Review by Anna
Bottom Line: I would buy these pants at sale pricing
Manufacturer's intended purpose: Hiking, Backpacking, Ice Climbing, Alpine Climbing
Actual Weight: 9.2 oz / 261 g
Mfg Retail: $175
Dammit OR! I really want to like these pants. I just don’t. Why? Because the last time I wore these, I got soaked! The only reason I was not cold and miserable is because I wore a softshell under them and they repelled the large amounts of moisture amassed on the inside of these pants.
The fit on these is pretty good. The elastic waist is just not quite right. I ordered a Medium, which almost always fits. The legs were the right length for me and there was room to slip these on over my hiking pants or softshell. The elastic in the waist just felt a little too tight and bunchy in my opinion. I found it really annoying, hence the 7/10 rating. It was that annoying.
I have had to repair one small rip in these pants. That is pretty damn good considering I have worn these with crampons and doing some serious bushwhacking. Devil’s club in Alaska can be ferocious. Granted, I always wear gaiters with the crampons. The zippers are well made and waterproof. They haven’t failed me yet!
These are a shell, so they don’t insulate at all. They will keep the wind, and hopefully rain off you, which will keep you warmer. That is, if they have not decided to stop being waterproof; in that case, you will just be wet and probably cold.
I did rave about how waterproof these pants are. I have not used or washed them that many times. I have had them three years, maybe used them a dozen times, and washed them maybe 6-it rarely rains enough to warrant a hardshell. I used these in a 2 day search and rescue class in Girdwood, AK in a downpour-and stayed pleasantly dry. I used them on a 4 day hunting trip off the Denali Highway, during which we were constantly affronted with a constant drizzle of rain. I was happy with them. I was dry.
That was until recently. I did a 2 hour hike in a downpour in Seward, AK. Seward is notorious for being rainy. 2 hours, no biggie, these pants have seen worse. I was so wrong. We got to the cabin (thank god it was a cabin where I could easily dry this shit out and not a tent) and the inside of both legs was absolutely soaked. The only reason I didn’t notice is the softshell I had them over was actually repelling water pretty well.
Maybe it is time to for me to recharge the fabric or something. However, I have actually followed the washing instructions for these pants. I will fuck around with most of my gear and washing it-but not my hardshells, I need that shit to be on lock. This fabric has been taken care of per the instructions and it has let me down.
As far as windproof-ness goes, they are great. Breathability seems ok, but my legs don’t really sweat a lot.
I really like the features of these pants. For a women’s specific hardshell, these are hard to beat. They are one of the few options out there for a ¾ leg zip. I have looked long and hard for a women’s hardshell with a full zip-none seem to exist. Only a handful of manufacturers offer even the ¾ zip-most only zip to the calf. The ¾ zip on these pants allows me to easily slip these on over my hiking boots in the event of a surprise rain event.
There is only one pocket, located on the right butt cheek. For a packable hardshell, this seems appropriate. This pocket incorporates one of my all time favorite features of any gear- these pants zip into their own pocket! These pants are very lightweight and packable, making a 6x4x2 inch package to throw in your pack for weather protection.
Manufacturer Warranty (8)
I have had great experiences with OR’s warranty process in the past. I have not contacted them regarding these pants. With my last outing, I may contact them. I will update this if I do.
Until these pants started leaking, these were one of the best options for a women’s packable hardshell pant out there. I still gave these pants a pretty good rating because they offered me 3 solid years of worry free service. I have no doubt that OR would help me out if I contacted them regarding the warranty on these pants.