While a good pair of bibs are always good to have on-hand, it’s nice to have a good pair of straight-up ski pants to handle a more casual day on the slopes. A pair of The North Face Freedom Pants came in for review and was glad to give them a whirl in mixed resort and general snow duty.
The North Face Freedom Pants Features:
- Exterior: HyVent® 2L foxfaille with DWR
- Interior: Thermoliner II
- Waterproof, breathable, fully seam sealed
- Adjustable waist tabs
- Handwarmer zip pockets
- Exterior thigh vents with mesh gussets
- Cargo pocket
- Articulated knees
- StretchVent™ gaiter with gripper elastic
- Chimney Venting™ system
- Reinforced cuffs
- Pant-a-lock compatible
- Buddy lift clip
- Colors: Zinc Grey (tested), Asphalt Grey, Riot Red, Bittersweet Brown, Black, Empire Blue
- MSRP: $129 ($149 insulated)
The North Face Freedom Ski and Snowboard Pants Review
As I looked at The North Face lineup of value-oriented ski and snowboard pants, I was immediately drawn to the Freedom Pant. While there are less expensive pants on the market, at $129, you’re getting what might be one of the best overall values you can buy.
Looking over the Freedom Pants, the package is casual, straightforward and functional in every sense. The HyVent fabric is durable and sheds water very well. It is a bit stiff though and does tend to be higher on the waterproof scale than it does on the breathability scale. Breathability is helped, however, by the thigh vents that can be utilized when hiking or if temperatures moderate on your next ski vacation.
The Freedom Pants are well-suited to both skiing and snowboarding with a wide inner gaiter that can easily swallow even the bulkiest of snowboard boots while providing a tight seal to keep the powder out.
Sizing may be a little large, so keep that in mind. I’m right between a Medium and a Large on most ski pants, but I’m a solid Medium in these — no question (5’10” – 170 lbs). The baggy fit is nice and comfortable both on and off the slopes. You can easily tromp around town, apres ski-style in these and not feel out of place in the least.
One of my favorite features of the Freedom Pants is the Velcro adjustable waistband. When adjusted, it’s easy to create a gap-free seal that’s snug, but not not restrictive due to the elastic nature of the waist. You can rock these with a belt, if you wish, but I was fine with the dual waist adjustments
When I donned the Freedom Pants around the home for single-digit snowblowing or snow angel duty with the kids, they did a great job of keeping the moisture out and the warmth inside. The fuzzy lining adds quite a bit of warmth and I was always comfortable with a midweight pair of I/O Bio Merino base layers. In fact, I’d say these are some of the warmest pants I have at my disposal. You can go with the Freedom Insulated Pants if you like things particularly toasty.
The front thigh pocket is great for carrying a few small essentials, but I’d like to see that pocket placed a little more along the outside of the thigh so bulkier items (like an iPhone or keys) could be more comfortably carried. The only other real gripe I have is the Velcro/Dual Button combo closure at the waist. With gloves on and without looking, I dare you to button these closed on the first try — the Velcro usually catches in the wrong spot, thus mis-aligning the buttons. If the button closures were larger, it would be easier.
Good Freedom Pants
- Stretchy Velcro waistband adjustments
- Comfortable, functional fit
- Extra warm for cold days
- Thigh vents come in handy
- Super durable fabrics throughout
- Good value at $129
Bad Freedom Pants
- Difficult to button up the waistband with gloves on
- Might be a little warm on Spring days
Bottom Line: The North Face Freedom Pants
I’d peg The North Face Freedom Pants as great crossover pants that can suit skiers and snowboarders alike. The burly fabric and extra warmth is welcomed on ultra-cold days on the slopes. And, the comfortable fit gives you plenty of room for that switch 9 you’re been dying to throw.
Buy Now: The North Face Ski Pants at REI
Jason: Great review and photography.These seem like great bang for the buck. BTW, I reviewed a similar Columbia product — the Wildcard pant — which looks to be the softshell equivalent of the TNF Freedom you tested. Not sure what you think of those, but I liked the quite a bit. See my review at GearGuide.
I’ll tell my wife you like her photography. 🙂
I haven’t seen the Wildcard… thanks for sharing a similar alternative.
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