I'm currently travelling in Northern China and Mongolia and about a month ago I spent a few days hitchhiking with some local truck drivers.

I've been wearing long johns under my regular jeans because the temperatures are getting to -20 celcius and below. But one of the drivers when he had to be outside for longer periods had something the opposite of long johns, special trousers that were worn over his regular trousers that were padded with insulation.

I'm from Australia where it never gets so cold so hadn't seen anything like them before. But I know in other English-speaking parts of the world such as parts of USA and Canada it can easily get this cold. So I have to assume these trousers are also used in such areas and therefore must have a name.

What do we call these in English?

(Sorry I don't have a photo. I don't care if it's a single word or a phrase.)

  • Since it protects your lower body from cold weather, I would suggest "anti-shrinkage pants"!
    – user60831
    Dec 29, 2013 at 17:38
  • @DanD. Could be. There was almost no snow where we were though, so they're definitely not just for snow. Dec 29, 2013 at 17:42
  • 3
    It seems that overpants and overtrousers are words that are actually used too - even though I'm sure I've never heard them before. Dec 29, 2013 at 17:47
  • Perhaps wimp-pants?
    – tobyink
    Feb 28, 2014 at 10:14

3 Answers 3


In Canada you're likely to hear these called "snow pants". Most children's snowsuits come with pants and a jacket and the pants cover the stomach and back like overalls, and have suspender straps to keep them up. There are other models, which do not cover as much, and instead are meant to be worn over regular pants.

Example snow pants from Google Image Search for "snow pants":

  • That sounds right. On my side of the puddle I have never heard them called anything but snow pants my whole life long. Out in Colorado I imagine they might call them ski pants.
    – tchrist
    Dec 30, 2013 at 1:41
  • In Indiana, USA, we called them "snow pants" or they might have been part of a "snow suit" though I've heard the one-piece variety (pant/jacket) called a "snow-mobile suit". (I used past-tense "called" because I am FAR from that Indiana cold now.)
    – TecBrat
    Feb 6, 2014 at 4:51
  • The form on the right are also called "salopettes". Jan 30, 2016 at 15:11

Overall is a common name for these type of pants, and Carhartt is a producer of them (as jwpat mentioned), as you can see at the link. The Carhartt waist overall in the picture below is made to easily don or doff by having snaps or zippers along the legs so that they slide over other clothing and shoes or boots.

wasit overall

Other styles are the bib overall and the coverall (a type of overall), shown in the pictures below, and having similar snap or zipper features as the waist overall above.

bib overall


Not all overalls are made for cold weather, though. Other uses include as protection from other environmental factors (like chaps protect a horse or motorcycle rider), from wear and tear that goes along with physical labor, and from dirt, chemicals or other work-related elements. To be precise and to differentiate about the purpose, you might refer to the intended application, which, in your case, would be cold-weather overalls.

For many people who enjoy snow recreation, these look like snow suits or ski suits, and they might be called that. But, as you might notice when looking at the Carhartt link, many overalls have a common rugged design to them and are made to be used for work more than for recreation. I suspect that your truckers' overalls would be more akin to these. If you were shopping for our own for work, then ask for cold weather overalls. If you are just riding with the truckers, then you might get by with recreational ski or snow clothing.

  • Yes some people said "overalls" but to me overalls are something that go over "all" your clothes. I've never thought of "partial overalls". Perhaps I'm just being too literal, or perhaps that's what "overalls" means in Australia where I'm from? Dec 30, 2013 at 5:57
  • The lower picture looks very much like what I saw, except it was trousers only. But the padding and the legs that can be unfastened down the sides look right. The trucker would put his beat up ones on then climb under the truck with his tools and lie in the freezing ice and dirt to get things fixed. I don't need to buy anything like this, I'm just always curious about language matters. Thanks (-: Dec 30, 2013 at 5:59
  • The trouser-only style work overall is not too common where I live (although my preferred ski pants are in this style). This is the style of the first picture, which is described as a having a midweight polyester quilted lining. And as over-clothing for work goes, overall is the word most often used where I come from. Dec 30, 2013 at 6:13
  • I guess it's trouser only because in the cold climates you'll be wearing padded coats or jackets most of the time your're outside anyway, but will only need the extra insulation for the legs under occasional circumstances. Dec 30, 2013 at 6:21

Cruiser pants or trousers is one term that's used for padded trousers or coveralls. Also snow pants, as mentioned in Dan D's comment.

Carhartt, although a proper noun, is often used (in Montana at least) as a generic term for padded bib overalls. Eg, "It was only 20 below, so my Carhartts were way too warm."

Terms like hunting trousers, wool trousers, and field trousers are often used for the thick-wool pants sold by retailers such as LL Bean and Cabela. Unlike the overalls/coveralls/Carhartts mentioned in previous paragraphs, wool trousers usually are worn over long-johns/long underwear/thermals (thermal underwear). (A related historical term for winter wear is trews, which if one were to wear today probably would be worn somewhat like long underwear.) Some versions of cargo pants may be large enough to wear over other pants, but they are more likely to be worn plain or over long underwear.

  • And when they're designed and worn specifically for skiing, they're ski pants (or ski bibs if they are more like overalls).
    – Jim
    Dec 29, 2013 at 20:10
  • 1
    Why do you call trews a historical term? Isn't it more a dialectal (specifically: Scots) term? Dec 30, 2013 at 14:01
  • Regional is perhaps a better term than either historical or dialectal. wiktionary says “(UK) trousers, especially if close fitting and tartan”. Google ngrams shows use of trews declining only slowly. Dec 30, 2013 at 16:27

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