The North Face Freedom Insulated - Women's Review
Cons: Limited use, hard to size right
Manufacturer: The North Face
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The North Face Freedom Insulated - Women's
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|Pros||Affordable, warm, stylish||Roomy pockets, great weather resistance, comfortable, good value||Very warm, good ventilation, affordable price||Stylish, stretchy||Price, warmth|
|Cons||Limited use, hard to size right||Zipper construction, limited style and color options||Limited style and color options, few extra features||Waterproofing, odd fitting, pockets||No vents, limited features|
|Bottom Line||A warm, stylish, and functional pant that comes at a great price||A comfortable, protective, high-performing shell pant at a surprisingly reasonable price point||Simple yet functional, this bib is an affordable option for those looking for a basic design with solid performance||These bibs are just as comfortable for aprés as they are on the mountain||This is a basic pant that is a solid option for a first timer who isn't sure if they want to invest in the sport|
|Rating Categories||The North Face Free...||Outdoor Research Sk...||REI Co-op Powderbou...||Burton Avalon Bib||Columbia Bugaboo Om...|
|Weather Resistance (25%)|
|Fit and Comfort (25%)|
|Specs||The North Face Free...||Outdoor Research Sk...||REI Co-op Powderbou...||Burton Avalon Bib||Columbia Bugaboo Om...|
|Measured Weight||1.6 lbs||1.3 lbs||1.7 lbs||1.9 lbs||1.4 lbs|
|Waterproofing||2-layer DryVent||3-layer AscentShell||2-layer Peak||2-layer DryRide||Omni-Tech|
|Vents||Inner thigh||Outer thigh||Inner thigh, outer thigh||Inner thigh||None|
|Insulation/Lining||60g Heatseeker Eco, 90% recycled polyester||None||40g polyester||Living Lining||60g Microtemp XF II polyester|
|Main fabric||160D nylon||88% nylon, 12% spandex||Nylon||Stretch polyester||100% nylon twill|
|Waistline construction||Button and zip fly||Button and zip fly||Bib||Bib||Button & zip fly|
|Pockets||2 zippered hand, 1 velcro cargo||2 zippered hand, 2 zippered thigh||2 zippered hand, 1 zippered chest||2 handwarmer, 1 zippered chest||2 zippered hand|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The North Face Freedom Insulated Pant offers average performance across all metrics at an unbeatable price, making it a perfect option for someone who is unsure if they are ready to invest in a more technical and expensive pant. It is a great option for an average day at the resort, especially if you are someone who wants the additional warmth of an insulated pant. That being said, the fit of the pant can be tricky to nail down and they may not be suited for wetter climates.
To help this pant fight the elements, The North Face utilizes a 2-layer DryVent membrane which claims a waterproof rating of 25 pounds per square inch (PSI) minimum after 20 launderings. This means that the pants were designed to withstand water for at least 20 washes, and potentially longer.
We put this to the test via our two-minute shower test. While we remained largely dry after showering water directly onto the pants, we did notice water beginning to soak through around the front zipper and back seams. The outer material also got heavier as it absorbed water. Because of this, the pant scored lower in the weather resistance category.
Fit and Comfort
The fit of The North Face Freedom Pant seems to have been improved in the latest update, with a slightly roomier fit in the legs accompanied by the adjustable waistband. The waistband utilizes generous, adjustable waist tabs making it easier to adjust a larger pant to fit smaller than vice versa. This makes it more comfortable to wear both on and off the mountain.
Our testers did notice that while a phone easily fits in any of the pockets, leaving a phone in either of the upper zippered pockets can lead to discomfort when bending your legs during an aggressive ski turn, with the phone digging into one's hip.
The Freedom pant comes with what The North Face has dubbed Chimney Venting. Essentially, this means that this pant relies on the combination of two standard inner thigh vents, paired with each leg of the pant's mesh boot gaiter. This combination is meant to direct airflow from the boot, up the leg, and out through the vents, assisting in temperature regulation when things warm up on the hill. These vents run from below the crotch to just above the knee, offering just enough ventilation to keep one comfortable in a variety of temperatures.
These vents are not highly effective for dumping large amounts of heat created during strenuous activity but can be useful when a cold morning turns to a pleasant afternoon and temperatures increase. The vents both have an inner mesh lining which helps keep snow out while skiing with them open, but these mesh linings also mean that the vents are less effective when it comes to dumping heat quickly. Because of this, we would not recommend this model for backcountry skiing, but rather for fun days at the resort.
If keeping your legs toasty on the mountain is high on your list of priorities, then you definitely want to consider the Freedom Pant. The North Face implements Heatseeker insulation, aimed at providing exceptional warmth for the coldest among us. We found these to deliver upon that goal, keeping our legs warm when tested with cold temperatures and fresh snow. For those extra cold days, we would recommend pairing these pants with a base layer for optimal warmth. For the wallet-friendly price point, these pants met our expectations with ease.
That being said, the warmth generated by the Freedom Pant is not ideal for backcountry shredders who are performing more strenuous activities. This pant likes to stay warm and was built to do so.
The Freedom Insulated Pant is fairly basic when it comes to features, keeping things simple with two zippered thigh pockets and one velcro cargo pocket. The cargo pocket is a nice touch and is just big enough to fit a phone, wallet, or small snacks. It comes with a velcro closure paired with fabric that folds down when closed to create a sold crease. While this provides a more secure closure than without the crease, it still doesn't have a zipper closure, meaning it may not be the best pocket for small valuables.
The pant also comes with a mesh boot gaiter, which is part of its Chimney Venting system and was unique in the pants we tested. This allowed for ventilation from ski boots up, but also meant that if one is walking in deep powder in the pants, there is a chance snow might melt and get inside. Other than those features, the pant is fairly basic in its design.
This pant comes in a large variety of vibrant colors and sizing options (short, regular, tall), providing the opportunity to find a color that fits one's personal style. This, paired with the stylish addition of the cargo pocket, make the pants stand out from other more basic styles around their price point.
We were impressed by the overall look of the pants and received multiple compliments from across the resort while putting them through testing.
The price is right for these pants, coming in at the low end while still providing reliable features to get you on the hill. Unless you demand a truly high-performing pant for your resort skiing objectives, this model provides solid value. Its weatherproofing is appropriate for most conditions, especially for the price, and is a great option for someone who is not ready to commit to a more expensive pair of pants.
The combination of warmth, style, and impressive performance for the price make this pant a solid option for a resort skier who doesn't want to break the bank. While there are more technical pants available that perform at a higher level, they come at a much higher price. Comparatively, the Freedom Pant is priced right for what you get.
— Sarah Sherman
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