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Reviews > Clothing > Base Layers and Undies > Gordini Lite Pant > Test Report by Tom Callahan

TEST SERIES BY TOM CALLAHAN, November 11, 2008 - March 16, 2009
March 16, 2009



NAME: Tom Callahan
EMAIL: tcallahanbgt AT yahoo DOT com
AGE: 50
LOCATION: Seattle, Washington, USA
HEIGHT: 5' 11" (1.80 m)
WEIGHT: 170 lb (77.10 kg)

For the past 20 years I have lived off and on in Washington State, backpacking in the Cascade Mountains. I get out regularly on day hikes and multi-day trips and usually try to include a good off trail scramble. During the winter I get out snowshoeing at every opportunity. I also enjoy glacier climbing, summiting prominent peaks like Mt. Rainier (14K ft/4K m) and Mt. Baker (10K ft/3K m). My pack weight will range from 15 - 50 lbs (7 - 23 kg) depending on the season and the length and type of trip.



Manufacturer: Gordini
Year of Manufacture: 2008
Manufacturer's Website:
MSRP: US$ 35.00
Listed Weight: N/A
Measured Weight: 5.2 oz (145 g)
Size: Medium
Color choices: Black, Charcoal, Chocolate, Denim


The pants came in their retail packaging. This is a bright orange box and is very eye catching. It prominently displays the Lavawool logo. The Lavawool fabric is a combination of 88% Polyester and 12% Merino Wool. Product information on the box states:

- The warmth and benefits of Merino Wool with the comfort of fleece.
- Employs inherent insulation properties of wool.
- Uses synthetic fibers to wick moisturize.
- The natural crimp of wool allows it to bounce back into shape, remaining effective in all weather conditions.
- Outperforms the leading synthetic fabric and 100% wool in moisture management.

In addition to this product information the box has two graphics showing the thermal resistance (warmth) and the quick drying properties of the Gordini Lavawool fabric relative to 100% Polyester Filament (Leading Ski Brand), 100% Polyester Filament (Leading Outdoor Brand) and 100% Merino Wool (Leading Outdoor Brand). In the thermal resistance graphic the "mid-weight" Lavawool fabric is compared to the other fabrics. In the drying properties graphic it compares the "light weight" Lavawool with the other fabrics. As a consumer this information would have been more useful if the same or even both weights of the Lavawool fabric were used in each comparison graphic.

Lavawool Pants
Lavawool Pants

Upon taking the pants out of their packaging I was immediately struck by the light weight of the fabric. It was almost a bit sheer. While I was expecting this to be a light weight base layer, I didn't expect it to be quite this light. The Lavawool fabric felt smooth and comfortable to the touch. It was not scratchy like a pure wool garment. It was also not as smooth as a silk garment. It felt very similar to base layer garments I have used that were 100% synthetic material and so the feel of this garment is what I expected. The fabric is slightly stretchy which I also expected. The construction of the garment is very sound. All stitching was straight and tight with no loose threads.

The pants have an elastic waistband. There is an overlapping flap fly. The pants have a thin cuff around the ankles which is made with folded over fabric that has been serged. The tag for the garment is imprinted on the fabric.



The garment does not require any special care or treatment. The tag provides very simple care instructions: Machine wash cold, tumble dry low. No bleach.


I tried on the pants and they fit well. The pants I am testing are a size Medium. For reference, I wear pants with a 33 in (84 cm) waist and a 30 in (76 cm) inseam. The Gordini sizing chart on the packaging lists size Medium as 30/33. As I put on the pants they pulled easily over my legs. The Lavawool fabric felt comfortable against my skin. This material has some elasticity which provided a nice snug fit all around. The waist band and ankle cuffs fit snug as well. They were not too tight and did not dig into my skin.


These pants seem like a good basic light weight base layer. They are well made with quality fabric. The pant's Lavawool material is comfortable against my skin. The material is a bit lighter in weight than I was expecting. During testing I will be anxious to find out the extent to which these pants keep me warm. When engaged in high activity, such as snowshoeing, I'll be checking to see how quickly this garment dries after getting damp from perspiration. In addition to testing these properties I will be checking to see how the garment holds up when worn in the field and to repeated washings.

This concludes my Initial Report of the Gordini Light Weight Pants. Please check back in about 2 months for my Field Report.



During this phase of testing I wore the Gordini Light Weight Pants on 2 overnight trips and 3 day hikes. All these trips were in the central Cascade Mountains.

The first overnight started at 2,200 ft (670 m), camped at 5,000 ft (1,500 m) and the next day scrambled up a peak with a high point of 6,600 ft (2,000 m). Temperatures ranged from a high of 50 F (10 C) to a low of around 30 F (-1 C). It was overcast and windy the first day. The second day was perfectly calm and sunny.

The second overnight, I started around 1,500 ft (450 m) and camped at 4,000 ft (1,200 m). Then the next day hiked up to a high point of 6,400 ft (1,950 m). It was a mixed bag of broken clouds, mist, drizzle and rain for both days on this trip. The first day's temperatures ranged from 45 to 30 F (7 to -1 C). The next day temperatures remained right around 30 F (-1 C).

One of the day hikes I started out at 1,800 ft (550 m) and had an elevation gain of 3,900 ft (1,200 m). Temperatures were around 50 F (10 C) at the start under partly sunny skies. At the high point it had begun to cloud up and temperatures were around 40 F (7 C). There was just a slight breeze all day. I started out on bare trail and hiked up into several feet (about a meter) of snow and although I had snowshoes with me, didn't yet need them as the snow was well packed down from other hikers who had been up the day before.

Right before Christmas I went out on a day trip. I was able to hike the packed snow in boots for the first 1/2 hour, then the snow became deep and soft enough to warrant snowshoes. That day it was clear and calm at the start with temperatures around 10 F (-12 C) at an elevation of around 1,500 ft (450 m). As I gained an elevation of around 4,500 ft (1,400 m) temperatures had dropped to 5 F (-15 C). It later became windy on the way down and temperatures stayed steady at 5 F (-15 C).

In steep terrain @ 5 F (-15 C)
In steep terrain @ 5 F (-15 C)

My last day trip was at a time of high avalanche hazard in the Cascades. So on that day I did a loop trail which started out at around 500 ft (150 m) and had an elevation gain of just less than 1,000 ft (300 m). Temperatures were around 35 to 40 F (2 to 4 C). It was a cloudy day with rain off and on such that the trail became a wet slushy mess. But better that than to risk avalanche hazard terrain at higher elevations.


I have been very pleased with the Gordini Pants. The material has felt comfortable when wearing next to my skin as a base layer. I never experienced any rubbing or chaffing, even after a long day in the field. When sleeping in the pants I did notice the seams of the inner legs felt slightly scratchy when I was lying on my side with my leg pressed together. The pants have kept their shape, not getting stretched out and the waistband has retained its elasticity, even after repeated washings.

These pants have kept me comfortably warm during testing. I have worn these pants as a base layer under both nylon pants as well as soft shell Schoeller pants. I found that I am comfortable wearing the Gordini Pants with my nylon pants to around 35 F (2 C). Below that temperature I would begin to get a bit chilled unless I was working hard on a strenuous trail. At temperature approaching 50 F (10 C) I would begin to overheat when wearing them as a base layer with my nylon pants.

When wearing the Gordini Pants underneath my soft shell pants I found that at temperatures between 40 to 35 F (4 to 2 C) I was comfortable around camp, but would start to overheat when hiking on a steep trail, especially with a full backpack. While wearing the soft shell pants over the Gordini Pants on a snowshoe outing when temperatures dipped to 5 F (-15 C) I was surprised that I remained warm. To clarify, I stayed warm as long as I was moving and I was going up some steep terrain in deep snow that day. I did get slightly chilled when stopping for a lunch break. But that was not a big problem since my group only stopped for a few minutes. At that cold temperature we were all anxious to get moving again after refueling. And once began moving my legs quickly warmed up again. It has been a bit of an odd winter so far in that I have not experienced much in the way of temperatures in the 25 to 15 F (-4 to -9 C) range. This is due in part to the weather pattern we have experiences and also due to avalanche hazard which has kept me a lower elevations at times. I expect to experience temperatures in the 25 to 15 F (-4 to -9 C) range during the Long Term Testing phase.

In addition to the warmth provided by these pants, I've been equally pleased with their moisture wicking properties. The Lavawool material really does pull the moisture away from my skin when sweating and dries quickly, on par with other base layer garments I have used.

FIELD REPORT SUMMARY - January 15, 2009

Overall I have been quite impressed with the Gordini Light Weight Pants. The Lavawool fabric is very light in weight and at the start of testing I wasn't sure how warm the pants would keep me. I've found they keep me comfortably warm in the range of conditions I have encountered here in the Pacific Northwest. These pants effectively wick away sweat and dry quickly which adds to my comfort. After repeated washings and drying this garment has retained its shape and still fits me well. I look forward to continuing to use the base layer during the Long Term Testing period.

This concludes by Field Report of the Gordini Light Weight Pants. Please check back in about 2 months for my Long Term Report.



During this phase of testing I used the Gordini pants on 2 winter day hikes in the Cascade Mountains, a 4 day backcountry cross country ski & snowshoe trip to a hut system in the vicinity of Mt Rainier and an overnight climbing trip to a peak in the Olympic Mountains. Temperatures during these trips ranged from 15 to 40 F (-9 to 4 C). Weather I encountered was a mixed bag of rain, freezing rain and sunshine. Elevations during these outings ranged from 1,000 to nearly 6,000 ft (300 to 1,800 m). Daily elevation gain or loss ranged from 1,500 to 3,900 ft (450 to 1,200 m).

Out in deep snow during testing
Out in deep snow during testing


During this phase of testing I have continued to wear the pants as a base layer under nylon pants or soft shell Schoeller pants. On outings when the temperatures were consistently around 20 F (-7 C) I was very comfortable wearing the base layer with my soft shell pants. But knowing that I would get warm, to the point of overheating, when wearing the Gordini pants/soft shell pants combination at temperatures above 35 F (2 C), I ended up doing a some good field testing while wearing the base layer with my nylon pants. This actually worked out well since I enjoy the flexibility to zip off the legs of the nylon pants when I am working hard going up a steep trail.

One trip I had the legs zipped off the nylon pants and my lower legs were quite comfortable covered by only the base layer. Upon reaching a high point along the way the wind began blowing around 20 mph (32 km/h). The air temperature was around 40 F (4 C) so this equated to a wind-chill of around 20 F (-7 C). Under these conditions I quickly became chilled when stopped. I learned the Gordini pants are truly a base layer because they did not break the wind at all. Once I zipped the pant legs back on, then I was quite comfortable, even while sitting and having something to eat.

I also used the Gordini pants as a base layer under my Gore-Tex shell pants in rainy wet conditions. This combination worked out well. The base layer nicely wicked away sweat, keeping me from feeling clammy in my Gore-Tex. That coupled with the thermal protection kept me quite comfortable at temperatures down as low 25 F (-4 C). During that day I reached an exposed portion of the trail and encountered winds of 20+ mph (32+ km/h) and blowing snow. Under these conditions I was fine as long as I was moving, but would become chilly when standing still for any length of time.

In addition to using the Gordini pants while on the trail, I also used it when sleeping during backpacking trips. The pants were very comfortable and I stayed warm in my 20 degree sleeping bag when temperatures dipped down to 20 F (-7 C). The seams in the legs were still just a little bit scratchy when sleeping on my side with my legs together, as I noted in the Field Report. This surprised me because I thought they might soften up after lots of use and washings.

Repeated washings did not affect the shape and fit of these pants throughout testing. The waist band kept its elasticity so I was never concerned about the pants sliding down. The pant legs and cuff always fit snug to my skin as a base layer should. Also, this garment has not retained any unpleasant odors from all the use it has been put through during my testing.

Warm and comfortable on a clear cold day
Warm and comfortable on a clear cold day


At the conclusion of Long Term testing I am just as pleased with the Gordini pants as I was at the end of Field Testing. The Lavawool fabric is a very light weight material and provides a great degree of comfort and warmth. Plus it is also very effective in wicking away sweat which contributes to its comfort. The Gordini pants are also very comfortable to wear for extra warmth when in camp and while sleeping. I plan to continue using the Gordini pants as my base layer for future backpacking trips.

- Light weight
- Good thermal protection
- Wicks away moisture and dries quickly

- Does not afford any protection from the wind
- Inner leg seams are slightly rough

This concludes my Long Term Report. My thanks to and Gordini for the opportunity to test this garment.

This report was created with the Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.
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