GoLite Paradox Pant
Initial Report April 13, 2007
Field Report June 21, 2007
Long Term Report August 19, 2007
Name: Jason Boyle
Height: 5' 6"/ 1.68 m
Weight: 170 lb/ 77 kg
Waist: 35"/ 89 cm
Hips: 42"/ 107 cm
Thighs: 21"/ 53 cm
Inseam: 28"/ 71 cm
Email address: c4jc "at" hotmail "dot" com
City, State, Country: Snoqualmie, Washington, U. S.
I have been camping and backpacking for about 18 years. My introduction to the outdoors started with the Boy Scouts of America and has continued as an adult. I have hiked mostly in the Southeastern and Northeastern United States. I am generally a lightweight hiker, but will carry extras to keep me comfortable. I currently reside in the Pacific Northwest and spend most of my time hiking and backpacking in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness, but I can be found exploring the other wild areas of Washington!
Initial Report April 13, 2007
Model: Paradox Pant
Size: Large received, S-XXL available
Year of Manufacture: 2007
Fabric: Trinity fabric
Listed weight: 12 oz/340 g
Measured weight: 12.05 oz/342 g
MSRP: $100 US
Country of Manufacture: Made in China
Product Description/Initial Impressions:
The GoLite Paradox Pant is a pair of stretchy softshell pants that are supposed to be breathable but have the water resisting qualities of a hardshell. The pants are soft to the touch and seem to fit me very well. The only place that they seem to be semi fitted as GoLite describes them is in the thighs, however they are not uncomfortable. They are pretty minimalist when it comes to features. The waist band is elastic which allows for a user that is a little larger or smaller than the advertised size; however there are no belt loops so if I continue to loose weight there may come a point where I will need to buy a new pair of pants. Like most menís pants there is a snap button and zipper. Though the GoLite website says there are two zippered front hand pockets, none are on the pants that I received. There is one zippered rear pocket. There are 10Ē (25 cm) side zips with snaps at the bottom of each leg. There are no other venting options on these pants. The pants appear to be well made with all of the seams taped for waterproofness.
I tried on the pants when they arrived and I am happy with the way they fit. There appears to be room for a thin pair of tights if needed, even with my comments about a snug fit in the thighs. I am very warm hiker so I am a little concerned about the breathability/warmth of the pants since the only venting option is the zipper at the bottom of the pants.
I wonít go into the minute details of GoLiteís new Trinity fabric, but I do want to mention it. I donít know all the technology behind it but I do like the way that it feels and the way that it stretches. I did a simple waterproofness test at home using my hand to pour water onto the pants and it beaded and rolled off. Not a real world test by any means but it does give me hope that the pants can handle the wet weather spring brings in the Pacific Northwest.
Field Report Ė June 21, 2007
Thus far the pants have performed well. The stretchy Trinity Fabric has held up well to brush bashing, glissading, and normal hiking. They have also provided good protection from the elements. Prolonged use in inclement weather can cause them to wet out and the lack of venting options makes them extremely hot when hiking in full sun exposure or when gaining elevation.
I have used the pants on 9 trips for a total of 13 days of use. Significant trips include a three day summit attempt on Mt Whitney in Sequoia National Park, California via the Mountaineers Route, a single day summit trip up Mt. St. Helens, a day trip on the Muir Snowfield on Mt. Rainier in Mt Rainier National Park, and several other spring peak bagging trips in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness. Elevations have ranged from sea level to 11,500í (3505 m), temperatures ranged from 10 F to 60 F (12 C to 15 C). I have encountered all types of precipitation from wind and blowing snow to the occasional sunny day. The majority of my hiking took place on snow covered trails, sometimes they were packed and sometimes I had to break trail.
Thus far I have been pretty pleased with the Paradox Pant for use as an outer protection layer on my spring time mountaineering trips. The pants fit me well. They are comfortable in the crotch and thigh areas which is where I usually have problems with pants. I think the stretch of the fabric really helps with the fit. Since I am short the pant legs are a little long, but the snaps on the leg cuffs usually allow them to sit on the top of my boots without me stepping on the back of the cuff. The elasticized waist isnít bad, but it doesnít fit me as tightly as I would like so I have to continually pull them up or try to make sure they are tucked under my backpackís hip belt. This usually works fine until I have to bend over or do any sort of off trail move then the pants come out from under the belt. I am pleased to report that I have had no problems wearing a heavy (52 lb/ 23.6 kg) pack over the pants. I donít normally carry that much stuff but I had to for my Whitney trip and I was concerned that the elasticized waist might be a problem. I found the rear pocket useful for carrying my liner gloves or a folded map. I was able to wear a light weight pair of tights underneath of the pants, but this set up quickly became too warm and I needed to stop and remove the tights. I experienced no restricted movement while wearing the tights.
The durability of the pants has been good thus far. They have encountered tree sap, Devilís Club, bushes, snow and dirt and have come away with only some stains. My glissades took place while descending Mt. St Helens and on the Muir Snowfield and the seat of the pants reflects this usage. The seat has some abrasion to the outer surface of the pants but it appears to be a cosmetic blemish at this point. I will watch this area after future glissades. There is a string of small holes near the bottom of the right cuff. I am not sure exactly where these came from. The cuffs tend to trap snow when hiking and there may have been an icy piece that cut them, or it could have been an ember from a campfire on one of my trips. I first noticed the holes after a weekend car camping trip where I had been wearing them in evenings while sitting around the campfire. Regardless it is a pretty minor issue and if I was concerned I would cover it with waterproof type of patch that is commercially available. I am not concerned about it and most likely wonít do anything unless the holes grow larger.
The pants have done a good job keeping out the elements. They block wind and have done well in shedding snow. I wore them while hiking in two snow storms on Whitney and even after 4.5 hours of hiking from high camp to Whitney Portal where it was snowing an inch an hour (2.54 cm/hour) they never wet out. The only place where I have had problems with the pants wetting out is at the cuffs. When walking in snow and postholing the cuffs would turn up a bit and fill with snow. The constant snow in the cuffs caused them to wet out. However, based on my experience wearing the Paradigm Jacket made of the same material in a constant rain where the jacket wetted out after 45 minutes, I am skeptical that the pants would have the same failure in the rain. Hopefully I am able to confirm or deny this assumption during the Long Term testing phase.
My main negative issue with the pants stems around the lack of breathability and venting options. I am a copious sweater and hike very warm. It only takes temperatures over 45 F (7 C) and a bit of an elevation gain to get me sweating and overwhelming the breathability of the pants. I like the clean lightweight design of the pants, but a full length zipper would be a great improvement. The small 10Ē (25 cm) zips at the end of the pants donít facilitate any ventilation options. Additionally they are not long enough for me to slip the pants on over my mountaineering boots or normal hiking boots. A full length zipper would allow me to vent the pants and put them on and off with out removing my footwear. The lack of breathability will also limit my use of these during the summer while hiking. I have a Rainier climb in July that I will use them on, but I canít see myself wearing them except while in camp or in a downpour. For me the lack of venting options will mean these pants are only going to be used on big mountains or during the late fall through early spring trips.
One other thing to note; I have not washed them at all yet and they are really beginning to smell foul. I donít like to wash waterproof items too much because I donít want to wash the DWR finish off. However these pants are going into the washer soon to get rid of the smell.
Long Term Report Ė August 19, 2007
Longer Cuff Zipper
I have used the pants two more times since my field report and they have continued to perform ok. The lack of ventilation options really causes me to think more about wearing them than I should and as such they didnít get worn on my summit attempt on Rainier except for a long glissade down the last portion of the Inter Glacier.
I used the pants on two more trips - an overnight trip to Glacier Basin and the Inter Glacier on Mt. Rainier and a 2 night/3 day summit attempt on Mt. Rainier via the Emmons Glacier. Elevation ranged from 4400í (1340 m) to 7,800í (2370 m). Weather was mostly sunny with some clouds. While on the Emmons Glacier wind was blowing steady at 30 Ė 40 mph (50-60 kph) and temperatures ranged from 65 F to 32 F (21 C to 0 C).
I continued to evaluate the pants on durability and usefulness. The pants have continued to exhibit good durability over the last two months. On my trip to Glacier Basin to practice mountaineering skills, I wore the pants around camp and while going over skills on the Inter Glacier. I had no issues while using the pants this way, although I did not wear crampons during our skills practice. I know from prior experience with crampons that I would not wear the pants without gaiters to protect them from the crampon spikes. After my summit attempt on Rainier, I wore them while glissading the last portion of the Inter Glacier. The seat of the pants is scuffed from this and my other glissades this spring but it is still intact and kept me from getting the lightweight nylon pants I was wearing underneath wet.
I continue to question their usefulness because of the lack of venting options. I wore them during skills review session on the Inter glacier and they continued to keep me very warm. The skills review session was not strenuous, mostly walking through knots, roped glacier travel, and crevasse rescue techniques. This experience coupled with my previous experiences made me choose not to wear them on my summit attempt on Rainier. I am generally a warm hiker and I worried that I would overheat in them once the sun came up on Rainier and with the small ankle zips I knew I couldnít take them off easily over my mountaineering boots and crampons.
Overall I think the GoLite is off to a good start with these pants. They have a very clean line and do well in colder temperatures where warmth is essential. For me to use them year round though there needs to be some additional ventilation options. I would also like to see some belt loops to help them stay in place as my weight fluctuates through the seasons.
Read more reviews of GoLite gear
Read more gear reviews by Jason Boyle