The Best Insulated Pants
Whether you are a beginner in a winter sport or a professional, the fact remains that you will need insulated pants. As the temperatures get lower, more insulation is required in order to remain comfortable outside. These pants have different features. Finding your perfect pair could be made easier if you are well educated about the features the manufacturers have to offer.
Every feature of your chosen alternative should accommodate your needs. In this buying guide, we will explain everything there is to know about insulated pants which will help you in finding the best ones that match your requirements. We listed the top ten pants in the market today. We are also including our experts’ suggestions that we have reviewed and rated.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 15 hrs of research
Great quality materials
Top Ten Insulated Pants
1. Arc'Teryx Theta
Great quality materials
Not as insulated as others on the list
Arc'teryx theta ar has made a great pant that can take you from a bluebird day to wet. They have it all with Gore-Tex construction, soft-shell fabric, and a lightweight fleece backer, topping it all off with plenty of storage.Read more
When it comes to insulation ski pants the only two things you should look for in their materials is the insulation and the ventilation. The insulation is particularly hard to get right, but you are welcome to try. You should first consider the temperatures of your destination. After that, you should choose pants which are recommended for that temperature. If you, however, choose pants with more insulation than required, you would end up in your sweat for the rest of the day. The Sabre pants can take you from a warm day and cold and wet, easily.
Arc'Teryx Theta men's insulated pants have many features that help with the clothes being weather resistant including an elastic waist to keep out snow or rain and keeping your core warm. Another great feature that helps the pants stay weather-resistant include the full zip layers for your ankles to help put your boots on and off and help to keep out snow or water from your shoes.
This pair of pants the Arc'Teryx Theta is made from 100% nylon which is incredibly durable. This pair of pants material helps the pants being resistance to abrasion as well as making the pants waterproof and durable.
The most important thing when it comes to waterproof properties is that the outer shell material is made from a smooth fabric which would shed the water instead of capturing the moisture. Some materials, such as fleece are pleasant to touch, but they are inappropriate for the production of insulation pants because of this reason. With the Arc'Teryx Sabre pants, you wouldn’t have this problem.
2. Mountain Hardwear Returnia
Not suitable for extreme temperatures
These Mountain Hardwear insulated snowpants are available in 6 different designs and colors. This California Company has been producing such high-tech outdoors clothing for years. It is now part of the Columbia brand which is why they use similar technology in manufacturing their products. However, Mountain Hardwear’s products come at a lower price. Currently, these pants are on sale if you get them directly from the manufacturer’s company, the link is provided in this review.Read more
These Mountain Hardwear Returnia pants are thigh vented and have powered cuffs that are also lined with fleece lined pockets to keep you cozy and warm in colder weather situations.
This pair of pants are known for being reliable water and windproof shell pants that are zippered with thigh vents to keep you dry and cool. These pants are great any type of weather condition and help keep out any snow or rain.
The material which is being used for the production of these pants is 100% nylon shell, which means that they are 100% waterproof and highly breathable. The material used for insulation is fleece which is a very lightweight material.
These pants have an adjustable waist which you could customize in order to fit you perfectly. They also have zippered vents on the thigh which add up to the breathability properties. There are also hand warmer pockets which are fleece-lined for greater warmth. Although there is a possibility that snow gets in and get you wet, so don’t forget to zip it every time. The internal powder cuffs are nice additional features for sealing out the snow. The ambush edge guards are placed on the inside of the lower leg.
3. Columbia Men's Ridge 2 Run II
Lots of additional pockets
The Columbia Men's Ridge 2 Run II Insulated Omni Heat Ski Snowboard Pant is made up of twill nylon and a special blend light polyester. The Columbia Sportswear Company is known for its outerwear, sportswear, and footwear. Columbia Sportswear distributes its products in more than 72 countries where they operate their own 13 000 retailer chains.Read more
For maximum comfort, they also feature reinforced cuff guards with internally insulated leg gaiters to help you stay warm and to get the size of pant that you desire. The Columbia Men's Ridge 2 Run II is wonderful for outdoor weather sports such as skiing, snowboarding, hiking or even aerobics in the cold.
This pair of men's insulated pants are fully seam-sealed with leg venting that helps for easy temperature regulation. These Omni-Tech pants are waterproof and very breathable being excellent in any weather condition keeping you dry and cozy.
These Columbia Men's Ridge 2 Run II have an outer shell that is made from 100% nylon twill fabric and 100% polyester Thermal Reflective Microtex lining.
The Columbia Men's Ridge 2 Run II pants feature leg vents and internal leg gaiters to help with keeping you warm in the colder weather. They also have adjustable waist tabs to help with making sure you get the best and fitted comfort. They have reinforced articulated knees and even zippered hand pockets, back pockets, and cargo pockets to help hold any smaller valuables.
4. Salomon Iceglory
Inner leg vents
Relatively low insulation
The Iceglory pants from Salomon have enough design options for each taste. They have a nice design with removable suspenders and wide leggings. Although they are wide enough so you can fit your skiing boots underneath, there is not enough space for snowboarding boots which are a bit larger. This pair of pants has also removable suspenders which is pretty useful if you want to redirect them to everyday usage, in case the winter gets unbearable, such as this winter in some parts of the world. Salomon is a well known and a safe brand for skiing equipment, so you couldn’t go wrong with it. Salomon uses the European size chart system, so if you decide on purchasing, make sure you get a size down from the sizing system of the US.Read more
As for the ventilation, they have inner leg vents with mesh backing which would allow your skin to breath if your body temperature rises too much. It is important to mention that even though your pants get very wet, you wouldn’t feel a thing on your skin, which is pretty impressive comparing to similar models.
These Salomon Iceglory women's insulated pants being made from nylon helps make them waterproof and weatherproof helping out while you are snowboarding, skiing, or even just adventuring in the snow. They have a warm fleece waistband facing which also helps to keep out the snow from your pants and help you stay dry.
The external shell of these pants is made from a combination of 86% Nylon 14% Elastane. The elastane, however, is responsible for its stretching properties. This is one of the rarely pants that have such a feature. This feature allows you the freedom of movement in every direction and focuses on your sport instead of being restricted for the sake of your warmth. So, if you have ever wished for insulated snowpants as comfortable as your everyday pants, this is the right choice for you!
As additional features, the Salomon pants have waistband facing which has moisture wicking properties keeping them free from any snow or water. This is very useful for activities such as skiing and snowboarding since having snow up your back is a very common incident. There are also waist adjustments and a possibility to attach a matching jacket to the pants.
5. Columbia Bugaboo Pants II
Water resistance up to some point
When it comes to design, Colombia rarely makes mistakes. Their products are with great design and very little details. This time they come in strong blue color which looks very nice in the snow. However, looking for the matching jacket would take a while. The fitting is also good. Unlike some pants which require you to wear underwear because the feeling on the skin is unpleasant, these pants work great against your skin.
Although they work excellent on their own, they are perfect to combine with a lighter shell pair of pants which would provide the user with a second set of protection. The insulation also makes them a little bulky, but they are following the line of your body so they don’t look baggy.Read more
These columbia bugaboo ii pants are lightly insulated Bugaboo ski or snowboard pants that are known for delivering protection and the perfect amount of warmth for cold or wet conditions.
The technology used for the production process is Omni-tech which makes these pants highly breathable and waterproof. This makes them perfect for cold and wet weather conditions.
The fabrics, which are used for the production of these Columbia Bugaboo II pants is a combination of polyester and nylon. The shell is made from 100% nylon Legacy twill and the lining from 100% polyester. The insulation, however, is made from a combination of polyester and 40g microtemp insulation.
As additional features, these Columbia pants have Velcro in order to allow the user to fit large boots underneath his pants. They also fit over snowboard boots to keep out water or snow. There are also Velcro attachments on the outside of the waist which allow you to attach a matching jacket to them and keeps you dry. The waist tabs are also adjustable.
Many different sizes
Not many color options
This great durable PANLTCY Men's Winter Warm Utility Down Pants Sassy High Waisted Nylon Compression Snow Trousers are known for their water-resistant materials and keep you nice and warm in the colder weather seasons. These pants come in several different size options for men, women and even junior children to make sure they fit your body accordingly.Read more
This pair of insulated snowpants are insulated with super quality down feather. The insulation helps keep you warm and cozy and is made with fluffy soft feathered stems.
These pants are made from a splashing water repellent fabric to make sure that water does not leak through the pants and will keep your body or clothing beneath dry while you are wearing them. These PANLTCY pants also come with pockets to keep your personal items in and have a rose pulling design which makes the pants look very stylish and make sure the pants are very fitted to your body.
These pants are made from polyester fabric and are water-resistant, moisture resistant, they are light and thin and very easy to clean. There is down feather interlay with 4 layers that lockdown velvet and help the pants stay water and weather resistant. They are goose down with small fluffy feather stems to keep the pants soft and comfortable while wearing them.
These PANLTCY Men's Winter Warm Utility Down Pants have great features including an elastic waist to make sure the pants fit you nicely and keep out any snow or wet conditions. There is a middle waist design to help make sure the size of pants are comfortable while wearing them, the pants have a slim design and a windproof elastic trousers foot to keep your feet and legs dry while you are out in the colder weather.
7. Trailside Supply Co.
Easy to wash
More size options needed
This pair of Trailside Supply Co. pants are made from 100% polyester with shell lining and has a front zipper with several different size options. The multiple size options are great if you are planning on wearing more layers below or even if you want a perfect tight fit. These pants are very durable and easy to wash as they are machine washable and there is no need to dry clean them.Read more
These Trailside Supply Co. are made with fleece lining and elastic waist with adjustable sides to help you in case of light rainfall or even snowfall.
These pants are water-repellent and windproof to be used for outdoor pants They are designed to keep you comfortable during hiking, fishing, or hunting in any type of weather condition.
This Trailside Supply Co. pants are made from a strong and durable material including a light Nylex tricot backer that is insulated and waterproof to keep you dry and warm in colder weather.
These pants have standard fitting which gives you plenty of room for movement and if you are wearing several layers it is great for adding bulky items for under the pants. They come with an adjustable waist and even boot gaiters to fit your boots underneath them comfortably and to keep your boots dry, waterproof, and warm. There are even boot zippers with guards for you to get your boots on and off easily and to keep moisture and water out of them.
8. White Sierra Men's 32-Inch Inseam
Internal waistband adjustment tabs
Gaiters with elastic and reinforced scuff guard
Too much extra area in the legs
Articulated knees allow for a more comfortable fit and provide the ability of movement. This is very useful for activities such as skiing and snowboarding since having snow in your boots or jacket cannot be enjoyable. Another wonderful feature is the front hand warmer pockets that help when your hands or body even get a little cold.Read more
These White Sierra Men's 32-Inch Inseam is made with insulated water repellent cloth to keep you warm in all types of weather conditions.
This pair of pants is known for reducing your exposure to the sun as they are made from UPF sun protection fabric. They are lightweight nylon which makes them weather and water-resistant as this fabric finish helps them dry quickly.
These White Sierra Men's 32-Inch Inseam insulted pant is wonderful for the winter and colder temperatures as they are made with waterproof fabric and 120 grams polyfill insulation. White Sierra is a family-owned company who make high quality and affordable outdoor apparel for all ages since 1979.
As additional features, the White Sierra Men's 32-Inch Inseam pants have an internal adjustable waist to help with more comfortable fitting and keep you warm without water leaking in. There is also gaiters with elastic and reinforced scuff guards to help keep all of the snow or damp temperatures out.
9. Spyder Dare
These Spyder Dare pants are available in one black color, therefore, the silky lining and the soft fabric shell used on the exterior might not be visible from the picture. Even though the main reason for the insulation pants is their insulation, it sure is a nice feeling that they are cozy and pleasant on the skin. There is also a rear bib panel which would keep your back warm and would provide additional comfort when performing sports activities.Read more
All in all, if insulation is your highest concern, the Spyder Dare pants are the way to go. They will without a doubt provide you great insulation for any weather conditions. The price is also very competitive comparing it to other products with similar features.
This pair of pants is known for its durability in any type of weather condition. They are suitable for people who are always cold or who are planning on skiing in very frigid weather conditions. The insulation is measured by the type of material and the amount of puffiness inside.
When it comes to insulation ski pants the only two things you should look for in their materials is the insulation and the ventilation. The insulation is particularly hard to get right, but you are welcome to try. You should first consider the temperatures of your destination. After that, you should choose pants which are recommended for that temperature. If you, however, choose pants with more insulation than required, you would end up in your sweat for the rest of the day. These Spyder Dare pants are recommended for extremely cold weather conditions.
As additional pockets, the Spyder Dare pants have side pockets for warming your hands in case you forget your gloves. Or you could use them for storing your ski ticket inside. It is also convenient that the Spider pants could be matched with a jacket. This means that they could be snapped together which is convenient if you are trying to keep the snow away from your clothes.
10. Mountain Hardwear AP
Insulation and water-resistance combine to make these perfect for cold wet conditions
Made with durable materials
Inseam might be too long for some
Mountain Hardwear’s Pants are perfect for your next cold-weather expedition. These pants are made up of a combination of 75% cotton, 23% nylon, 2% elastane. As many testers stated, these pants can simply be stored in an outdoor pack and quickly put on whenever an extra layer of warm comfort is needed.Read more
These pants are heavily insulated and they maintain a lightweight fit and feel.
These mountain hardwear ap pants are made for any type of weather condition. The main material nylon helps for the pants to be water resistant as well as wind resistant to keep out any type of harsh weather conditions.
These pants are made from Canvas, Cotton, Elastane, and Nylon. To ensure that these cold weather pants have plenty of durability and utility, Mountain Hardwear reinforced the already rugged 20-denier ripstop nylon at the seat and knees. Reviewers also found that the addition of an elastic waist with an attached webbing belt created an easily adjustable fit. That fit allowed for full freedom of movement during various outdoor activities.
This is the case because Mountain Hardwear was able to design these to only weigh approximately 51-grams or 1.8 ounces. That lightweight fit combines with full side-zippered legs as well as an easily compressible build to give you excellent versatility. As many testers stated, these pants can simply be stored in an outdoor pack and quickly put on whenever an extra layer of warm comfort is needed.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
In this buying guide, we are looking only into pants which provide insulation to your body. This means that they will keep you warm at a certain temperature. In this context, you should focus on the destination you are traveling to and the weather conditions there. This is very important since if you get pants with high insulation properties you would constantly feel hot while wearing them and you wouldn’t feel comfortable.
Or if you get pants with not enough insulation, you would end up freezing, so your whole trip would be ruined due to “bad weather conditions”. In fact, there are not bad weather conditions; there are only inappropriate types of clothing. In order to avoid these situations always prepare for the weather; not more, not less.
If you are not sure when or where are you going to use your insulation pants, you should balance between the insulation and the ventilation properties. More about ventilation you can learn in further in this guide.
Another important factor to consider when it comes to insulation is your personal heat preferences. There are some people who prefer increased temperatures, while others are always cold and can’t stand the winter temperatures. If you are a “hot” person, make sure you focus on the ventilation, rather than the insulation. This way, you wouldn’t feel stifled inside. In this case, another great idea for you would be the unlined pants which are allowing maximum breathability. This also makes them more lightweight, therefore perfect for backcountry skiing.
Have you ever noticed that birds have no trouble staying in the water at extremely low temperature? The first thing we should mention when discussing down insulation is that this is used only for optimal weather conditions when the temperatures are really low. Otherwise, you might feel challenged not to take off your pants and ski in your thermal underwear. The down options on the market are duck and geese down and it has consisted of a combination of down and feathers.
Down, however, is not all with equal quality. There is down which is more consistent in composition and other which is not. This is called fill power of the down material. If you are looking for a high quality down material you should stick to the range above 700. However, be advised that down insulated pants are very expensive and hard to maintain. If you choose to purchase down insulated pants, make sure you take them to a professional instead of cleaning them by yourself. If the fill power of the down is not stated on the label or by the distributor, you should check the fluffiness of the material. The down created from the most mature birds is fluffier and has more dead air between feathers. This dead air is trapping more heat, thus making your pants more resilient to cold weather.
Since synthetic insulation is cheaper than down, most suggestions we provided are using this technology for creating warmth. The synthetic insulation is providing the user a similar amount of warmth as down even though it is made from polyester fibers. Its biggest advantage, other than the price is its ability to trap heat once it gets wet. Even though it is not pleased that you are wearing wet pants, if somehow they do get wet, at least they won’t lose their healing properties.
There is also a rate of synthetic insulation which varies between 40 and 120 grams. With this being the case, the heavier the weight of the pants, the warmer they are. So if the synthetic insulation rating is not stated, simply check the weight of the pants.
A nice example for a high-quality synthetic insulation rating is Prima Loft technology which some of our suggested models have. The Prima Loft is indeed a number one when it comes to synthetic insulation. It is compared to down insulation filled with goose feathers with a filling density of 500.
All in all, synthetic insulated pants are usually the better choice, except if you are practicing sport on extreme temperatures such as -20 degrees Celsius. Everything above this temperature should be satisfied with synthetic insulation. Also if you are involved in activities where the moisture is higher, such as hiking in the marine climate you are also recommended to go with the synthetic alternative.
You have probably owned a fleece jacket before. It has a nice feeling against your skin right? Fortunately, it is used for manufacturing insulation pants as well. It is a breathable material which will keep you warm and cozy inside. However, it is also a fabric which is highly absorbent which makes it unsuitable for manufacturing ski clothes. Nevertheless, companies have decided to combine these fabrics with a waterproof shell which will make a less expensive and a product with higher quality. Having this in mind, fleece pants are as good as the outer shell is waterproof.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
When looking at investing in a pair of insulated pants, make sure you try them on before purchasing as you want to make sure they fit comfortably. You want your insulated snowpants to fit comfortably around your waist and reach down to your ankles, so you get max protection during the cold weather.
Other Factors to Consider
The maintaining of synthetic pants is also easier than the maintenance of the down material. You should only read the instructions on the label and you would be fine.
Other than the Prima Loft, there also other synthetic insulation brands which are considered as quality ones such as:
Thinsulate – is known to provide warmth while also maintaining the thinness of the material. This is the thinnest insulation material currently on the market. Thinsulate is very suitable for those who are not keen on the bulky look.
Heatseeker – is an insulation technology most commonly used from the North Face brand.
Coreloft – provides synthetic insulation and is characteristic of the Arc’teryx brand. It provides excellent insulation and not so excellent water resistance properties.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: Do the insulated pants all come with waterproof material?
All insulation pants which are suggested and rated in this buying guide are water-resistant. However, the waterproof rating they have is quite different in each and every one of them. Their waterproof rating depends on many factors, one of them being the outer shell fabric which is used in the manufacturing process. To start from the top-down, pants with the highest waterproof rating are made from Gore-Tex materials or event fabrics and they are considered as hard-shell pants. There are not many hardshell or softshell pants that are also insulated pants. Hardshell pants usually focus on breathability properties.
Nevertheless, you probably don’t need to choose a pants alternative with highest water-resistant properties. In fact, you should also compare this feature with your preferences and the destination you are planning on using them for, but also consider the sport you are into. In this case, the region where you are skiing, for instance, would play a great role. Dry and cold areas suggest that you could get pants with lower water resistance rating. The wet and cold areas, on the other hand, would require that you spend a little more than expected and get pants with high insulation and high water resistance ratings.
If you are going to spend most of your wintertime in an area with harsh weather conditions, there is no point on saving and you should certainly require pants with high quality that you can rely on to make you feel comfortable and dry during the whole day.
q: If I buy an expensive insulated pair of pants does that mean they will be better quality?
All of the products on our guide are all a great well known high-quality pair or insulated pairs. If you look at all of the products in our top ten list you will see each product's quality depends rather on what you are looking for or what you will be using them for. The pricing for each product differs but still various around 50-$100 for a great high-quality pair or insulated pant. For a product that will help you stay warm or even truly stay waterproof you will need to spend a bit more as their use is very important. Take a look through the list and keep your eye on which product features the right qualities for you.
q: What are the benefits or downsides to have down pants?
Unfortunately, down pants are not breathable, therefore they are not recommended for mild temperatures. They are, however, recommended for mountaineering on high altitudes or snowboarding or skiing as they are also highly compressible and durable. Another weakness of the down insulated snowpants is the moisture. If the down itself gets in touch with any amount of water, it loses its ability to trap heat and become just fluffy pants without any useful features. In order for this not to happen, the shell is usually made from a waterproof material which prevents water from coming in, and it is protecting its insulation properties.
q: Is it better to have fleece insulation?
The main downside to the fleece material is that it is not compressible so it is not suitable for backpacking trips since it would take much space. If you choose a fleece alternative, make sure you also choose a high-quality membrane which will keep you away from winds and moisture.
Fleece insulation pants are mainly made for mild weather conditions, rather than very low temperatures. They also have more competitive prices comparing to other insulation types. If you are planning on using fleece insulation for lower temperatures, make sure you use a highly thermal base layer of clothes in order to compensate.
q: Why are insulated pants needed for outdoor cold weather?
If however, you are not looking forward to the snow and the temperatures it brings, make sure you get as more insulation as you can. Another option for these people is to wear thermal underwear under the pants which would provide them additional comfort and heat. As for the materials which are used for insulating the pants, there are different synthetic blends or down options.
The synthetic blends are the more common preference among skiers. The ones who prefer hiking in the mountains, however, prefer more natural materials such as down because it creates more heat. Hikers need more heat during their activity since usually, it requires less effort and more hours spent out in the cold. The skiers, however, require more breathability because they lose more energy which causes more heat to be created.