Don't be fooled by the supple feel and wispy weight: These shell pants repelled the foulest winter storms. The 100-percent-recycled fabric (polyester with a nylon liner) is reinforced in the knees and seat, and it held fast against sharp ski edges and a butt glissade down Colorado's Mt. Massive. GoLite's proprietary waterproof/breathable membrane kept testers from overheating on long ascents, and the articulated knees and gusseted crotch gave them unrestricted mobility.
Bonus: The relatively low weight makes these pants suitable for year-round use, especially during high-alpine summer treks. Fit is fairly relaxed, with an unobtrusive elastic waistband. Downsides: The short, weight-saving cuff zipper isn't long enough to yank over bulky boots, and there are no pockets. $150; 13 oz.; men's S-XXL, women's XS-XL; golite.com