May 28, 2010

Arc'teryx Rampart Pants: Exceptional

I love these pants. They're durable, comfortable, and stylish: the trifecta. If they cost less I'd own more than one pair.

Photo by Danny Whonsetler
Once upon a time The North Face made pants that I adored. Since they stopped, I had looked for a replacement without success, that is, until I found these pants. I should note that I wear hiking pants everyday and not just for hiking, so I was looking for something that looks good, wears well, and also works for hiking. I've worn one pair of these pants 9 out of 10 day for a year and a half, including dozens of day trips into the Tetons. I also wore them during two six night backpacking trips in Wyoming, the first in the Wind River Range and the second in the Absaroka Mountains.

They're well designed nylon so they last. I was worried that the thin fabric would result in early tears but my fears were unfounded. If anything they're even better than my heavier North Face Pants. I had several seams on the rear break after the first year, but it was only the thread so they were easily sown. I am very happy with their durability.

Photo by Danny Whonsetler
They're also very light and quick drying. I've been caught in rainstorms with these and even after being soaked through they dried in less than an hour of wear. They're also cool in hot weather. I have a dark green pair; they don't show dirt and look good after even a long time without washing. Still more, they pack down to nothing. All these features make them terrific travel pants.

These are some very comfortable pants. Obviously, we all have different body types, but I've never had a pair of pants fit so well. One feature I haven't mentioned is the pockets. The hip pockets are a little shallow, but they don't loose things quite as easily as some other pants I've owned. Still, they could be a little deeper. The back and cargo pockets don't close with velcro, zips, or buttons; they're just a flap but I prefer it to any other style. It's quick to grab something out of them and the flap is designed to overlap the pocket so nothing falls out. I've found that they work superbly.

As always, these are expensive pants. They run around $100 now so I won't buy them unless I find an incredible sale. The pair I have now were on sale for $65, but I don't think it would be worth paying the sticker price.
Conclusion: these are great pants. I have no complaints about anything but the price. If you can get them on sale, I highly recommend them.

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