It can be hard to keep up with the latest outerwear trends. From fit to functionality, puffies, baselayers and hardshells undergo small design tweaks every year and we are here to help you parse out the gear that best fits your backcountry needs.
For our 2017 Apparel Guide, we focus on the timeless and the trending. These are classics that we know and love, alongside the best in new materials, styles and tech. For this installment of the Apparel Guide online, we introduce pants, some flashy and new, some tried-and-true.
Flylow Foxy Bib
$375 – flylowgear.com
Foxy, foxy, what’s it gonna be? This time, consider Flylow’s Foxy Bib. New this season, the Foxy offers a sleek and functional option for women’s bibs (the Baker Bib is the men’s alternative).
The bibs utilize Flylow’s proprietary Intuitive fabric, a three-layer hardshell with a waterproof, breathable membrane. And between the DWR finish, powder gaiters and strategically placed, lightweight nylon reinforcement in the cuffs, the Foxy Bib is built to keep snow out and to last.
They live up to their name as well; the bib sits squarely above the chest, lending itself to a comfortable, flattering fit while also offering a chest pocket and zippered kangaroo pouch. A slim cut throughout the torso and leg doesn’t compromise mobility, and the inner thigh zips disperse heat on the skintrack. Most notably, Flylow nails the delivery on the long zipper up the outer pant leg, solving the main problem women face while donning bibs, enabling them to hit the other powder room without shedding layers.
Bottom Line: Flylow does women a solid with a bib that’s as cute as it is functional, durable and waterproof. Foxy, indeed.
The Sabre Pant has been the cheat sheet for solid ski pants ever since Arc’teryx introduced them to their lineup in 2010. This year, the bc staple is back again with subtly stretchy Gore-Tex construction that’s complemented by a DWR finish and taped seams.
Features: It’s the classic pant: two cargo pockets, belt loops and cinchable waist, long outer thigh vents and a gusseted crotch for better range of motion.
Fit: The Sabre, marketed for freeride skiing and riding, offers a relaxed fit through the legs—although this year, the pant is redesigned with a smaller lower-leg circumference for an updated look.
Bottom Line: The Sabre (and women’s Sentinel) is the weatherproof, clean-cut freeride pant that others try to mimic.
This year, Strafe debuts their Recon Pant (and matching jacket), a lightweight, softshell option that’s geared toward year-round, long, uphill missions. When the snow starts flying, the four-way stretch, DWR-treated fabric fends off precipitation, and each thigh features a large pocket.
Features: The Recon thrives in its practicality, from the pants’ elastic belt to the abrasion-resistant scuff guards. The cuffs also include a subtle zipper that when undone, fits over a ski boot, but can also be secured for running or other pursuits.
Fit: Strafe labels this pant with an “active fit,” meaning you’ll still look cool, but are less likely to snag a pant leg on a crampon.
Bottom Line: The energizer bunny of pants, the Recon is ready to keep going—if you are.
Outdoor Research’s rolled out the Skyward this year as part of their signature backcountry-specific setup—there’s the Skyward Jacket, as well. OR utilized their proprietary Ascentshell Technology, which has the hand and breathability of a softshell with the promise of weatherproof construction.
Features: The best—and most important—feature of OR isn’t a new one. It’s the integrated beacon pocket, a staple across their pants. The thigh vents and zip-off bib are a nice touch, too.
Fit: If the Skyward doesn’t fit exactly right, OR has you covered, between the belt loops and adjustable waist and suspenders.
Bottom Line: The Skyward is one of the stretchier options for off-piste travel.