The Best Down Pants laying on the snow

wearing the feathered friends helios down pants

Best Down Pants Comparison Table

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Model Price ($) Weight (oz) Fill Power (in³/oz) Fill Weight (oz) Down Volume (in³)
Down Volume / Garment Weight (in³/oz)
MH Ghost Whisperer 275 9.6 800 2.2 1760 183
Western Mountaineering Flash 270 6.5 850 2.0 1700 261
Western Mountaineering Flight 325 12.5 850 4.0 3400 272
Feathered Friends Volant 349 17.0 900 5.6 5040 296
Feathered Friends Helios 279 13.0 900 4.4 3960 304
Montbell Light Down Pants 249 7.1 800 3.0 2400 338
Rab Argon Pants 220 13.2 800 5.6 4480 339
Enlightened Equipment Torrid 140 6.2 n/a n/a n/a n/a

Ultralight Down Pants & Ultralight Puffy Pants

Enlightened Equipment Torrid Pants

Even though this is a round-up for down pants, our top pick is actually a pair of synthetic insulated puffy pants that outperforms most of the down options. Enlightened Equipment Torrid Pants are the lightest model on this list, the most versatile, and the most affordable. And nothing else in their price range comes close.

  • Price: $140
  • Weight: 6.2 oz
  • Fabric: 10D Nylon
  • Insulation: ClimaShield Apex
  • Pros: Ultralight. Top tier synthetic insulation. High warmth-to-weight. Great value. Dries quickly. Warm when wet.
  • Cons: Mid-tier total warmth. Less compressible than down.


Much like the corresponding jackets, Enlightened Equipment Torrid Pants put Climashield Apex insulation to great effect as an ultralight synthetic insulator for an incredible price and with a very high warmth-to-weight ratio. It is lofty, quick-drying, water-resistant, and warm when wet. In our experience, it performs at least as well many of the top tier name brand offerings like PrimaLoft Gold.

Unlike jackets where down is usually preferred, we’re much more tolerant of synthetic insulated pants. This is because pants are more likely to get wet or dirty as you interact with nature, and synthetic insulation holds up to both of those better than down.

And while not the warmest insulating pants, we feel that they’re an excellent shoulder season option. As far as features go, these are utterly minimalist. There is a cinch to keep them tight around your waste, and that’s basically it.


The Torrid Pants weigh just over six ounces, which make them an incredible value for only $140. Pick up a pair and your legs will thank you next time the temps drop to freezing or a bit below.

Western Mountaineering Flash Pants

An ultralight classic! The Western Mountaineering Flash Pants are a go-to pair of ultralight down pants for cold weather camping when temps drop to freezing. They weigh only 6.5 oz, and are filled with two oz of 850 fp down, 31% of the garment’s total weight.

  • Price: $270
  • Weight: 6.5 oz
  • Fabric: 10D* nylon ripstop (*estimate)
  • Fill Power: 850 | Fill Weight: 2.0 oz
  • Percent Down Weight: 31%
  • Uncompressed Down Volume: 1700 in3
  • Down Volume/Jacket Weight: 261 in3/oz
  • Pros: Ultralight. High warmth-to-weight ratio. Reinforced seat.
  • Cons: Lower total warmth than average down pants. Expensive.


These are some seriously packable duds. Thanks to the minimalist design and high quality materials, they compress down to about half a liter. Features include an adjustable belt, elastic ankle closures, and a reinforced seat fabric to prevent tears and snags.

For most trips during the warmer half of each shoulder season, Flash Pants are the perfect ultralight leg insulators for the job. They significantly outperform fleece pants or merino tights in terms of total weight and warmth-to-weight.

However, with only two ounces of down, they’re a titch underfilled and have a lower than average total warmth as down pants go. Enough for cold three season use, but we would recommend a more insulated pair if you’re expecting temps to drop into the 20s or below.


All in all, the Western Mountaineering Flash are a well rounded pair of ultralight down  pants with enough insulation to get the job done nicely, while still prioritizing weight savings.

Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer Pants

Coming in at just under 10 oz, the Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer are perhaps the most widely distributed pair of lightweight down pants. What’s more, they’re fully featured, including hand pockets and ankle zips. Plus the fabric is 100% recycled.

  • Price: $275
  • Weight: 9.6 oz
  • Fabric: 15D Nylon
  • Fill Power: 800 | Fill Weight: 2.2
  • Percent Down Weight: 23%
  • Uncompressed Down Volume: 1760
  • Down Volume/Jacket Weight: 183 in3/oz
  • Pros: Ultralight. Widely available. Hand pockets. Recycled fabric. Good looking.
  • Cons: Modest warmth-to-weight. Ankle zips add weight and cost.


While they’re about as cool looking as down pants get, they miss the mark slightly on warmth-to-weight ratio thanks to mid-tier quality down fill, not enough of it, and too many other features.

Ghost Whisperer Pants have 2.2 oz of 800 fp down, they are 77% material weight, 23% down weight, which is notably sub-par. At least 30% down weight is to be expected in expensive down garments. Ergo, these aren’t the warmest or lightest down pants out there.

We also want to call out the tall ankle zippers, which extend almost to the knee. This is a nice gesture, because people with small to medium sized feet will be able to put them on or take them off without removing their shoes. People with big feet may be S.O.L. though.


Even if they’re not statistical superior in our round-up, Mountain Hardwear Ghost Whisperer Pants are still lighter than average compared to similar offerings from other mainstream brands, and are still much warmer and more effective than fleece pants or merino tights. Plus, they come in a wide array of color and sizes with fits for women and men.

Montbell Light Down Pants

Montbell Light Down Pants

These pants might just have the best stats in the ultralight down pants niche, and they’re priced competitively.

  • Price: $249
  • Weight: 7.1 oz
  • Fabric: 10D* nylon ripstop
  • Fill Power: 800 | Fill Weight: 3.0 oz
  • Percent Down Weight: 42.3%
  • Uncompressed Down Volume: 2400 in³
  • Down Volume/Jacket Weight: 338 in³/oz
  • Pros: Ultralight. High warmth-to-weight ratio. Generously filled. Great stats.
  • Cons: Excess stitches create more cold spots.

Construction & Features

We will immediately call out that these pants have three ounces of down fill, which makes them warmer than models like Ghost Whisperer and Flash. A 10d nylon shell keeps the entire package to just 7.1 ounces. Very impressive!

They have no features other than an elastic draw cord waistband. Perhaps their only downside is the grid pattern quilting, given that this is a sewn-through design. Each seam creates a micro cold spot, and these Montbells have way more seams than average. The look is kind of unusual compared to the horizontal baffles used on most other pairs.


Choose these puffy pants for their warmer than average insulation value, lighter than average weight.

Best Down Pants For Winter

Feathered Friends Helios Down Pants

When temps drop well below freezing, it’s time to whip out the Feathered Friends Helios Down Pants. Filled with 4.4 oz of 900 fill power plumage, these are some of the warmest puffy pants on the market, and perfect for use with skis or snowshoes thanks to the full-length side zip configuration. Shop now.

  • Price: $279
  • Weight: 13 oz
  • Fabric: 20D Pertex Endurance LT Nylon
  • Fill Power: 900 | Fill Weight: 4.4 oz
  • Percent Down Weight: 34%
  • Uncompressed Down Volume: 3960 in³
  • Down Volume/Garment Weight: 305 in3/oz
  • Pros: Incredibly warm. Lightweight. High warmth-to-weight. Full length side zippers for venting and easy on/off.
  • Cons: Bulky to pack. Midweight No pockets. Snaps can come undone.

Construction & Features

4.4 oz of down fill plump up the sewn through baffles and keep your legs preposterously toasty. They’re too warm in temps at or above freezing.

They have dual full-length side zips, which allows the users to put the pants on without removing ski boots or crampons. However, ultralight hikers might find this to be a slight downside when not traveling in the snow. They add significant feature weight, bulk, structure, and manufacturing cost, while reducing the overall warmth-to-weight ratio of the garment.

The elastic waistband seals off with adjustable snap placements. However, we have experienced the snaps coming undone before.

There are no pockets and no other features to write home about, so we conclude this section by addressing the 20d Pertex Endurance LT nylon. In our opinion, it’s the perfect tool for the job, a good blend of low weight and respectable durability.


These are true winter down pants with massive total warmth, and a stellar warmth-to-weight ratio. They are mid-weight, very warm, well-made, durable, and have multi-sport versatility. The only downside is that they’re too warm for shoulder season, and you may not need or want the full length zippers.

Rab Argon Down Pants

When temps drop below 20, it’s time to whip out the Rab Argon. Stuffed with 5.6 oz of 800 fill power down, these are the warmest down pants in our arsenal, and the warmest pants we would conceivably need for anything less than arctic conditions.

  • Price: $220
  • Weight: 13.2 oz
  • Fabric: 20D Pertex Microlight Nylon
  • Fill Power: 800 | Fill Weight: 5.6
  • Percent Down Weight: 42%
  • Uncompressed Down Volume: 4480 in3
  • Down Volume/Jacket Weight: 339 in3/oz
  • Pros: Preposterously warm. High warmth-to-weight ratio. Good durability. Great value.
  • Cons: Bulky to pack. Midweight. No Pockets. Not ultralight. No side zippers.


We love that 42% of the garment’s total weight is down, which is top tier. And at $210 they’re actually a great value and killer deal.

Constructed with 20D Pertex microlight nylon, they’re light and reliably durable. They have a removable belt, which is nice as we’ve had issues with down pants sagging in the past. But beside that, there aren’t pockets and they’re basically featureless, which is fine by us as it saves weight and cost.

Our least favorite part is that there is no corresponding women’s cut, a huge oversight on Rab’s part.


But for anyone who can wear the Rab Argon Down Pants, these are a killer value on an excellent winter weight pair of leg insulators.

Western Mountaineering Flight

Western Mountaineering Flight Pants

For snow camping, we recommend the Western Mountaineering Flight Down Pants with waterproof shell fabric on the seat, and front from hem to knee.

  • Price: $325
  • Weight: 12.5 oz
  • Fabric: 20d  nylon ripstop, WINDSTOPPER knees & seat
  • Fill Power: 850 | Fill Weight: 4.0 oz
  • Percent Down Weight: 32%
  • Uncompressed Down Volume: 3400 in³
  • Down Volume/Jacket Weight: 272 in³/oz
  • Pros: Waterproof knees/seat makes snow camping easier. Warm. Full-zip sides.
  • Cons: Expensive. Least warm in mid-weight category.

Construction & Features

There’s only so much to talk about when it comes to how a pair of down pants are designed, but this pair is interesting. While most of the body fabric is 20d nylon ripstop, large panels on the knees and seat are made with GORE WINDSTOPPER for very high levels of water resistance. This allows you to kneel and sit down on snow, perfect for managing camp chores.

The full side zippers are a necessary feature when it comes to use with skis, crampons, or snowshoes. While it adds weight, it makes them so much more useful for snow-travel.

Features aside, they’re only good-not-great when it comes to stats. The Flight Pants are more expensive, heavier, and have less down fill than other pairs of winter puffy pants.


This is a great pair for ski touring, climbing, snow camping, and other situations where you find you will sit or kneel directly on snow. If you’re just backpacking on foot and it’s cold, look elsewhere.

Feathered Friends Volant

Feathered Friends Volant Pants

For an expedition grade pair of down pants, designed for winter mountaineering, choose the Feathered Friends Volant. They’re the warmest and most protective pair in this guide, and overkill for all but the most extreme conditions.

  • Price: $349
  • Weight: 17.0 oz
  • Fabric: 30d Pertex Shield XT Waterproof/breathable
  • Fill Power: 900| Fill Weight: 5.6 oz
  • Percent Down Weight: 33%
  • Uncompressed Down Volume: 5040 in³
  • Down Volume/Jacket Weight: 297 in³/oz
  • Pros: Waterproof knees/seat makes snow camping easier. Durable. Warmest. Full-zip sides. Fully baffled.
  • Cons: Bulky. Heavy. Expensive.

Construction & Features

These winter mountaineering pants are sure to invoke gear awe. First off, they’re made with a waterproof/breathable Pertex Shield Shell. This makes them great for camping, climbing, and living on the snow. You can sit, kneel, and lie down on snow, all without fear of soggy pants.

What’s more, Volant is stuffed with 5.6 oz of 900 fill power down. They’re the warmest pair in this guide, and we wouldn’t recommend them for temps above 10F, though they can go much lower. And did we mention they’re fully baffled? That means no sewn-through cold spots.

And like most skiing and mountaineering pants, they have full side zippers for easy on/off with skis, crampons, or snow shoes. This is critical on technical missions.

Okay, so you get all of those features, but there is downside. This is the heaviest pair on our list, by a wide margin. It is also the bulkiest when compressed – equivalent to a typical parka.


If you need Feathered Friends Volant pants, you likely know who you are and whatever crazy mission you plan to use them on. Do not choose these pants for anything less than severe winter conditions.

Custom Ultralight Down Pants

GooseFeet Gear Custom Down Pants

GooseFeet Gear Custom Down

Adventure Alan himself prefers the GooseFeet Gear Custom Down Pants. From an ultralight connoisseur’s perspective, this is where you’ll find the highest warmth-to-weight ratio if you’re willing to place a custom order and wait for the five week lead time. Here are all of the customizable elements and some ideas for how to configure them.

  • Shell/Lining Fabric color and 20d or 8d
    • Ultralight backpackers should choose 8d
    • Everyone else should choose 20d
  • Baffles Vs Sewn Through
    • Sewn through for use above 10F
    • Baffled for use 10F & below (adds shell weight, decreases cold spots)
  • Zippers: Every possible configuration
    • No zippers for standard cold weather hiking and backpacking
    • Full side zips for use with snow boots, crampons, ski boots, snowshoes, etc
  • Down fill weight ranging from  2.5 oz – 8.5 oz. Temp ratings via GooseFeet Gear
    • 3.5 oz of down fill for use in 30F and above
    • 4.5 oz of down fill for use in 20F
    • 5.5 oz of down fill for use in 10F
    • 6.5 oz of down fill for use in 0F and below
  • Waist, hips, inseam, thigh/calf girth
    • Based on your body measurements

One potentially nifty customization is to get down capris. These should be cut to drape to your lower-mid-calf instead of the ankle, and have a girthy opening. This configuration allows you to take them on/off over your shoes without resorting to zippers or having to de-shoe. Very useful! Pair with high top booties for full coverage/no gaps above the ankle.

Choosing the Right Amount of Warmth

In addition to choosing whether or not to pack puffy pants in the first place, you will want to choose a pair with the proper amount of insulation relative to the expected temperatures. You don’t want to underpack and be cold, but overpacking adds excess weight and bulk, and can even cause you to get sweaty.

Based on our personal experience cross referenced with GooseFeet Gear’s temperature recommendations, we recommend considering puffy pants whenever you expect evening temps below 40F. When you expect temps in the 30-40F range, choose a pair with 2-3 oz of down fill. When you expect temps in the 20-30F range, choose a pair with 3.0-4.5 oz of down fill. When you expect temps below 20F, choose a pair with at 4.5+ oz of down fill. Scale up the colder it gets.

view of helios full length zipper

Puffy Pants, in Conclusion

Thank you for reading our guide to ultralight down pants and backpacking and winter camping. Here you will find all of the best models available, and we know any one of them would serve you well. If you’ve never owned puffy pants before, you’re in for a life changing backcountry upgrade this season. Happy camping!

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