Outdoor Research Trailbreaker Pant
Colour: Pewter, Black
Price: $250 USD
Weight: 21.4oz/607g (Medium)
The pants are made with a water-resistant, breathable softshell fabric. OR has reinforced the Trailbreaker Pant from the knees down with a waterproof layer to protect you when you're in deep powder. The pants are packed full of many other technical features, way more than other pants I've tried. Here they are:
External features include zippered thigh vents, ankle level scuff guards, snap zippered fly, ankle zippers, articulated knees, and belt loops.
Internal features include two zippered hand pockets, zippered thigh pockets, a stretch mesh internal gaiter, and adjustable tabs on the waist band. Outdoor Research has also included a IFMGA guide requested mesh avalanche beacon pocket with key clip as seen below.
Fit-OR labels this product as standard fit, and I think that is an accurate description. The pants are snug around the hips and flare slightly at the bottom to accommodate boots. The pants are comfortable and flexible.
Fabric-The softshell material performed well in all conditions. The waterproof Pertex material below the knee also performed well both in waterproofness and durability.
Ankle zippers- While ski touring in uphill mode, the ankle zippers were useful in allowing the boot to expand under the pant. In downhill mode, I closed the zippers to fit more snugly over the boot.
Thigh Vents- I really like and appreciate this feature. My two other ski touring pants do not have venting options whatsoever, so it was great to have the ability to dump heat on the uphill if needed.
Avy beacon pocket-The avalanche beacon pocket hides inside a hand pocket at hip level. The first time I used this pocket I temporarily lost credit card inside, not realizing there were two pockets in the same zippered opening! My Mammut Pulse Barryvox beacon fits well inside the beacon pocket and it is easy to clip it to the key clip. At first I didn't like the feeling of my beacon in my pant pocket as I don't normally carry it there, but I soon got used to it and forgot about it being there. I can see why IFMGA guides requested it.
Other pockets- There are two hand pockets and zippered thigh pockets. I find thigh pockets useful for carrying maps or snacks.
Internal Gaiter- The gaiter on these pants are the best ones that I have tried. The elastic creates a seal on the boot, preventing snow from moving up the pant. The gaiter also features a slot for your boot power strap, if you want to lock it in even more.
Adjustable waistband tabs- Velcro tabs that are akin to a belt are always a plus in my book. Backpack waist straps can really wreak havoc with pant waistbands. Using the adjustable tabs means you can lock in the pants at the waist and get a better fit.
Verdict? I have never owned a pair of touring pants so full of touring specific features. OR has intelligently added and placed every feature you could ever need for ski touring in one pair of pants! Another thumbs up for Outdoor Research!
The ankle zippers had to be opened on uphill mode as the pant is too tight over the open boot otherwise. The feature is fine, but it adds another step to transitions that I think could be eliminated if the pant just flared more at the bottom. Plus, the zipper may eventually break altogether. Keep the great internal gaiter and flare the softshell fabric out and eliminate the zipper.
The waterproof fabric on the knees held up well but seems thin and less durable than the rest of the pant. I have read some reviews that seem to have noted a problem in this area. I haven't had any issues as of yet and it kept me drier around my knees compared to other pants.
I appreciated leg vents as this is the first touring pant that I've owned that had this feature. One suggestion is that the thigh vents could have a fabric mesh inner lining as snow occasionally gets in from poles.
I have a personally dislike the pewter colour. I didn't find it flattering in many photos and if I had the choice I would definitely choose the Trailbreaker pants in the alternative black colour.
Best Uses: Ski Touring, Splitboarding, Snowshoeing.
Full disclosure: I received this jacket for free as part of the #ORInsightLab. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.