A rookie mistake that some winter weather outdoors fans make is prioritizing upper body wear over a pair of pants. While an excellent down jacket is crucial for the outdoors, your legs do most of the work. If you are braving arctic climates, bring along your cold-busting gloves, puffy jackets, and (you guessed it) some insulated pants.
Your selection of down pants will insulate your lower half in plummeting temperatures. They will keep the snow, water, and slush away from your inner layers. Some of these cozy packable pants are so light that you can wear them around the house as well.
Below are eight of the best top shelf and lower cost down pants options, but first:
How to Choose a Great Pair of Down Pants
Before taking out your wallet to purchase any random pair of insulating pants, read through this list of factors that make the ideal down pants for your winter activities.
Quality of Insulation
There are two major categories of down filling. Natural down comes from ducks, waterfowl, or geese. The synthetic polyester fill mimics the attributes of natural down. Goose or duck filling is an expensive option and more lightweight than synthetic filling. It is also warmer in terms of warmth-to-fill weight ratio, making natural down pants more compact and light.
Natural goose fill can compress to a size as small as a regular water bottle. Goose or duck fill also lasts longer and will not lose its shape despite constant compression. On the other hand, the synthetic down-filled item will lose its insulation capacity faster, but it has its advantages. Polyester filled pants are easier to wash and will not freeze should they become wet.
Fill power is a measurement that describes the amount of filling in your down pants. A lofty filling will provide more cold weather insulation than lower fill power will. Fill power measurements range between 300 to 900. A pair of pants with a 750 and above fill power will provide adequate insulation for extreme cold weather activities.
Outer Shell Properties
Most down pants’ outer shells are made from treated nylon fabric. As an illustration, Ripstop Nylon makes the pants tear-resistant and durable for rugged outdoor activity. The outer shells also go through other alternative treatments that make them breathable, waterproof, or lightweight.
Down pants with snap zipper closures are easier to get on or off than items with an elastic band only. Side zippers are especially useful for outdoor use in changing temperatures. You can open up a full-length zipper and take off your outer layer without taking off your shoes.
Another great feature is the stretch hem at the ankles. The elastic will keep the cold and snow out and the warmth in.
If you are going to wear your down pants as an outer layer, go for a pair that has pockets.
Best Down Pants for Winter Adventure
Looking for the warmest, lightweight items for your winter adventures can be exhausting, especially if you’re not sure what to get. Here’s our list of the best down pants you’ll want to wear all winter since they are super toasty. You can thank us later.
Mountain Hardwear is a fantastic outdoor wear producer and is owned by publicly traded Columbia Sportswear. Mountain Hardwear focuses on the production of a mountaineer, outdoor athletes, and climber’s gear. Their technical expertise shines through the Ghost Whisperer down pant’s excellent design and cut.
They are the ideal mid-layer item, a perfect fit but not too snug. They articulate the mid-waist area perfectly, not sagging or bunching. These down pants have a natural goose filling at a 90% down and 10% feather quotient. Goose fluffy plumage is an excellent natural insulator that magnificently forms air clusters and traps them to build warmth.
Ghost Whisperer down pants has a low ratio of feather to fluffy down, making them excellently toasty. The pants also have a high fill power of 800 to ensure warmth retention high enough for mountaineering. Goose down costs a pretty penny, but its high-quality warmth retention and lightweight features are worth it.
This set of pants weighs a paltry 9.6 ounces, and you can compress them into a small package by stuffing the pants into an inbuilt pocket. The Ghost Whisperer’s other excellent heat-trapping features include lower leg zippers that also enhance layering and venting. The pants have two pockets for storage and a front snap closure for adjustability.
The hard truth out there is that most outdoor cold weather wear is petroleum-based. Its manufacture significantly contributes to climate change, killing the very thing that calls outdoor fans to the wild; nature.
Fortunately, brands like North Face are innovating and producing items that have a lower carbon footprint. Summit L3 Down Pants are perfect for the environment-conscious outdoor buff since 70% of its material is recycled.
These down insulated pant’s most outstanding features are their key zones overlays made with North Face’s proprietary FutureLight technology. FutureLight is the outdoor sports and activewear brand’s take on waterproof but breathable textiles.
For a long time now, wet and cold weather adventurers have adapted to fabrics such as Gore-Tex that provide waterproofing but little breathability. For this reason, most down pants wearers have to wear crinkly and stiff hard-shell fabrics if they do not want to face off with body heat loss.
Softshells are breathable and comfortable but hardly keep external moisture away from the body. FutureLight technology leverages Nano-spinning, making this down pant’s soft outer shells both waterproof and breathable.
Summit L3s are perfect for you if you are looking for a superior breathable pair of pants for exerting cold-weather activity. Its outer fabric is 100% nylon Ripstop, making it hard-wearing and resistant to ripping and tearing. Its fill is a good 800 for high-level insulation.
Some other fantastic features of the North Face down pants include an elastic waistband reinforced by a drawcord for easy adjustability. The lightweight pants have a stretchy slim fit look, with a cut on the bias. There is a thigh pocket and a cinch cord at the hem. The down pants compress perfectly and come with a light stuff sack for portability.
If you are looking for an extra layer of warmth that supports your winter weather activity, go for Tofern White Goose Down Pants. They are sizable enough, allowing easy layering. The down pant’s full-length zippers will easily get them over your shoes without you having to take them off.
Their outer shell is a cushy and skin-friendly high thread number nylon. Tofern down pants has a 20 denier, 400 T nylon, lightweight, but not ripstop. Their fill is 90% white goose fluffy down at a fill power of 800 for toasty warmth, even in below zero weather.
Their humanized design thickens at the knee and butt area for ease of sporting movement. The hem is water-resistant and will keep your inner layers dry and warm.
These unisex down pants are an affordable pair, made of 100% nylon material. Nylon is versatile and water-resistant; hence Tapasimme Down Pants will do on a rainy day and keep you dry while having fun outside.
They weigh a measly 16 oz but are adequately filled. The fill is also fairly distributed throughout the structure of the pants. They are so ultralight that you can compress down to the size of a can. Toss them into your backpack and only pull them out when you need them.
This pair of freeze-resistant outdoor wear has an elastic waist so that you can easily shimmy into it. It has more elastic at the bottom hem to keep the cold out. Nylon is not only water-resistant but is relatively moisture wicking. Take these down pants along for hiking, and they will keep you comfy and dry as you ascend the hills or mountainsides.
#5 – Rab Argon Down Pants
This is an excellent pair of goose down pants for the seeker of quality. Rab Argon Done Pants goose down filling is RDS or responsibly sourced, adhering to the Responsible Down Standard. This certification implies that the feathers in your Rab Argon pants come from sources that treat animals humanely.
The fill is 800 power and is partly water-resistant, giving these down pants an advantage in wet conditions. Their shell is Pertex® Microlight technology fabric, with superior insulating technology. Pertex is built for the extreme environment, an ultra-light nylon fabric with enhanced breathability.
Rab Argon pants will allow the rapid evaporation of moisture from sweat for absolute thermal efficiency and stabilization of your body’s core temperatures. The down pants’ outer shell is also windproof and super soft to the touch. While these pant’s hardy construction makes them perfect for rugged use, they are also comfortable enough to walk your dog around in on those frosty mornings.
These pants create a warm bubble of comfort in your lower half, and you can sleep in them when your sleeping bag does not suffice. Lounge around the campsite in them or take them steelhead fishing, and they will excel as an outer or mid-layer.
The Rab Argon will compress nicely but weigh 13.2 ounces. They are a wee bit heavier than the Ghost Whisperer. Pockets are absent, so they might be inconvenient when in use as an outer layer.
Backpacking in winter can be tons of fun if you have excellent gear for the weather. Ask any avid backpacker, and they will tell you that keeping things light is the best way to traverse the outdoors. Only bring along stuff that packs down to minute sizes.
One of the biggest problems that backpackers have out in the wild is lugging around large-20°F sleeping bags to keep them snug in freezing winter weather. One excellent solution to this dilemma is to bring along a pair of Montbell Light Down Pants and a lighter high quality 0° bag.
The combination will keep you super toasty at night and will lessen backpacking space. The MontBell Light pants only weighs 7.1 oz. Their filling is Montbell premium waterfowl down packed to an 800 fill power.
Waterfowl down is a high-grade insulator, trapping more warm air in its larger down balls. The down pant’s construction is as hardy as they come and is bereft of unnecessary trappings. Its outer fabric is Nylon Ripstop, three times tear-resistant than your average nylon fabric. The 10D Ballistic Airlight fabric is also a lot lighter than nylon.
These pants have a unique design with diamond-shaped sewn through the layers to ensure an even distribution of the waterfowl fill. They are perfect for layering, lacking a fly, enclosures, or snaps. You can adjust the down pant’s elastic waistband via a drawcord. The legs have stretchy elastic closures as well.
Like most Canada Goose products, these pants look and feel like pure luxury. The Tundra Down Pants have a Sports Illustrated cover look, are warming, and of top-notch quality. These pants’ greatest appeal is not just the cargo pants’ look but also their ability to provide bulk-free warmth.
They are as light as air, all thanks to the quality RDS-certified Canadian farmers white duck down in them. The duck down in the pants has a 625-fill power, and you can wear them in -4°F weather comfortably.
Their outer shell is durable and water-resistant Arctic-Tech technology 15% cotton and 85% polyester combination fabric. The inner lining of the insulated pants is nylon. Some other excellent features of these down cargo pants include removable suspenders for relaxation and comfort.
They have cargo pockets at the front for storage. Secure both pockets via snaps. The pants have two ways, side leg YKK zippers that allow you to put them on easily. Their waistband is adjustable and has exterior buckles. Like all Canada Goose winter wear items, these tundra pants are an investment of a lifetime.
Grumman Goose Down Pants weigh 16 oz, but have a superb athletic fit and are not bulky. They are comfortable, moving naturally with you. Their outer shell is Pertex® Quantum Shell, a lightweight and soft feel fabric that traps air for efficient insulation. The fabric has a tightly woven structure.
It has undergone a durable water repellent treatment (DWR) for the ultimate protection from snow and rain. These down pants are also windproof. They have a natural goose fill that has a DWR finish too. They have a fill power of 850 and are only 4.2 oz. These pants are lightweight for all the warmth that they provide.
The stitching quality is excellent, and you will not find any stitching errors. The pants have useful full-length, quality YKK Zippers that fully open up at the cuff and waist hem.
The Final Word
Down pants may look poofy and goofy, but you will be grateful you brought them along on your fishing, canoeing, or kayaking trips during the chilly seasons.
Choose one of these lower body frosty weather items and enjoy your outdoor activity.