For far too long, the bottom half of our bodies has been ignored by the graces of heavy-duty insulation. It’s easy to bundle up in a jacket, but there aren’t as many good options to keep our legs warm around camp or our butts warm while sitting on a ski lift. Mountain Hardwear wasn’t the first company to release a pair of insulation-filled pants, but the Ghost Whisperer down pants ($250) are the first made with the modern adventurer in mind. An athletic fit, high-quality materials, and versatility elevate them from an old piece of gear you would find in a thrift store to pants you’ll pack for every adventure.
I’ve been wearing these pants since the beginning of summer, and they have proved to be incredibly versatile. In the warmer months, I wore them on chilly mornings and evenings when camping. On a recent climbing trip where temperatures hovered around 20 degrees, I wore the pants for 48 hours straight, hanging out, sleeping, and even while bouldering. While the fabric has no give, the wide gusset on the interior of the leg allowed me to move as freely as I can in my favorite yoga leggings.
When I first started doing research into these pants, I was disappointed to see that they only came in unisex sizing (sizes XXS to XXL). In my experience, unisex really means men’s sizing; therefore, the pants were destined to fit me like a shapeless grocery bag. Still, I ordered them in an extra small. For reference, I usually wear a size zero or two in standard women’s sizing, and I’m about five feet four inches tall. Turns out the extra small fit great—not too tight, not too baggy, and with enough room to easily layer over a pair of leggings. The aforementioned interior inseam gussets really make them feel like a normal pair of pants.
If you’re familiar with Mountain Hardwear’s Ghost Whisperer line of sleeping bags and jackets, then you know the materials are some of the highest quality and lightest weight on the market. We continue to rate Ghost Whisperer products among the best year after year. The pants utilize the same lightweight ten-denier ripstop nylon shell and are packed with 800-fill Nikwax hydrophobic down. This combo means that while I wear them mostly for camping, these pants will also hold their own on multiday backpacking and mountaineering trips.
The Bottom Line
I won’t lie: I get weird looks and laughs when I break these out at camp. They’re not super flattering, and I get a lot of “are those down pants?” reactions. But I’m here to tell you that the strange looks and weird name-calling is worth the comfort and warmth these pants provide.