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REI Co-op Powderbound Insulated Pant Review

An affordable and warm pair of ski pants with a bland style
REI Co-op Powderbound Insulated Pant
Photo: REI Co-op
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Price:  $140 List | Check Price at REI
Pros:  Affordable, warm, comfortable
Cons:  Light on the features, fit is a bit loose, unremarkable style
Manufacturer:   REI Co-op
By Jeff Dobronyi ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Dec 3, 2020
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61
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#13 of 15
  • Weather Resistance - 25% 6
  • Fit and Comfort - 25% 6
  • Ventilation - 20% 6
  • Warmth - 10% 8
  • Features - 10% 6
  • Style - 10% 5

Our Verdict

The REI Co-op Powderbound Insulated Pant is an affordable and easy-to-use everyday pair of ski pants. It uses plenty of synthetic insulation to provide enough warmth for even the coldest days at the ski resort and a proprietary waterproof and breathable membrane to keep water out. However, the zippers aren't waterproof, and only critical seams are sealed. The legs have a straight cut, and the pants are a bit bulky and loose around the waist, but they are comfortable to ski in and certainly don't feel restricting. Inner thigh vents provide decent ventilation. Our testers weren't impressed by the bland style of the pants, but many users will like how they fit in with the crowd. Overall, these are solid, inexpensive pants for all but the stormiest days at the ski area.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards  Best Buy Award   Best Buy Award 
Price $140 List
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$299 List
$298.95 at Amazon
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Overall Score Sort Icon
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74
72
65
65
Star Rating
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Pros Affordable, warm, comfortableGreat performance at a low price, tons of features, weather resistant, breathableGood weather resistance, fits great, plenty of ventilation, inexpensiveStretchy, soft, comfortable, many pockets, breathableGreat value, warm, comfortable, relaxed vibes
Cons Light on the features, fit is a bit loose, unremarkable styleLacks good style and warmth, average comfortNot warm, short on features, muted styleNot waterproof, thin material, climbing styleLimited seam and pocket sealing, less effective vent design
Bottom Line An affordable and warm pair of ski pants with a bland styleAn affordable hardshell that provides great weather resistance, ventilation, and featuresThese are great bibs that keep the weather out and fit well, at an affordable priceDurable softshell pants for most days on the backcountry skin trackA good insulated ski pant for budget-minded resort skiers who don't need a technical pair of pants
Rating Categories REI Co-op Powderbou... Outdoor Research Sk... Outdoor Research Ca... Outdoor Research Tr... The North Face Free...
Weather Resistance (25%)
6.0
8.0
8.0
3.0
6.0
Fit And Comfort (25%)
6.0
7.0
8.0
9.0
7.0
Ventilation (20%)
6.0
9.0
8.0
10.0
5.0
Warmth (10%)
8.0
4.0
4.0
3.0
9.0
Features (10%)
6.0
8.0
6.0
8.0
6.0
Style (10%)
5.0
6.0
6.0
4.0
7.0
Specs REI Co-op Powderbou... Outdoor Research Sk... Outdoor Research Ca... Outdoor Research Tr... The North Face Free...
Main fabric Nylon 88% Nylon, 12% Spandex 100% nylon 40D 87% nylon, 13% spandex 100% Nylon
Insulation Recycled polyester None None None 60 g Heatseeker Eco Polyester (50% Recycled)
Waterproofing 2-layer waterproof breathable laminate AscentShell Pertex Shield 3L Pertex Shield+ (partial) DryVent (2-layer)
Waistline construction (elastic? snaps?) Button zip fly with hook/loop adjustment Snap/zipper fly with external velcro adjustment, belt loops Bibs Snaps. Velcro tabs for adjustment, belt loops Snap and zipper, Velcro tabs for adjustment, belt loops
Weight (in pounds) 1.64 lbs 1.32 lbs 1.64 lbs 1.69 lbs 1.32 lbs
Weight (in grams) 744 g 599 g 744 g 767 g 599 g
# of Pockets 3 4 3 4 3
Vents? Interior thigh zips Inner thigh zips Exterior thigh Exterior thigh zips, with mesh Inner thigh zips, with mesh
Ski-specific features Scuff guards, elastic powder cuffs, elastic waist Scuff guards, powder cuffs, articulated knees, beacon clip Bibs, power strap-compatible cuffs, beacon pocket, scuff guards beacon clip and sleeve, scuff guards, touring cuffs, cuff zipper Scuff guards, elastic powder cuffs
Recco? No No No No No

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Powderbound Insulated are an across-the-board average pair of ski pants. It doesn't excel anywhere, although they are relatively warm.

Performance Comparison


The REI Powderbound atop a deep powder run in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
The REI Powderbound atop a deep powder run in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
Photo: sam willits

Weather Resistance


These pants use a proprietary waterproof and breathable membrane to keep the elements out. In our shower test, water never made it inside the pants, but the DWR finish wore off relatively quickly when we rubbed the fabric. We didn't encounter any wet, rainy days during our testing period on the slopes, but we expect the exterior fabric of these pants to wet out during a long day in wet snow or rain. Furthermore, the zippers aren't waterproof, and when we tried to get water through the zippers and into the pockets during the shower test, it wasn't that hard to saturate the zippers and feel moisture in the pockets. Despite this somewhat unrealistic scenario, other pants have more weather resistance and fully waterproof zippers and seams. Still, the Powderbound works well enough for most days in the snow.

REI's DWR finish wore off relatively quickly during our shower test...
REI's DWR finish wore off relatively quickly during our shower test, leaving the shell vulnerable to wetting out, and enabling water to slowly seep through unsealed seams and zippers.
Photo: sam willits

Fit and Comfort


The fit of the Powderbound is decidedly casual and loose, rather than form-fitting and snug. In most instances, this wasn't a problem, though some testers wished that the pants had a slightly more articulated and contoured fit and less baggy material. That said, the loose fit is nowhere near uncomfortably baggy. It gives the user plenty of flexibility without getting in the way. The interior nylon material is soft against the skin or base layer, and the waistband features a soft fleecy material. Overall, these pants aren't anything special, and we didn't notice them too much throughout the day, which is a good thing.

The Powderbound fits loosely and relatively comfortably, though some...
The Powderbound fits loosely and relatively comfortably, though some of our testers wished it had a more contoured fit.
Photo: sam willits

Ventilation


The REI Powderbound has two inner thigh vents, without mesh, that allow for ventilation and airflow. These vents are longer than other interior thigh vents that we've seen, but they don't come close to matching the ventilation that long, exterior thigh vents provide. These pants are warm, and on hot days and during aerobic ski runs, they can feel stuffy. The vents helped with airflow but didn't enable sufficient ventilation during high-output activity. The waterproof membrane is supposedly breathable, but with so much insulation between our legs and the membrane, we couldn't tell, and ventilation is best achieved by leaving the vent zippers wide open.

The interior thigh vents are larger than others, but they still...
The interior thigh vents are larger than others, but they still aren't large enough to dump warm air during significant aerobic activities.
Photo: sam willits

Warmth


If there is one area where the Powderbound excels, it is in the warmth metric. REI packs these pants with synthetic insulation, and the product is a very warm pair that will keep you warm on all but the coldest days of the winter without a lower-body base layer. When the temperatures dip into the single digits Fahrenheit, a base layer paired with these pants will keep you warm. Our testers don't all like insulated pants, but they all agreed that these pants were nice to have on the coldest days at the ski resort.

Moderately thick synthetic insulation all the way down to the boot...
Moderately thick synthetic insulation all the way down to the boot cuff keeps the user warm in the Powderbound.
Photo: sam willits

Features


The Powderbound is a bit light on features but still has everything you need for a good day on the hill. It features two hand pockets and one leg pocket, all with vertical zippers. The leg pocket is right above the knee on the right side and is in a slightly awkward location. The legs have internal elastic boot cuffs that keep snow out of the boots. The waist has both belt loops and adjustable velcro straps to fine-tune the waist fit. We especially appreciate the scuff guards on the inside of each leg opening, which protects the most vulnerable area of the pant from premature wear and tear.

A close-up of the waist and leg pockets on the REI Powderbound. All...
A close-up of the waist and leg pockets on the REI Powderbound. All of the pockets have soft fleecy liners that make them feel warm and comfortable on bare hands.
Photo: sam willits

Style


The Powderbound has a bland and neutral style that borders on baggy and loose. The straight cut is the most prominent feature of the style, and there is plenty of extra material in the knees and calves. In our opinion, the most stylish ski pants are moving towards a more articulated and contoured fit, with bent knees and slightly loose but not baggy fits. These pants feel more baggy and straight cut, and generally less refined, than more stylish snow pants, in our opinion.

The Powderbound looks a bit baggy and straight-cut, and we prefer...
The Powderbound looks a bit baggy and straight-cut, and we prefer the looks of pants that pay more attention to the tailoring and articulation of the body's natural lines.
Photo: sam willits

Value


The REI Powderbound comes at a very affordable price, making it an appealing product. It accomplishes all that a pair of ski pants has to for the majority of users, but for anyone who skis more than a handful of days a year, we believe other products on the market perform better for just a slightly higher price.

Conclusion


There are certainly better ski pants on the market, but considering the price, these pants provide good performance. They excel in the warmth metric but don't protect from the weather very well or provide as many features as other similarly-priced options. If you are looking for the most budget-friendly option for most average days on the hill and don't mind the performance sacrifices, this is a good pair of pants.

The Powderbound in its namesake environment, pushing off from the...
The Powderbound in its namesake environment, pushing off from the ridgeline in search of deep snow below.
Photo: sam willits

Jeff Dobronyi

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