10 Best Down Pants: Compare & Save

down pants

Mountain Hardwear

Every avid outdoorsman and woman knows the value of a nice down garment. Your down jacket or vest is likely one of the warmest and most packable layers you own, making it an essential piece of gear for virtually any cold-weather adventure, but have you considered the benefits of a pair of down pants?

When it comes to keeping yourself toasty with the best of the best gear, why neglect your bottom half? Our top list of the best down pants will ensure you stay effectively warm out there from head to toe, no matter what your favorite winter activities may be.

What Are The Best Down Pants?

Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer Down Pant Amazon Customer Reviews
  • 800-fill RDS-certified, lightweight, breathable down (90% goose down, 10% goose feather)
  • Impressively lighteweight at 9.6 ounces
  • Compresses to a super packable size, stuffing into an integrated pocket
Price: $187.46 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Rab Argon Down Pant Amazon Customer Reviews
  • RDS-certified 800-fill goose down
  • Durable Pertex Microlight outer provides solid abrasion resistance
  • Fluorocarbon free Hydrophobic Down developed in conjunction with Nikwax is particularly water resistant
Price: $199.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
SITKA Gear Men's Kelvin Lite Down Packable Hunting Pants Amazon Customer Reviews
  • 900 fill Primaloft Gold insulation is lightweight, compressible, and insulates when wet
  • 3/4 length of the pant is designed to sit just below your knee pads and above your boot, and reduces bulk and weight when packed
  • 7/8th length side zippers allow for easy on and off action without having to remove your boots
Price: $299.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Western Mountaineering Flight Down Pant Amazon Customer Reviews
  • 850+ Fill power goose down
  • Gore Windstopper fabric protects from wind and moisture on the backside and knees where you need it most
  • Full length side zips for easy layering and venting
Price: $315.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Naturehike Goose Down Pants Amazon Customer Reviews
  • 700 fill power premium white goose down
  • Full length side-leg zippers for easy layering and venting
  • Extra filling in the knees and backside for added cold defense when kneeling or sitting
Price: $93.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Naturehike compression down pants Amazon Customer Reviews
  • 750 Fill power goose down insulation
  • Impressively lightweight and compressible at just 8.8 ounces
  • Shell is built from abrasion and weather resistant 20D 400T nylon
Price: $51.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Mountain Hardwear Compressor Pant Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Synthetic Thermal.Q™ Elite insulation mimics the structure of down
  • Synthetic insulation is more water-resistant and will still insulate when wet
  • Reinforced in the seat and knees for extra durability in abrasion-prone areas
Price: $131.21 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Tapasimme Unisex Thickened Ultralight Down Pants Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Quilted puffer goose down pants
  • Treated for water and wind resistance
  • Features hand pockets and hidden hip pocket
Price: $59.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Jack Wolfskin Women's Atmosphere Pants Amazon Customer Reviews
  • 700 fill power 90/10 duck down insulation
  • Robust micro Guard synthetic fiber insulation at the wear-prone areas around the knees and seat
  • Ripstop exterior is resistant to water and wind
Price: $243.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Flygo Women's Packable Compression Down Pant Amazon Customer Reviews
  • 90% goose down, 10% feather
  • Nylon shell for abrasion/water resistance and soft polyester lining
  • Elastic drawstring waist and elastic closure around the ankles eliminates drafts
Price: $69.88 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Our Unbiased Reviews
  1. 1. Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer Down Pant

    Pros:
    • 800-fill RDS-certified, lightweight, breathable down (90% goose down, 10% goose feather)
    • Impressively lighteweight at 9.6 ounces
    • Compresses to a super packable size, stuffing into an integrated pocket
    • Low-profile quilt pattern creates heat-trapping channels and also layer very nicely under a shell
    • Two hand pockets for convenient storage
    • Zippered lower legs for enhanced venting and layering ability
    • Zippered and snap closure at the front center of the pants makes them particularly adjustable
    • Several color options available
    Cons:
    • Fairly expensive option
    • Some might not like the aesthetic of the horizontal baffles - it's soley a matter of preference
    • Will not insulate when wet, so best worn as a base layer, or in dry environments

    The Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer Down Pant is without a doubt one of the top under and outerwear options available on the market for a full spectrum of cold-weather activities! If you’re seeking top performance and excellent quality, RDS-certified down, this is an excellent go-to.

    Implementing 800-fill RDS-certified, lightweight, breathable down (90% goose down, 10% goose feather), the Ghost Whisperer Pants are supremely toasty as well as impressively lightweight at just 9.6 ounces. The high fill power allows for less insulation overall, resulting in a remarkably high speed/low drag pair of down pants.

    Mountain Hardwear has built these pants with a low-profile quilt pattern that creates heat-trapping channels while also allowing the pants to layer very nicely underneath your outerwear. It’s a particularly streamlined design that makes these pants especially versatile in the sense that you can wear them under a shell, or on their own.

    Mountain Hardwear also offers the Ghost Whisperers in women’s sizing.

    Two hand pockets are present for convenient storage and there are furthermore zippered lower legs for enhanced venting and layering ability. These pants come on and off easily, provide a bit of personal storage, and compress super compact for easy transport – all while implementing top-notch insulation for a super warm pant overall.

    The fit is a lot more casual looking than most other down pants despite the fact this is about as high-performance as down pants get and the brand even offers these pants in a sharp color selection so you can choose the aesthetic that suits you best. Down pants are a technical piece of gear and far from a fashion statement, but it doesn’t hurt that the Ghost Whisperers have a pretty sharp look to them!

    All in all, Mountain Hardwear has engineered a pair of down pants worth buying for serious outdoorsmen and women seeking serious performance apparel for the most difficult of environmental conditions. No doubt an excellent value buy despite the high price tag.

  2. 2. Rab Argon Down Pant

    Pros:
    • RDS-certified 800-fill goose down
    • Durable Pertex Microlight outer provides solid abrasion resistance
    • Impressively warm for its weight at 13.2 ounces
    • Fluorocarbon free Hydrophobic Down developed in conjunction with Nikwax is particularly water resistant for a natural down insulation
    • Includes a stuff sack for easy packing
    • Removable, adjustable belt is integrated
    • Designed to be worn over a baselayer - great for hanging at basecamp and for sleeping
    Cons:
    • Fairly expensive
    • No color selection
    • Lack of pockets

    The Argon Down Pant by Rab is a fantastic option for use over a base layer. It is a solid choice for lounging around the campsite, wearing underneath your fishing waders, or for cozying up in your sleeping bag at the day’s end. These pants will still layer nicely for use underneath a shell, but they really excel when worn as a mid or outer layer.

    The Fluorocarbon free RDS-certified 800-fill hydrophobic goose down developed in conjunction with Nikwax is particularly water-resistant compared to most down alternatives, allowing these pants to effectively stand up to wetness better than the competition. A durable Pertex Microlight outer furthermore provides solid abrasion resistance, making these down pants the ultimate option when it comes to use as outerwear.

    Unfortunately, the Argon Pants have a lack of pockets – their only real downfall when it comes to use as an outer layer.

    Although there are lower weight alternatives, this is a fairly ultralight option at 13.2 ounces. The body of the 800 fill down insulation will furthermore compress really nicely, so these pants can compete with anything on the market when it comes to packability. Rab even includes a stuff sack for easy transport and storage.

    Stellar for outerwear, and absolutely suitable for use underneath a shell, the Argon Pants are a winner when it comes to warmth for weight, as well as packability!

  3. 3. Sitka Gear Men’s Kelvin Lite Down 3/4 Packable Hunting Pants

    Pros:
    • 900 fill Primaloft Gold insulation is lightweight, compressible, and insulates when wet
    • 3/4 length of the pant is designed to sit just below your knee pads and above your boot, and reduces bulk and weight when packed
    • 7/8th length side zippers allow for easy on and off action without having to remove your boots
    • Insulation is paneled in the high-compression area of the seat to avoid cold spots while sitting and better manage moisture and warmth
    • Integrated nylon belt enables a customized fit
    Cons:
    • If you're not utilizing these down pants as part of a layering system, the 3/4 length might be a bit awkward to wear on its own
    • The camouflage aesthetic is not for everyone if you're not utilizing these pants for their intended purpose of hunting
    • Expensive option

    The Sitka Gear Men’s Kelvin Lite Down 3/4 Packable Hunting Pants are built for truly top-tier performance in the field – offering exceptional mobility, insulation, and layering capabilities.

    Renowned as one of the top hunting outfitters in the industry when it comes to performance apparel, Sitka designs some downright excellent garments for keeping warm in the outdoors. This pair of down pants is a perfect example of the brand’s commitment to quality and attention to detail – they’re built with top-notch materials inside and out and loaded with practical features for enhancing your overall experience in the field.

    If you’re a hunter embarking on a backcountry expedition, the 3/4 length of these pants is intended to sit just below your knee pads and above your boot in order to reduce overall bulk and weight when packed. Whether or not you plan on utilizing these pants for full-on wilderness expeditions, the fact that they’re not quite full length will make them much more compressible and inherently packable. 

    The 3/4 length also enables easier layering when these pants are worn as either a mid, or outer layer. 7/8th length side zippers are furthermore included here to enable easier on and off action without having to remove your boots, so Sitka has really thought this piece of apparel through when it comes to functionality!

    The 900 fill Primaloft Gold insulation utilized here is remarkably lightweight, compressible, and insulates when wet. It’s one of the superior choices of synthetic down on the market – Sitka has truly engineered this garment for serious outdoorsmen. The Primaloft is even paneled in the high-compression area of the seat to avoid cold spots while sitting and better manage moisture and warmth, so these pants won’t mind if you take a seat somewhere chilly!

    All things considered, this pair of down pants are perfect for those on the market for a truly high-performance layer for remaining toasty and highly mobile on more intense outdoor pursuits. Those simply looking for some added warmth this cold season will likely not require the technical features and top-tier insulation of these pants, but those seeking the best of the best will no doubt find a friend with the Kelvin Lites!

     

     

  4. 4. Western Mountaineering Flight Down Pant

    Pros:
    • 850+ Fill power goose down is a remarkable insulator!
    • Impressive 12.5 ounce total weight considering the full length zippers and shell materials
    • Microfiber shell fabric with DWR finish for increased breathability and lower weight
    • Gore Windstopper fabric protects from wind and moisture on the backside and knees where you need it most
    • Elastic ankle cuffs with adjustable Velcro closure eliminates drafts
    • Full length side zips for easy layering and venting
    • Adjustable waist belt
    Cons:
    • Expensive option
    • No color selection
    • Lack of pockets

    The Western Mountaineering Flight Down Pants are a truly high-performance option that features the best of the best materials and insulation when it comes to warmth-retention and weather resistance. Those seeking a pair of down pants that can handle more abuse than your average down garment should definitely perk their ears to this one!

    Insulated with 850+ fill power goose down, these pants mean business. There are full-length leg zippers for simplified layering and venting and an integrated adjustable waist belt, but the high fill power of the down keeps the total weight of the garment down to just 12.5 ounces. Impressive stats to say the least considering the level of warmth and included add-ons here. 

    A Gore Windstopper fabric effectively protects from wind and moisture on the backside and knees where you’re most susceptible, while a microfiber shell fabric with a DWR finish increases the overall breathability and water resistance. Western Mountaineering has pulled out all the tricks for this one – these pants are truly engineered to endure the elements and abuses of even the most adventurous outdoorsmen.

    While the leg zippers allow for easy and controlled venting, elastic ankle cuffs with adjustable Velcro closure effectively eliminates drafts – so you have the best of both worlds when it comes to temperature control.

    The Flight Pants are relatively puffy (due to the amazing lofting ability of the 850+ down), so they’re likely best utilized as a piece of outerwear, but that’s not to say you can’t wear them underneath a shell. Just be aware these are pretty dam puffy if you’re shopping for something streamlined.

    The Flash Down Pant, also by western Mountaineering, is a lighter weight option that’s also treated for maximum water resistance. It comes in at just 6.5 ounces, lighter than any down pant included on this list, so give them a look if you’re seeking an 850+ fill pair that’s more suited for use as a base or mid-layer.

  5. 5. Naturehike Goose Down Pants

    Pros:
    • 700 fill power premium white goose down
    • Full length side-leg zippers for easy layering and venting
    • Shell is built from abrasion resistant 20D 400T nylon
    • Waterproof outer hem resists moisture
    • Extra filling in the knees and backside for added cold defense when kneeling or sitting
    • Adjustable elastic closure at the bottom of the legs for enhanced heat retention
    • Includes hand pockets
    • Great as a base layer or outer wear
    • Excellent overall value
    Cons:
    • Ethical sourcing of the down is not listed
    • No color selection
    • Not as impressively lightweight and compressible as some other options at 17.64 ounces likely due to the full length leg zippers

    The Naturehike Goose Down Pants are an excellent value, 700 fill power option that feature full-length side zippers for particularly easy venting and layering. 

    For those seeking an easy on-and-off pair of down pants for the bottom of their hiking or backcountry bag for some precious back-up warmth, this is a stellar option for the trail that’s surprisingly affordable! When it comes to cost vs. quality, it’s tough to beat this awesome value option.

    These are a killer pair of down pants for use as either a shell or base/mid-layer. Naturehike has built the shell with abrasion-resistant 20D 400T nylon, so they’re well equipped to endure the wilderness hazards of the trail. As with any down garment, you’ll want to be particularly careful of puncture and hang-ups while moving around in the field, but at least the brand has built this garment knowing you’re going to be hard on it.

    A waterproof outer hem furthermore resists moisture, so these won’t wet out as easily as much of the competition. 

    The full length side-leg zippers allow for easy layering and venting when you need to shed or add other garments or give yourself some air (trust us, it’s warm in there!) while adjustable elastic closure at the bottom of the legs enhances heat retention. It’s a brilliant system that allows you to both effectively shed, and trap heat depending on what your needs are, as well as take the pants on and off quite easily.

    A feature absolutely worth mentioning here is the extra filling in the knees and backside implemented for added cold defense when kneeling or sitting. It’s an intelligent design that anticipates your behavior in the field that might otherwise compromise the insulating ability of the down.

    At over 17 ounces, these are not the lightest weight pants nor the most compressible due to the full length side zippers, but these pants will still stuff super compact, and even include a stuff sack!

    For those buying on a budget that don’t want to end up with a knock-off pair of down pants with questionable insulation and lifespan, Naturehike has come up with the ultimate value option worth buying here!

  6. 6. Naturehike Compression Down Pants

    Pros:
    • 750 Fill power goose down insulation
    • Impressively lightweight and compressible at just 8.8 ounces
    • Shell is built from abrasion and weather resistant 20D 400T nylon
    • Include a stuff sack for easy transport
    • Elastic waistband and closure around the ankles eliminates drafts
    • Low profile enough to be effectively worn a base layer or shell
    Cons:
    • No sourcing of the down insulation available
    • No pockets
    • No color selection

    Naturehike’s Compression Down Pants are an excellent unisex budget option for outdoorsmen and women seeking an affordable and versatile pair of down pants for the money. 

    This is a very straightforward option with minimal bells and whistles, engineered for minimum weight and maximum portability. Coming in with 750 fill power, goose down insulation, they’re impressively toasty too!

    These pants don’t feature any pockets, zippers or an integrated waist belt, allowing them to remain exceptionally lightweight at just 8.8 ounces. If you’re seeking a particularly packable pair of down pants, then this is a smart go-to option that you’ll forget even exists in your pack.

    While the pants are quite minimalist, the 750 fill goose down insulation is no joke – these will absolutely keep you warm enough in virtually any context you’d want down pants. The shell is furthermore built from abrasion and weather-resistant 20D 400T nylon, so although Naturehike has built these pants to be bare-bones, they have not cut any corners on integrity nor expected lifespan.

    The Compression Down Pants are furthermore designed to have a low profile, streamlined fit (as the 8.8 ounce weight implies) so they wear nicely as a base or mid layer if you don’t plan on using them as a shell.

    All in all, this is a very well designed pair of down pants for those in the market for a minimalist option that is almost laughably priced considering the more than adequate quality of the product! Those who are buying on a budget or that are shopping for the most packable warmth they can sniff out would be wise to give Naturehike a shot on this one!

  7. 7. Mountain Hardwear Compressor Pant

    Pros:
    • Synthetic Thermal.Q™ Elite insulation mimics the structure of down
    • Synthetic insulation is more water-resistant and will still insulate when wet
    • Reinforced in the seat and knees for extra durability in abrasion-prone areas
    • Full length leg zippers for easy layering and ventilation
    • Adjustable elastic waist with integrated webbing belt
    Cons:
    • Fairly expensive
    • Lack of pockets
    • Not as impressively lightweight as natural down alternatives coming in at about 18 ounces

    The Compressor Pant by Mountain Hardwear is a brilliant synthetic alternative to natural down insulation. It uses the brand’s signature Synthetic Thermal.Q™ Elite insulation for a highly compressible backcountry pant with increased wetness resistance as well as overall durability.

    You can read up on the pros and cons of synthetic vs. natural down insulation below the product reviews of this list, but in summary,  synthetic insulation is more water-resistant than down, and furthermore retains its insulating ability when wet. This makes the Compressor Pant an ideal option for those cold outdoor adventures that you can expect to encounter wetness on! 

    While it may not compress quite as compact as natural down nor is it as inherently lightweight, it’s worth noting that synthetic insulation is less expensive than down if you’re buying on a budget. When comparing these pants to the Ghost Whisperer Down Pants also by Mountain Hardwear, note the differences in overall weight and cost and buy accordingly – both are excellent garments so it’s tough to go wrong. 

    The Thermal.Q™ Elite insulation employed here works more or less the same way as natural down – it utilizes stiffer fibers to build a 3D grid structure and then finer fibers to fill in the gaps in the structure. The end result is a garment that doesn’t lose all of its insulating ability when wet, while still allowing for impressive compressibility – hence the “Compressor” Pant.

    Mountain Hardwear has built this option with full-length leg zippers for easy layering and ventilation, as well as reinforcement around the seat and knees for extra durability in abrasion-prone areas. They’ve engineered these pants to hit all the bases when it comes to keeping effectively warm, as well as properly ventilated once your core heat rises.

    For adventurers who plan on battling wetness in the field but still desire some down garments for their superior warmth and packability, the Compressor Pant is a killer go-to option that won’t disappoint!

  8. 8. Tapasimme Unisex Thickened Ultralight Down Pants

    Pros:
    • Quilted puffer goose down pants
    • Treated for water and wind resistance
    • Features hand pockets and hidden hip pocket
    • Slim fit layers nicely underneath a shell
    • Elastic ankle closure eliminates drafts
    Cons:
    • Fill power and source of down is not listed
    • No color selection
    • Natural down will wet out and fail to insulate if soaked

    The Tapasimme Unisex Thickened Ultralight Down Pants are a highly affordable option that feature a slim fit for outdoorsmen and women seeking a low profile layer of powerhouse insulation.

    Although these pants do not list the source of the goose down insulation or fill power (frustrating to say the least) they are none the less praised by all sorts of lovers of the outdoors for their stellar insulating ability and slim, yet unrestrictive fit.

    These down pants form-fit fairly well despite their particularly abrasion-resistant build while maintaining a fit that doesn’t feel like it will split at the seams if you squat, hop or run! This makes them a great option for use as a base layer underneath a shell, but they’re also suitable for outerwear depending on the context. The brand has even integrated a few pockets for stashing snacks and gear, so these are a pretty awesome option for hanging at base camp.

    Elastic closure around the ankles ensures you don’t catch a chilly breeze up your pant leg, while an elastic waistband keeps the pants nice and snug to your figure. This garment may not feature the most impressive down insulation, but it does effectively lock in your heat – something not all down pants can claim regardless of the materials used!

    It’s challenging finding any down garment at this price point worth buying, Tapasimme has engineered an excellent budget option with this one that’s more or less unrivaled when it comes to versatility in function!

  9. 9. Jack Wolfskin Women’s Atmosphere Pants

    Pros:
    • 700 fill power 90/10 duck down insulation
    • Robust micro Guard synthetic fiber insulation at the wear-prone areas around the knees and seat
    • Ripstop exterior is resistant to water and wind
    • Elastic waistband and ankle cuffs to eliminate drafts
    • Compresses into an included stuff sack for easy transport
    • Features a rear pocket
    Cons:
    • No sourcing of the down insulation listed
    • No color selection
    • Insulation is technically a synthetic blend and not full natural down - so be aware of that before purchasing!

    The Jack Wolfskin Women’s Atmosphere Pants are an excellent value, highly versatile pair of down pants for a variety of casual and more intense contexts that are also available in men’s sizing.

    These higher-quality down pants feature 700 fill power 90/10 duck down insulation, so they’re both super toasty and highly compressible. There is more robust micro guard synthetic fiber insulation at the wear-prone areas around the knees and seat, so these pants are technically a synthetic blend – but only in order to add integrity to the most fragile and susceptible parts of the pants.

    It’s an honestly brilliant application of synthetic insulation that utilizes the best of both worlds – natural down through the main body of the pants for maximum warmth and compressibility and synthetic insulation around the wear-prone sections for increased abrasion/weather resistance and lifespan.

    A ripstop exterior across the entire pant is resistant to water and wind, and an elastic waistband and ankle cuffs eliminate unwanted drafts. This makes these pants just as suitable for outer wear as for under wear, and there’s even a rear pocket for a bit of personal storage. 

    The pants compress into an included stuff sack for easy transport and will do just fine crammed into the bottom of your excursion pack.

    Whatever it is that you’re up to out there in the cold, Jack Wolfskin has engineered a killer pair of down pants for every chilly-occasion that hasn’t quite entered the top-tier pricing!

  10. 10. Flygo Women’s Packable Compression Down Pant

    Pros:
    • 90% goose down, 10% feather
    • Nylon shell for abrasion/water resistance and soft polyester lining
    • Elastic drawstring waist and elastic closure around the ankles eliminates drafts
    • Includes a side pocket and rear pocket
    • Stuff sack included
    • Multiple color options available
    Cons:
    • Not particularly lightweight at about 17 ounces
    • Sourcing and fill power of the down insulation is not listed
    • Not a very slim fit, therfore less suitable for use as a base layer

    The Flygo Women’s Packable Compression Down Pant is the perfect casual option for ladies seeking a seriously warm bottom layer.

    If you’re looking for a supremely toasty pair of pants, but are not the type to embark on a backpacking, fishing or hunting trip – this is the option for you. They’re quality built, super affordable, and even offered in a variety of colors. While these are not a high-quality, performance pair of pants, they still compress quite well and even include a stuff sack for easy transport – it is a down garment after all.

    Flygo has built these pants with a nylon shell for abrasion and water resistance and a soft polyester lining for some added comfort. There are also side pockets and a rear pocket for a bit of added storage. While the price point is very reasonable, the brand has not cut any corners when it comes to comfort and style.

    An elastic drawstring waist and elastic closure around the ankles furthermore eliminates drafts, allowing the insulating power of the goose down to really go to work without any chilly intrusions. 

    The overall fit is not particularly streamlined like many of the other options listed here, so these pants are best worn as an outer layer, rather than as a base or mid-layer.

    All things considered, Flygo has come up with an excellent value, sharp pair of down pants for the ladies with this one that will without a doubt help those who struggle to stay warm conquer the winter months, and look good doing it!

Why Own Down Pants?

You may be asking yourself, "who really needs a pair of down pants?"

This is a perfectly reasonable question considering down insulation is a tactic typically seen in jackets, vests and other garments, but the answer is simple - anyone who struggles to stay warm during the cold season!

Down pants are brilliant for a few applications in particular that you may or may not have considered:

Camping/Backpacking Trips: When the sun sets and the temperature drops, it can get mighty chilly in the great outdoors. Sitting still with or without a campfire means your core temp will remain low without some serious insulation. Down pants are perfect for enduring the chill of an after-hours hangout at base camp, as well as for wearing within your sleeping bag for some potent added insulation.

Hunting: Tree stand and blind hunters are no stranger to the brutally cold conditions of long, motionless sits during late season hunts. Wise hunters employ super-effective base-layer insulation in order to remain comfortable in the field, and while wool and synthetic blends have come a long way, nothing beats the power of down.

Fishing: Wade fishing in frigid water is just downright challenging no matter how you cut it. Ice cold water will eventually get to you and force you to step out - wearing a pair of down pants underneath your waders will help you conquer the cold. 

Synthetic vs. Natural Down Insulation

While most of the above options are built with natural goose or duck insulation, there are some synthetic and synthetic blends listed. Making an informed purchase decision means you should understand the difference in insulating ability as well as the pros and cons between natural and synthetic down. 

Generally speaking, natural down has a higher warmth-to-weight ratio than synthetic alternatives, packs lighter, is more compressible and lasts longer overall.

Synthetic down might be a touch heavier and less compressible than natural down, and may not hold its loft quite as long, but it's far more water-resistant than even DWR treated natural down and furthermore will still insulate you when wet. 

When buying any down garment, carefully consider what you need out of your insulation.

Need something ultralight and super compressible for multi-day treks? Goose or duck down will be the go-to.

Seeking a down garment that won't quit on you if it encounters some wetness in the field? A synthetic or synthetic blend insulation is probably best.

Read more on the ins and outs of natural vs. synthetic down here!

Fill Power

Fill power is the measurement used to calculate a given down insulation's ability to loft, and therefore trap heat. It is directly related to "how warm" a garment is, but not an outright measure of warmth.

Fill power is calculated by how many cubic inches one ounce of down insulation can fill. 

More easily explained, a 700-fill-power down indicates that one ounce of that down fills 700 cubic inches of space.

In other words, the higher the fill power, the less down you need to fill up the insulating space of the garment (or sleeping bag). Higher fill powers therefore typically indicate lower weight - as well as high quality down overall.

Depending on the intended purpose of your down garment, fill power may or may not be of great importance to you. Those seeking ultralight down garments will, however, gravitate towards higher fill powers.

Cleaning And Maintaining Your Down Pants

Cleaning your down pants, and down garments in general calls for some special treatment.

Ideally, you don't want to wash your down clothing and sleeping bags at all - even gentle hand washing can affect the lofting ability of the insulation. You will, of course, have to eventually clean your down garments and gear, but it's absolutely worth noting that you should wash them as minimally as possible.

Always read the special instructions for cleaning your down garments - every type of insulation (and shell) calls for specific treatment.  

Other Options For Base Layer Warmth

If you're seeking a base layer or mid-layer for use underneath a shell out in the extreme cold, there are certainly some alternative, more traditional options out there. 

Synthetic fleece is a solid insulator and stands up to the cold fairly well, but doesn't breath all that great. Cotton fleece breathes better but does not offer the same level of warmth.

Merino wool is a brilliant insulator and will keep you warm even when wet. There are furthermore all sorts of wool/synthetic blends currently on the market that are remarkably form-fitting, antimicrobial, and WARM. For contexts that call for maximum mobility and warmth, merino wool is a great call.

Heated base layers are another option for conquering the brutal cold, and there are plenty of garments on the market that are surprisingly low profile and form-fitting. Check out our list of the best heated pants for some of our favorite options,

See Also:

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