Patagonia Powder Bowl Pants Review
Our Analysis and Test Results
These are solid, all-around ski pants that offer draping comfort and great weather protection, with style to boot.
Gore-Tex fabric and Patagonia's excellent water repellent treatment, combined with careful tailoring, offer all the weather protection you would ever need. Patagonia's use of waterproof zippers and pocket flaps augment the weatherproofing of the material. Furthermore, the shell material is thick enough to block the wind, yet thin enough to be comfortable. Patagonia's excellent DWR coating will keep any liquid water from soaking the outer fabric of the shell, which can be especially uncomfortable in the thighs which are exposed during chairlift rides.
Fit and Comfort
Patagonia started out making clothing for rock and alpine climbing. In those contexts, fit and mobility are key. They bring that knowledge and tailoring to the Powder Bowl Pants. These pants fit very well, moving with you and staying largely out of your way. As it pertains to fit and comfort, we are thankful for the fashion trends away from the ultra baggy ski resort gear of a few years back. More closely tailored legs on ski pants move better with the skier or rider and stay out of the way when walking around.
The only usability downside of the trend to narrower leg profiles is that pant cuffs are tighter over ski boots. The latest iteration of the Patagonia Powder Bowl has pant cuffs that take some work to get nestled over ski boot cuffs. All the pants we tested are similarly close-fitting at the bottom.
Ventilation of ski pants is provided almost exclusively by vertically oriented zips along each leg. The most effective vents, in terms of exchanging air, are those that have no mesh backing and are oriented along the outside of the leg. Vents are backed with mesh and/or oriented on the inner leg for better protection from snow ingress. The vents of the Powder Bowl pants are on the outside of the legs and backed with mesh. They do the job, but the non-meshed vents found on some of its competitors are better.
We tested the uninsulated version of the Powder Bowl. Most skiers and riders seem to prefer their resort pants uninsulated. This way, you can add the amount of insulation that you need in the form of long underwear. You can also wear the shell pants alone for the warmest or highest-aerobic-output activities. The pants feature a thin, hanging mesh lining that adds some warmth to the equation, compared to other pants that have only the shell fabric between you and the outside world.
Of the major features we look for in ski pants, the Patagonia Powder Bowl is pretty well equipped. There are four pockets, two of which are lined with fleece for comfortable hand warming. There is a Recco reflector for avalanche rescue/recovery on the lower leg. We wish the Powder Bowl pants were better equipped for carrying an avalanche transceiver, but that is not at all important to many.
These are svelte, smoothly tailored pants. They aren't baggy, and yet don't look constricting either striking a balance somewhere in the middle. We appreciate the like-colored zippers and minimal pocket accenting, although the angles of the front cargo pocket and side vent zippers give the pants a sharp look. Overall, the pants look good in every color option.
The pants are almost as good as more expensive options on the table. Furthermore, the performance, style, and materials will last. Patagonia's warranty and repair service further augment the initial value. As such, these pants are a great investment.
The Patagonia Powder Bowl ski pants are all-around high performers, and we highly recommend them.
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