Friday, November 4, 2011

Marmot Scree softshell pant: Universe's best?

Posted By on Fri, Nov 4, 2011 at 10:46 PM

I'm convinced that every outdoors-loving person should have a pair of these pants. The ultimate cool weather outdoor pant, they're perfect for spring/fall hiking, Nordic skiing, cool-weather backpacking, spring mountaineering, snowshoeing, spring skiing, non-warm climbing, really-cold-weather running, or pretty much anything active you want to do in cooler weather. Made of Marmot’s M3 fabric, they’re light, stretchy, water-resistant, and surprisingly durable.

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They also have lots of pockets, a key requirement for me, and the pockets have zippers. That, folks, is rad. See, ‘cause then nothing falls out. Which is nice when you’re carrying a lot of stuff. Stuff falling out of your pockets is decidedly not rad. And because the fabric is stretchy, you can stuff a ridiculous amount of crap in them. I often use them for multi-day trips where I'm likely to have a compass, lighter, lip balm, little notebook, pen, digital voice recorder, camera lens cap, lens cleaning cloth, point-and-shoot camera, and a few bars in my front pockets. Because of the stretch, I can even cram my shades and maybe my gloves and a hat in there, too, if I want. The map pocket on the thigh is perfect for carrying, you guessed it, maps. But because it's got the zipper and it's stretchy, it's also great for all kinds of super valuable things like avalanche beacons and flasks.
Maybe my favorite feature, though, is the little elastic cord on the ankles. Tighten that sucker down and the pants cinch onto your boot so you can ski or snowshoe without gaiters. I haven't used my gaiters since I got these pants. Thanks to a zipper expander, they also fit well over alpine or tele boots, too, making them an excellent choice for ski touring.
They seem to hold up well for skiing or other rough activities. I've been wearing mine for two years now and they're showing virtually no wear whatsoever. I've heard from other people that they hold up to the rigors of climbing and mountaineering just as well.
The only thing keeping them from being the Universe's ultimate pant is that I wish they had an integrated belt. If you're doing serious outdoor stuff an elastic waist just isn't going to cut it. But they do have belt loops, so a webbing belt with a low-profile buckle does the trick. Just would be nice if you didn't need one.
Small complaint though, consider they're, by far, the best skiing/hiking/cold-weather-tromping pants I've ever used. The screes will set you back $100 and are available wherever they are sold (Marmot's website can direct you to retailers).
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