Though they aren’t the warmest or most durable option on the market, the North Face Freedom Insulated Pants are a budget-friendly clothing item that will keep you warm and comfortable during most runs.
- Where to buy: REI, Amazon, EVO
- Best for: Chilly conditions or more relaxed trips. Skiers on a budget will also appreciate the low price point.
- Pros: These pants do a nice job of providing warmth and comfort. They are well-rounded and versatile. Built to hold up to all types of terrain. They also come in at a reasonable price and offer great value.
- Cons: The zippers are not waterproof and their construction is not fully seam-sealed. The venting also leaves something to be desired.
- Alternatives: Spyder Dare GTX, Carbide Bib, Sabre AR
Why Trust Me
I’ve been hitting the slopes since I was a kid. I enjoy getting out in the snow and have hands-on experience with a wide range of different skiing items. I spent many hours analyzing these pants, breaking down their toughness, and seeing how they held up in winter conditions.
The Freedom Insulated Pants from North Face don’t top the charts in any one category, but they offer great value for all skiers. Their low price point is especially appealing due to their strong construction and snug insulation. They are waterproof as well. You aren’t going to get a lot of extra features with the pants, but the ones that are present prop them up as a solid choice for anyone who wants quality without paying too much.
A Blend of Fit and Insulation
I was a bit surprised, given the price, with how well the Freedom Insulated Pants fit. There’s no doubt that this is a comfortable pair. Not only do they feel good, but they move with you each and every step of the way. They are true to size as well.
Another strong point is the puffy synthetic insulation. This is the same feature you’ll find in certain jackets, and it locks in heat exactly as you would expect. That’s a bit of an issue when it comes to ventilation (more on that below) but it means you don’t have to worry if the temperature drops while you’re going on a ride. It’s also comfortable, adding some nice padding to your setup.
Well-Rounded Weather Resistance
As with many other North Face items, the Freedom Insulated Pants do a solid job when it comes to fighting the elements. A big part of that is the special DWR coating that actively stops water from building up on the material. That stops any moisture from seeping directly into your shell and getting you wet.
The pants will help protect your body in just about every single type of weather except the roughest storms. If you ride in particularly tumultuous or unforgiving regions, you might want something with a bit more strength. However, these will be perfect for just about everything else. I would have liked to see waterproof zippers and better seals, but what you get is fine for anywhere it doesn’t get too wet.
A Lack of Ventilation
These pants don’t have the best ventilation in the world, but they aren’t the bottom of the pile either. They are just much more geared towards keeping you warm than cool. That’s not the worst thing for skiers who only care about staying toasty, and it can be nice for those who spend most of their time in freezing conditions, but I still would have liked a bit more versatility when it came to temperature regulation.
The way the Freedom Insulated Pants give you breathability is through vents located on the inner thighs. These work well enough for their intended purpose, but they also allow for much less airflow than outer leg vents present in other models. In addition, the vents are eight inches long and feature mesh. That’s nice when it comes to ensuring no cold or snow gets into the pants, but it also means you aren’t getting as much air flow.
I’m always a big fan when pants come with solid extras. The Freedom Insulated Pants have quite a few, which is nice to see in a more budget model. First, you get gaiters that have gripper elastic to ensure no unwanted snow reaches your footwear or legs. That’s then backed up by sturdy reinforced kick patches that add more durability.
There aren’t an overwhelming amount of pockets, but the ones you do get come with awesome traits. That includes fleece-lining, a strong velcro closure, as well as hand warming capabilities. They aren’t waterproof, however, which is a bit of a let down. What’s not a let down are the excellent powder cuffs at the leg openings that can easily fit over boots.
Price and Value
Value is one of the areas where the Freedom Insulated Pants truly shine. They are a budget-friendly option, and that price makes them incredibly appealing to all skiers at all levels. Despite the lower price tag, they give you a ton of performance across the board. They might not be the longest-lasting option around, but at their price you should have no issue getting a lot of value over multiple seasons. Even if you can’t, they’re easy to replace.
What I Like
The stand out feature of the Freedom Insulated Pants is the value, and it’s something I really enjoy. There are many, many pants on the market, but most feature-heavy models come at a higher price. Getting some great attributes, including the gaiters, pockets, and boot cuffs, at a lower price point is wonderful. Even if you lose a few higher-end features, that’s more than worth it for new skiers or those looking to save some money.
The insulation here is also fantastic. Going the synthetic route helps the pants stay warm each and every ride. I love when an item goes out of its way to keep you cozy. I also enjoy the different color options. The pants have a distinct look, and that’s furthered by the numerous sizes and colors that North Face offers anyone buying these pants.
What I Dislike
The Freedom Insulated Pants get good marks in terms of durability. Even so, I don’t like the fact that the zippers, as well as the seams around them, aren’t fully waterproof. You probably don’t expect such features in a budget pant, but it’s still disappointing when everything else about the design works hard to ensure you don’t get wet.
For me, the other weak spot is the ventilation. The pants are quite warm. To mitigate that heat, North Face installed vents. However, they don’t give you ample air flow. Not only are they inside of the thigh, they also have a mesh backing. Both of those traits limit general breathability in a way I don’t like.
As well-rounded as the Freedom Insulated Pants are, they are a budget-friendly item. If you’re searching for pants with more features or alternative traits, these will give you good results.
- Spyder Dare GTX – If you value versatility in your snow pants, the Dare GTX is an excellent choice. These aren’t just warm and comfortable, they also have excellent weather resistance. While the racer style won’t be for everyone, the durability will. A reliable pair that can be used with or without the removable suspenders.
- Carbide Bib – If you want something with enough strength for both easy and tough outings, the Carbide Bib is a good alternative option to more traditional pants. They have a lot of ventilation, which is perhaps their best feature, and can fight off the wind quite well. Though they lack premium insulation, they fit great and are easy to wear all day long.
- Sabre AR – If you don’t mind upping your budget for a premium option, the AR delivers on just about every level. It has some of the best weather protection on the market, fits extremely well, and comes with a warm fleece lining. Some people might want more features, especially considering the price, but these will hold up for years in any condition.
How many pockets do these pants have?
The Freedom Insulated Pants have a side-entry zip pocket, two secure-zip hand pockets, and a hook-and-loop cargo pocket.
How is the pant’s fit?
These pants have a standard fit with adjustable waist tabs so you can wear what’s most comfortable to you.
Are these pants waterproof?
There is plenty of waterproof protection here. It’s in all parts of the exterior except for the zippers.
When considering both features and price, the North Face Freedom Insulated Pants knock it out of the park. Many budget pants come up short in several areas, but these are good with everything that isn’t ventilation. Even there, you still get decent vents and general airflow that works to some extent.
The fit is right, the materials are comfortable, and the insulation works extremely well. Everything sits in exactly the right way, with the pants being baggy and not too loose. They also do a solid job of keeping the snow at bay in multiple ways. They aren’t the highest-quality pair you’ll ever put on, but it’s hard to complain at the price.
Joseph Scalise is an avid writer, editor, and snow sports enthusiast who loves to spend his time outdoors. He began his love of writing early on in life and continued to pursue it as he grew older. While his time behind the computer doesn’t get him into the wild unknown as much as he would like, he never misses a chance to head up (or down) a mountain, across a river, or through a lush forest. When he’s not planning new trips, you can always find him typing away on his next project.