They keep your ass dry. Directly - you can sit down in snow and stay dry - and indirectly - they connect to your jacket in such a way as to keep snow out of that seam. They are pants. 'Pant suit' is a fun phrase to say, but I don't know what a pant suit is. Here is my stable of leg coverings for the year.
|Homeschool, DC and Burton Ronin (L to R).|
Far left is the 2012 Homeschool Snowboarding Line Up pant in Night (black). I got these at the beginning of the year in exchange for a review and haven't worn them on snow yet. They are 10,000mm water resistant and a booming 30,000gm breathable. Cocona fabric, ladies and gentlemen. My first impression is that the fabric feels supple, not cardboard stiff like some other highly waterproof gear. They have a reasonable four pockets and an accessory holster on the right leg. Basically it's a place to put your hat and/or gloves when you take them off, so you don't set them down and lose them. One possible negative is that they took the whole asymmetrical pockets thing a step too far as they have just one back pocket, one cargo pocket (and the holster) and one hip pocket zips on the side and the other on the top. I'm looking forward to seeing how the Homeschool kit performs, this stuff could really be the future. Keep an eye out for more reviews as I ride with these.
In the middle of the rack is the DC Baker pant. The bananas. They are last year's model (2011) and samples. They run 15k on both stats. (they call it Exotex, I don't know why) The fabric is flexible if a little thin. Given that, they feel a little drafty on snow. Also, semi-translucent and a light enough color that they were instantly and irrecoverably dirty. Six pockets is borderline too many. They have a nice bungee cord in the cargo pockets that you pull up to keep your cuffs from dragging as you walk. This is a nice feature because they are baggy. They are also the only pants I have that are Large instead of Medium. A good pant. The water resistance and breathability are both on-point. Cold on a windy day, though.
The brown bibs on the end are Burton Ronins that I bought off one of those deal-a-day sites in spring 2008. I think that's when they stopped making the Ronin line. Anyway, 20k x 20k, but started to lose their resistance to the wetness last year. The spray-in Nikwax isn't reviving it either. I love me some bibs, though, and quality bibs are harder and harder to find. So good in pow. Maybe this is the year someone finally buys me a ninja suit for Christmas (merino wool, black, size medium, please). Anyway, this is the baggiest of the three. At medium it's almost as big as the DC large. The bibs, which are removable, keep it up. It's got six pockets and snap up cuffs. One cool feature is that it has venting on the inner and outer leg. All the other pants only have venting on the inner leg. All are mesh backed (none have insulation, either). The other bummer about these is that the right leg ripped when I tried to pull them out of a buckled binding. I had to Shoe Goo them back together. They were good while they lasted, but the writing's on the wall.
Pants, with the possible exception of gloves, are the outerwear piece that wears out fastest. Don't get caught with your pants down, always make sure you have a backup if you can. Nobody likes a soggy butt and your first defense against that uncomfortable ride home is some quality pow trousers.