Editor's Note: This is an independent review, written and published by Merith. Read the original here.
Coalatree Trailhead Adventure Pants have lots of reviews, but it’s difficult to find any specific reference to these pants for women.
(For the benefit of British readers, we’re talking about pants in the American sense, ie. trousers. Not undercrackers, or something that’s crap.)
The Adventure Pants are unisex, which is understandable from a practical point of view. But how about the rather different shapes of men and women?
There is a size guide on the Coalatree website, which gives the sizes according to measurements. Men usually have an idea of their inseam and waist size. I don’t know about you, but I go by dress size.
But that doesn’t work for unisex. So I emailed their excellent customer services with my height (5’5”) and size (UK10/US6). I also added that I’m not exactly scrawny in the thigh department, thanks to squatting. I got a very nice reply back recommending that I get the Medium. So I took a deep breath, and ordered the medium. (I got them in a bundle with the Adventure Shorts on Kickstarter. Read the review here.)
Here they are, together with the shorts. I got both pairs in brown, obviously.
First, the technical stuff.
The main selling points of these pants is that they are stretchy, tear-resistant, waterproof and breathable, and antimicrobial. I think the latter means that they take a long time to get stinky if you want to wear them for longer without washing them. That is a feature I’ve not yet tested.
Let’s start with the ‘four-way stretch’.
The fabric itself doesn’t feel like it would be particularly stretchy. It’s not like spandex, or bathing suit material.
I think we all know how it feels when you bend down and you can feel your waistband slowly creeping towards your ass crack. It’s really not nice at all, for you or for any unfortunate person behind you.
After I pulled on the pants I dropped into a squat to see how they fared. Well, it was quite amazing. They really did stretch.
I’ve spared you the rear view, but believe me when I say that the waistband did not shift at all. My ass stayed completely covered, and it didn’t feel like the material was being put under any undue stress. I sat on that log for quite some time, in total comfort. For people who go climbing and put their legs into all kinds of strange contortions, these would be absolutely wonderful.
OK, so tear-resistant?
This is tricky to test without potential damage or destruction, but as it happened I did inadvertently test the relative ruggedness of the fabric.
The outdoor pictures in this review were taken when we went on a little family walk in the New Forest. On the way back, I caught my pants leg on some blackberry bushes. I looked down and saw a few little snags. Shit.
First trip out, and they’re damaged. I didn’t get pictures because I was too busy swearing to myself. I looked down a few minutes later and they’d gone. Seriously. I’m not quite sure how, but those little snags had worked themselves back into the fabric, and it was once again pristine.
Clearly this is some kind of textile witchcraft.
OK, so the last thing, waterproof.
I should probably wear these in the rain to maximize the test, but in the meantime, here is a rather more artificial example.
Yes, that is a gif of me pouring water on my leg. See how the water kind of beads off? I don’t know how it would react to being saturated, but for splashes or even rain that looks pretty damn good. In the event of saturation, these are also supposed to dry very quickly.
You can see the waffle-type pattern of the material. I think this explains the whole ‘four-way stretch’ thing.
How about carrying stuff?
They have four pockets, two flap pockets on the butt (one with velcro):
And two at the side for putting stuff in.
And those side pockets are REALLY deep.
Want to know why?
The trousers squish up into one of the pockets. The one on the right is actually the shorts (also squished into the pocket) and the one top left is the trousers. You don’t have to do any fancy folding or rolling, just stuff ’em in there. It’s about the size of three pairs of rolled-up thick socks.
By the way, you can fit plenty in the pockets, but you will be able to see the outline if whatever’s inside. It’s not going to be pretty. But these are not for fancy wear, so who cares?
OK, so technical performance seems pretty good. How about fit?
These are unisex pants, so they are designed for kind of a generic body, more the ‘straight-up-and-down’ shape of a man than a hips-and-ass’ of a woman.
The inseam is 30″, which is slightly long on me but not too bad. If I’m wearing regular shoes or sandals I just turn them up a little at the bottom and they’re fine.
Now, you might be able to see what look like little bows on each side of the cuff.
Those are actually drawstrings. You can use these if you want to pull the legs up a little to make them shorter, then tie the strings to keep them in place.
Yeah, it looks ridiculous on me, and the tight pant leg around my calf is not comfortable. If it’s hot weather I’ll wear my shorts.
The waistband sits somewhere between my waist and my hips. I could tighten the waist drawstring because they feel slightly loose, but I don’t mind them riding a little low, they’re comfortable enough.
(The fly is a fake, you just pull the pants on and off. )
There’s no gap at the back, which is and as I said above, they stretch out nicely when you’re sitting or squatting.
Unlike the women’s shorts, they are gathered elastic all the way around, so you can definitely tell there’s a little more, ahem, space in front than a women would require. But it doesn’t make any difference to the comfort level, which is extremely high.
The legs on me are narrowish (those big thighs again) but not tight. I don’t feel like they’re clinging to me, they just feel quite fitted in the leg.
We need these in a women’s fit. The women’s shorts are bloody brilliant. Please, Coalatree, do the same thing for your pants.
Those drawstrings are annoying. I managed to tie mine in a little bow, but I hear people often just cut them off. No one will look good with the legs bunched up.
More colours please. I really like the brown (leaving aside brown pants jokes) but we need more alternatives than blue (yuck) and black. Tan perhaps?
I really, really love these pants.
They are comfortable, practical, and as flattering as a pair of outdoor pants is likely to get.
They’re expensive ($89 plus shipping), but they look like they’re going to last. They’re the best things I’ve found for walking around in the woods (especially in crappy rainy British weather).
If you want a great pair of all-purpose outdoor pants, these are for you.
The also work for handstands. I like doing handstands. My ankles look weird because I pulled the pants cuffs over the top of my boots. Oh well. They stretch so well it didn’t feel uncomfortable and I forgot about it until I saw this picture.