Mountain Hardwear down pants

I love these new Stretchdown pants by Mountain Hardwear. Self-timer photo by Pam LeBlanc

First let me say I love the new slate blue insulated pants that Mountain Hardwear sent me to test drive.

They’re light. They’re fluffy. They’re slightly stretchy, yet oh so strong.

I tugged on the pants, which you might mistake for a down jacket, when I woke up to 48-degree temperatures last weekend while staying in Vincent VanGo, my campervan, at Seminole Canyon State Park. I slipped them on in the morning, when I got up to heat water for hot tea.

In a word, yum. Pulling on these pants felt like curling up in a bird’s nest lined with clouds, whipped cream, and silk.

Truthfully, I didn’t expect to love them. Who wants puffy pants? The Stay Pufft marshmallow man?

I was wrong.

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I’ll wear these pants on cold mornings when I’m camping. I might even wear them around the house on really cold days. They’d have come in handy during Snowpocalypse in Austin last February.

But I’m still chuckling, because the $250 pants came with an RDS – that’s Responsible Down Standard – tag to reassure me about the contents of the fill. Curious, I logged into the website and typed in the lot number on the tag. Within seconds, I knew everything about the exact batch of down that was used to craft my puffers.

What are my Mountain Hardwear down pants filled with?

Mountain Hardwear down pants

These slightly stretchy down pants are perfect for camping. Pam LeBlanc photo

My pants, it turns out, were made with down from grey goose in China. The down was a byproduct of the food industry. The geese in question were Greylag geese, which are larger than ducks, and therefore grow larger down clusters.

It all reminded me of the episode of “Portlandia” in which a couple visits a restaurant and asks about the organic chicken on the menu. The waitress shows them paperwork with the chicken’s name (Colin) and the farm where it lived.

“They do a lot to make sure their chickens are happy,” the waitress clucks.

My down-filled pants have two hand pockets, one hidden zippered coin pocket, and elastic bands at the cuff. I’m not sure the name of the grey goose that contributed the fluff that fills them, but I certainly appreciate the animal, and I’m glad it was raised under strict animal welfare standards.

You can buy your own pair at REI or online at




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