Ultralight soft-shell pants or technical trackies?
Patagonia's Traverse Pants are advertised as 'A light, full-stretch, wind-resistant soft-shell pant for high-output mountain training and alpine scrambles'. When you first see them in the flesh they look more like a pair of techy trackie troos. They are made with a very light, stretchy soft-shell fabric that is good at resisting wind and carries Patagonia's well respected DWR to fend off moisture. The lack of a fly and belt was at first disconcerting but actually made a lot of sense in the mountains. You just pull them down like tracksuit troos to answer the call of nature and the draw-cord, elasticated waist is very, very comfortable in use. They have a couple of mesh lined, zipped pockets that I use as vents more than storage. Overloading the pockets with stuff on such light, stretchy pants is asking for trouser-dropping trouble so any at-hand essentials I carry in the mountains go in the hip belt pockets of my backpack as always. The pants have a tough little 'herring-bone' tape on the inside of the cuff and a 'serged' side seam which has suffered just a little bit of pilling due to frequent bushwhacking detours over the course of the year. The side seam remains perfectly intact though. They also sport double layer panels on the knees and a gusseted crotch for easy movement. Finally they're finished off with subtle reflective logos on the hip and knees.
I have used them for running (on and off road), hiking, backpacking, yoga, teaching P.E. lessons at work and lounging around the house watching TV. With the addition of long base-layers and/or over-trousers they have also proved themselves to be perfectly competent cross-country ski pants on fine days. They are light and the freedom of movement is excellent. Patagonia's 'Slim' cut definitely suits my body shape and the Large size fits my 34" waist and six foot height perfectly. The Traverse Pant, like many of Patagonia's products is also available in a women's cut. The material, as well as containing recycled content and being recyclable, is adequately wind resistant for 3 season days in the hills and the Deluge DWR keeps light moisture at bay while also drying quickly when they get wet.
In conclusion I couldn't be happier with them. They are SO comfortable and at £50 they've provided so much 'bang for my buck'. Patagonia pants fit me like a glove and the build quality and the company's 'green credentials' make them my first choice. The Traverse Pants blur the lines between tracksuit trousers and soft-shell pants and do it, it seems, without too much compromise. In the depths of the Scandinavian winter I may opt for Patagonia's slightly heavier Simple Guides and the burlier Back-country Guides when the conditions are really grim.