When I made my fleece tights last November, I said I’d need another layer over them for cold weather. Did I ever get another layer? Nope. I was cold on every hike from December to March. After the first cold-leg hike of this year, I started looking at RTW insulated pants. Reader, I screamed. They were $200 to $300 and looked so bad–bulky and ill fitting and low rise.

So I spent about 6 hours researching technical fabrics and digging for pattern reviews and generally pondering, and came up with my first pair of snow pants.

Are they warm? Yes! Are they fairly sleek? Yes! Are they easy to move in? Yes! Are they the highest rise imaginable so your pack doesn’t push the waist of your pants down? Oh hell yes:

That detail shot shows you the fabrics–a fleece-back softshell with an additional layer of nylon Taslan on the front. The fleece is wicking and insulating and the Taslan has a DWR (durable water repellent) finish.

I used the Controlled Exposure Stretch Fleece Pants pattern and would recommend–the fitting instructions were good and the articulated knee detail is just really professional.
Look at that snow bead up! That Taslan is good stuff.

I didn’t get a swatch of my fabrics before I started and my main fabric (Schoeller Extreme, beautiful quality) didn’t have anywhere near the recommended stretch for the pattern. I did make a muslin first in woven fabric and then basted everything in my actual fabric to check the fit–but I ended up needing to put in a back zipper to get them over my butt. Because of that, I did a separate waistband vs. the foldover with elastic as drafted in the pattern. I think that worked the best, since that Schoeller Extreme is extremely thick.

I got everything from The Rain Shed in Oregon, down to the pocket zippers. They were super helpful–my original choice was sold out, so they gave me options via email and just subbed things out without even adjusting the price up (!). Highly recommend.

The pants had their test run when it was right around freezing and they were perfect. I could tell they were wicking and the warmth was just right. They’re sleek but just roomy enough for a base layer underneath when it goes below 20. Total price for the project was $35–that is just a win on all fronts.