A handful of years back, while browsing the impossibly huge (and since shuttered, RIP) flagship shop of Japanese outdoor brand Montbell in downtown Portland, Oregon, I came across a rack of down pants. I’d never seen such a thing before. I mean, a puffy jacket, sure. But a puffy jacket for your legs? On a whim I purchased a pair, and in the years since they’ve become an essential part of my packlist for backpacking, bikepacking, ski touring, backcountry hiking, car camping, hiking, and other types of trips around the world. I even wear them around the house with such frequency I’ve begun to wear through the seat insulation from too much desk chair time.
In recent years many North American and European brands have caught on, offering more diversity in the field of down pants—and even shorts and skirts—than ever before. From American-made and PFC-free to partial length variations, the following 13 pairs are our top picks for the best down pants and insulated pants for keeping cozy this winter, both at home and in the elements.
[Down not your thing? Check out our top picks for best fleece pants]
Originally introduced to Japan in 2004, then discontinued, and now back again with lighter, more compressible fabric, the Montbell Light Down Pants are the most packable on this list and feature an elastic waist and that’s about it, not to mention 85 grams of water-resistant, 800-fill down. They're barebones and better for it.
Down Fill: 800
Price: $209 SHOP NOW
The pants from Snow Peak’s flexible insulated range bring a soft-to-the-touch feel that’s made from a recycled polyester that doesn't scream tech pants. Though lacking any weather treatment, the fabric is stated to be both windproof and water-resistant, with wide baffles filled with more recycled polyester to lock in heat. The storm cuffs around the ankles aren’t a replacement for a proper set of gaiters, but they’ll certainly keep the chill from creeping in.
Women’s: Unisex sizing
Down Fill: Poly fill
Price: $230 SHOP NOW
The expedition-ready pants from The North Face’s Summit Series are one of the most serious pieces in this roundup. The L3 Pant’s 1,000-fill down is both super lightweight and water-resistant. Our pick is for the high-vis flare orange colorway, but the peak purple is equally bold if you’ve got the confidence to rock it. If this pair somehow doesn’t offer enough warmth for your needs, look to the L5 and L6 pants to layer up on top.
Down Fill: 1000
Price: $500 SHOP NOW
Mountain Hardwear worked with a serious roster of professional athletes to develop a down pant capable of moving with dynamic, unrestricted motion. The nylon fabric is woven with 18% elastane to provide serious amounts of stretch (for comparison’s sake, your average pair of stretch denim might only use 1-5%). The stylishly slim cut pants use bluesign-approved 700-fill down for warmth that’s contained by a unique zigzag baffling that's the result of welds that are more durable than the typical stitched option.
Down Fill: 700
Price: $250 SHOP NOW
Another pant version of a best-selling jacket, the Nano Puff Pant is made with 100% recycled polyester shell fabric with DWR water repellent treatment, and insulated with 55% postconsumer recycled PrimaLoft Gold synthetic filling. With belt loops, a zippered back pocket and reinforced nylon seat, the versatility of these extends beyond many other lightweight pants on our list.
Women’s: Not Really
Down Fill: 60 gram PrimaLoft Gold
Price: $179 SHOP NOW
For an obscure Japanese-made option, check out this down pant from Taion. A grid of 650-fill down squares locks in warmth on the street-style-friendly pant that we’d proudly serve looks around town in, preferably with a pair of fresh Gore-Tex lined footwear. The matching down cardigan is very much optional, but recommended.
Down Fill: 650
Price: $159 SHOP NOW
Made by hand in Seattle by legendary down outfitter Feathered Friends, these adventure-ready pants feature full-length side zippers and 900+ fill goose down, making them ideal for quick layering—you could put them on and take them off without unlacing your boots if you wanted to, which adds a small but important convenience factor that's crucial during cold weather activities.
Down Fill: 900+
Price: $249 SHOP NOW
For those who didn’t attend Outdoor Gear 101, Eddie Bauer is the OG down brand that put out the first down jacket in 1936. As part of the brand’s backcountry-tested First Ascent line, the Evertherm Down Pants are the continuing evolution of that history. Featuring a unique down sheet that prevents insulation migration, these down filled pants have been tested from the Himalayas to the Cascades to prove their warmth. Water won’t likely find its way through sealed seams nor the heavy duty DWR treatment either.
Down Fill: 30g
Price: $199 SHOP NOW
Stuffed with 160 grams of the highest quality 800-fill, ethically sourced, fluorocarbon-free, hydrophobic European Goose Down, these down pants from UK-based Rab are designed to be worn over a baselayer around base camp. A durable Pertex outer material and two-way zipper make these dependable in a range of conditions.
Down Fill: 800 RDS
Weight: 13.2 oz
Price: $200 SHOP NOW
Hailing from Iceland, 66North knows a thing or two about keeping warm. The insulation found in the Laki pants is Polartec Alpha instead of traditional down, which is designed to provide warmth but breath, so you can wear them during high-energy activities like hiking or ski touring. Polartec Power Shield Pro panels on the knees, back, and inside leg compliment that trait by provideing stretch for mobility. Finally, a set of standard belt loops is a nice inclusion for those who don't like integrated belts or the drawcords found on other down pants.
Down Fill: Polartec Alpha
Price: $275 SHOP NOW
We’re getting into quasi-pant territory now. The Lyngen Down Knickers from Norwegian outfitter Norrona are made with recycled nylon with a PFC-free DWR coating. They end just below the knee—or, just above the boot if you’re a glass half full type of person (or a snowboarder or skier). With a side zip, these are ideal for tossing on over shell pants to warm up while ski touring.
Down Fill: 850 RDS
Weight: 7 oz
Price: $239 SHOP NOW
California brand Holden always does down wear with an extra touch of style. The Hybrid Down Fitted Jogger pants combine 600-fill down and four-way stretch fleece for a silhouette that creates a stark contrast against the arctic expedition vibe some other options give off. If ever there was a down pant fit for aprés on Main Streets in Park City, Steamboat, or Aspen, this is it.
Down Fill: 600
Price: $250 SHOP NOW
The concept of a down-filled skirt may sound nonsensical at first, but they’re a smart way to add a touch more warmth over any pair of pants or winter-weight leggings. A helping of 650-fill down insulates the polyester skirt, which is cut longer innthe back and features zippers at each side to allow for unrestricted motion. (If you’re looking for a super lightweight option, check out this 119-gram option from Montbell)
Down Fill: 650
Weight: 11.6 oz
Price: $159 SHOP NOW