionally, they often have adjustable waistbands and articulated knees for ease of movement, making them a practical choice for any outdoor winter activity.

Can I wear regular snow pants for ski touring?

While regular snow pants can provide some level of protection and warmth, they may not be the most suitable option for ski touring. Ski touring involves more strenuous activity and can cause you to sweat more than traditional winter activities. It is recommended to wear specialized touring pants that offer better breathability and moisture-wicking properties. These pants are often made of lightweight, stretchy materials that provide freedom of movement and are designed to withstand the demands of ski touring, including climbing uphill and traversing various terrains. Investing in the proper pants will contribute to a more comfortable and enjoyable experience on the slopes.

What should I look for in touring pants?

When looking for touring pants, there are a few key features to consider. First, you will want to ensure that the pants are made from a waterproof and breathable material to ensure they can handle the high-intensity activity and variable weather conditions often involved in ski touring. Look for pants made with synthetic materials like nylon or polyester, a durable water repellent (DWR) finish and GORE-TEX technology for superior water resistance. Additionally, consider features such as reinforced knees and seat for added durability, ventilation zippers for dumping heat and temperature regulation during uphill climbs and an integrated gaiter system to keep snow out of your boots. It's also important to find a pair of pants with a comfortable and adjustable waistband, as well as hand and thigh pockets for storing small items.

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