Mountain Equipment is a popular gear manufacturer in Europe. Since 1961, they have equipped every British first ascent of an 8000m peak, been part of over 175 Everest summits, and supported expeditions to the North and South Poles. One of their new corporate goals is to distribute in the United States. WildSnow received samples, and our European “second honeymoon” was the perfect opportunity to test them out (we’ll do several reviews, starting with this one).
Ever the clothes horse, WildSnow Girl was especially excited to receive the new ski clothing kit. Even though a declutter consultant may say my closet is overflowing, I desperately needed a new ensemble for our trip. In fact, I always need new ensembles. Isn’t that normal?
Since spring conditions vary widely, and I wanted to keep my pack as light as possible for our traverse of the Otztal Alps, my goal was to take a minimum amount of clothing. To make that happen, items needed to be versatile. I took two pairs of pants on the hut trip:
– Women’s Epic Touring Pant
– Women’s Softshell Chamois Pant
The sample I received of the Women’s Epic Touring Pant was a larger size than I wear. The seams were not taped, so it was easy to take off the waist band and tailor them to fit. Mid-weight Gore Windstopper Softshell fabric was durable, kept me warm when winds were icy, and partial side zips cooled me off when the sun came out. Front pockets were roomy. The only thing I missed with this pant was a third pocket. I like to keep my beacon in a lower thigh pocket, which the Epic Touring Pant does not feature.
The Chamois Pant was the second pair I took on the hut trip. These are made from a lightweight, four-way stretch softshell which is wind resistant and water repellent. It didn’t wrinkle and looks nice for hut lounging. I may have worn this pant while skiing if we’d had warmer days, but since the weather was cool on this trip I wore the Epic each day. The Chamois Pant is not made specifically for ski mountaineering and therefore the zippered leg gusset did not fit easily over my ski boot. But because of the stretchy fabric, I could have done it. This pant was terrific for hiking. Articulated knees move well and the water repellent fabric came in handy on a day with light rain. I even wore this pant home on the plane.
In sum, because both of these pants are made of high quality fabric and are well cut, I love them. They’ll make their home in my closet and I’ll take them out frequently for tours in my home mountains. (I also used a few ME jackets, review coming, and Lou has a review as well).