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JIMI

Snow Pants???

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Hey everyone,

It's time for me to retire my old and wornout REI snow pants. I want to get something a little more technical, but don't want to cut off my leg to afford them.

I'm not sure if full on bibs are the right choice or should I get another pair of pants? I have been thinking about the Arc'Terx pants which come up higher in the waist, but they're not quite a bib.

I would like input on what people find most useful.

Thanks,

JIMI

 

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I knuckled down and bought a pair of Arc'Teryx Beta LT's and really love them. Arc'Teryx makes really quality stuff. However they are not cheap. About 300 bucks. Might be able to find some on sale though. Good luck.

Jim

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check out MEC, they have a nice set of g-tex bibs, as well as pants I think, that are quite cheap. I bet they would still mail they're own stuff to the US! smile.gif

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I would have to agree with the above. Arc'Teryx Beta LT's rock! Most comfortable pant ever, light weight, and very tough material. Excellent quality worksmanship. I've thrashed on mine and they still look beautiful every time I pull 'em out of the wash (be sure to use Revivex for a nice waterproof finish). I love the waterproof zips - saves on weight and excess material. Internal gaitor are nice - eliminates the need to carry or wear gaitors. The suspenders are perfect - keeps the pants up without interfering with pack or ever even feeling them. Ergonomic cut can't be beat. I had originally owned TNF Mid-Triple... what a suck pair of pants. Basically a very expensive logo on a cookie-cutter, ill-fitting cheap material pant. I took em back and bought the Beta LT's.

Arc'Teryx makes the best clothes - hand down!

If you can afford it, they're worth every penny.

In regards to bibs vs. pants: the TNF pants that I owned constantly fell down. The cinch on them never worked very well - by the time you have them tight enough to stay up, you can't breathe. Any bending over always made them fall in the back. And wearing a pack constantly pushed them down too. The "half-bibs" (like the Beta LT) are the only way to go. High enough in the back to keep snow/rain out, yet short enough not to be full-on bibs - less material saves weight and breathes better. The suspenders are very low profile so you never notice them, but they sure keep the pants right where they fit best. One more thing about bibs (or half-bibs) is that you can wear a shorter jacket with them [think: Beta AR], hence saving on even more material and weight - not to mention cost, too, as longer jackets tend to be more expensive.

If you do get that combo, be sure to buy the heinous "Tabasco" color. That way we won't look like twins smile.gif... unlike me and my four other hiking partners who are all in blue. I swear we all look like "Team Arc'Teryx".

[This message has been edited by Jman (edited 04-06-2001).]

[This message has been edited by Jman (edited 04-06-2001).]

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Wouldn't pants made of snow be cold in the winter and simply melt in the summer?

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i own a MOuntain Hardware bib, works great havn't gotten wet at all, even sitting on my butt in the snow doing nothing, they dont get me wet. the only down side is that they are kinda heavy. but i they keep me warm and dry and thats what i wanted.

good luck

Aidan

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Unsure if you've gone out and bought the snow pants yet, but I thought it might be useful to consider a basic paradigm shift in outdoor layering systems. In the past layering was considered the norm with the outer shell (snow pants) worn the majority of the time because the fleece lacked wind and moisture resistance. With the increasing availability of fabrics like Shoeller, Malden Power Shield (not to be confused with power stretch) and shelled Regulator, conventional outer shell pants spend 95% of their time in your pack where they belong. These new fabrics offer enough wind and moisture resistance to hike, climb, backcountry ski, and downhill ski without an outer shell as long as it's not super cold, super windy or puking wet snow.

What I'm getting at is that you should ponder your other layers prior to buying the pants. Pants made out of the fabrics above are expensive, but if you already own or are pondering purchasing such, then the actual use you'll get out of your outershell is vastly diminished. Given that your "Gore" pants are going to spend most of their time in your pack, weight and bulk become a bigger factor, not to mention cost.

The real benefit of getting away from the conventional fleece/gore layering system is increased performance. Each layer added to your legs increases weight to be lifted with each high step, and creates a friction interface between layers. Unless the cut of the outershell is brilliant, it contributes the highest amount of friction. You'd never ponder wearing gore pants or bibs in a marathon, but you can trail run and climb ice in a pair of Shoeller tights. Spend 12 hours moving continuously while wearing powershield in the winter and you'll never want to wear a shell again (unless of course the weather is REALLY burly).

If you're really after snow pants, three layer Gore Tex XCR is brilliant. It's very breathable in relative terms and and worth the cost if you're wearing them a lot. Regarding the pants vs bibs question, I'd say pants with a fly for summer, bibs with a drop seat or 1 piece suit for winter. Get side zips, but make sure that the pulls don't interfere with your harness or hipbelt. Internal gaitors work for skiing, but add weight

To the system if you're wearing conventional 30.00 gaitors in an effort to stop your rambos from shredding your 300.00 pants. Waterproof zippers save weight and increase ventilation by eliminating velcro flaps. In theory they're easier to fumble around with mitts on, but in reality they can be a total bitch to operate due to friction. Ponder what you're really using the pants for as well. Wet approaches on trails or general snow travel isn't too hard on things and lightweight is the way to go. Scottish mixed or going 12 rounds with Devil's club demands stronger materials (and weight). Look for brilliant knee articulation. Fabric bunching at the knee above a gaitor is also worth avoiding as it tends to catch crampons on steep sketchy terrain.

Hope this helps.

 

 

 

 

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just to comment on fishsticks post, I recently got a pair of schoeler pants (patagonia guide pants) and I love them. My first trip out with them was a five day winter mountaineering trip and I only put on my shell pants once. I may not have even needed them then, either, as I stayed warm and dry the entire time. They aren't cheap, but I think they'll start bevoming more popular as more people realize how great they are for certain conditions.

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Just a little insider info: waterproof zips are not really "waterproof". Not saying they are not better than regular zips, do not cut down on weight & bulk or cut the wind better but the "H2O proof" is just mismarketing.

This fall, Patagonia is coming out with a EncapSil (breathable water resistant) pant and jacket like the Inferno. The Inferno is too warm so they will be using a lighter weight insulation. The insulation with stop where your glove gauntlet starts and where your gaitors start. Saves weight and cuts down on bulk. Twight wore this system on the Czech Direct.

This might be to warm for the Cascades in the summer though.

Schoeler pants work well and when it is cold, try put a wind resistant pant like the Driclime or Zephur under it. That way the layers slide avoiding the added resistance.

Most of the time, people get wet from the shell not breathing well vs precip.

This are just my opinions so take them with a grain of salt as I live on the east coast.

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Fishsticks makes his point very well and based on my experiences I would heartily agree with him. When faced with the prospects of replacing my “snow pants” I opted for a pair of insulated Scholler pants for my winter outings and I have not been dissapointed. I was so impressed with their peformance, that I bought a second uninsulated pair for 3 season use.

I ended up getting an insulated pair of the Mammut Pollock/Pollux(name?) made of scholler fabric for winter/ice climbing use. I’ve had them for 2 seasons now and they are great. They are plenty water resistant so that I’ve not used shell gear since I bought them. I’ve never been cold in them. They fit closer, stretch more than shell gear and are lighter, so movement is easier and you can see your feet better. They simply make climbing more fun and I would highly recommend them. Pro Mountain Sports sells these pants.

Since shell gear does spend most of its time in your pack, especially if you are wearing scholler pants, I went for a super light, very cheap pair of lowe adrenalin pants (10 oz, $80) for back up. Not very durable, but since I’ve had my scholler pants I haven’t had to wear them. When conditions are bad enough where it warrants shell gear over scholler pants (i.e. puking wet snow), most likely I’m going to be heading home, if I’m not there already.

Rgds

 

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I like all the feedback, thanks!

Fishstick makes a lot of good points about really thinking about use. Given that I'm not a tech millionair or lottery winner, it's nice to get some sound advice. I was wondering about the new pants with the Schllll (can't spell) material. They always looked cool, but the price was never right. I'm not one to spend big dollars on something unproven. But now it sounds like people have tested the Schllll and it works.

The big question with Schllll, is once it's wet and you take it off for bed, does it dry fast? Has anyone used it for 5 plus days in a row?

If the Schlll stuff really works, I will probably save and cut off my right arm and buy it. And just use my old pants as back up.

See you at the summit!

JIMI

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Schoeller doesn't really get that wet unless you fall into a creek. It does dry pretty quick and is generally hydrophobic. I wore it last year in everything from 10F to 85F and was generally comfortable. I do wear extra insulating layers in the colder weather but the material seems to have a wide comfort range. It breathes well but also blocks wind.

I've used it 5-plus days in a row and was pleasantly surprised that it didn't get a "funk" like other synthetic clothes. Like everyone else said - it really does work well and is worth hunting for.

I got my Moonstone Contortion pants on REI-Outlet.com last summer for about $60. I've also seen some Schoeller material clothing on Sierra Trading post from time to time. MEC makes some good stuff and it is pretty reasonable (and they will ship that to the US).

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I second AJ's post on Scholler fabrics. I wore a pair of Black Diamond Talus Pants on Mt Hunter as my only shells. Worked GREAT, even in a storm that wrecked my tent.

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I can't believe it, a real reply from

dan..pat..smith! I knew you had it in you.

JIMI

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Another vote for the softshell approach. Two winters ago I got a pair of Schoeller Dryskin Extreme pants (Mammut Champ Alp) thanks to the raving of Jim Nelson. Have since worn these through two winters of ice climbing and an expedition to Bolivia. Great comfort range, much tougher than shell pants/bibs, and stretch. Don't block wind like true shell fabric, but pretty good. If you plunk down in wet snow your butt WILL get wet, but they dry. Falling snow, mist, light rain, even the drips of a melting ice climb, were no problem. Ice climbing I wear a pair of Patagonia Activist Fleece tights underneath. In Bolivia, a pair of mid weight Terramar bottoms was sufficient beneath the Mammuts. I used to carry my old Gore-tex bibs as backup, but soon switched to a pair of full side zip Activent pants "just in case". I've used them maybe half-dozen times in 3 years.

Check it out. A pair of "softshell" pants can be the pivot point of an amazingly versatile lower body system. You'll love 'em

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