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Patagonia Powder Bowl Pants Review

Excellent, all-around ski pants suitable for almost all users.
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Price:  $299 List | $194.96 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Fashionable, carefully tailored, excellent weather protection
Cons:  Mesh-backed vents, doesn’t have all the bells and whistles
Manufacturer:   Patagonia
By Jediah Porter ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Dec 10, 2019
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70
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#2 of 12
  • Weather Resistance - 25% 9
  • Fit and Comfort - 25% 7
  • Ventilation - 20% 5
  • Warmth - 10% 6
  • Features - 10% 6
  • Style - 10% 8

Our Verdict

The Patagonia Powder Bowl pants almost come out on top in our industry-wide comparison. At one point, in fact, an earlier version of these pants held our Editors' Choice Award. We have virtually no reservations in recommending these pants. A Gore-Tex shell produces excellent weather resistance, and the comfort, fit, and style of these pants are also top-notch. The materials, warranty, and tailoring work together to make a product that will last a long time and serve you well.

New Colors
The yellow colorway of the Powder Bowl pants we tested has gone away, but besides new shades, the technical aspects of this pair remain the same.


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Pros Fashionable, carefully tailored, excellent weather protectionImmaculate weather protection, excellent fit, fleecy liningComprehensive protection, many pockets, ski bum stylingWarm, comfy, weather resistantStretchy, soft, comfortable, many pockets, breathable
Cons Mesh-backed vents, doesn’t have all the bells and whistlesExpensive, light on featuresStiff fabric, suspender buckles are uncomfortableSmall vents, snug fit, racer styleNot waterproof, thin material, climbing style
Bottom Line Excellent, all-around ski pants suitable for almost all users.These pants are the best of the best, at a price.Sturdy, highly-protective pants for those that wish to look like ski bum lifers.The top insulated ski pants for those who need them.Durable softshell backcountry skiing pants for most days on the skin track.
Rating Categories Patagonia Powder Bowl Pants Arc'teryx Sabre AR Pant FlyLow Gear Baker Bib Spyder Dare GTX Trailbreaker II
Weather Resistance (25%)
10
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9
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9
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9
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8
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3
Fit And Comfort (25%)
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7
10
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8
10
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4
10
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6
10
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9
Ventilation (20%)
10
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5
10
0
7
10
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8
10
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5
10
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10
Warmth (10%)
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6
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4
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4
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10
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5
Features (10%)
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6
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4
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9
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7
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8
Style (10%)
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4
Specs Patagonia Powder... Arc'teryx Sabre AR... FlyLow Gear Baker... Spyder Dare GTX Trailbreaker II
Main fabric 4.6-oz 150-denier 100% recycled polyester 2L N80p-X Gore-Tex with Cordura Nylon 3L cuff fabric 100% polyester Polyester plain weave 2L 87% nylon, 13% spandex
Insulation Hanging mesh lining Laminated fleecy lining None 40 g Primaloft Silver Eco synthetic None
Waterproofing Gore-Tex w/ DWR finish (2-layer) N80p-X Gore-Tex (3-layer) OmniBloq DWR Gore-Tex laminate and PFCecFree DWR (2-layer) Pertex Shield+ (partial)
Waistline construction (elastic? snaps?) Snap/zipper fly with adjustable tabs Snaps. Built-in elastic belt Bibs Snap/zipper fly with internal adjustment and removable suspenders Snaps. Velcro tabs for adjustment, belt loops
Weight (in pounds) 1.67 lbs 1.32 lbs 1.78 lbs 1.79 lbs 1.69 lbs
Weight (in grams) 756 g 599 g 807 g 812 g 767 g
# of Pockets 4 3 5 5 5
Vents? Exterior thigh zips, with mesh Exterior thigh zips, no mesh Inner and outer thigh zips, no mesh Inner thigh zips, with mesh Exterior thigh zips, with mesh
Ski-specific features Scuff guards, elastic powder cuffs, attach to matching jacket's powder cuff Key/pass clip inside pocket, touring cuff, scuff guards Bibs, attach to matching jacket's powder skirt Scuff guards, elastic powder cuffs, cuff zipper beacon clip and sleeve, scuff guards, touring cuffs, cuff zipper
Recco? Yes Yes No No No

Our Analysis and Test Results

These are solid, all-around ski pants that offer draping comfort and great weather protection, with style to boot.

Performance Comparison


This is what we live for. Deep and fast turns in great gear. Powder Bowl pants in the powder bowls of Western Wyoming
This is what we live for. Deep and fast turns in great gear. Powder Bowl pants in the powder bowls of Western Wyoming

Weather Resistance


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.

Dressed up your local diner's condiment selection  our lead test editor in the Powder Bowl pants.
Dressed up your local diner's condiment selection, our lead test editor in the Powder Bowl pants.

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.

The draping yet close fit of the Powder Bowl pants is unique.
The draping yet close fit of the Powder Bowl pants is unique.

Ventilation


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.

The exterior  mesh-backed vents of the Powder Bowl let in air and keep large chunks of snow out.
The exterior, mesh-backed vents of the Powder Bowl let in air and keep large chunks of snow out.

Warmth


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.

Features


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.

Style


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 Powder Bowl pants protect and serve for long days in all kinds of skiing.
The Powder Bowl pants protect and serve for long days in all kinds of skiing.

Value


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.

Conclusion


The Patagonia Powder Bowl ski pants are all-around high performers, and we highly recommend them.


Jediah Porter