Mountain Hardwear Compressor Pants
Insulated side-zip pants are one of those things that most hikers only infrequently need–but when you do, nothing else cuts it. The Compressors are best of class because of both material and design. The ThermicMicro synthetic insulation resists compression and soaking so you can sit in a snowbank, and a flexy, non-restrictive cut and feel makes them more comfortable than most insulated pants. The lightweight, 15-denier shell fabric is reinforced in the seat and knees for durability. With full side-zips and a loose fit, the pants slide over undies and shell pants alike. A hook-and-loop ankle adjustment adapts length for the short-legged, and a fly zipper makes pit stops quick, even with a climbing harness (a must up high). The adjustable elastic waist stays put under a weighty backpack. Quibble: The side-zips can be sticky to start. $140; 1 lb. 5 oz. (M); unisex S-XXL; mountainhardwear.com. Reader service #111
The Denali Test: Gear for America’s Highest, Coldest PeakOur tester spent 18 days climbing, camping, and evaluating gear on America's highest, coldest peak. If his picks made it there, they can make it anywhere.