Good pants for active winter pursuits

Verified Buyer Reviewed by Aardvark from Iowa City, IA on Sunday, November 27, 2011
Sizing/fit: Let me first say, I am 6'6" and 180 lbs soaking wet. I have trouble finding pants that fit. But these pants fit great. I ordered the large-long version. I had hoped they would fit well based on other reviews that complained of them being too long. Too long you say? Great, might actually work for me. And they do. Many other manufacturers of outdoor gear make "long" sizes that seem more like a regular from my perspective. So my recommendation would be to assume the other sizes are also longer than the equivalent from other brands. I also own a Lowe Alpine soft shell jacket, and it fits me well while still giving me the extra arm length I need. Bottom line: Lowe Alpine may be a good brand for tall/gangly people, but shorter/stockier people may want to look elsewhere, or order the shortest version.

Build/materials: One review stated these are not actually soft shell. It depends on your definition of soft shell, as there are variants. The front is a thicker, tougher material that I think most people would agree is soft shell. The knees are double-reinforced by virtue of the bottom part of the pants being made almost like gaiters, with the top of the pants fitting over them and then stitched in (see the photo, it's kind of hard to explain). This makes the knee joint more flexible than if it was just thicker material. The back of the pants, except for the reinforced seat, is a slightly lighter weight, more stretchy material than the front. Some might complain about that, but I personally like it that way. The heavier protection in the front is good for scraping against rock (and also good wind protection for cross country skiing, running, etc.), while the back will vent heat and sweat. If you are looking for heavier, insulated pants, these are not the ones for you. If you want pants for cold weather climbing and other more active pursuits where you will need freedom of movement and ventilation, these are perfect.

Quirks: some reviewers noted the odd arrangement of the zipper on the fly. This stems from the fact that these pants were designed for climbing. If you have ever been in a harness and needed to relieve yourself, then you know how hard it can be sometimes to dig out a traditionally placed zipper and get it open. It's also tough to get it closed again. Not so when you zip from the bottom with these pants. The lack of belt loops is also a climbing design. One does not need a belt when wearing a harness, and having a belt on under a harness can get quite uncomfortable. These pants do come with a draw cord sewn into the inside waistband. My only complaint about this is that the draw cord is a little on the flimsy side, especially compared to the bomber construction of the rest of the pants. It is still reasonably thick though, so I don't think it will be a major problem.

Hope this review helps.
  • Best Uses: Backpacking, Cold-weather climbing, Cross country skiing, Hiking, Running
  • Describe Yourself: Avid Adventurer
  • Length: Feels true to length
  • Pros: Breathable, Comfortable, High-Quality Material and Stitching
  • Waist: Feels true to size
  • Was this a gift?: No
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