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
Top 9 Insulated Pants
1. Arc'teryx Beta SL
If you are willing to spare no expense on something that is made from high-quality materials, the Beta SL is one of your best options currently out there on the market. Composed of premium weather-resistant fabrics that are effective as they are comfortable, this design is a great choice.Read more
The most notable feature of this design is that it is composed of Gore-Tex, which is where water comes to die. These lightweight materials work to block out rain and wind, as well as hold in heat to keep you warm when the temperatures start to plunge.
The Beta SL also doesn’t get bogged down in extra features. It boasts a minimalist design with limited pockets and a gusseted crotch that allows for a full range of motion when hiking, skiing, or just building a snowman. Plus, it is incredibly lightweight and won’t weigh you down with geared up to take on the elements.
If you are in the market for something that will really keep you warm when on a chilly outdoor hike, you can’t go wrong with the Arc'teryx Beta SL. While it may come in at a pretty steep price point, a wide variety of sizing options for a perfect fit and high-quality materials makes it worth every penny.
2. Mountain Hardwear Returnia
Not suitable for extreme temperatures
These Mountain Hardwear insulated snow pants are available in 6 different designs and colors. This California Company has been producing such high-tech outdoor 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
The 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 conditions. 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 for 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 very lightweight.
They have an adjustable waist that 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 that 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 Ridge 2 Run III
Limited sizing options
The Ridge 2 Run from Columbia has seen some changes over the years, and their latest iteration, Ridge 2 Run III is the best version yet. It is made from super-lightweight materials that won’t weigh you down and allows for a full range of motion when out on the trails. We also love that it is made from a blend of materials to keep your legs nice and dry when the weather is cold.Read more
What we loved most about this design is that it uses Columbia’s patented Omni-Tech reflective materials that work to keep heat inside and cold outside without weighing your down with bulky materials. The inside lining has a metallic dot pattern, similar to emergency blankets, to reflect escaped body heat right back at you.
One thing that users really love about this option is the style. It boasts a unique style with cargo pockets on the side of the thighs and sharp blue trim throughout the garment. It also boasts blue patches at the base of the leg, which provides a unique and stylish flair not found in many other designs.
If you are in the market for something that comes from a trusted brand that worked to keep you warm and unencumbered, the Ridge 2 Run III is a great choice. Not only does it boast a stylish design, but it also comes in at a price point that won’t break the bank.
4. Salomon Icefancy
Inner leg vents
Relatively low insulation
The Icefancy 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.Read more
As for the ventilation, they have inner leg vents with mesh backing. 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 Icefancy insulated pants, being made from nylon, are waterproof and weatherproof. They have a warm fleece waistband facing and help you stay dry. The external shell is made from a combination of 86% Nylon 14% Elastane. The Elastane, however, is responsible for its stretching properties. This is one of the rare pants that have such a feature. This feature allows you the freedom of movement in every direction.
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.Read more
These 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.
The fabrics are 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.
These feature have Velcro in order to allow the user to fit large boots underneath. 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.
6. Carhartt Shoreline
If you hate the idea of stiff and unforgiving fabrics that hinder your full range of motion, this design from Carhartt is designed for people on the move. It has a few key features to help you create the perfect fit that won’t hold you back. In true Carhartt from it is composed of materials that are built tough to keep you warm in some pretty harsh climates.Read more
The Shoreline is designed to keep you dry when working in heavy rain down at the docks. This means that it will be the perfect option for those working in cold and wet conditions, or for those that just want to go outside and build a snowman. The exterior shell is made from waterproof materials that help water roll off of the surface to keep your legs dry.
We also like that it is composed of materials to help help your lags warm as well as dry. One great feature of this design is that it has Ankle-to-knee zippers that make it easier to pop on your snow boots or to simply adjust the fit of the leg for a more comfortable and unique fit as you need it.
Hundreds of reviews and satisfied workers found that the Shoreline is one of the best options when it comes to keeping you dry and warm. Plus, due to the fact that is made to hold up to construction sites, it is made from quality materials that will hold up quite well over the years.
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 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.Read more
The 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 and designed to keep you comfortable during hiking, fishing, or hunting in any type of weather condition. Made from a strong and durable material including a light Nylex tricot backer that is insulated and waterproof.
These pants have standard fitting which gives you plenty of room for movement. They come with an adjustable waist and even boot gaiters to fit your boots underneath comfortably. There are boot zippers with guards for you to get your boots on and off easily and to keep moisture and water out of them.
8. Helly-Hansen Legendary
Offered in many colors
Baggier than expected
If movement is your number one concern, this design from Helly-Hansen is worth checking out! Users love that it has a very simple frame that is lightweight and allows for an easy frame of motion. Plus, it is constructed from materials design to keep you warm and dry when working or playing outdoors for long periods of time.Read more
The very first thing that we noticed about this design is that it is insulated with Primaloft Black Insulation that works to wick away rain and snow while keeping warm air locked inside. Users also like that it has articulated knees that prevent the fabric from bunching as you move for a better range of motion.
What makes this design ideal is that it is composed of materials that don’t feel too stiff like some of the other options out there on the market. The materials boast a 2-way stretch so you will retrain a full range of motion while keeping dry and warm. Plus, reinforced hems in high impact areas means that they are much more durable than some of the other designs we have seen.
If you are willing to spare no expense on a pair of pants that are designed to keep you warm and dry without hindering your full range of motion, this design from Helly-Hansen is an excellent choice. Users love that they are soft and comfortable enough to wear all day long!
9. 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
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. These pants are heavily insulated while also being lightweight.Read more
The main material is nylon which grants water and wind resistance. To ensure that these cold-weather pants have plenty of durability, 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 granted an easily adjustable fit. That fit allowed for full freedom of movement during various outdoor activities.
The lightweight fit combines full side-zippered legs as well as an easily compressible build to give you excellent versatility.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
When looking at investing in a pair of insulated pants, make sure you try them on as you want to make sure they fit comfortably. You want your insulated snow pants to fit comfortably around your waist and you want the length to reach your ankles, so you get max protection during cold weather.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: Do insulated pants all come with waterproof material?
All insulation pants on our list are water-resistant. However, the waterproof rating they have is quite different. 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 and they are considered as hard-shell pants. There are not many hardshell or softshell pants that are also insulated pants.
q: What is the best base layer for extreme cold?
The key to staying warm when the temperatures plunge is holding in heat. This means that selecting a base layer that is made from heat-retaining materials is the most important thing to keep in mind. The Force Classic Thermal Base Layer from Carhartt is an excellent example of a great base layer. It is composed of waffle-knit polyester that works to wick away moisture and trap heat inside. A good base layer fits tightly to your skin and doesn’t feel too heavy or bulky.
The best materials for base layers include waffle-knit polyester as well as Merino wool. The reason Merino wool is ideal is that it is super soft and lightweight, and works to wick away moisture while retaining heat.
q: Is it better to have fleece insulation?
The main downside to fleece material is that it is not compressible so it is not suitable for backpacking trips since it would take much space.
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.