What to Wear Sledding if You Don’t Have Snow Pants

Sledding is one of those activities that is too fun to miss out on. There have been many times that I have been invited to go sledding and have not been one hundred percent prepared for a full day of being out in the snow.

Wind pants, rain pants, fleece pants, fishing waders, leggings, sweatpants, and jeans are alternatives if snow pants are not an option. If the alternative snow gear is not waterproof, bring an extra pair of pants to change into after sledding is over.

So if you are thinking of turning down a fun-filled sledding session because of snow pants, think again! Try one of these wardrobe alternatives and go hit the hills.

Snow Pants Alternatives

There is nothing worse than having to go through a full day wearing soaking wet and freezing clothing. Not only is it absolutely uncomfortable, but it is also dangerous depending on the weather conditions.

The main purpose of snow pants is to provide a water-proof and insulating barrier between your body and the snow. This is why buying and owning a pair of snow pants is so important, especially for when you go sledding. If you have the time and the funds to get snow pants, I would absolutely recommend it. They are the best option for keeping you warm and dry during your sledding adventures.

If you happen to find yourself in a situation where you have no snow pants and no way to obtain a pair, there are a slew of alternatives.

That being said, snow pants are ultimately the best option for having a comfortable sledding session. These alternatives are definitely not as good as or are a replacement for snow pants. They are, however, helpful for an occasion where you find yourself snow pantless and are desperate for other options that will keep you warm, dry, and comfortable.

Wind Pants

This option will take you back to the 90’s boy band era but you will find that they serve as a great alternative to snow pants. Wind pants are normally used for hiking and exercising and are made out of a lightweight polyester or nylon type fabric.

The reason these pants are great for sledding is that they are normally water-resistant and are easy to move around in.

As the name implies, wind pants are essentially wind-breakers for your legs. They tend to be pretty thin and quite breathable, so I suggest wearing a layer underneath them in order to keep your legs nice and cozy.

Something like leggings, long-underwear, or sweatpants can be worn underneath and provide an extra layer of protection for when wipe out sledding.

Price Range: If you want to find some stylish wind pant styles at affordable prices, I’d suggest checking out Amazon. There is a pair of SPORT-TEK Men’s Wind Pant for under $30. There are also great options available for women. You can find some Romwe Windbreaker Pants for around $18.

Rain Pants

Snow is essentially frozen rain, so it makes sense that these pants would work as an alternative as well. You may be wondering…what exactly are rain pants?

Rain pants are very similar to wind pants, however, they tend to be more water resistant. They are usually made out of lightweight water-resistant polyester material and tend to be a little bit baggier in style. This makes them perfect for layering. There is plenty of room to wear an insulating and warm type of fabric underneath.

It may look a little ridiculous, but I recommend tucking these pants into your socks or snowboots when you go sledding.

Price Range: There are some cheap but honestly ugly rain pants on Amazon for under $15.00. They may not look the best, but they’ll do the job. The same goes for women’s rain pants as well. They tend to be a little more pricey than men’s pants at $37.50.

Fleece Pants

I personally do not own a pair of fleece pants, but they sound extremely warm and comfortable. It is not hard to see why these pants would be a good option in place of snow pants.

Fleece pants tend to have an outer shell of some time and are fleece lined on the inside. There are straight fleece options available as well.

Fleece pants are great for sledding because they are not made out of cotton. They aren’t completely waterproof but they don’t soak up too much water either. In addition to that, they insulate and warm your legs, which is very important for a comfortable sledding session.

Sometimes you can find pajamas that are fleece more easily that just pants.

Price Range: Fleece pants tend to be a little pricey (especially if you are buying them from outfitters such as Columbia, REI, Patagonia, etc.). For women, there are tons of different styles of fleece pants available. R.E.I. sells a pair of fleece pants that almost look like leggings starting around $30.

They also have another pair of more traditional looking fleece pants for $59.50. They also sell a pair of men’s fleece pants starting at around $15.


Ladies, this section is for you. Your stylish leggings could actually be great for sledding. The effectiveness of leggings for playing out in the snow depends on what type of fabric is used and how thick the fabric is. Some pairs of leggings are thick enough and water-resistant enough to work very well for an alternative to snow pants.

Tights and leggings are great for sledding because they are very flexible and comfortable. In fact, they are perfect to wear underneath a pair of pants and add an extra layer of warmth and water resistance.

Price Range: Good winter leggings can run anywhere from $20 to as much as $100. Cabelas sells some great options for leggings from $50 – $100

Fishing Waders

Your trusty fishing waders are not only good for taking a stroll in a river but can also be a great substitute for snow pants. They may look a little funky while sledding, but hey, who cares!

Fishing waders are great for sledding because they are absolutely waterproof. Fishing waders are made out rubber or PVC constructed materials which are known for repelling all water. In addition to that, they go all the way up to your chest and will keep your whole body dry and protect it from the wet snow.

Plus, you can wear a whole regular outfit underneath them and be styling once you take them off.

Price Range: Fishing waders have a large price range. You can find some for $15 to $200. If you are looking for a decent pair, I’d check out Cabela’s. There are a pair of Hodgman Waders for $69.99.


Whether its workout sweatpants or lounge around the house sweatpants, I feel like everyone owns a pair. If you are completely desperate for an alternative to snow pants you can use sweatpants. Sweatpants are very insulating but can get wet very easily because they are usually made of cotton.

They are definitely not the best alternative, but they are an option. If you choose to wear sweatpants, be sure to bring a change of clothes with you or double up by wearing two layers.

Price Range: Sweatpants tend to be pretty cheap with some as cheap as $7.


I would avoid wearing jeans as an alternative to snow pants but if that’s all you got, you can make it work. In order to make jeans work you are going to want to wear leggings, long underwear, or sweats underneath. This will create enough layers to hopefully keep you dry. I’d highly suggest having a dry change of clothing to change into after you are done sledding.

Price Range: Everyone has bought a pair of jeans before, so you should know the average price range can be anywhere from $10 to $150+.

Create Your Own Snow Pants

If you have a black garbage bag, scissors, and ductape, you are set to make your own DIY snow pants. Sure, you may look like a walking trash bag but you will be nice and dry while sledding. Follow the video instructions if you want to try this method out!

Price Range: This is by far the cheapest alternative available. You can build your snow pants basically for free if you have all of the materials available.

Additional Tips

While there are substitutes for snow pants, nothing really does quite as good of a job as the real thing. You might find yourself freezing on the hill.

So before you head out to the hill, remember to:

  1. Choose a non-cotton fabric
  2. Select a sledding spot with a heated/indoor area
  3. Always bring a change of clothes
  4. Layer up
  5. Be sure to check the weather (if it is too cold to go without snow pants, don’t go)

Don’t have a sled? Don’t worry! We have the answers!

Check out our article on what to use if you don’t have a sled.

You will be surprised at the things you can use to help you get down that hill as fast as possible.

What you should wear and how much you should bundle up is dependent upon how cold the weather is and how long you are planning on being outside for. That being said, there are a few general guidelines that you can follow to ensure that you are warm and comfortable while sledding.

Geoff Southworth

I am a California native and I enjoy all the outdoors has to offer. My latest adventures have been taking the family camping, hiking and surfing.

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