What We Like
Affordable with great value
Warm even when temps fall into the single digits
What We Don't Like
Generic, boxy cut
Rear pockets are hard to open
No leg vents
Don’t let the cold temperatures and snow keep you inside during the winter. With the right gear, you can get outside and enjoy skiing and other winter sports. A good pair of ski pants can keep you cozy and dry regardless of the conditions. We hit the slopes in Columbia Bugaboo II Ski Pants to see how they performed. Read on to find out what we loved and didn’t love about these pants.
Design: Simple but sufficient
When we first tried on these pants, we found that they have a generic cut that’s more boxy than slim fitting. They certainly may not be the most stylish offering out there, but they do have most of the features you’ll need in a pair of ski pants. The legs are wide, with just enough flair to accommodate a ski boot—three snaps along the ankles allow extra room—but not so much that they feel like bell-bottoms. The cuffs have been reinforced for durability, and there’s also an internal gaiter that stays firmly in place thanks to a strong elastic band and some well-placed silicone grips.
Material and Performance: Waterproof and breathable to a point
When synthetic insulation is used in ski gear, like it is with these pants, the thickness is noted as grams per square meter. You’ll see pants with insulation that ranges from 50 to 200 grams, with the higher number representing a warmer option. These pants are insulated with 60g Microtemp XF II 100% polyester, which should keep you warm but not overheated when you’re moving around on the slopes.
Columbia’s Bugaboo II excels where it is important: warmth.
We wouldn’t recommend the Bugaboo II pants for a backcountry ski excursion, though. Unlike some of its competitors, there are no leg vents to let off excess heat. The shell of these pants is constructed with 100% nylon and features something Columbia calls “Omni-Tech technology,” which is supposed to make these pants waterproof and breathable. It may be breathable enough for light activities, but it can’t keep up when you start to work up a sweat—something that’s bound to happen when hiking or skinning up a mountain. We think these pants are better for resort skiing or snowmobiling.
Columbia’s Bugaboo II excels where it’s important: warmth. We wore the ski pants in temperatures ranging from the single digits to just above freezing and remained comfortable. We found that the 60-gram insulation was sufficient for temperatures between 25 and 40°F. When we added a light base layer, we were warm down to 0°F. We experienced no cold spots and stayed snug even when sitting on a cold metal chairlift.
Thanks to the waterproof Omni-Tech shell and the sealed seams in critical areas, these pants also kept us completely dry on a wet snow day. Despite repeatedly kneeling to help our children put on their skis, the snow slid right off our pants and never soaked through the fabric. When sledding, we never got wet, even though the seat was filled with puddles of melted snow.
These pants also kept us completely dry on a wet snow day. Despite repeatedly kneeling to help our children put on their skis, the snow slid right off our pants and never soaked through the fabric.
The pants also have four roomy pockets—two on the front and two on the back—that offer smart storage. The front pockets have a soft lining and a zipper closure, while Velcro seals the rear pockets, which are covered by a folded flap. Though we appreciated the multiple pockets, the rear two are limited in their utility; the flaps are sewn on the edges, making them difficult to open, especially with gloves. You can slide small items such as a credit card or ID into the rear pockets, but don’t expect to stuff a large phone into them.
Comfort: Adjustable sizing and soft interior
We found these ski pants to be quite wearable. Whether layered with other clothes or not, the Velcro waistband can be adjusted for the correct fit—and it’s surprisingly comfortable across your hips and back. The mid-rise style provides plenty of coverage, so you’re less likely to get snow down your back when you fall.
Though the outer material is not stretchy, the ample cut provides plenty of flex for most skiing and sledding. The soft brushed lining feels great but can snag against a similar brushed fabric. We slipped the Bugaboo II pants over a pair of fleece tights, and the two fabrics tended to grab each other.
Price: Great Value
With a price tag around $100, these ski pants are a great value. They will keep you warm and dry and have helpful features including a soft, adjustable waist for comfort and fit.
Competition: Some more stylish options
The Bugaboo II pants are a solid choice for those who want something warm and durable but don’t want to spend a lot of cash. This product does what it’s intended to do, insulating under cold, wet conditions. One downside is ventilation, as the pants don’t have a way to let off steam when your body temperature rises. Skiers who physically exert themselves by skinning or hiking up the mountain should consider an uninsulated option like the Outdoor Research Trailbreaker ski pant, which offers long leg vents and a comfortable, stretchy fit.
The Bugaboo also has a boxy shape that may not appeal to everyone. For a more stylish choice, we’d recommend Helly Hansen Legendary ski pant, which has a slimmer cut and stretchy fabric that feels as good as it looks. With the same 60 grams of insulation as the Bugaboo II pants, this product is equally warm with a sleeker design.
- Product Name Bugaboo II Ski Pant
- Product Brand Columbia
- MPN 1800141
- Price $99.00
- Material Omni-Tech™ Generation Dobby 100% Nylon shell; 100% Nylon 210T taffeta lining; 60g Microtemp XF II 100% polyester insulation
- Warranty Limited lifetime warranty