Outdoors Gear The 8 Best Insulated Pants in 2022 Here's how to find the best fit for your snowy adventures By Suzie Dundas Suzie Dundas Facebook Instagram LinkedIn Twitter Suzie Dundas is a writer and editor based in Lake Tahoe. She writes primarily about travel, the outdoors, and millennial culture. TripSavvy's editorial guidelines Published on 12/21/21 Share Pin Email Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links. A good down jacket will ensure you’re toasty all winter long. Whether you prefer sporty puffy jackets for skiing or oversized down jackets you can throw on over a hoodie during camping trips, an insulated jacket is a must-have for winter. So why are insulated pants rarely worn? Despite insulated jackets having been around for decades (Eddie Bauer usually gets credit for creating the first one in 1936), it seems like down pants have been very, very late to the party. However, down pants can be an equally versatile winter staple. Insulated pants are exactly what you’d think they are (like a down jacket, but pants) and they’re an essential winter item. Although they’ve only been on the market for a few years, down pants are growing in popularity, and more and more retailers are starting to offer excellent, high-quality options. These are the eight best options out there. The Rundown Best Overall: Mountain Hardwear Stretchdown Insulated Pant at Mountainhardwear.com They're warm, durable, even kind of stylish. Plus, due to the baffles preventing the down from clumping, you're unlikely to get cold spots. Runner Up, Best Overall: Western Mountaineering Flight Down Pant at Amazon Two things we love about these pants: the price and the fill—they're almost too warm, making them perfect for frigid temperatures. Best Budget: Tapasimme Winter Warm Utility Down Pants at Amazon These are a quality pair of down pants to have on hand for the occasional winter car camping trip or backyard bonfires, and at a great price. Best Sustainable: Jack Wolfskin Men's Atmosphere Pants at Amazon The brand only produces clothing in factories with fair working conditions, and it contributes to efforts of reducing microplastics. Best for Extreme Cold : Goosefeet Gear Down Pants at Goosefeetgear.com These cozy pants are custom-made; choose your colors, features like pockets and zippers, and the fill. Best for Backpacking: Montane Prism Pants at Amazon From the articulated knees that make it easy to take high steps to the impossibly small stuff sack for storing the pants. Best for Snowmobiling: Obermeyer Sundown Pant at Moosejaw.com They'll keep your legs warm even if you're getting blasted with soggy snow at every bend in the trail. Best for Hiking: Backcountry Women's Stansbury 750 Down Tight at Backcountry.com The insulated front keeps your legs warm, and the non-insulated back material helps dry your legs and knees if you sweat. Table of contents Expand Our Picks Final Verdict What to Look For How We Tested Why Trust TripSavvy Best Overall: Mountain Hardwear Stretchdown Insulated Pant View On Mountainhardwear.com View On REI What We Like Stretchy fabric with down baffles Three pockets, one zippered Very warm, held up to rough surfaces during testing What We Don't Like Expensive Limited colors Not as ultralight as other options It's hard to come up with a downside to the Mountain Hardwear Stretchdown Pant, which comes in both men's and women's versions. They're made with the brand's signature "stretch down" fabric, which is basically one continuous piece of fabric with sewn-in baffles—so say goodbye to holes at the seams, since there are no seams. And since the baffles prevent the down from clumping up after a few washes, you're very unlikely to get cold spots. They're warm, durable, and, dare I say, even look kind of stylish. They're not slimming, but they're not overly puffy, either. Expect to hear "where did you get those?" more than a few times each time you rock the Stretchdown Pant. A men's version of the Stretchdown Pant is available here. Sizes: XS-XL, short and long available | Materials: 87% nylon, 13% elastane | Weight: +/- 13 ounces | Fill (insulation): 700-fill RDS-certified down insulation Tested by TripSavvy These were the very first pair of insulated pants I ever wore and the ones responsible for opening my eyes to the magic that is puffy pants—and I still think they're the best. While no puffy pants are super flattering, these don't add any more bulk than a pair of sweatpants. And more importantly, they're warm. Rather than having a slick sleeping bag fabric-type of finish, they're a matte, dark blue, which means no one really notices I'm wearing puffy pants unless I point it out. I normally wear a medium, and it's no exception with these; sizing is pretty by-the-book. It's also not the kind of pant that needs to fit like a glove, and the adjustable waist means you can add an extra inch if you're wearing a thick base layer underneath. —Suzie Dundas, product tester Runner Up, Best Overall: Western Mountaineering Flight Down Pant View On Amazon View On Backcountry.com What We Like Full-length side zippers Ankle cuffs with velcro straps to trap heat Windproof fabric with a light DWR (waterproof) coating What We Don't Like Expensive No pockets Some reviewers report easily tearing the ultra-light fabric The Western Mountaineering Flight Pant is a great pant, and there are just two reasons it gets the runner-up spot rather than first place: the price and the fill—they're almost too warm for the average buyer. Of course, that's not surprising as Western Mountaineering is a fairly niche brand still very focused on summit-bagging in extreme conditions. If you need a down pant for walking around your neighborhood on early morning dog walks, these will probably be too much. But if you're keen on some serious winter camping or 3 a.m. Mount Whitney attempts, these pants will be worth the splurge. Sizes: XS-XL (Unisex) | Materials: Microfiber shell fabric with DWR finish | Weight: +/- 12.5 ounces | Fill (insulation): 850 fill power goose down with 4 ounces of fill Best Budget: Tapasimme Winter Warm Utility Down Pants View On Amazon What We Like Comes in four colors and XL sizes Large back pocket What We Don't Like Gender-neutral fit is baggy Unclear on fill weight or mix Some reviewers report questionable durability When considering these for your next pair, you'll find that the Tapasimme pants are highly rated by both men and women (it's a unisex pant). While the materials aren't the same quality you'd get from a more "serious" outdoor brand, reviews mention that they're warm and comfortable. Of course, they may not keep your legs quite as warm as more heavily insulated pant, but if you want a pair of down pants to have on hand for the occasional winter car camping trip or backyard bonfires, you'll be happy with your purchase. They're around $50 or $60, depending on size and color. Sizes: XXS-XXL | Materials: Nylon | Weight: +/- 15 ounces | Fill (insulation): 90/10 duck down (fill power unknown) Best Sustainable: Jack Wolfskin Men's Atmosphere Pants View On Amazon View On Jackwolfskin.com What We Like Rip-proof fabrics, warm down Durable insulation in high-use areas What We Don't Like Sells out quickly Slow shipping times from U.K. Every bit of the material used to make the Atmosphere Pant is sustainable, from the RDS-certified down (which ensures that the feathers and down come from animals treated with exceptionally high caste standards) to the PVC-free water-resistant coating. The Atmosphere Pant has synthetic, more durable insulation in areas likely to be compressed (like knees and the seat), so you don't need to worry about cold spots after heavy use. The skirt is even more eco-friendly with totally synthetic materials rather than actual down. As a brand, Jack Wolfskin works only with transparent supply chain lines, only produces clothing in factories with fair working conditions, and supports organizations working to reduce microplastics and increase the availability of recycled fabrics. That goes for these pants, which also have a recycled microfleece lining. A women's version in the Atmosphere Skirt is available here. Sizes: Pant is S-XXL; skirt is XS-XXL | Materials: “Stormlock” ripstop (synthetic water and wind-resistant fabric), recycled fleece | Weight: Pant is +/- 15 ounces; skirt is +/- 5 ounces | Fill (insulation): Pant is 700 fill power, RDS-certified 90/10 duck down fill) Skirt is recycled “Ecosphere” synthetic fill (approximately 3 ounces) Tested by TripSavvy When I first tested the down skirt for this article, I was fairly skeptical—why bother with a down skirt if you're not going to bother insulating the rest of your legs? However, the skirt is supremely comfortable and really does do a great job of keeping your bum and lower core extra warm. Tossing the skirt over a pair of tights can be the difference between shivering through an outdoor après or being warm and stylish instead. And stylish it is, believe it or not, especially when paired with a down vest. It's roomy enough around the elastic waist to allow for a pair of leggings underneath but has straight, clean lines that streamline the silhouette around your hips. I'm 5-foot-7-inches and a fairly standard size medium, the perfect size in the Atmosphere Skirt. If you're planning to wear it without leggings and want a tighter fit, you may even be able to go down a size, especially if you're smaller around the hips and thighs. I also really appreciated the full-length side zipper, which eliminates the hassle of stepping into the skirt while wearing bulky snow boots. —Suzie Dundas, product tester Best for Extreme Cold : Goosefeet Gear Down Pants View On Goosefeetgear.com What We Like Made to order to your measurements Can add baffles and double insulation for extreme cold Variety of color combos What We Don't Like Production can be slow No pockets A bit shapeless Best of luck trying to find an insulated pant that fits better than the down pants from Goosefeet Gear — unless you measure yourself incorrectly, of course. Each pair of these cozy pants is custom-made for the buyer, cut to specific measurements to fit your hips, inseam, and thighs. Aside from the ability to choose your own colors and add features like pockets and zippers, the best selling point is the customizable fill. You can add baffles to reduce migration (i.e. avoid cold spots) and select from anything between 2.5 and 8 ounces of down. Spring for baffles and a max fill, and you'll stay toasty in temperatures down to 20 below zero degrees. Sizes: Custom | Materials: 20-denier (or lighter 8-denier) nylon | Weight: Variable | Fill (insulation): 850 fill power DownTek down Tested by TripSavvy Aside from the fact that I was a bit too loose with my measurements, I love the Goosefeet Down Pants. As someone with high hips, it can be hard to find pants that fit well—usually, the elastic band that's supposed to sit at my waist ends up digging into my hip bones instead. Not so with the Goosefeet Pants, thanks to the totally custom measurements. My pants look a bit like a pair of insulated old-timey long underwear with a high waist, and I couldn't be happier about it. I opted for a mid-level fill at 3.5 ounces, and they're still so warm that they're one of the few I can't wear while lounging inside. These are some of the warmest insulated pants I've tested, making it easy to get away with forgoing a base layer underneath. That makes them ideal for cold-weather camping, and they've become my go-to for throwing on when I need to warm up in a hurry after a day of storm skiing or backcountry riding. —Suzie Dundas, product tester Best for Backpacking: Montane Prism Pants View On Amazon View On Montane.com What We Like Insanely lightweight Comes with small stuff sack High-level windproofing What We Don't Like No pockets Men's version only Just one color choice The Montane Prism Pants are purpose-built for backpacking and hiking, from the articulated knees that make it easy to take high steps to the impossibly small stuff sack for storing the pants. If you start overheating, the leg zips should help you cool down, and the fit lends itself well to hiking. While they're certainly not slim fit, they're slimmer than others on this list, reducing the chances that you'll hear the annoying "swishing" sound with each step. It also makes it possible to squeeze these insulated pants under a roomy ski pant shell on cold resort-skiing days. Sizes: S-XXL | Materials: Pertex Quantum outer (water-resistant synthetic) with a recycled inner liner | Weight: 10.8 ounces | Fill (insulation): 40 grams per square meter PrimaLoft Silver 100% recycled insulation Tested by TripSavvy Our male tester loved these pants, though he was a bit annoyed by the lack of pockets. He found them comfortable enough to sleep in while camping, noting that he'd rather sleep in the Prism pants so he could backpack with a lighter, smaller sleeping bag. He also appreciated the (comparatively) slim fit, though burlier testers may be well-served by going up a size (our 6-foot-1-inch, 175-pound tester fit comfortably in a large). Because the pants have a solid-color, navy-black fabric, he's worn them to run errands and cruise around town on weekends. According to our tester, his favorite aspect of the Prism pants is that they don't look as puffy as the other insulated pants on this list. They look like athletic pants you'd wear to the gym, which helps make them useful or more than just hiking. That said, our tester loved hiking in them and wore them on an early season backcountry skinning session, reporting that they kept him warm while traversing ridge lines, even in gusty winter winds. —Suzie Dundas, product tester Best for Snowmobiling: Obermeyer Sundown Pant View On Moosejaw.com View On REI What We Like Very high (20K) waterproofing Insulated enough for cold-weather skiing Stretch fabrics What We Don't Like Sizing caps at 16 for women (though men get a 3XL) A little pricey if you’re not planning to ski in them, too You need something warm, waterproof, and windproof when it comes to snowmobiling since you'll be moving pretty fast. So your best bet is probably ski pants (or even a ski bib). Whatever waterproof ski pants you have will probably be fine, but if you're looking for a new pair, consider the Obermeyer Sundown Pant. The numerical sizing for women creates a range of size options, and buyers get a very high waterproofing rating (20K) and 40 grams of insulation. They'll keep your legs warm even if you're getting blasted with soggy snow at every bend in the trail. A men’s version in the Process Pant is available here. Sizes: 2-16 (Sundown Pant), S-3XL (Process Pant) | Materials: HydroBlock Elite (85% Nylon, 15% Elastane) | Weight: N/A | Fill (insulation): PrimaLoft Black ECO 40 grams (Process Pant), 3M Thinsulate Platinum Flex 40 grams (Sundown Pant) Tested by TripSavvy The Obermeyer Pants aren’t insulated down pants akin to a puffy jacket — they’re traditional ski pants with 40 grams of insulation, but that’s exactly what you need for snowmobiling. When you’re following other snowmobilers, catching their spray, and kicking up snow, you want pants that are truly waterproof and windproof. And the Sundown excels at both. It also has a high back meant to help keep snow out of your pants when skiing, but it comes in handy while snowmobiling by preventing the dreaded low-back gap if your jacket rides up while hunched over the handlebars. The fabric is pretty stretchy, which makes the waistband comfortable, and they’re totally waterproof. —Suzie Dundas, product tester Best for Hiking: Backcountry Women's Stansbury 750 Down Tight View On Backcountry.com What We Like Light waterproofing Slim fit and stretch Insulation works with tall hiking boots What We Don't Like Might be too snug for some buyers No men’s version (though there’s a skirt option) Down in front only The Stansbury Tight is one of the best hiking pants thanks to two main features. It's fitted, which means you don't have to worry about the inner thigh and calf material rubbing together while you walk (or the pants getting caught on scraggly bushes). The insulated front keeps your legs warm and adds wind protection, but the non-insulated material on the back helps your legs and knees dry quickly if you start sweating. The insulation ends mid-calf, so you can wear your tall hiking boots, and the zippered side pocket is big enough to hold most phones. Unfortunately, there's no direct men's equivalent. Sizes: XS-XL | Materials: Recycled polyester | Weight: +/- 12 ounces | Fill (insulation): 750 fill-power RDS-certified down Final Verdict If you’re only going to buy one pair of pants—and don’t mind spending a little extra for quality—give the Stretchdown Pant a try (view at Moosejaw). It’s comfortable with a forgiving fit, extremely warm, and has an outdoorsy look that lets you get away with wearing them to apres-ski without looking like you’re wearing a sleeping bag. What to Look for in Insulated Pants Fill Amount The most important factor in choosing insulated pants (for most buyers, at least) is the fill, which determines how warm the pants are. The fill of a pant is measured in one of two ways: down weight or fill-power. Down weight means the actual weight of the down in the jacket (usually no more than a few ounces). Fill power gets a bit more technical, but really, it means how much the down can spread out in the jacket. The more it spreads out, the more room there is for each fiber to reach maximum fluff, which better traps heat. In general, a higher fill power means a warmer garment (assuming it still has the same down quality). Think of fill-power as the quality of the fill and down weight as the quantity. That means a low down weight could still be very warm if it has a high fill-power, or vice-versa. For outdoor winter wear, look for a pant with at least a 600 or 700 fill-power and at least 3 ounces of down. That’s a good base range; more than that will be very warm, less than that will be better for activities where you’re likely to generate your own heat (winter running, snowshoeing, etc.) Durability If you’re just planning to rock your insulated pants around the house on chilly mornings, there’s no need to worry about durability. But if you plan to wear them camping or winter hiking, you’ll want to choose an outer fabric durable enough to withstand sitting on rocks and brushing against branches. Every manufacturer will list the fabrics on an item listing, so it’s best to do a quick search to figure out if that fabric is tough enough to withstand the elements. Fabrics like rip-stop, nylon, and polyester are good durable (and water-resistant) options for the outer fabric. Packability A huge selling point of down pants is that they’re very packable. Down compresses very well, and many pants can be stuffed into their own pockets, making them easy to travel with or throw in a backpacking bag. Look for one that comes with a stuff sack if you’re planning to travel with your down pants. Just remember to store them outside of the stuff sack to preserve their maximum loft and avoid down migration (the down balling into lumps). Down fills are more packable than synthetic fills, but synthetic fills work better when wet. Features Some down pants are designed to be ultra-light and may lack features like pockets, zippers, or button-close waistbands. Those are great for lightening your backpack but may not work well for people who like being able to tuck their phones in their pockets or tighten their pants in heavy snow. It’s completely personal preference, but it may be the difference between whether you wear them often or they mostly sit on your shelf all winter. Frequently Asked Questions How do I know if I need insulated pants? There's a very simple test to determine if you need insulated pants: If it's cold outside, you could probably benefit from insulated pants. The main goal of insulated pants is to keep you warmer than you'd be in non-insulated pants, so they're appropriate for any fall or winter conditions. In our testing, we wore them for activities as extreme as winter hiking and as mellow as taking early morning Zoom calls in our sometimes chilly home office. Do I layer underneath insulated pants? Sure, if you want to. Insulated pants work exactly the same way as an insulated jacket: the insulation is a loose fiber (usually either duck or goose down or a similar synthetic equivalent) trapped between layers of fabric. If the fill is genuine down, it'll have a number with a slash through it—for example, 90/10 duck down. The first number is the percent down (the soft, non-feather fibers ducks and geese have under their feathers to keep them warm) and the second number is the percent feathers. Feathers don’t insulate well, but they’re hard to sift out. In general, insulated pants will be significantly warmer than non-insulated pants, since the layer of down traps your body heat. Thus, the short answer is that your down pants may keep you so warm that you don't need to layer underneath. But if you want to be warmer, by all means, wear a base layer underneath. Just make sure you wear a moisture-wicking base layer, so the fill doesn't get damp from perspiration. What are the best activities for insulated pants? The best activities for down pants are any cold-weather activities where you need extra warmth, but they're most useful for non-cardio activities like wearing them at night on camping trips, switching into during an outdoor apres-ski, or walking the dog very early in the morning. If you tend to get very warm during physical activities like snowboarding and snowshoeing, insulated pants can be a bit overkill for those. But if you tend to get super-cold on ski trips, by all means, rock down pants as your mid-layer on the slopes. How We Tested Most of the products in this review were tested at an elevation of at least 6,200 feet in the Sierra Nevada, during mountain hikes, early morning dog walks, or while backpacking in lower (but still chilly) conditions. For the few selections we weren't able to test, we looked at user reviews, materials, brand reputation, and expert recommendations. Why Trust TripSavvy Suzie Dundas is a Lake Tahoe-based writer, editor, and gear tester who spends plenty of time on the trails. She has more down jackets and pants than she does jeans and button-down shirts, and never misses an opportunity to spend time in nature—or to be warm. She's found no shortage of uses for her down pants: camping, on frigid ski days, or taking her dog for a quick walk after sunset. If there's such a thing as an insulated pant expert, she's it. Article Sources TripSavvy uses only high-quality, trusted sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial policy to learn more about how we keep our content accurate, reliable and trustworthy. Textile Exchange. "Responsible Down Standard (RDS)." Greenpeace. "Go PVC-Free." Was this page helpful? Thanks for letting us know! Share Pin Email Tell us why! Submit Continue to 5 of 8 below.