The first edition of many to come, this ski touring pant review will encompass the category called softshells, which we feel offer the most versatility for everyday touring. We’ll review hardshell pants at a later date. While we know that some situations are better suited for a hardshell pant, the pants in this review offer ample wet weather protection and generally, far more breathability, stretch, and comfort for daily touring. Note that a few of them are actually “soft” hardshell fabric, meaning they are fully waterproof and taped, yet offer more stretch and breathability than a typical 3 layer hardshell.
Most of these pants could be your one and only touring pant - no need for a quiver of different weights, fabric types, or fits; each of these will be your second skin, all winter long, through snow squalls, ripping ridge top winds, and the occasional solar furnace. Layer under them accordingly.
It should be noted that there are a few hybrid pants in this mix. They offer waterproof fabric from the top of the knees down to the leg hems and more breathable stretch woven fabric above, providing great versatility for those who like to get in the trenches while digging pits or just want more overall waterproof protection and durability.
Check out our fabric overview for more information on stretch woven fabrics. Read our fabric beta...
Infinium is used in a few of these pants. It is the new name for Gore’s old Windstopper category of fabrics. In lay person’s terms, this is actually the same base technology as Gore-tex without all the special sauces and thicker versions that make a Gore hardshell more durably waterproof.
That said, Infinium is waterproof, yet it is highly breathable and can provide way more stretch than a Gore-tex hardshell. It is optional whether the seams are taped but in most versions, you’ll see they are either fully, or at least partially taped, enough for ski touring either way. If you’re looking for a fabric and pant to take you from the backcountry to resort-accessed side country and the occasional laps at the resort, this fabric is the bomb.